My kids are quickly getting to the age where they want to spend more time with their friends than they do with us. It is an inevitable part of growing up. It is nice to see them spread their wings but it makes it increasingly difficult to fit hiking into the weekends.
The weather forecast for the weekend was warm temperatures and clear skies. The temperatures were forecast to be in the low teens, which is quite balmy for November. I made a plan to go hiking on saturday. The kids would have to tell their friends that they weren’t available to play. I needed adventure and I knew it would do the kids good to get out for a little nature before the snow hit. I was planning to explore a newly upgraded section of the Nepisiguit Mi’gmaq Trail near Bathurst.
After getting up early, getting an oil change and winter tires installed, picking up one kid from a sleepover, feeding the other two kids and packing a lunch, we were on the road, but only after stopping at Canadian Tire for a couple of orange hunting hats, and of course Tim Hortons.
It took about half an hour to drive to Middle Landing from the Miramichi. We pulled into the little side road near the bridge, passed a hunting trailer and parked near the abutment of the old bridge. The trail started on the right just before the abutment.
The kids were part way down the trail before I got my camera ready and tied my boots. They were pretty excited. After checking out some of the rocky views along the shore we continued down the trail. This section of the trail had been reclaimed by volunteers earlier in the summer and they did an amazing job. It is a great trail.
Near the beginning of the trail the boys saw a large white granite rock in the trail. It was too big to pry out of the ground but it started them collecting rocks. We passed a small pond and explored a beaver dam above the trail. We followed a trail down to the beach where the boys continued their rock collection. Rule 1: Boys who collect rocks need to carry their own rocks back to the car.
My daughter was always in the lead. Probably more to get away from her brothers. Once she stopped and looked as though she was listening to something. When we caught up to her we heard it too. We were trying to decide whether it was people talking or some type of animal. I knew there was a road running along this section so I thought it might be hunters. We eventually realized it was a squeaking coming from up in the trees. When we got closer to where it was coming from we realized that the wind was blowing a deadfall up against a large white pine.
When we stepped out on the second beach we looked up to see two large bald eagles fly into the woods not far overhead. They had been perching in one of the large pines along the river. My daughter and I had a snack while the boys scoured the rocky beach for their rock collection. The sun and the wind were warm. The sound of the river was relaxing. I told the kids to imagine 2000 years ago when the river was a highway and that the trail was how people would have travels. They listened intently for a few minutes but they quickly returned to their rock collecting and contemplations. It seems that 13 year olds have a lot to think about.
We started back the trail towards the car. The kids were getting tired even though we had only come about 1.5 kilometers. I didn’t want to push them and I wanted to take them to Pabineau Falls before we had to get back to the Miramichi. My daughter continued to lead while one of my sons kept laying down on the ground saying he couldn’t go on. He would eventually realize that we weren’t going to stop and he would catch up and do it all again.
We eventually got back to the car and started our drive to the falls. My daughter had to go to the bathroom so we stopped at the small XTR gas station on Pabineau First Nations Reserve. While my daughter was in the bathroom I noticed that they were selling some locally made moose jerky. I decided to buy some and have some fun with the boys. My daughter told me that my son had wanted to try beef jerky.
When we got back to the car we offered the beef jerky to the boys. They both decided to try it and were commenting on the flavours. They were so interested in the taste that my daughter even decided to try it. She thought it tasted like salty hot dogs with pepper on them. I thought the boys had finished when I said to my daughter that I was surprised at how much they liked moose jerky. Suddenly they weren’t fond of the flavor anymore. My daughter and I laughed and laughed.
We arrived at Pabineau Falls and started exploring the rocks around the falls. The boys found a flat rock down below the falls that would flood with every other wave. They decided to play a game where they tried to dodge the waves. They weren’t very good at it. When I came back from taking pictures they were soaked to the knees.
This is a spectacular spot and I highly recommend visiting it if you get a chance. There are endless rock formations and waterfalls to explore. There are several places where the rock is scoured into round bowls. The rock formations remind me of those on Laverty Stream along the Moosehorn Trail at Fundy National Park. The full force of the river is forced through narrow passages in the granite. One of the bowls near the main falls was big enough for all 3 kids to climb into.
After being there for a long time we reluctantly got back in the car and headed for Miramichi. We had to make one more stop at the XTR station for the bathroom and then we were on our way. I was going to buy some of the smoked hickory moose jerky but figured I had enough to eat already and I didn’t have to share.
I found what I was looking for on our adventure and it seemed that the kids did too by how much fun they had.