Last Sunday was forecast to be a beautiful day, albeit a bit cool. It was a great opportunity to get the kids out of the house, and to finish hiking and mapping the last couple of trails at Kouchibouguac National Park. As with all adventures the day delivered an unexpected surprise. We found a trail in the Park that I didn’t know existed, and now I wonder if there might not be more.
The two trails that I needed to finish mapping are the Tweedie Trail and the north-east end of the Kouchibouguac River Trail. There is also the Major Kullock Trail, but this is primarily a mountain bike trail. It is a longer trail for another day and I still have to find out if the park wants people hiking on it.
After the kids checked out every exhibit at the visitor center, and we watched the fantastic new movie about the park, I convinced them that we should try to enjoy some of the outside parts of the park. We started by driving to the Tweedie Trail.
The Tweedie Trail is a short trail that goes through a small field to the banks of Kouchibouguac River and then around a long boardwalk on a swampy point. At least that’s what I remembered from the last time I hiked the trail about 10 to 15 years ago. Since then some of the field has grown up in bushes. I did correctly remember the large pine tree that frames the entrance to the trail, and there are still the signs near the river warning of poison ivy. The kids played on the beach as I stayed up on the trail and took pictures up and down the river. There was a bush flush with white flowers in blossom. The flowers contrasted beautifully with the dark waters of the river and the deep blue of the sky. The kids found some bones in the sand along the shore. They looked as though they were from a deer who maybe didn’t make a river crossing during the winter. After a while I convinced them to come up off the shore. I bribed them by telling them that we would get to the beach sooner. The boardwalk section of the trail was being repaired so it was closed so it cut our hike short. All indications were that the boardwalk was being worked on so ti should be repaired when you visit next.
After climbing the small hill back to the parking lot we got in the car and turned right. This would soon take us to a parking lot and a walking bridge that crosses the Kouchibouguac River. The walking bridge is one of the few parts of the park I have not yet explored. I was surprised to so quickly come to a small parking lot. This parking lot looked too small compared to the parking lot I looked at on google maps. We parked and got out. There was a sign beside a small trail that went into the woods. The sign described the nearby Williams Cemetery. This wasn’t what we were looking for but it was an interesting surprise. The cemetery was used by European settlers of the area in the early 1800’s. We decided that we should go check it out. The trail went down a small hill then split at a T near the river. We decided to go to the right first. We soon found a set of steep stairs leading down to the shore. After the kids took stock of all the different articles left by fishermen we continued on the trail. The trail climbed the hill away from the river and then came out of the woods on the other side of the small parking lot. Looks like we probably should have turned left first. I convinced the kids that we had to explore the rest of the trail and soon we started the trail for a second time. After turning left we came to another steep set of stairs to the beach. The trail then left the river’s edge and climbed slightly through what looked like an old field grown up in alders. We eventually came to a small grassy clearing with a white picket fence and large white cross marking the edge of the cemetery. After a brief view of the grave markers beyond the fence we returned to the car and once again turned right on the road.
The kids wanted to get to the beach so we were quickly running out of hiking time. I wanted to at least see the walking bridge so we parked. We walked down the trail to a junction and turned right. We passed a couple enjoying the day by having a picnic on one of the picnic tables. We crossed the bridge to the other side. I tried to get the kids to remember our snowshoe adventure on the southeast half of the river trail the previous winter but they couldn’t remember. Maybe I take them on too many adventures. The kids were surprised to see a man fishing just under the bridge on the far side.
We crossed back over the bridge and returned the parking lot via a set of stairs made of very large stones. When we got back to the car we were quickly on our way to Kelly’s Beach to enjoy the rest of the afternoon. The rest of the River Trail would have to wait for another day. At least now I know a quick way to access the middle of the trail.