We enjoyed excellent weather again on day three and set out with plans to do some serious rock-knocking. Our destination today was the Fundy Geological Museum in Parrsboro. The intention was to try and join one of the beach walks led by a geologist, but unfortunately we missed the excursion party by a couple of hours.
Instead we went through the small but nice museum dedicated the wide variety of geology found in the Fundy region, with a special emphasis on the extensive fossil deposits in the area. Near Parrsboro one of the largest fossil finds in North America was discovered in 1986. The museum has an active laboratory which is completing the painstaking work of cleaning and cataloging some of those finds. Again, we were unlucky that the lab tech was doing paperwork in the office rather than actually working on fossils. This area is also relatively unique because of the number of fossilized dinosaur tracks that have been found.
Lunch-time was to be at our second destination Five Island Provincial Park, which was on the way back towards the cabin. Before we got there we noticed a sign for a light house and we veered down a county lane to have a look. This was our first introduction to Canadian lighthouses; they’re very small and are not put on a pedestal as a remote beacon for wayfaring ships – this one was in the middle of a campground. The beach on the other hand was a much better find. It was far enough off the beaten track that the only folks there were a couple of locals fishing for clams at low tide. One of them stopped to have a chat with us. At this point I would like to say that the people of the Maritime Providences are just about the most friendly, cordial people you’re ever likely to meet. This gentleman (who ended up being late to meet his friend because he was talking to us) told us stories, explained his home-made clamming wagon, and warned us about the tides.
We arrived at Five Islands in time for lunch and learned that the Red Head Trail (the one we intended to hike) was closed until further notice for safety reasons. So we headed out on the Estuary Trail instead – an easy 2 km hike through the woods. What could be better right? Enter another lesson – maps in the Provincial parks are rather cryptic. Our 2km hike turned into something closer to 8 km.
Over hills, over dales, we hit the mossy trails. Piper was such a trooper! How may seven-year-olds to do you know would manage a 8K hike without grumbling? She especially liked the knoll of spruce trees that we passed through pictured at left. The hike was pretty, but there was a certain uneasiness of tramping around not entirely sure how far you’ve come and wondering at what point you should turn around rather than sticking it out to see if you can make it to the end. The upside of the whole thing was that we did get some nice pictures from the little detour.
Eventually we made our way out, narrowly missing making a wrong turn that would have sent us back around the loop again. The car never looked quite as good before. Since what we really wanted to do was walk along the cliffs, we decided to drive deeper into the park and see if we could make it to the ocean side. At the end of the road we reached the Beach area and saw that we were directly across from the beach we found chasing the lighthouse. Our unplanned trek chewed up quite a bit of time and by now the tide was returning. We got to see first hand how fast the water comes in, and it was not hard to (thankfully) imagine how easy it would be to get surprised. We spent a hour or so on this beach rocking-knocking and skipping stones before the tide turned the beach into a narrow crescent. I managed to show Piper how to skip stones – though she was a little miffed that she wasn’t instantly as good as I am. Rock-skipping is one of my childhood skills learned from many, many, hours spent practicing at our house on North Twin Lake where I grew up.
At the end, a tired but satisfied group made our way back to the cabin to spend our last night in Upper Economy before moving further East into Nova Scotia.