The Fundy Footpath

Walking along Long Beach, NB at low tide

For some reason, I had an eerie feeling that something would go wrong when my bf and I planned a day-long hike along the rugged Fundy Footpath – the extension of the popular and easier Fundy Trail that runs along the seaside parkway east of St. Martins.

I thought we might get stuck somewhere and run out of food. So we brought more than enough snacks, sandwiches, granola bars, Gatorade and water.

As we trudged through the dense forest, which hugs the cliffs along the Bay of Fundy, everything felt right. The air was fresh and the sun was warm. It felt like we were making the most of one of our last summer weekends. We planned to just hike as far as we reasonably could – hoping for Seely’s Beach, which is about 8 km away from the start at Big Salmon River.

Not more than 20 minutes in, I looked down and felt a strange twinge at my ankles. At first I thought I twisted something. Then I felt pain. A lot of pain. And then I saw a hornet stuck in the meat of my calf, exposed just below the knee. And another one in my ankle. I freaked and ran off down the path, tears streaming down my face.

Luckily, my hiking buddy knew what to do – quickly scraping the insects and their stingers off my leg with a stick. I paused and wiped my eyes. I couldn’t believe the stinging pain. And I couldn’t believe in all my worried packing, I didn’t pack a single first aid supply (doh!).

Well I didn’t want to let a few hornets ruin our day. I don’t have any allergies, so I thought I would be fine. We continued on, taking in breathtaking views, climbing steep goat paths and passing outback campsites. We really got a taste for what the full Fundy Footpath hike (40+ km, which would take three to four days) would be like. Finally we ended at a beach and ate our giant lunch. (It didn’t soothe the hornet stings).

After a full two hours of hiking, we thought we may have made it to Seely’s Beach. But alas, it was only Long Beach – only 4.3 km in. It’s amazing how long it takes to trudge through dense bush, up and down hills and cliffs.

The Fundy Footpath follows the blue line.

After all of that work, and as I was feeling exhausted from my injury, we kind of cheated and walked the shoreline back to Big Salmon River at low tide. But what a treat. Long Beach was flat, beautiful sand. Then we hopped from rock to rock, and then continued over a very stoney beach. The rocky cliff faces were breathtaking, seen from a unique perspective.

We barely saw one-eighth of the entire footpath, and after one full afternoon, we understood both the appeal – and challenge – that hiking the last piece of undeveloped shoreline along the Eastern Seaboard would bring.

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April C

Writer, editor and mom in Saint John, NB.

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