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JAK
2007-07-03, 22:07
My daughter and I just finished 3 days on the Fundy Footpath. It was meant to be 4 days, but she and I both decided to keep going on the 3rd day and hiked right back to the car. Great little hiker. I decided to carry all the stuff, as she only weighs 47 pounds, but she had no trouble at all going up and down those hill. She mostly wore these polyester long underwear tops and bottom that look like pyjamas but are meant for winter. Worked great. Also heavy smartwool socks and sneakers, and she hiked with these stretchy wool gloves she brought along. Her idea. Worked great. She also had a fleece hoody which she took off when she got hot and put on when she got cold. The second day I had her try a polyester fleece vest that I thought would be better as it covered her bum and was a better fleece, but she liked the hoody so she insisted on that for day three. I also tried to get her to wear these bathing suit shorts to keep her pants up, but she said it would make her look stupid. We hardly saw anyone the entire trip. Very cute. Absolutely best hiking partner ever though. Hands down.

9km the first day, which was the Goose River Trail in Fundy National Park then up the Goose River at low tide to km 0 of the Fundy Footpath. A very rugged 10km the second day, in 4 nice stages; Rose Brook (Azors Beach), Jim Brook, Goose Creek, Brandy Brook (Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum Falls). There are some dangerous steep side slopes with some parts fairly close to the coastal cliffs, but a 7 year old can manage safely if they are fairly smart and not encumbered with weight and you strike the fear of God into them appropriately. Margaret did just fine, though some children and adults do not. On Azors Beach Margaret picked out the place for our breakfast of Oatmeal and Ovaltine where some people had made a sort of table and chairs sort of an Inuktuk/Dolem out of some large stones. Very cute. We took our time and stopped for meals and read some stories along the way.
http://www.amazon.ca/Micmac-Stories-Ruth-Holmes-Whitehead/dp/0919680356

It was raining when we got to Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum Falls so we set up camp in the rain and settled in for more stories and I just nipped outside to put the food up in a tree and get some fresh water. To make room in the small tent I put my empty pack outside wrapped in a garbage bag and I got woken up at 7am by some critter poking or pawing at my foot against the end of the tent. It was just a 6'x3' kiddie tent, so it was a tight squeeze when stretched out. I jumped up to look but didn't see it, or hear it. The pack had been dragged off about 20' and the garbage bag torn off, and one of Margaret's sneakers was about 15' away also. I'm pretty sure it was a racoon judging by the size of the holes in the garbage bag, and the lack of any damage to the pack. There was one plastic container of dry koolaid/gatoraid mix in a pocket of the pack I threw in at the last minute to get it out of the tent and I was surprised that the critter didn't manage to find it or get at it. Must not have been that hungry. No sign of bears. Lots of moose tracks and moose poop.

We decided to skip the first low tide at Goose Creek and didn't break camp at Tweedle Dee Tweedle Dum until 1:30pm. Very pretty spot in the woods. Very wet. Spruce forest with lots of moss and interesting plants growing up the sides of the gorge, and the small falls with a nice rocky pool, including a deep end under the falls. Margaret dared me to go in and stick my head under the falls. Very cold. We spend the time eating and building a fire and going in for the swim and then drying out my sneakers and socks even though they would just get wet again. It's a very wet trail even without rain and river crossings. Our food was mostly oatmeal and granola bars and fruit-to-go bars, but we did make a nice meal out of Mr. Noodle and Tuna Steak in a foil pouch. The Kelly Kettle worked very well for us. We got to Goose Creek at 3:00pm and explored along the beach and had lunch before crossing at 4:30pm. It was a beautiful day. Sunny and windy from the Southwest. Goose Creek has a dune with a shallow tidal pond and remnants of an old logging camp including an old boiler. We watched the tide ebb out from the pond and collected sea shells and had more beef flavoured Mr. Noodle with lemon flavoured Tuna Steak. That's when Margaret decided she wanted to see if we could hike all the way back to the car. She really enjoyed the camping, but like me she seems to be more of a hiker than a camper. She wanted to keep hoofing it just to see if we could do it and make the tide at Goose River.

We got back to Goose River by 9:15 and the car by midnight, with rain mostly on the Goose River Trail section but not too heavy or cold. We saw fireflies and stars and a full moon right in front of us towards the end. Margaret wasn't phased one bit by the rain and the dark and the wet feet and didn't even bother with the rain poncho, as long as I help her hand. We scarfed down our 3 last fruit-to-go bars at the start of the Goose River Trail and just kept hoofing it. It was a bit dark in spots, but not to bad as the trail is an old road, fairly wide, and it was a fairly bright sky despite the rain. We lit a candle lantern which didn't help much. I probably should have brought the headlamp but wasn't really planning on doing much on these short midsummer nights besides sleeping. She was a little sleepy towards the end but I was totally dead on my feet. She really hiked my off my feet, 19km on the last day and 10km of that very rugged.

Anyhow, the only really stupid thing I did was drive the 2 hours home in a tired and exausted state. I wasn't even thinking about that. I was just thinking about the risks on the trail, and I knew the Goose River Trail after dark was absolutely doable, which it was, but the drive home was totally stupid. Almost hit a cow moose leaving the park, saw two more in the ditch a little later, and then could not keep my eyes open and was too tired and stupid to pull over and sleep. Made it home OK, but very very stupid. So I'm kicking myself for that. Anyhow, something to think about next time before I get tired and stupid. So very proud Dad but very stupid Dad also. It's not enough just to make it back to the car. You have to make it home. Cheers.

Iceman
2007-07-04, 03:49
JAK, Absolutely fantastic write up of your trip, I could actually see the two of you on the trail! What a great experience for the two of you! As for the sleepy driving, been there, done that..... Now, I keep all sorts of "caffeiney" things in the car for times like this. Nodoz, chocolates, maybe an energy drink, anything to blast me wide awake for the drive home.

I especially love your comments about putting the fear in her...great point, and tactic. I do the same with my two...Even a bit of the reverse psychology..."hey, who want to get their eye poked out with this stick.... or who wants to fall to their death so we can bury you in a mini coffin?...(Sounds pretty sick when I read it here, but I do use this approach sometimes, works for my kids so far...) Anyway, thanks for sharing!

JAK
2007-07-04, 06:01
She did miss her mum of course, who was on a trip herself to Ottawa. It is very special hiking and growing up with a young daughter. Instead of cursing at the rain and cold they just cry now and then and express there feelings very openly and eloquently and most dramatically. Definitely will get out more this summer. It's bittersweet growing up all over again. Much faster this time around. You have to remind yourself it's for them this time around, which makes it that much better, and less bitter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5g_oeXBjqqg&mode=related&search=

Take-a-knee
2007-07-04, 12:07
Cool write up JAK, you made memories that will outlive us geezers. As for drowsy driving, don't do it, but if you must, I rely on Sudafed, just the plain stuff without any other cold remedies as they WILL make you drowsier! Pseudophedrine HCL is the generic, in the US they keep it behind the counter 'cause the druggies us it to make methamphetamine.

sailingsoul
2007-07-04, 14:43
Thank you JAK. You are a blessed man having that joy in your life. Thanks for sharing. SS

MalTheElder
2007-07-19, 04:33
Great write-up, Jak! I envy you getting to hike and camp with your daughter---my son lost interest when he hit his teens, and none of my steps- are outdoors folk. Bummer.

So props to you, and especially your daughter!

Keep on truckin',
Half Step