By Julie Chatelain and Simon Lacroix
From Fredericton, The Great Trail continued along the Saint John River. This section followed a historical pathway that the 104th regiment walked in the winter of 1812 to join British soldiers fighting the Americans during the war. The Trail must have looked wilder then and in winter, those men must have suffered tremendously from exposure.
Leaving town, we followed the scenic waterside trail for about ten kilometres to find ourselves once again on Hwy 102. In this area, this road was a bit busy and the shoulders were narrow. But the fall colours and orchards kept us happy. There is nothing like a crisp apple right off the tree! We got off the highway onto a small road near French Village to find ourselves a quiet spot to camp.
On October 6, we walked along the highway all day. Farmland and river vistas continued to accompany us. Nearing Hawkshaw, we left the highway again and tucked into our tent for a cold night. The temperatures had been dipping below zero degrees Celsius at night. Our summer-weight sleeping bags weren’t cutting it. We had to wear all our clothing to stay warm at night. Luckily, we had some warm layers with us and we had purchased small fleece blankets in Fredericton. It was quite humorous to see us layering everything we had with us in our bags at night. We looked like overstuffed sausages.
Hwy 102 ended, quite suddenly. We first saw a dead-end sign on the road just before The Great Trail left Hwy 102 for Lower Shogomoc Rd. This street also bore a dead-end sign. It soon became obvious that this way was abandoned. We kept checking the app to make sure we were still on the Trail. What if we had to double back? How far should we go before turning around? After two kilometres, the roadway became a narrow path along the old yellow line. We suddenly found ourselves at a beautiful foot bridge. What a relief! The Trail used abandoned roads for six kilometres. We loved this section. It was peaceful and easy walking. The tree canopy gave the surroundings a magical feeling.
After a quick break at a convenience store in Meductic, we continued following Hwy 165 until we found a great camping spot by a pond near Flemington. The evening was breezy and the clouds warned us of bad weather approaching. I don’t think either of us noticed anything once we were tucked into our sleeping bags that night. We slept like rocks until morning.
More road walking led us into Woodstock. From here, we followed another old rail bed trail along the river. This section was amazing. The Trail was very well groomed, similar to the Confederation Trail in Prince Edward Island. We left the Trail to get supplies at the local grocery store and enjoyed a late lunch at Tim’s. A short walk got us to a beautiful spot overlooking the longest covered bridge in the world in Hartland. This would be our view for the night.
On every trip we’ve travelled on, we have found ourselves choosing a favourite drink. In Arizona, it was Arizona iced tea, and in Spain, we liked Kaz Limon. Here, we had adapted to going to Tim Horton’s for a tea or cool drink, depending on the weather. At Tim’s, we could recharge our phones, do a bit of Facebooking or write our blog while enjoying a soup or sandwich.
We woke up to find the fine fall weather replaced by mist and drizzle. It was warmer but the persistent rain got us wet. We continued along the river trail crossing a few small communities. Arriving in Stickney we were greeted by a sign which said ‘Smile, you are entering our town of Stickney’. It was a quaint, sleepy town. Next town was Florenceville-Bristol. It was a bit larger and touristy with lovely homes. We got off the Trail to walk in this town for a bit of a change. The afternoon was advancing and so our attention turned to find a spot for our camp. Back on the Trail, we crossed Beechwood Dam, where the town has made a beautiful park. We found a discrete spot and tucked in for the night.
From here, we had 120 kilometres to reach Edmundston. We calculated about four or five more days of walking. We hoped for fine weather and that our legs would hold up.?
Find us walking