Sculpted by time and tide – Hopewell Cape, NB
We finally began our journey back toward the U.S. from Cape Breton Island, via New Brunswick. We thought we’d left the rain behind us, but our brief stop at Linwood, NS was a washout, too. I know it sounds like we’re complaining, but cabin fever was setting in and we became antsy. The sun finally made a grand appearance, and our drive to Moncton, New Brunswick was a happy one. Steve made friends with the ducks at our campsite and discussed the weather with them. They seemed perfectly happy about all of the rain that had come through!
Since we had been through here on our way to Prince Edward Island a few weeks ago, this was a “catch our breath” stop and we ran a few errands – like a much-needed trip to Costco. But we did have time for an interesting excursion that fits right in with my past blogs about the Bay of Fundy, and the effects of the highest tides in the world. Folks coming to this area don’t want to miss a trip out to the Hopewell Rocks.
This drive took us to an interesting geologic feature known as the Hopewell Rocks formation, where the famous “Flower Pot Rocks” are located. Even though we have been to quite a few formations – Chiricahua Mountains (Arizona), Alabama Hills (California), Stone Mountain (Georgia) etc – the Flower Pot Rocks are quite different. While rain and ice continue to erode these formations today, they get the additional daily tidal action that wears away at the bases of the cliffs and rocks. This is slowly disintegrating them as the Bay of Fundy tides continue to change these unusual sculptures.
The only time these formations can be seen is at low tide. So, along with busloads of tourists we explored the ocean floor for a fee. The Bay of Fundy is a huge attraction here in New Brunswick.
The formations consist of dark sedimentary conglomerate and sandstone rock. The huge volume of water flowing into and out of the Bay of Fundy constantly modifies the landscape surrounding it. Following the retreat of the glaciers in the region during the last ice age, surface water filtering through cracks in the cliff eroded and separated the formations from the rest of the cliff face. At the same time, advancing and retreating tides eroded the base of the rocks at a faster rate than the tops, resulting in their unusual shapes.
At Hopewell we could also see the mud flats that stretch as wide as 2.5 miles. It boggles the mind to contemplate the amount of water that moves in and out of here every day.
After walking on the ocean floor and checking out the rocks, we continued to follow the Fundy Coastline Scenic Drive. It took us to the town of Alma, a small fishing town where we had (oh no, not again!) lobster for lunch.
After a sumptuous lobster lunch, we continued on to Cape Enrage, where we had spectacular views of its towering cliffs and a lighthouse. Interestingly, in 1993 a small group of high school students from Moncton began a restoration project at the site, which was in disrepair and constantly vandalized. They renovated all of the buildings and slowly turned the site into a tourist destination. A not-for-profit student-run organization maintains the property and now offers climbing, rappelling, and kayaking in the summer months.
We noticed some adventurous women rappelling down the cliffs, and watched them until they reach the ground. Hmm, I don’t think I will do it even if they did make it look easy!
Cape Enrage’s name came from an early French descriptive, ‘cape of rage’, as exhibited by the turbulent waters often seen in the area.
On the way home we stopped by again at the Hopewell Rocks, just to see how the tourists were doing at the ocean floor now.
There was no shortage of fantastic scenery as we drove home, following the Fundy Coastal Drive. The open space, green pastures and cloud formations made for a beautiful end to the day!
This time, “home” was at the Stonehurst Golf Course and Trailer Park in Moncton. We liked it better than the Camper City and RV Resort, where we stayed the last time in Moncton. Click here to see Steve’s review, if interested.
It was quite an amazing experience to witness the high and low tides of the Bay of Fundy. The Reversing, Falls at St. John, the sculpted rocks at Hopewell Cape, the immense low tide at Alma and the Fundy Trail Parkway all made this part of our adventure memorable!
Next up: Our final stop at St. Andrews-by-the-Sea and goodbye to Canada!