Mi’gmaq trail… part deux (2020)

It’s been a long wait… but here we are, August 30th, 2020, prepping and packing up for our second hike on the Mi’gmaq trail. We leave tomorrow morning and pretty excited about it! Even though this isn’t our first rodeo, it took all day to figure it all out, bring stash of food at midway point, grocery shopping, clean the house (and disorganize it), send last few emails, line up our chickens sitter (thanks Sophie and Alex!) …we’re ready to go!

DAY ONE – MOSS and BURLS

August 31st- 9:20am- Departure from trail head at Mont Carleton.

It’s a gorgeous morning! The forecast looks great for the whole week. We’re giving ourselves 6 to 8 days- Nothing really set on stones. Could also be 2 days, could be 10 days. Better to be flexible that way. From past experiences, I’ve learned a thing or two about expectations: if you don’t have expectations, you don’t set yourself up for disappointments. The goal is obviously to complete and hike the whole trail. I took a full week vacation finishing with a long holiday weekend, so time is not an issue. A vacation without phone reception- away from society. That’s my kind of getaway. Just the thought of this makes me happy.

Thanks again to my big brother Sam for driving us to the trail head. We take a typical ‘take-off’ picture and off we go. Jason, myself… and of course, our fur-baby, Macy.

We are packed lighter than last time, so we’re already off to a good start. Though we could probably shave off extra pounds. (I found out later -while unpacking after the trip- that we both brought duplicates without knowing. They were only little things, but a lot of little things add up).

You’d think I’m losing weight as I walk. I keep tightening my hip belt. Wouldn’t that be something: Need to lose weight?… carry a backpack for only 1 km and shed 2 lbs! I’m not saying I need to lose weight. I actually have an issue with my backpack- I have the right size pack, but my waist is too small for the belt. I need to fake a belly with a towel so that the pack fits me.

I can tell Jason is happy. He doesn’t shut up! Although he’s always more the ‘talker’ in this relationship – I’m quiet. Lost in my thoughts half the time. He’s telling me about old logging road, how we have to walk 5kms this way, 2kms that way, just around the corner is a beaver dam, across this is that and so on. Without pausing between sentences, he’s telling me how we are hiking between Tennerif and Mount Cooney… and talking about the moss and grandfather’s beard and how it’s food for the Caribou… He turns around and asks “what if I call this section The Teneriff pass?”. At this point, I’m already smiling and I can’t help but laugh. He knows exactly why- “Am I talking too much?”. We both laughed. We’ll have plenty of time for silence too. I don’t mind. I like listening to him. He’s a great story teller.

We’re just both very happy to FINALLY be here. He’s showing it by telling me about everything and I guess I’m enjoying the peace and being appreciative of this trail, the nature and Jason’s knowledge.

I consider myself a fairly intelligent person but sometimes I’m ashamed of how I know little. Jason has to remind me of where the sun is at high noon. South. Maybe if I write it down like this, I’ll remember.

The forest we are walking through is absolutely gorgeous though. Thick beautiful green moss everywhere.

Jason and I both acknowledge how we miss the presence of Alfred. He was with us last time and we truly had enjoyed his presence. (so Alfred, if you are reading this… we thought about you and wished you were with us! )

This tiny section has a whole bunch of little burls on the trees. I wonder what kind of environment or why trees will grow burls. A big tree pimple. Trees probably don’t have self complexions like humans do. I think burls are awesome. Why are humans so hard on themselves? I’m just as guilty. Why am I so hard on myself? I’ll have to ask Mrs Google about burls environment when I get home. I asked Jason. He doesn’t know. He tells me he doesn’t know it all, but he knows a little bit about a lot of things.

As I previously mentioned, we have little miss Macy with us this time around. She’s being good so far- although she thinks this is her daily walk. She’s in for a surprise. I hope she starts pacing herself soon. I never imagined I could love a dog this much. You know the annoying dog owners who talks about their animal all the time like it’s a human? Yep- you guessed it- I’m part of that club now. She’s definitely become a part of this little family.

We finally stopped for a good break on one of their newly built rope bridge. The group of volunteers, students and Jason sure worked hard this summer with those bridges. Pretty impressive to be hiking in the middle of nowhere and this beautiful bridge pops out! A little swingy! Not for the weak-hearted that’s for sure. I think it’s awesome! I actually took a breather laying down in the middle of the bridge, starring at the blue sky, listening to the water flowing below me. *sigh. I like when life feels like it’s on a stand-still. I’m way too often rushing everywhere- work work work. go go go. This is good for a change.

We are overlooking Mount Walker from here.

Bellies all filled, time to keep going.

The second half of the hike had some less interesting feature- though we walked on an old road with ‘corduroy roads’, which I like. I appreciate seing old things from the past. A reminder that life existed before we came along.

It was easy walking but I want a trail-trail. A real hiking trail. Stumps and roots and twists and turns… and by the river is best. But I guess I can’t ask for perfection all the time. Sometimes you need boring to make you more appreciative of the ‘awesomeness’. But when we finally turned into the trail-trail… I was happy. Such a beautiful section. Thank you Carl and Nathalie for keeping it nice. I’m sure I won’t be able to mention all the trail managers, so thank you to all of them for keeping the trail clean!

I don’t remember much of this section from two years ago. I think then, our minds were numb and tired. I was carrying way too heavy and I remember that’s all I was thinking about. But I feel good this time around. After crossing several beautiful streams and seeing the 140 and 135 marks, we finally got to section “S”- Pentland Brook.

This is where we were aiming to camp today. It’s early- 4pm. We could technically keep going. After a little discussion, we decide to park here for the night. But first, we have to cross the water. Last night’s rain raised the water river level. And it’s cold. (Jason thinks it’s freezing. I think I have a higher tolerance). So, instead of taking the easy way ( I thought), we go around and bushwalk our way to another part of the river where the water is shallow.

We finally made it through the trees and across the water, but I’m not crazy about repeating this tomorrow morning! I’ll deal with it then I guess.

Here we go again. Set camp. Put tent up, mattress, etc, while my little bush-crafter takes care of the fire and starting supper. On the menu: Pad Thai! yum! Who had pad thai in the middle of the forest. ha! Thank you Happy Yak! We are happy yakkers right now.

After supper we are pleasantly joined by Nat and his family… with firewood and a few social drinks! Spoiled. So grateful for the lovely company. I love meeting new people. Macy totally disowned us for a few hours- playing with strangers. How can she still have all this energy after today?

Wasn’t too long before we hit the sack . Tomorrow morning, another day adventure awaits!

DAY TWO – DOOM DAY

September 1st- 8:40am Departure- Pentland Brook

First day of September. One Month closer to winter. It sure felt like winter throughout the night! Slept with my tuque… my little colorful fluff of comfort. Those who know me, knows I like my tuque. September. I don’t know if it makes me happy or not. Probably slightly sadder than happy. Fall is nice, but winter is soon after autumn. I like summer best. Wish we could freeze the seasons…. or make a deal with Madame Nature…”give us a little bit of white pretty stuff in December and the day after Christmas, start the spring process”. Dreams. At least I have my tuque, and Macy. Macy’s little, but she kept us warm.

The coffee was a nice addition to this frisky morning. Our first coffee on the trail. Mmm. I wish I could say the same thing about the powered eggs from Happy Yak. Holy disgusting. Macy didn’t even eat it! …A liquid mush of yellow…

Crossing the river again to catch the trail was a little chilly, but once we got going, it warmed up pretty quickly. And the bushwalking wasn’t as bad as last night.

I was a little picasse this morning. (picasse = bad mood). But not really that much a bad mood…I’d like to think I’m not as bad as I hear other women are … I’m just not my chirpy self. I think I should mention that it’s my “moontime”… you know, that one week that every lady has to suffer every month. So, on top of everything else happening this week, I have to deal with that stuff. The backaches, the cramps, everything. I figured if they could do it way back in the days, I should be able to handle this. (and for the record, I’m not the one who left tampax paper behind… Whoever that was… if you are reading this…. not cool!).

PLEASE LEAVE THE TRAIL CLEANER THAN YOU FOUND IT!

As we’re walking, Jason and I are trying to describe each section we are hiking. I came up with ‘rough and raw forest’ for this morning’s hike. I don’t even know how to explain it better. It’s rough…. and well… raw. It’s natural… barely touched. Just enough to pass through.

Any avid hikers would understand why one would be hiking like he’s chopping wood infront of them with their poles- like an uncontrolled karate kid. Cob webs! Between the moose likely way ahead, or Jason, I’m grateful someones doing it instead of me.

We go through a lot of fallen trees. There were massive winds about a week ago that we think might have made trees drop. Makes the hike a little bit more challenging at times. Should I try to jump over with my 35lbs of purple on my back, or crawl under, or walk around.

I don’t need a map. I have a talking one! Jason tells me where we are, how far is this and that. Apparently, we are now walking by the foot of mount Marie, by the river. This is my kind of hiking.

There’s no bad news here, no drama, no society, no negativity from this world. It’s pure nature. Peace.

So, my ankle is hurting all a sudden. BAD. Almost feels like a strain. I’ll walk the pain away. I’d like to think that on day one, you’re still thinking about what you left behind at home… the tasks, the work that needs to be done, the cleaning, the bs. On day one, you leave work stuff and society on the trail. On day two, the aches and pains starts. It’s the suffering. Just push through. On day three, the body will adjust. Right? Advil helps with that. lol. I’m not an advocate of pharmaceutical, but sometimes it has it’s purpose. Now is that time I think. I have to. My ankle is killing me. On day three, I will find my groove and hike with all awesomeness. I’ll review this ‘groove theory’ later.

Still room for smiles though!

Macy is our little Jack Russel. She’s smart. Too smart. Yesterday, I’m sure she tripled our mileage, yoyo’ing like it was her daily run. But I knew that she would catch on quickly. Today she is pacing herself better- with the occasional squirrel chase. She’s even smarter than us and took a nap during our lunch break by the iron bridge on old governor’s. Jason and I laughed at her intelligence.

The plan today is to hike about 20km or until we’re tired. Devils’ elbow – ish is likely going to be our destination. Jason can’t recall somewhere good to camp but we’ll try to find some place after.

Rocky trails. That’s what I meant early about the “rough” part.

I usually don’t like off the river hiking but I did enjoy the Blue ledge bypass we just went by (pics above). The forest is nice and peaceful. I’m still very happy to see the Nepisiguit river again. The detour felt super long. Maybe it’s because once we went through it, it meant rest time.

Old stuff! I love finding old stuff on the trail. It’s a reminder that there really was life here a long time ago. Some older than others. From the Mi’gmaq people to later on, the mining or forestry workers. I like imagining how it could’ve been way back. They didn’t have these little dried food package or high-tech tent and backpacks and equipment. Life was hard. Smart those people. “Tap the can”. It’s Jason and I’s new game. You have to tap what you see… maybe at the same time, as a sign of respect for those hardworking people. Today’s finds were a cooking pot, and oil tin can. We did walk by a few abandoned moose stands too.

I previously mentioned walking with poles. It’s funny cause I wasn’t typically an advocate of hiking with poles. It used to drive me nuts actually. And I thought it was just for older people. I can’t imagine going without them on this trail. Maybe I’m getting older.

Winterberry heaven! I love winterberries. Little white snowballs. Little delicacies.

If you don’t know about them, good. More for me.

We finally made it to camp. Infront of Frontnac. Jason explains how between the two mountains is the old Indian portage trail from Restigouche to Miramichi. I’m sure I’ll hear all about it during dinner.

DAY THREE – ROLLER COASTER

September 2nd- 9:20am Departure

Devils elbow- Frontnac

We had a nice lazy-ish morning. We opted to have our coffee and eat on the “run”. Beautiful morning, but still put on over gaters in case the tall grass or ferns were going to be wet.

This morning’s hike is starting with a detour around a camp, in a meadow, a woodland and marsh, then a beaver dam. One area is full of fallen trees. Mother nature sure can leave a big trace when she gets mad. Maybe it’s also a way to kill the weak ones, maybe there was too many trees in this part of the forest. Maybe the earth is trying to do the same with humans.

Oh I forgot, 5 minutes into today’s hike this morning, I popped an Advil for my ankle. Maybe that’s why I feel good. I sure hope it will hold up for the trip… my ankle. My body is not as young as it used to be. It still runs pretty good though, I can’t complain too much. I think my passed training, all the years of Crossfit was hard on my body- A little worn down. I like to think that I help keep people in business… like my Osteopath. Poor her- I might have some work cut out for her on my return.

I’m really enjoying the trail up on the ridge before Indian Falls Depot. I don’t want to write about everything I’m seeing as it might take away the element of surprise if you decide to come up this way. But it’s such a joy when you’re hiking in the middle of nowhere and ‘poof’ , there it is, appearing before your eyes, a gorgeous lake. Up on a ridge, by the foot of Mount Denys- named after Nicolas Denys.

He is such an under recognized explorer/business man…. without him, our region might not be what it is today.

We both promised we would go up Mount Denys in the Fall when the leaves will be painting a canvas of colours in the mountains.

We are hiking smarter today. More little breaks. I’m finding it more refreshing.

I’ll call today the roller coaster day. Ups & downs and ups and downs ….and just when you think you have a nice break on a flat surface…. here’s another climb up… and back down. I actually don’t mind them today though.

We walked a most part of the day by the river. Sometimes up on a ridge, but where we can still see the river. I can’t say it enough: every little bit of it is breathtaking. But the best about the river is listening to her song. Feels like she can wash away all the pollution between my two ears. Maybe that’s why I’m on this journey. A brain cleanse.

Today is also bringing another collection of old stuff. An old glass bottle, a frying pan, a big barrel made in Canada. If you walk by and old ‘thing’…

We made it to Allen’s Rock for lunch. Who’s Allen anyway? Did Allen decide those rocks were gonna be named after him, or did someone else think Allen was cool and deserved the recognition. Regardless…. in his honor, I am having Kraft Dinner!

We all opted for a nap too. I think Jason fell asleep. I’m laying down right by the falls, listening to the dance of the water. It’s so powerful and loud. Humans are so small. My day dreams are crushed by a little white Macy. Jumped on me out of nowhere. Scared the shit out of me!

Macy caught on to our craziness by now. She’s pacing herself and found her favorite hiking spot- between Jason and I. Maybe to keep us in check. Smart dog. Bet she’s missing her comfy couch and blanket though! So is Jason. Maybe I too… a little bit. Comfort and warmth.

For a good part of the day, Jason was ahead of me. I’m babysitting my ankle a little bit. He’s definitely come a long way since his knee surgery. I’m proud of him to be doing this. I think he’s also in better shape than me this time around. And there he is… waiting for me with a big smile: “Did you notice anything? … We passed all the mountain range! No more big big climbs!”

Two minutes after… guess what… a huge climb! But I know what he meant. We must have walked through at least a dozen mountains… I really have no idea how many… but a lot them. It’s pretty neat to see all them in the back. And it really does appear flat when you look ahead. Wishful thinking.

Thank god for my polls. Since they are my closest partners right now, I should name them. Benjamin. That’s a good name. I like it. And Jerry. Ben and Jerry! Is my subconscious telling me something? Perhaps.

Random mushroom growing in a dead trunk.

Random.

Most of today seems like we’re walking in an ancient forest, with the moss and the cedars. You’re probably saying- you talked about moss on the first day. But this is different. First day was thick moss. Today is a little blanket of moss everywhere, also covering the bottom of the cedar trunks. There’s something magical about it.

And just when I’m falling in love with this magnificent forest, it switched to a “younger” forest, with ferns, or blue asters and what seems like a blueberry trail. But in no time, old cedars appear again.

The old and the young.

The forest is way older than us (obviously), and it holds so many different characters. Young, old, colourful, dead or mossy. So much beauty. I guess we (humans) are the same in so many ways. Inside each of us, there’s old and there’s young.

We finished the day at 44 Mile Brook. Jason had a very nice surprise for me. A delicious sip of Grand Marnier. He sure knows how to put a big smile on my face! Thank you Jason.

I couldn’t set up the tent fast enough for Macy. She’s already out for the night.

“Janine! Come here, come here!” … I put the stuff I was getting ready for supper down and rush down the shore to where Jason is making a fire. A bear and her cub crossing the river. They most likely smelled us and made a detour on the river. Nature is full of wonderful surprises.

DAY FOUR – REFUEL

September 3rd- Departure – 44 Mile Brook– 8am

We were extra careful last night to put the food bag up and leave no trace behind. A bear getting our food would cut our trip short. Finding good food bag trees has been challenging on this trip. There’s no shortage of trees … but for some reason, every place we’re camping- not food trees.

It rained HARD through the night. At one point, a huge wind both woke us up. I’m very grateful it’s not raining while we’re hiking, but overnight rain makes a wet packing. And when the sun shines, it gets very humid. I’ll have to dry the tent when we stop for lunch break.

This is an amazing campsite we found…. oh…. idk… about 15 minutes further from where we camped last night!

Would probably have been better here.

Woulda, coulda…. no sense crying about the past. We’ll know for next time. If there is a next time.

Oohh, this is Alfred’s section! He’s got a good one. Hard one! I think I remember from last time. I remember about ferns up on top somewhere. Not there yet though, but we did do several climbs already today. Ben & Jerry’s got my back!

I see Jason’s pole swinging up and down ahead of me- breaking spiders webs again. Thank you Jason!

Ferns are wet.

T h a n k y o u gaters. Without these, our feet would be s o a k e d. Although I don’t think my socks are completely dry. I think I might have a slight boot leakage failure. I should be okay though. Got a few sock pairs with me… one to wear, one to dry, switch and repeat.

Signs of autumn. Leaves are turning. Ferns are brown and yellow. some leaves are down. It smells like autumn. Ahhhh.. the fresh, crisp smell. I do like that part. But summer’s ending and new season is starting. It’s life’s cycle. Everything comes to an end- and then replaced with something new.

I decided to only take my hydration bladder this time. Or as Osprey calls it: the hydraulic water reservoir. Fancy words for a water pouch with a big straw. It has its advantage. But has its disadvantage too- Like not knowing how much water there’s left. I’m not a huge consumer of water- never been. I think I take this after dad. But it’s pretty damn humid right now so I’ve been sipping quite a bit. On our last break by the river, Jason asks if I had enough water….”Yep, I’m good”…. But, I sipped the last bit of water, shortly after leaving. Woopsy!! Thought I had more water than that. Jason’s comparing my hose drinking worse than a kid drinking a milkshake!

I’ll wait till we take our lunch at HeathSteel. I remember that there’s a nice brook just before.

Finally made it around 1pm.

I think Macy needs a drink too!

We left a refuel box here the day before our departure. More Happy yak!.. Which is good, cause our food calculation to here was pretty spot on and we’re out- except for the nuts and snacks- Way too much of those, and it’s heavy for nothing. We’ll leave some in the “take it, leave it” box. And I’ll happily swap for this redbull! After over an hour lunch break, maybe even closer to an hour and a half, of eating, water refilling, drying the tent, socks, clothes (we pretty much emptied our bags and hung everything on a clothes line), off we go again… WITH A CLIMB! This won’t be the last one today as we later found out. We think we can make it to Muin Campsite. It’s not that far. It’s doable.

“tap the tin”

Old things today… old stove, drilling pipe, old camp, tin can.

OKAY, so J and K are officially the ass-kicker part of this whole trail. It’s gross. Today could be called rollercoaster day too. A killer roaster. Gross.

Hard!

Macy won’t go just through the creek… no… Macy goes on every gymnastic obstacle she can find.

I’m not sure I like those 5km markers or not. I don’t know if it’s encouraging or not. But eating a gummy at every marker was our thing. That was a fun reward! We had a few at this marker…the half way mark at 75km! Yehhaaaa! I’m on redbull drive!

We made it to Geonig campsite… but had Diam in mind, so we took decision to go to next teepee. We soon find out it might have been an ambitious decision.

A whole bunch of animals joined us today: 4-5 snakes, couple of partridges and a few beautiful butterflies. We also heard an owl. The advantage of hiking later, is hearing or seeing the animals you wouldn’t always get a chance to …

I rarely did hear owls in my life. It’s such an amazing animal. Someone once told me to listen to my mom through the owl. Thank you owl. Thank you mom.

At this point, it’s getting so dark we can barely see, but we’re pushing hard. I don’t even know how. We’re both sore. We’re both tired. We both very hungry. We thought about taking about headlights out, but we don’t know where we packed it. (might be a tip to leave yours close and handy at all times folks!).

Jason is walking in front of me, Macy is trailing behind. With a sudden stop. Jason looks at me: “Janine, is that a moose?”. I look left, and sure enough, there’s a great friken moose standing no further than 3 meters from the trail!!!. “Macy… come here.. let’s go… quick. go. come.”

This was about 5 minutes from the campsite.

I’m too tired to even think about writing anything. What a day. We walked the two hardest section in one crazy day. One shouldn’t do that. Ever. Gross. Maybe we’ll just go home tomorrow. We’ve had enough.

No. I’m kidding. I want to hike to Bathurst. But regardless, it wouldn’t be quitting. It’s deciding thats its done for you. You might not always be able to control how long. And that’s ok. I… you..are here for a reason. Sometimes it might be a shorter experience than you expected. But you have to accept it, learn from it and you move on. If it’s a lesson for next time, then so be it. You’ll know better for next time. But it’s not failure. It’s a lesson you learned. Turn the page, and keep reading. If you need to close the book, then close the book and pick up another one. It’s life. That’s how you grow. We are all here to experience.

All usual night preparations are done with the headlamp tonight… and it won’t be long before we sleep.

DAY FIVE –

September 4th- Departure 9:20am- Departure from Diam campsite

We knew by arriving late, we wouldn’t rush to leave in the morning. It sure is nice to have access to the teepee to gather our stuff and organize things.

Jason managed to get a fire going after another big rain last night, so we’re taking our time to dry the tent and other stuff. We’re not as sore as we thought we were going to be.

We tended to our ‘hot spots’, had coffee and left at 9:20. Oops, maybe a tad too late.

It shouldn’t be too hard after this though. A few ups and down’s and that’s it. Only 21 +/- km to Muin. If we did what we did yesterday, we can easily do today.

Spirit is good. Body feels OK. Giddy-up!

5 minutes in…. outch. urgh… and pace is s l o w. Sitting by the fire felt WAY better then walking right now. This might be a long day. No. We’ll be ok. Just need to warm up is all.

Why do we do this anyway? Jason and i talk about this. He asks why runners want to run this? What do they think about? So, if you are reading, please humor us. Although, the way I’m feeling, I’m thinking…. I’d rather run it, and suffer for only 2 days, than hike and have the pain last for 5, 6 or 7 days. Maybe WE, hikers, have it all wrong!

I don’t miss home, but I realized I might not be cut for this anymore. Day hikes are fun. Hot shower. Pyjama. Blanket. Our comfort place. Why push yourself and suffer through aches and pains? Day hikes are just as good: hike then have nice meal and be in comfort of your own bed. Gosh… am I just getting old and lazy?

Here we are, through fern country! If you like fern, this is it folks! Come to section I-J. I thought I had walked through sections with ferns before, but this is the winner of all fern trails. The goddess of ferns. It’s a fernification. Remember I mentioned something about the rain? It poured last night. All these ferns are green.. and shiny. Wet and shiny. So guess what …. it’s wet. Thank god… again… for gaters. Piece of advice: wear gaters if you plan on hiking this trail. Un décontournable. Gaters and Ben and Jerry’s.

I’m not even taking pictures of the ferns. They are not worthy of pictures right now.

Why do they call it gaters anyway? Is it alligator proof? Another one for Mrs Google later.

Meanwhile, ferns. Ferns, ferns and more ferns. Wet wet and wet. But worth the wetness right about NOW. Rod’s lookout! Seeing that big curve of the river from up above this ridge is spectacular. What a view. Pictures don’t do justice.

The trail is already way harder than expected at this point. Took us about 3 hours to get to Nepisiguit Brook. I get to appreciate another beautiful rope bridge again. But we got off trail, left turn, to go lunch on the rocky beach by the river.

Oh yeah, just before this break, up on the ridge, we caught phone reception. (Near access I). We took 10 there to send a quick hi to family. Dad is thinking of possibly joining us, so we gave an update of tonight’s destination.

While we’re talking about our childhood memories, 2 eagles sored overhead, going up river. The “mom and the son”, Jason said. Then to our excitement… 2 more trailing behind. It’s a whole family!

P’ji…

4 eagles!

An Eagle is a sign of great strength. Maybe they were telling us to stretch our limits.. a boost of courage for the rest of our journey.

Eagle. Such a powerful animal.

We’re both very grateful.

Another long lunch break. We’re sure not shying away from our rest time. Probably too long. When we left, we walked by the river for about 800m instead of up the trail. You get a nice view of the narrows from down here. Those big rocky cliffs by the river never ceases to impress me.

It should be fairly easy hiking after the narrows. We walked by Sam’s lookout without a flinch. We knew we didn’t have much time to waste… plus, we’ve been here many many times.

Here’s a section that needs some ramps or those little bridges. Very wet and muddy-goowy. I accidently slipped off a little log and shhhploof, covered my boots with goowy thick mud. Blahh. How can Macy still be white? Cause she hops like a little rabbit over these obstacles is why. Boink boink.

Ok, I remember walking this section with Julie a couple of years ago. All I remember is how the trail was sideways and hard on your ankles. I’m really impress of how it got pathed down. There’s obviously been a lot of traffic and it’s so cool to see the difference. There’s a beautiful section of moss again, and winterberries land !! What I didn’t remember is how looooooooong this section is! The last little part I found boring… even more so when we have to walk on the road- but then again, it feels like a rest. We did wish a magical car would go by and give us a lift. Our wish was not granted though. At this point, we just want to get to the campsite… I can’t wait to dip in water and ‘shower’. I smell…. very…. primal.

The sun is starting to set down. I always love the light piercing through the trees at dusk or dawn. We walked on a high edge for a bit, then came down, crossed a beaver pond and a few little bridges that the boys built not too long ago. “We should start hearing the Chain of Rocks soon”. And sure enough, we started hearing the thundering water across the edge of the forest. The sight of ‘section F’ was a relief for sore eyes. Another day accomplished. Another day closer to home.

We walked over to the tipi site to see if we had company. Nobody. We thought maybe dad would’ve been waiting with a pizza and cake. No such luck. So we walked back to the river and decided to set up camp.

Guess what I did first thing after freeing up my back? Took out my sleeping bag for little pumpkin to rest while I set up tent. Just as I’m wondering if she’s purhaps despising us for putting her through this … she gets up and runs after a squirrel. Nahh… she’s having the time of her life!

DAY SIX –

September 5th- Departure 8:00am- from Muin

Earliest departure to date and also our driest. Last day! We’re excited. I think even Macy knew it was her last stretch to the truck. This part of the trail is very familiar to her- she’s been here many times with both Jason and myself.

What a beautiful section. And finally safe to say that it’s pretty flat from here. Serious this time. My little lesson of the day is about the triangle fern. Interesting. Ever notice how nature is so symmetrical and perfect? Everything. Every little details. So cool.

Jason can’t think anymore. He said he’s thought of everything. His kids, his dad, my dad, his book, fishing, hunting, gardening, the house, life. He’s got nothing else to think about. He’s done. Can go home now. He’s maxed out on thoughts. LOL. Funny guy. Me, I like being in my head. You don’t always have to think. Sometimes I’m just ‘being’. I don’t want noise pollution or distractions of my thoughts, even if they are nothing.

I took a pee break before turning right on Gordon Meadow. Jason kept going.

As I’m catching up to him again… I hear voices. It’s DAD!!! Looks like I’ll be trading Jason and Macy for dad at Middle Landing to walk to pumphouse. Jason lived on this trail for 25 years. I’ve walked parts of it, but not all yet. So I want to hike the missing links. And Macy… well… I think she’s had enough.

We ran into the group who’s running the whole trail in 2 days, in a relay. Ryan, Roxanne and their crew. Today was suppose to be the first day of a the new “Mi’gmaq 100” race event. But it got canceled, for the same reason that everything else got canceled this year. Not going to mention the name- it was nice being in the forest for 6 days- not hearing anything about it. Nature is clean that way.

Picnic table! Why not take a first break with dad….. and he was kind enough to give me sandwich. Ha… bread! Never thought I’d be so happy to eat bread. I also had Kraft dinner for desserts. I soon after found out that kraft dinner is a laxative. (take note if you’re one of those that gets blockage during a hike- ask me and I’ll tell you exactly which one to buy! It works!)

I decided to take off my boots and hike the rest of the trail with my luna’s. I think i could do the whole thing with luna’s or my five fingers. Probably avoid the blisters. I don’t know, some of the higher sections might be a bit too rough for minimalist. It’s a tough call. I’m so use to minimalist shoes though. It’s so much more natural and comfortable.

I love seeing old signs from 25 years ago. This one’s just as we got down from the high ridge, by passing the Gitpu campsite.

We’re so lucky to have easy access to this part of the trail. You can definitely tell the difference between here and the sections above Heath Steele. This section has been used… A LOT! And I can understand why people want to come here on daily hike… this part of the river is gorgeous. The rock formation. Made by water flow through millions of years.

Did I mention I switched to my luna’s on my first break today? People who know me, know that I like my minimalist. It’s heaven to my feet! Running shoes, summer shoes, hiking shoes… all in one. That’s the way I like it.

Old bridges, new bridges. Little bridges, Rope bridges. A great mix to this Acadian forest.

Hiking with my dad reminds me of our trip together on the Camino de Santiago. This trail is no comparison though. There’s no cafe and chocolatine every 2 to 5 km’s here. Shame. And you don’t meet someone different every minute. And the trail…. well, this is a real backcountry trail, not a road. Two totally different experiences. But the one on the camino is special and will always live in us and I am very grateful for that.

I understand not ALL the trail can be amazing.. they needed to avoid private properties… but this is boooorrrrrring.

I think I take my silence from my dad. So you can only imagine how quiet it is. We don’t talk much when we hike. Don’t need to.

Jason texted me a few times since we split. I already have my order for supper done. Homemade burgers and a fresh salad. mmm. Real, moist, no-dried up food.

We met a gang on rail road from Saint-John area. They are going up river to Mont Carleton. We had a good little chat. I wish them luck, they congratulated us. Fun to meet fellow hikers. They look like they’ll do it faster than we did, maybe. They looked like they hiked more than once this summer. I hiked…. well…. once. And this is the one. And I’m done!

T

11 thoughts on “Mi’gmaq trail… part deux (2020)

  1. Thanks for the great write up! Very entertaining!! Blake and I really enjoyed reading it:))

  2. Reading your blog brought back memories of Nfld’s north rim hike 8 yrs ago as well as my 4 caminos to Santiago.
    My dream of hiking the Mi’gmak Trail in one shot will remain a dream. I am content to hike a few sections every year as long as I stay fit and healthy.
    Bravo to both of you on your accomplishment !

  3. Enjoyed reading about your adventure. I have started day hikes and your story makes me want to do it too. Thank you for sharing, and thank you to Jason and all the volunteers for making this trail beautiful.

  4. J’ai beaucoup aimé te lire.
    Tu as beaucoup de talent en écriture.
    Super intéressant ! Merci de nous faire vivre cette aventure au travers tes mots.

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