Does Alma Matter?

We left St. Andrews at noon and drove the brand new Highway 1 to Sussex, then turned south and took the scenic coastal road through Fundy (Canadian) National Park. The drive was beautiful, but nearing the end of the Park we came upon a sign that read “Danger Next 4km: Sharp Curves; Steep Grade.” The sign was immediately followed by a 90° turn and a 10° decline, enough to heat up the RV’s brakes quickly.

We pulled into a scenic overlook at the next curve to let the brakes cool and to decide how to approach the descent to Fundy Bay and there we met a bus driver who said it was an 8° grade to the bottom, but we’d be fine in low gear. He was right: I downshifted into 2nd gear and pumped the brakes during the descent to keep from revving the engine too high and we met him at the bottom in the seaside village of Alma.

Alma claims to be the “Home of the Sticky Bun” and the “Home of the Highest Tides in the World.” We bought two sticky buns at Kelly’s Bake Shop to test the town’s claim in that regard, but we didn’t have to put the town’s claim about the tide to a test; it was self-evident:

Because it was nearing low tide, we decided to walk out on the bay bottom to the water’s edge.

We collected scallop shells as we walked. It was nearly a mile from the shore to the water at low tide. Here’s a picture from the water, looking back at Alma, a mile distant:

We walked back to shore and marveled at how high and dry the fishing fleet was:

Further up the road, we came upon another expanse of uncovered Fundy Bay:

But our goal was Hopewell Rocks which lies within a Provincial Park. We arrived at Hopewell at 6:00 p.m., just as the Park was closing. Amazingly, the park ranger that was locking the gate to the Park said, “No worries, just park your RV on the swale and walk around the gate. You’re welcome to wander the Park until it gets dark. And, you’re in luck, it’s almost exactly low tide, the best time to see the Rocks. Have fun! Oh, and no charge; we’re closed.”

And so, we had New Brunswick’s main tourist attraction nearly entirely to ourselves for the evening.

The tidal change at Hopewell is 35 feet (less than the 50-foot change claimed by Alma, but more impressive, nevertheless). Here’s a view of the floor of Fundy Bay from the lookout at Hopewell:

And here’s another view of one of the coves at Hopewell from a different lookout:

We hiked through the Park down to the beach, passing through a serene forest of, I think, birches, like this one:

The trail ended above “Flower Pot Rocks:”

We made our way down to the bottom…

…where we encountered another hiker who was kind enough to take this picture of us, showing the high water mark above our heads.

We left Hopewell Rocks before the sun set and drove to Moncton where we’re spending the night. Guess what? They have Walmart here in Canada! And within walking distance we have a St. Hubert’s chicken restaurant for dinner, a Tim Horton Donuts for coffee, and a Bell cellular retail store where I hope to get SIM cards on their canadian cellular network in the morning for our iPads. But for now, I’m just glad I can log onto the Bell public wifi connection so that I can upload this post.

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