I had picked my last week of vacation during the Labor Day break in September (September 3rd till the 11th) and I had planned a last week of outings, but rather loosely as I wasn't too too sure what I'd wanted to do. They were all 'what if' or 'if I don't go here, then' kinda situations, and decided to go with the flow and see how the week would span out.
Me and my buddy Craig had talked about heading out to Five Islands sometime during the first weekend I was off to check out the scenery and maybe spot some minerals. The weather turned out to be gorgeous. First stop when we reached Parrsboro was the Glooscap Family Restaurant. There's some really good grub there: turkey sandwich (from whole turkey cooked that same morning) for me; Five Islands clams (some of the best from what we heard) for Craig. After our lunch we headed out to Five Island Provincial Park.
By the time we reached Five Islands, the tide had just started to turn and rise. We brought some backpacks and a few 'beverages' with us so we could spent some time by Red Head on the sandstone boulders. We spent some time walking up and looking at the basalt cliffs. We found some nice minerals, some bay of fundy agate, lots of quartz, and a nice long vein of pink gypsum.
By the time we decided to head back, there was about less than 4 hours before high tide. On our way back, I remembered that the tides could be tricky and catch people off guard if they weren't paying attention. I thought that we had a solid hour or so before we could have been potentially stuck.
Obviously he wasn't aware of the tides
I was up front and Craig was trailing in the back when I noticed that the water was getting alarmingly close to the basalt rocks. I told Craig to move his arse as quick as he could. By the time I reached the bend where the Old Wife rock layed, the water had pretty much covered the beach. We had to hop rock by rock until at one point I had to walk in water to reach the beach on the other side. I was getting anxious and I could feel the water tug at my feet, the current teasing me. We got on the other side and I sighed in relief. My friend wasn't too worried as he would have been perfectly fine stuck on the other side, relaxing for a few hours.
We made our way back and made two stops before heading out for supper. Our first stop was the Parrsboro Rock & Mineral Shop & Museum. This was an awesome spot. You didn't just have fossils and minerals that you could buy, but the exposition in the museum in the back was awesome! What more can I say? World's smallest dinosaur tracks anyone? =)
Rock and Mineral Shop and Museum, a jewel in itself
After spending a few dollars at Eldon's place, we headed at over at the other mineral place: Tyson's Fine Minerals not too far from there. The owner gave us a tour of his personal collection and his work area. After drooling at some of the pieces, we dished up a few more dollars and left happy with new acquired trinkets.
Later in the week I went for a drive around Dorchester Cape to find a location that my friend Matt written on in one of his papers. The subject of the paper was about trace fossils from the Carboniferous period. The trackways they found were very small, but as of the nature of which animal had made them, this was still in debate.
The location of the tracks they had found a few years ago was somewhere around Johnson Mills. I had parked my car on the side of an untraveled road in a bend and carefully made my way down the loose sandstone rocks by the small bridge.
I won't elaborate too much in this post as I will in another one dedicated to this excursion all by itself at a later date. Suffice to say that I didn't find what I was looking for as I didn't have the right equipment for my search, but I did find many interesting features in the low laying cliffs that stretched towards Cape Maringouin. The potential for me to find trackways were very high, but I was pressed for time. I will have to dedicate some time to come and investigate this area further and properly document my finds, if any.
By Friday I realized that my vacation was coming to an end. I had contacted Craig and wondered if he wanted to go for another walk in the Parrsboro area. We had agreed to go on Friday morning. Come morning my friend Matt had sent me an email with an interesting proposition: to partake in a field trip with Dr. Randy Miller of the New Brunswick Museum. I asked Craig if he would have been up to it and we agreed to pick up Matt and head down south in the Cape Enrage area.
Dr. Randy Miller (left), Matt Stimson (center), and Craig Doucet (right)
We arrived at our destination and saw Dr. Miller's car was parked at the small parking spot by the beach. We caught up with him by the cliffs and began our walk. I'll elaborate a lot more on a blog post I'll dedicate for this weekend as many things happened. To say it quite simply, we found some trackways!
During the walk, Dr. Miller and Matt were discussing the past discoveries made in New Brunswick in regards to fossil tracksway (ichnofossils) and how scarce they are. Sadly I find that in New Brunswick, the interest in Geology, especially in the field of Palaeontology, is very low. Even having North America's only GeoPark, things don't seem to break through, especially if you compare the tourism market in Nova Scotia, where the attractions of that province rely on its natural and geological wonders. New Brunswick has them, but eventually people will need to step up the plate and take things to the next step.
Matt taking a closer look at some trackways
To come back to the trackways we found, there were a few that were worthy of collecting. The fact that in a period of 150 years in New Brunswick, less than a dozen tracksways were officially reported (including ours). These finds were important for the province, and at this point the idea of extracting them had come up.
Dr. Miller had to fly off to Norway for a conference in the next few days, so me and Matt offered to perform the extraction of at least one trackway, two if possible, with the proper permits. The fact that Dr. Miller was the top authority in approving Heritage Permits was the endorsement we needed to have the legality needed to be able to get things going without any major hindrances. We decided to come back on Sunday and decide what to do with the trackways in question. The details will be posted in a later post. We were able to extract not one, but TWO fossil trackways from the cliffs, but with a lot of hard labor. The load would have been too heavy for my car, so we had to leave a large fragment by the beach entrance and come back Monday morning before work (I had a late work shift).
After setting a date for Sunday for me and Matt to try to retrieve those fossil tracks, I decided to make no plans on Saturday. We had a great week with plenty of good weather. That afternoon my brother Don suggested to go for a drive to the Dorchester Cape area to look at the migrating sandpipers. We called some friends over, filled my car and my bro's SUV, and headed South.
My friend Guy collecting seaglass
We stopped at the beach where the new road branches off. I had a few sample bags in the trunk and suggested the guys to snoop around for seaglass for my bro's gf Tammy, who makes very nice jewellery out of. Between all of us, we were able to collect about two full bags of glass, if not more. We didn't find any red or yellow, but we did manage to find some blue and purple glass, and some old pottery. On the way back we stopped at Swiss Chalet where I had the most succulent heavenly piece of chicken ever.
The last day of vacation was gonna be a very busy and hardeous one. I picked up my friend Matt very early in the morning and headed south to the location where we had found the trackways the previous Friday. Keeping it short as I'll just be repeating myself on the other post, the process to get the trackways was freakin hard and painful. By the time we were done bringing most of the fragments to my car, it was 8PM and the Sun had already set.
Monday I got up early and I was feeling the burn. I called Matt and we decided to drive back to the beach and pick up that last trackway fragment. While we were in the area, we decided to go to the Cape Enrage park to meet with Dana (Matt correct me if I'm wrong hehe), the contact at the Cape Enrage Interpretive Centre.
The staff were great and the center is beautiful! They've added a zipline and some new buildings. The restaurant has local dish and recipes, including pheasant pot pie! They did a lot of work in a very short period of time to bring this place up and it shows. We discussed the finds that we had made in the vicinities and showed them the piece we had in the car. We made plans to meet them sometime in the future to see if we could find interesting things in the area, and to say hello.
The trip back was bitter sweet as I dropped Matt at his place, dropped the trackway fragment on the dolly, and drove to work.
That's basically one week, all packed with fun stuff. I thought that this would be it for my trekking adventures for the year, but the weather kept and I managed to squeeze some more of 'em in the weekends that followed. I'll be posting them soon too! Hope you enjoyed my ramblings.