The Roar of the Bay

The Roar of the Bay
The Roar of the Bay

Monday, August 26, 2013

Martin Head (Southern New Brunswick)


There's a place, called Martin Head, located just West of Fundy Park that people having been going to for a very long time. I've been talking to people and every time I mention camping sites, people would ask me: "Have you gone to Martin Head yet?". As it turned out I hadn't, so thus became an item that went up in my 'To do' list.


Martin Head is a mash up of very old and not as old rocks. The 'island' which goes by the name Martin Head is made up mostly of Cambrian rocks, or even older. The basalts are mixed with some sedimentary rocks of about the same age, and some mineral deposits (I couldn't find which type of minerals occurred). The section between the island and the beach which includes some sections of the cliffs are of younger age, dating close to the Late Triassic. Click here for information about the fossilized Sand Dunes of Martin Head. These are mostly buff or reddish sandstones. There is a small section that juts out from between these Triassic sedimentary rocks and much older rocks. This small segment of rock is mostly composed of limestones and gypsum from the Early Carboniferous. The rocks further inland that make up most of the cliffs are much older than the rest. These Neoproterozoic-aged rocks are mostly volcanic in origin.


Getting there is rough, very very rough. To get to Martin Head from Alma, you have to cross the park come out at the park's Sussex exit (since the road goes straight to Sussex). Near the park exit is Shepody road that heads West. This is a rough dirt road, as in 'just being graded' rough with rocks the size of my fist in some places. About half an hour or so, you take Goose Creek road that snakes South and takes you through old mountains. Going down the road in what sometimes seemed like a dry river bed, I seriously started to doubt myself and if my car would be able to make it back up. Worse, there were thundershowers in the forecast, so the road could be hell if they water started to turn this into a mudslide. I was surprised to see trucks pulling campers up and down the road. Hard enough to make it alone with my car, but a truck pulling a camper? Nuts! The drive was super rough, but it was gorgeous and very well worth it. After another hour on this gauntlet of rocks, I made it to the beach.

The 'island'

I made my way close to the island but the tide had just started to go down, making it difficult for me to cross the usually dry path to reach it. I met up with a fella from Saint John that was enjoying the ATV trails and got a call that some heavy rain was coming our way. I abandoned any attempt to reach the island and headed the other way to check the rocks before heading back out.

Foreboding clouds raining on my parade

I doubt there's any macro fossils in these old rocks. Plant fossils have been found in the Triassic sandstones, and the limestone I heard was fossiliferous, but the older rocks, not so much of a trace as I could tell in my short stay.



Some of the rocks shows high stress and some faulting. Quartzite and rhyolites are found amongst some of the basalt and crystal tuff. Some layers that look like schist show this dark rock that's been ground to a fine powder.





With the dark clouds coming in and the feeling of a few rain drops on my face, I turned around and made my way back to the car. As the car slowly crawled up the steep road for what felt an eternity, the rain started to fall. I could feel rocks rolling down the road, and the leaves of the trees making up the thick canopy of the forest rustling and shaking.

After finally making up the toughest stretch of road, it stopped raining and the sky cleared up again. The road was in better shape that I thought. The rains hit more inland and spared me and my car from potentially what could have been a very bad day.


I drove back towards Alma by going through Fundy Park, stopping briefly to take a few photos of the highest vantage point in the area.

Fossil cliffs of Cape Enrage, with lighthouse at end of cape (far right)

Alma wharf at low tide

I was famished at this point, so I stopped at the Tides Restaurant in Alma for supper. I love the food there and I've been going there as often as I can. They're only open during tourist season, so I make the most of it. Satisfied with my meal, I end my stay in Alma and head back towards Moncton, but not before checking out the boutiques in Hopewell Cape to pick up some trinkets.

I was happy with this trip, but bummed out I didn't get the opportunity to explore more the Triassic rocks for potential fossils. I'll have to plan this better and head out with a different vehicle. I just can't bear seeing my Volkswagen rabbit going through that road hell again.

Till next time!

- Keenan

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