Canoeing ancient portage trails near Miramichi
Outdoor adventurer Calixte LeBlanc paddles through history
Canoe Kayak NB is working to recreate the first superhighways of New Brunswick — the paddling routes and portages used by First Nations more than 3,000 years ago.
Co-leaders Tim Humes and Kevin Silliker are restoring six of the more than 80 ancient portage trails, clearing brooks and streams of alder bushes, opening and grooming the portage trails and building small bridges over particularly wet spots of the trails.
It's now possible to complete an 800-kilometre circuit using the waterways and these newly restored portage trails.
LeBlanc says they started out with a 150-metre portage to get the canoes to McKay Brook, then paddled a couple of kilometres to the entry point of the portage trail. The paddling is followed by a three-kilometre portage trail that leads to Gordon Meadow Brook.
"It is a beautiful walk through the woods and kind of gives you chills when you think about the history behind the trail and all the people who walked it before us" writes LeBlanc.
"It is honestly a magical experience when you really stop and think of the Aboriginal peoples traversing these same waterways and trails as their only mode of transportation, especially when you think about how easy it is for us to get around today. It would have been incredibly hard work for these people to move from one spot to another, with all of their belonging and families in tow."
For information on planning a canoe or kayak portaging expedition, contact Tim Humes at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://canoekayaknewbrunswick10.wildapricot.org/
GPS Coordinates: 47 18.3016'N 65 47.2900'W
From Miramichi take Route 430 towards Wayerton (23kms). Turn right onto Tomogonops Rd (9.6kms), dirt road. Turn left on onto Spurline Rd (19.5kms), dirt road. Park on the shoulder area of the road. The portage trail crosses the road at this location; the trail can be seen cut through the woods on either side.
Length: north (right) of the Spurline, the portage trail continues 1.8 km to Gordon Meadow Brook; on the south side (left), 1.2 km to McKay Brook.
Hiking time: 45-60 minutes return to Gordon Meadow; 30-45 minutes return to McKay Brook
Trail condition: narrow, wooded, rooty, flat, boardwalks over some wet areas.
Note: these trails are meant for walking only; bikes are not permitted
Next: Calixte LeBlanc will go back country camping at Fundy National Park and "glamping" in a yurt. You can hear about his adventures Wednesday at 7:40 a.m. on Information Morning Moncton 106.1 FM, 8:15 a.m. on Information Morning Fredericton 99.5 FM, 8:15 a.m. Saint John 91.3 FM.