New Brunswick·Video

Surviving the Fundy Footpath airs this Saturday on CBC-TV

What happens when city slicker Bruce Persaud takes on one of Atlantic Canada's most gruelling but most beautiful hikes.

Bruce Persaud never laced up a hiking boot until he embarked on the challenging Footpath

The Fundy Footpath is not a hike for neophytes, but that's exactly how you'd describe Bruce Persaud.

The Toronto-born city slicker, who moved to the New Brunswick village of Alma on the Bay of Fundy, has never laced up hiking boots, slept in a tent or packed for a five-day walk through challenging terrain. 

I've never slept on the ground or in a tent, so that's pretty crazy — that's probably going to be pretty uncomfortable.- Bruce Persaud

Persaud admits he's never eaten a meal in the wild and really has no idea how to pack enough high-energy food to sustain himself on a hike.

"I've never slept on the ground or in a tent, so that's pretty crazy — that's probably going to be pretty uncomfortable."

In one scene of the documentary, he proudly displays the single bag of apples and two jars of peanut butter he's packing.

Persaud soon finds out that two apples a day won't sustain a Fundy Footpath, or FPP, hiker.

Tidal zones form just one part of the challenging Fundy Footpath. (Craig Norris - Director of Surviving the Fundy Footpath)

In the documentary Surviving the Fundy Footpath, Persaud hikes one of Atlantic Canada's most challenging and most scenic paths.

The 41-kilometre-long trail is one experienced hikers find challenging, a footpath that has beaten some beginners, triggering full-scale rescues, involving high-angle rescue teams and helicopters from the joint rescue co-ordination Centre for Search and Rescue. 

We told him not to bring the boat shoes.- Alonzo Leger - Fundy Footpath founder

But Persaud doesn't go it alone.

Leading the charge are veteran guide and footpath founder 70-year-old Alonzo Leger, his son and current trail master, Marc Leger, and environmental scientist Ben Phillips.

The Fundy Footpath may be gruelling, but it's also scenic. (Craig Norris - director Surviving the Fundy Footpath)

"We told him not to bring the boat shoes," Alonzo said of the newcomer to the Footpath.

The trio encourage, cajole and sometimes pick up Persaud as they climb in and out of 19 steep ravines, traverse the Bay of Fundy tidal zones and navigate their way through 65 kilometres of old growth Acadian forest.

Director Craig Norris originally set out to make an instructional video on how to hike the Footpath but thought a film about a first-timer, someone who has never sat around a campfire, much less built one, would be a far more interesting way to tell the story of the trail and what is required of the hardy hikers who take it on.

Surviving the Fundy Footpath airs this Saturday, July 28, at 8 p.m. on CBC TV.

Angela Antle