Tails of a Travelling Cat
The Canada Edition
Hello, all! Today I got to explore Miramichi. I decided the best way to do this would be to walk along the King George Highway, a very long road which runs along the Miramichi River although not as close to the river as I had hoped! After ascertaining the pool outside my window hadn’t unfrozen overnight, I set off along the road, upriver. I trekked through Lower Newcastle and up to the Bartibog River, still marvelling at the size and style of the houses. Also, there were loads of pick up trucks here, as many as Halifax and many of them are Chevys which makes me indescribably happy. It was just over an hour and a half's walk from the AirBnB to the bridge over the river. Along the way I saw lots of trees and streams and tantalising views of the river. There was also another moose sign but sadly no moose. Hopefully I’ll find some soon, if not, I’m sure there will be some in the Rockies.
Anyway, I made it to the river which flows into the Miramichi. Here there was a road which led down to the Miramichi so I got a good close up look and saw St Peter and Paul's church which was very white and wooden. I then headed back to the Bartibog Bridge, crossed it and clambered down to the river on what I’m sure wasn’t an official path. Even though this is only a tributary of the Miramichi, it was still huge, this is Canada after all. I sat almost under the bridge, just thinking about how big it was.
After that, I headed back south along the highway. I passed the Old Macdonald Farm, (e-i-e-i-o) which was closed for the season. This farm is named after Alexander Macdonald, an early European settler of the area who, surprisingly, built a farm. Now, the farm is a museum showing early 19th Century life, from costumed tour guides to traditional crafts and animal husbandry. The season here opened in June, whereas most places seem to open the end of April onto May. I was disappointed, I wanted to learn about 19th Century life.
A little way on from the farm was Gordon’s Wharf, again closed for the season (boat hire and similar), but I could walk down to the river which seemed a great place for lunch, if a little windy. I ate with a good view of the river in both directions and Chatham on the east bank. Yes, like Nova Scotia, New Brunswick is plagued with English place names. After a quick stop back at the AirBnB, I continued heading south on the highway towards Chatham. Although parts of Chatham were almost opposite the AirBnB, the lack of bridges over the river (two in total) meant I had to walk half way back to town to cross the river at the Centennial Bridge, so named because it was built in 1967, the hundredth anniversary of Canadian independence. It was a very green bridge, and it wasn’t until I started to cross said bridge I began to realise how big the Miramichi was. I stopped most of the way across because the big green 'middle' wasn’t central to take some amazing pictures. The view from the bridge was stunning. Although the sky was darkening with the threat of rain, I could still see reasonably far. To the south was downtown Miramichi, I could see a drug mart (presumably a pharmacy), Canadian Tire (so we now know tyres are spelt the American way here) and the ever present golden arches of a McDonald’s. Of course. To the north the Miramichi flows all the way to the Atlantic (not that I could see the Ocean). There was the tree-covered Middle Island where Irish immigrants fleeing the potato famine in the 1840s were detained in quarantine before being allowed into the rest of Canada.
I walked a little closer to the Chatham side of the river where I got an excellent aerial view of this area of Miramichi. The city of Miramichi, as my helpful train neighbour had told me, is a collection of incorporated towns including Chatham and Newcastle and so allowing the city to span the river. Overlooking Chatham, I could see St Anne’s church, residential houses, a rusting piece of metal I think was used for launching ships and a disused railway track. At least I presume it was disused, it was very rusty. As I could see all I wanted to see in Chatham well enough from the bridge and the sky was getting darker, I decided now might be a good time to head back to the AirBnB. Around half way back, it started to rain quite heavily. Although the intensity varied, it did keep raining until I got back to the AirBnB, my raincoat thoroughly soaked. At least I knew it was waterproof, my hoodie was only wet around the zip where it was partly open and my t-shirt was dry. The same, unfortunately, cannot be said for my jeans, boots and socks. So I left my clothes on the radiator and settled down in my PJs for a relaxing evening. I’ve crammed in nearly six hours walking, covering over thirty kilometres today, I think I’ve earnt a rest.
Tomorrow is another day exploring Miramichi and then my first night train of this trip onto Montréal.
Until then, folks,