Well, I just finished my first full day in Alma, New Brunswick and there's great symmetry in my experience so far, since I began the day without any electricity to my room, and just now, as I'm tucking myself in for some much needed sleep, the power went out again. Maybe it's some sort of energy saving technique employed by thrifty Canadians? Or maybe someones hair dryer blew a fuse again? I'm too tired to go tell the dude who lives here about the problem, and since there are no phones in the room to call him, I'll just wait until the morning. I managed not to freeze to death last night, and to take a shower in the dark this morning, so I know I'll survive. Does this count as camping?
Today was a classroom day, which was just as well I guess, since it drizzled all day. We started the day with bacon and eggs at the local store and restaurant, and then spent the rest of the day in a unheated classroom in the Alma activity center learning about stream hydraulics. The instructor is obviously a genius with an entire career of experience restoring streams, and his reputation brought us all the way here so we could hear him speak, but he has a very soft voice, and really likes formulas and slides with logarithm graphs, which wasn't the best combination for participants like me who were sleep deprived, chilled, and soothed by the gentle dripping of the rain on the window panes. The big bowl of lobster bisque soup I had for lunch didn't exactly perk me up either.
When class let out at five thirty, we knew we only had about an hour and a half before dark, so we didn't waste any time and headed to the wharf to see the high tide. The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world, and the water level changes by more than twenty feet during the tide. As we drove to class this morning, we could see all the fishing boats at the wharf sitting on the ocean floor. After class, they were floating near the top of the pier. Notice the name of the boat in the photo above? Dead Men Tell No Tales. Creepy, but somehow appropriate to the setting. The sea and the fog are the same color, and we couldn't tell where one ended and the other began. I'm glad I'm not out on a boat today.
After the wharf, we drove into the national park, and chose a short hiking trail so we could stretch our legs and work up an appetite.
The forest was wonderful. Not only was it beautiful, but it smelled amazing, like spruce and fir trees. My first thought as we stepped into the forest was that it smelled like Christmas trees, only even stronger. I sniffed the air so much I chilled my sinuses! I wished I could cut armloads of branches and bring them into my room so I could keep the smell with me.
The pale bark of the birch trees with their almost golden leaves contrasted sharply with the dark green of the spruce and fir trees. The birch bark has great variation in color too, and some layers were orange and some were pink.
The fall colors haven't reached their peak, but occasionally a maple would have vibrant red leaves, which really stand out against the yellow and green.
The trail we chose followed a steep boulder filled stream. After hearing about streams and their processes all day, it was nice to see a real one in action.
The slopes on either side of the stream and trial were covered in mossy stones and ferns. These forests are so different than the forests at home, that it was like walking in a story book forest. I kept expecting to see gnomes or fairy peaking from behind the mossy tree trunks.
The highlight of the trail was the waterfall and cascades.
After our short hike, we stopped by our rooms and I took the picture above of the door to my room. Supposedly, there's an entire ocean in the distance, and the view is lovely. All I could see was gray.
I've been dreaming of and talking about lobster since the trip was on the books, and tonight was my first chance for indulgence. I was not disappointed! I decided the claw meat was my favorite, and the greenish liver inside the body cavity was my least favorite. Our waitress insisted that the liver was good and that we should eat it too, and when she asked me if I liked it and I told her it tasted like the ocean smells, I got a big laugh. She said "I don't know if that's a good thing or not" and I said "me neither".