Kouchibouguac is almost directly across the sea from Cedar Dunes but to get there we had to first drive about seventy miles south to the Confederation Bridge, another eight miles across the Northumberland Strait, and then about eighty miles north on the New Brunswick side. If PEI resembles Iowa, then New Brunswick is Louisiana back when they spoke Creole. In fact the Acadian flag is flown high and proud and here with French spoken first, English reluctantly. The area has a lot of charm, but sometimes you have to dig a little to reach it. Last night our efforts paid off at an excellent pizza restaurant in St-Louis de Kent which specializes in seafood pizza (fresh lobster, scallops, and shrimp baked into a thin crust pizza- cash only). The park consists of a lot of bike trails, a salt water lagoon, a sandy beach, and a very cold life guarded ocean to swim in. You can also rent kayaks which we used to explore the ocean fed river. Mostly though we joined Henna in dropping hermit crabs into sand aquariums with channels linking them back to the lagoon. Corey and Henna tried their hand at making sand race tracks, but the crabs were not so interested. I took to birding and wished that I knew more about birds (Tom Lally where are you when we need you!). Right now the coffee is done percolating and maybe, just maybe, the my two partners will be waking up soon and we will begin our drive home in earnest. Not in the mood though to hurry them along. Noel
In the best of travels one finds themselves suddenly in a place as comfortable as home and as mysterious as the dark side of the moon. It is a moment when everything is easy, especially the sense of discovery. Kouchibouguac National Park was that place for us. Kouchibouguac was no small place and its large campground was almost filled to capacity. New Brunswick makes a triangle into the coast with Fundy National Park south and Kouchibouguac National Park north of its most eastern point. With miles of beaches and dense forests one could bike on paved paths, hike on the beach to distant seal colonies, dig in the tide pools for crabs and starfishes, or swim on a lifeguarded beach. What we could not do was agree on how to pronounce the place. A year later after traveling through BC we discovered that no two people ever pronounce it the same way. Also everyone is sure that they are correct in their pronunciation.
We spent the day jumping in the ocean (actually the Northumberland Straight which is much warmer than the ocean) then running to the tide pools. Henna dug out pools for her catches and played with a band of children of which only a few spoke English. Corey and I had many conversations which led us later that night to a small restaurant nearby St. Louis (not pronounced like they do in Missouri) where they boasted a lobster and scalloped covered pizza. Next to us was an overdressed family who spoke French. They were three like us but, in their neatly pressed clothes, did not smile or laugh like us. Instead they spoke low and (maybe it was my imagination) occasionally glanced at us. They looked glum which only made us feel happier with what we had; that tight grip on the present which I feel now even more than a year away from that town near the beach.