Trail limbo

For the last two weeks, since mountain bike riding to Woodstock, attempts at returning to the trail have been a series of miscalculated decisions by me. Last week after the presentation in Riverview, I returned to Northern New Brunswick on a day when the sun was shining and just sporadic spots of snow dotted passing fields. But the morning i got  up to ride my packed up mountain bike, heavy wet snow-covered everything including the patches of remaining ice on the trail. I needed my ski’s or snowshoes which were back at the farm in St Damien. To navigate between my gear and the trail I rely on help from friends, cousins and kind strangers. There is no support vehicle carrying everything. Usually a switch happens every few months, this winter in New Brunswick they can be needed daily. I recently read that this is looking to be the warmest winter on record around the world.  I remember an Inuit elder Rodger talking about how dangerous it was for the hunters now because the ice in the Arctic was melting from the bottom up. It wasn’t the sun melting the ice it was the warming ocean. These observations of the people living on the land reveal the same truth as scientists and mathematical formulas. The latter can feel alienating in a way that the simple truths of those living with the land does not.

Now I am back at the farm again surrendering to the delays. I just read the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho and was reminded that the delays on a journey contain the wisdom you need to learn to complete the journey. Viewing my situation from that perspective my frustrations shifted into  exchanges one of which was with this ladybug. Here is her lesson on what to do when stuck.


Fundy Coastal Trail

The focus now is on prepping for next weeks attempt to do the Fundy Coastal trail with Meagan McGrath. Again this is hard to prep for because it flips between hard packed ground, soft wet mud and heavy snow. You can see in the graph below the trail has a lot of steep sections. Will those slopes be sheer slabs of ice like I have seen on the trail these past few weeks? Or will they be deep snow? Or will it be raining and the ground muddy? Below is the equipment list Meagan sent me. Great information from a well seasoned adventurer. I am modifying the meal plan for myself to include Herbalife  shakes as breakfast and dinner meal replacements. ( )  A big challenge has been eating healthy and the weight of the food I carry. My friend Marilyn heard of my food woes and sent me a gift box. So I am going to experiment.

This photo is taken from the Fundy Footpath Hiker’s Guide Book. which maps out 48km of the 68km trail. The first 20km is in Fundy National Park that connects to the Fundy Footpath. The pocket size book is a must have if you want to try this hike and is available here,


This photo is a freeze frame from a trans Canada trail phone app that shows next weeks trail hike.


Meagan Notes:

Logistics for the Fundy Trail expedition

Typically on these trips, no planned lunch, so I’ve broken out the following meal plan:
(B) Breakfast (B) = 6 x 1pers = 6x breakfasts
(S) Snack (AM) = 7 x 2 pers = 14x S(AM)
(S) Snack (PM) = 7 x 2 pers = 14x S(PM)
(D) Dinner = 7 x 2 pers = 14x dinners

*My thinking – we hike all day, boil up water at night, filling Nalgenes (1 or 2L per person), put water in dehyds, have hot drinks, fill up thermos’s. That way, we only turn on stove once per day (cooking uses a lot of time). In the am, we can get up and go. If you like breakfast, there is lots of water in thermos (hot), Nalgene (cold). I usually carry 2L for safety. So, it could reasonably be okay to dig into some of that in the am for your breakfast if need be. Ultimately, we can adjust the plan as we go if we need to (ie start boiling water in the am if desired). Btw, I’m under the impression we need to boil water for safety.

*we’ll see what we’ve decided on for foods, then see what ziplocks are required.

B = Your choice, Dee – as much as I try, I can’t do breakfast
S(AM) = granola bars, M&Ms, almonds, whatever snack foods you’re into (good to bring mix of salty and sweet – never know what your tastebuds are going to want – and we’ll be sweating, so we might crave salty foods)
S(PM) = tortillas, bagels, cheese (precut) (I love sandwiches on the trail…and the ingredients last for days – and they are filling/satiating)
D = dehyds are lightweight (which is preferable for the amt of ascent/decent we’ll be doing)

*can put in ziplocks
Instant coffee
Powdered milk
Juice crystals (crystal lite, tang, koolaid, etc)

*can put in ziplocks or shakers

Group Gear
* a few planning questions here for sure – we’ll chat and see what we have between us

1x pot (or kettle (I think mine is 4L-5L, good if just need to boil water and not need to cook any food in a pot ie if using dehyds)
2x stove (s) (let’s determine what stove we’ll bring…it might be good to have a spare…food and water is important0
#x fuel (bottle with fuel, or canister) –> we’ll need to discuss stove and fuel requirements
2/person x matches / lighter
1/person x spoon
1/person x cup
(if using food that requires pot, then bring 1x bowl per person)

Camp Gear
1x Tent – we’ll use one (I think you mentioned you had one? If not, I have one to bring – heavy side but will work)
1x Tarp (because we’ll be on snow, or ice, or wet, melty terrain – can help keep things somewhat dry from the bottom up) – Meg has a tarp. Tents often come with “footprints” – this could be the foot print if the tent we go with does not have one.
1x group garbage bag (Meg will bring)

1x GPS
1x Spot
Recharging system
Camera gear
Personal cameras
Tide charts
How to we arrange pick up at end of trail (just use cell phone?)
1x alarm clock
#x spare batteries (and type, ie AA, AAA, etc)

Personal Gear

1x pack (at least 80L)
1x duffle to store gear not coming on trail
1/person – First aid kit (prepare for burns, falls, sprains, cuts/lacerations, blisters, Ibuprofen + Tylenol as required)
1x TP roll (+ garbage bag to put used TP – gotta be good for the environment!!)
1x purell (good hygiene prevents sickness on the trail)
2x spare empty plastic grocery bags (useful to hold wet stuff not going to be used further on the trip, ex old wet socks and underwear)
1x multitool
2x 1L Nalgenes
1x water bottle holder (Meg will bring one for Dee to borrow if she needs)
1x headlamp (with spare batteries)

Sleep system
1x matt – thermarest
1x matt – ridgerest
1x sleeping bag – synthetic preferred over down, as it will be wet and down does not perform as well as synthetic in wet (although down is lighter weight and packs smaller). I’ve not tried treated down which resists dampness – if you get your hands on one of those, it might be worth a go! This would be a great opportunity to test that type of gear.
1x long sleeve shirt (since we’ll be wet all day, it’ll be good to put something warm and dry on at night)
1x long pant (or longjohns) (e.g hiking pant; since we’ll be wet all day, it’ll be good to put something warm and dry on at night)
1x dry socks or booty (for warm feet at night)
1x sandle/running shoe? (to keep out of wet boots when arrive at camp; of course, the type of camp footwear will depend on groundcover conditions (snow vs ice vs mud, etc)
1x earplugs
1x eyemask

1x toque
1x sunglasses
1x balaclava
1x ball cap (depending on wx forecast – can keep sweat from dripping in eyes when a toque is too warm to wear)

1x t-shirt
1x long-sleeve shirt
1x softshell jacket
1x hardshell jacket
1x down jacket (lt wt optional)
1x down jacket (heavier wt)

1x long johns
1x hiking pants or softshell (might depend on temperatures we’ll expect – could bring softshell, and use a hiking pant as dry camp-wear mentioned above)
1x hardshell pants
4x underwear (wearing one of these at start – so max 3pr in your bag!)

1x boots (More To Follow)
1x overboots (neoprene)
1x gators (?) (not sure if will need – but Meg will bring two pair just in case, 1 for Dee to use)
4x socks (liner) (wearing one of these at start – so max 3pr in your bag!)
4x socks (hiking wt) (wearing one of these at start – so max 3pr in your bag!)

*the actual necessity of these items will depend on expected conditions
1x liner glove
1x midwt glove
1x heavier mitt/glove

Technical Gear
*although, based on conditions, may not need
1x trekking poles
1x mountaineering or ice axe (Meg will bring one for Dee to borrow)
1x climbing rope (Meg does not have – we’ll possibly need one for ascent/descent within ravines….)
1x crampons (Meg has spare pair for Dee to borrow)
Meg to bring – webbing, carabiners, cordlette (once I get more beta, we’ll see about the requirement for building anchors and such for safety on the route – this equipment would be for safe ascent/descent)
1x harness (again – may not be required, but I’ll bring to NB, and we’ll talk some more) (meg has spare for Dee to borrow)

Meagan McGrath, Adventurer