Thursday, August 30, 2018

We Went to Canada and Saw the Hopewell Rocks!

Here's what we've done on our trip so far:

Here's our first stop at Steamtown National Historic Site.

And now we're finally in Canada! Hopewell Rocks is a whopping 24 hours from our hometown, so you can see what the big deal is about getting there. We spent two days in this area, in and around the Fundy National Park, and it was worth every second.

Our motel didn't have air conditioning, though--I need you to know that. Most of the independent motels that we visited in Canada did not have air conditioning, which, maybe I don't understand because I've only lived in Arkansas and Texas and Indiana, where it gets hot in the summer. If your place doesn't usually get super hot in the summer, do you just not install air conditioning? But what about when it DOES get hot? Do you just... suffer?

Side note: there was a heat wave in the Fundy National Park area while we were there. It was HOT! I sure wish we'd had air conditioning in our motel...

The evening that we arrived in Alma, New Brunswick, after driving the five hours from Acadia National Park, the weather was perfect. We walked over to the local beach and the kids played with everyone else in the town while the tide rushed in, and then we walked back to our motel via the touristy convenience store, where I'd promised the children that, after 3+ days of eating solely our packed food, we could take advantage of our motel room's kitchenette and buy MICROWAVE MEALS!!! Nom!!!

And we had to buy more sandwich stuff... but this time it was CANADIAN sandwich stuff! And here begins my absolute obsession with All-Dressed Ridgies, THE best potato chip on the planet.

I miss you, All-Dressed Ridgies! Kisses!

I also need to tell you that the parking lot of this independent motel was a weird shape and had no lines, and every time we looked at it, cars were parked all over it in a completely different pattern, all of it utterly nonsensical and inconvenient. And sometimes blocking the exit. It was very weird. 

And, AND!!! The whole time that we were there, the town had NO POTABLE WATER!!!!!! The heat wave had caused an explosion of algae, the kind that makes you sick and kills your dog. So we didn't have any ice for our cooler, and had to shower with our eyes and mouth closed, but the hotel gave us bottled water every time I sent a kid for it, so it was cool.

I mean, not *cool,* because, you know, heat wave plus no air conditioning, but we got by.

The next day, we got up intending to spend most of the day in Fundy National Park, seeing all the sites and doing all the things required for the kids to become Fundy National Park XPlorers, but it was absolutely bucketing down. I took the kids out anyway, because I am stubborn, and we did a couple of things, even though I could barely even see to drive it was raining so hard, but when we'd made two stops and for their observations at each place both the kids had both written something like, "All I see is RAIN. I smell RAIN. I am touching RAIN because it is pouring. Here is my poem about RAIN: 'Rain, rain, rainity rain," I was all, like, "Ugh, FINE!" and we went back to the motel to just hang out. Play on screens. Read some more of Anne of Ingleside

But after a couple of hours of that, we could clearly hear that housekeeping was creeping ever closer to our room. The kids have an inordinate fear of housekeeping--they want the room cleaned by housekeeping, sure, but they don't want to actually SEE housekeeping IN their room, if that makes sense (spoiler alert: it doesn't), so I was able to talk them off their unmade beds and into the cars with the promise that the weather report said that the rain was supposed to be spotty in the afternoon (I was lying), and we might as well go take the hour's drive over to Hopewell Rocks and see what we could see.

Hopewell Rocks is the best way to visualize what having the highest tides in the world actually looks like. The rocks started off as a mountain range, and during an Ice Age ice worked its way into vertical fissures to crack the range into blocks. After the climate warmed, the ocean rose and the world's highest tides began to work on the rocks, wearing away their bottoms until they came to resemble the famous "flowerpot" formations that you see now. Every now and then, a rock will get so worn at the bottom that the entire thing will collapse, but the tides are busy working away to make new flowerpots, so it's okay.

We arrived about halfway to low tide, and the rain that was still absolutely pouring down actually petered out to a stop while we worked our way through the museum, so afterwards we were able to hike down to the mud flats below the rocks--

--and explore!

At high tide, the water would brush the bottom edges of the wide tops of these rocks. That's a HIGH tide!

The other fun part to walking the beach at low tide is the wide expanse of mud flats that are revealed:

The ground has a very gradual slope, and combined with very high tides, that's a lot of mud!

As we were walking along the crowded area, I noticed one little kiddo squat and begin to paddle his hands in a puddle of seawater. His mother immediately tugged him up and said--and I quote!--"You can't play in the mud because I didn't bring wet wipes!"

I didn't bring wet wipes, either, lol, but fortunately we're not very fastidious:

If you're not squatting down messing around in the mud, would you even notice all the little snails, and want to be there quietly to watch them make their tracks?

At one point Will wandered away and Syd and I didn't see her for ages. Finally, after passing through yet another vertical fissure between the rocks, I spotted this:

Friends, she is COMBING the kelp:

So then, of course, her sister had to run over and do it, too:

Here's your obligatory bilingual French signage. I originally was inspired to plan a Canada road trip after wondering where I could take the kids to reinforce their French studies without going all the way to France. I realized that Canada is quite doable, although I also wouldn't mind going to Tahiti! For the children's benefit, you know...

We had a golden (well, grey and gloomy, but you know what I mean) couple of hours exploring at the bottom of Hopewell Rocks, but eventually the wind picked back up--

--and there was definitely something suspicious going on with the sky--

 --and anyway, I had to pee so badly that it was not even a joke, so back up and up and up the staircases we went, and back up the hill we hiked, and while the kids browsed yet another gift shop (fun fact: I LOATHE gift shops. Just do not have the patience for them. And the kids, of course, loooooove them, want to go in every one and look at every single thing and pick up that thing and admire it and put it down and pick up something almost exactly just like it, from now until the end of time. And that's even with knowing that they didn't even bring any money to spend, so for sure nothing is going home with them!), I found sanctuary and learned how to correctly use the toilet:

 Just between us, I don't know why that first way wouldn't work just as well. Maybe they're afraid you'll lose your balance, or put too much strain on the toilet seat?


Lora said...

I want to comb the kelp!

Yuki said...

1. Some people install air conditioning and some people just use fans and suffer. To give you an idea, if you don't count 2018, which is an outlier, in the last 3 previous years, we only had 1 day above 90°F where I live.

2. This sign is for Asian tourists and it's really dangerous to do that if the toilet breaks which has happened enough times for signs like that to be born.

julie said...

A-ha! I knew there must be logical reasons for everything. I do reluctantly agree that it is logical not to have air conditioning if your temperature rarely gets over 90 degrees, and now I want to live in Canada even more because your temperature rarely gets over 90 degrees! I think that I must just have bad luck in hitting upon outlier temperatures when I travel--the last time I visited my in-laws in California, it got super cold and they don't have a heater, because it never gets super cold there.

It hadn't occurred to me that the toilet itself could actually BREAK, but I guess that makes sense, because squatting on it is basically the same thing as standing on it. Yikes!

And I DO miss combing the kelp. So soothing...