Welcome to the Canada 150 Amazing Places Challenge

The Fundy Biosphere Reserve has 50 designated Amazing Places along trails throughout the reserve.

For Canada’s 150th birthday the FBR is challenging residents and visitors to get active and hike to all the Amazing Places.  When you arrive, take a selfie of the feature or with the sign, and then send them all to the FBR to become a certified Amazing Places Challenge finisher.  There are many of them, and some are difficult to get to, so this tremendous challenge could take people years to complete.

You will know an Amazing Place the moment you see it… It may be a vista so powerful and majestic that it will literally take your breath away.  Or, it may be a scene or a place that will simply cause you to take pause in order to soak it all in, a place where you can draw on a deep well of energy emanating from the serene beauty of the view. An Amazing Place can be different things to different people: mystical, magical, grandiose, bizarre, unique, breath-taking and awe-inspiring, or even a combination of all of these things. It certainly can tell a story.

Often people forget or sometimes they have no idea of the wide diversity of great trails and even greater destinations we have in this part of New Brunswick.  To inspire would-be Amazing Places Challenge participants, the FBR asked VideoBand to write a series of photo essays about some of their favourite Amazing Places.  The objective was to not only visit them and take some photographs but to think of the most unique activity that could be done at each place and then visit them at the perfect moment.  The result is a series of seven photo essays following interesting local characters celebrating their favourite activities in their favourite Amazing Places.  Once you see these Canadians doing what they love, where they love, it will be difficult not to want to join them!

The series opens with a feature article on extreme low tide ocean floor exploration at the Hopewell Rocks.  People normally visit the sea stacks in Hopewell to see how the highest tides in the world have carved the bedrock into one of the most amazing places on Earth.  Instead of focusing on what everyone already knows, we take you to one of interpreter Kevin Snair’s favourite things to explore in Hopewell, the strange sea life living at the limits of the ocean floor, only occasionally uncovered by the tide.

Strange yet beautiful creatures lurk at the low tide limits of Hopewell Cape. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

From there we continue to highlight the incredible Bay of Fundy tides by taking you along on a fat-bike ride across the ocean floor at Waterside Beach and Redhead.  To Zoe Levesque and her friends, fat-bikes are a very efficient self-propelled way to explore the vast intertidal zone in Waterside.  Biking over sand, gravel and sea-carved bedrock shelves is probably the most fun way to interact with the sea bottom. 

Exploring the wave-cut rock bench on fat tires at Red Head. Photo credit: Craig Norris

Nearby at Cape Enrage, you can find another popular Amazing Place that has been discovered by many visitors.  However, if you think like Kevin Snair, you want to explore all the nooks and crannies to find the essence of the place and get every last drop of amazingness.  Kevin does this by scrambling across the seaweed covered rocks on the Cape Enrage reef during a spring low tide.  The water is so low at this time that the islands on the end of the reef become attached so you can get even farther out into the bay.

Standing at land's end for a brief moment while the tide turns. Photo credit: Kevin Snair

Another way to experience the intertidal zone and get up close to all those wave-carved rocks and their undersea life is by boat.  Kayaking the coastline in safe conditions can show you an entirely different perspective on a seaside Amazing Place.  We went kayaking with James Little, who is an avid Bay of Fundy kayaker, at Martin Head, a place well known for sea floor activities of a different kind.

Paddling past a calm and stoic Martin Head. Photo credit: Craig Norris

The landscape is much different at the far northeastern end of the bay.  So we went dyke biking with Mount Allison University student Taylor Crosby and a few friends for a brilliant sunset and a full moon ride home.  The mud at the upper end of the Bay of Fundy turns some people off, but they don’t know how to make the most of it, unlike Taylor who is a “slider”.

A big-sky and big-mud sunset biking on the Tantramar dyke lands.

For many, interacting with the Bay of Fundy’s silty mud is not on their to-do list.  The author, Ben Phillips, has found a way around the mess of the mud when visiting these beautiful places; do it when the mud is frozen.  Although winter can pose some safety challenges, I’ve been able to go to new worlds in the winter.  Those new worlds are not 39 light years away either; they can be as close as a few hundred meters from downtown Moncton. 

Navigating an ice-wall labyrinth on the frozen Petitcodiac River. Photo credit: Craig Norris

By far the most challenging Amazing Places activity, but also the least well known, was venturing deep into the winter wilderness with climbing instructor Greg Hughes.  Snowshoeing back to Walton Glen Gorge, then descending the hazardously, steep walls, Greg showed us what world class ice climbing looks like in New Brunswick.  Getting here is an ordeal in the summertime, let alone a cold, slippery and dangerous winter day.  This life-threatening adventure is for professionals only. 

Repelling back down the frozen Sea Monster ice wall in Walton Glen Gorge. Photo credit: Ben Phillips

This series will show you just what can be done at the Amazing Places, but no matter what you are doing while you are there, they are just as amazing and offer those on foot just as much adventure.  Visit http://www.fundy-biosphere.ca to get more information on the Amazing Places Challenge or visit http://fbramazingplaces.ca to get more information about the Amazing Places of the Fundy Biosphere Reserve and where you can find them.  Other UNESCO Biosphere Reserves across Canada are now adopting Amazing Places to help you find Canada’s hidden gems. 

 

This project is funded by the Government of Canada