We were off at a slightly earlier than normal time this morning. When we checked into our hotel yesterday they told us they had a hot water problem and we may have only warm, or possibly cold water for showers. They gave us the option of cancelling – although I am pretty sure no one did that since there was nowhere else to stay in Moncton – or we could get a 30% discount on the room. We took the discount and stayed. With no morning showers we were down to breakfast and out of the hotel a good 3/4 of an hour early and on our way north.
We drove up to Miramachi on an inland road we had not traveled before instead of the coast road and before crossing the bridge into Miramachi we drove over to Middle Island.
Middle Island became a quarantine center for several shiploads of Irish immigrants that came to Canada in 1845-46 after a mysterious fungi destroyed the potato crop. Three million peasant Irish survived on boiled potatos for every meal of the day. Without the potato they had nothing to eat. Even after selling any possessions they may have had, including their horse teams, they began to starve. Over one million died and thousands turned to Canada for a fresh start and free land.
Sadly it is a two month journey across the ocean and many of the weakened people who were jammed into the ship’s bottom hold (the cheapest fare) in appalling conditions contracted typus and scarlet fever. As the death toll rose the captains asked permission to land any isloated place they could so the people could get treatment and be kept separate. Middle Island was one such place.
The cedar shrubs surrounding the Celtic cross memorial are in the shape of a shamrock and atop the pole is the Irish flag.
Middle Island is very small. We walked all the way around it and read all the placards. It is also a popular park and there were lots of people enjoying the water and the picnic spots.
I was able to capture a photo of the island as we crossed the Miramachi bridge.
We drove toward Bathurst on a main road, then turned off on a smaller road to go see Pabineau Falls. There were lots of directional road signs at the turn-off to the falls and it was a nice gravel road.
However, it very quickly became narrow and rutted and full of deep puddles. The directions said it was 11 km to the falls so we settled in for a bumpy ride. The road narrowed further and we had just decided it was really a quad trail when a dirt bike, a side-by-side and a quad appeared behind us. John pulled to the side at the first slightly wider place he could and asked the young man on the dirt bike if the road improved and if it lead to Pabineau Falls. He assured us it did and that we had navigated the worst of it and in about 2000′ it would wider again and take us right to the falls.
The road did widen out and we began to see houses and the river.
We arrived at Pabineau Falls and found a paved parking lot and paved road coming from the other direction.
All the rocks and white water created lots of different photo shot options.
As we drove away I said to John that I bet we could have driven to falls from the other direction on about 5 km of paved road. And sure enough in 5 km we were at the intersection of a main road. We both thought we should turn left to continue on our way to Dalhousie but after quite awhile we felt we must be on the wrong road because we should have joined a main highway. We checked our geocache map and discovered that we had driven over 20 km in the wrong direction.
Once we had that figured out we backtracked and got on the main road and then found the turn-off to Tetagouche Falls 8 km down another road – good paved road this time.
There is a nice fenced lookout over the falls but trees have taken root in the rocks and almost completely block the view of the falls. I managed to get a couple of photos of the people playing in the water pools at the base of the falls and one sort of okay one of the falls, but with no real identifyable surroundings.
Once we took our pictures it was back to the main road and a straight shot up to Dalhousie and our hotel for the night.