In the mile run from the foot of the falls to the smooth waters of the lower basin,
the river drops 45 feet, a little more than half the perpendicular drop at the falls
itself. This basin is the starting point of a canoeing trip to Fredericton or St.
John. It is a trip that can be made in comfort and with the greatest of pleasure,
for those who do not want to rough it can reach good hotels for every meal and for
every night's lodging, while in the whole distance there are no rapids heavy enough
to make portaging necessary. Those who intend to camp will have no difficulty in
finding suitable and pretty spots for their tents, and they will find the people
everywhere hospitable and ready to sell fresh milk and any required articles at
most reasonable prices.
It is only a few minutes' paddle across the basin and almost before the canoeist
realizes it his light craft is in rapid water, and moving fast down stream. In the
first few miles rapid succeeds rapid in quick succession, and the canoe is hardly
out of one before it is into another. None are dangerous; in fact they only add
a zest to the pleasures of canoeing. Three miles below Grand Falls is Rapid de Femme,
where is located the fish hatchery that annually gets thousands of eggs from the
Carleton salmon pond, and here we pitched our tents and spent our first night. The
midgets began work as soon as we landed, came in swarms and remained with us until
our departure the next morning, leaving every member of the party well marked.
For the second day our plan was a run to the mouth of the Tobique, a short trip
up that famous river and then away to Andover, where our lawyer, McCready, had a
probate case. After an early breakfast, and a good one, for Henry Allen is a jewel
of a cook, the start was made and under delightful weather conditions, and in swift
water no trouble was experienced in making six miles an hour. The scenery everywhere
is beautiful, and the wonderful sand or gravel banks along the railway line skirting
the river are a source of great curiosity. They have been cut through like rock,
the sides rising perpendicular from the track and showing in beautiful colors the
different stratas of sand and gravel. Only here and there is there a break in the
bank, where it has caved in and run down to the natural angle of repose. The whole
country hereabouts is of interest to the geologist and shows abundant traces of
the glacial and post glacial phenomena. Swiftly down the river the canoe moves,
a constant watch being necessary to avoid jutting rocks. Salmon River and Little
River are soon passed and six miles above Andover the great Aroostook river, sweeping
around a high ridge, enters the St. John. The view from below, looking up the St.
John and the Aroostook, past the knife-like point that separates them, is a magnificent
one. A splendid steel bridge crosses the Aroostook. Four miles further on is Indian
Point, the mouth of the Tobique and the home of a large number of Indians. They
are a prosperous people, living like their pale face brothers in good, comfortable
wooden homes. In the rapid water, only a few miles from the starting point, a squirrel
was passed swimming the river, and making a straight course from bank to bank despite
its mouth the Tobique is a very rapid stream, and it is a good stiff pole up against
the current to the slack water at the ledges, a splendid place for dinner.Less than
a mile further up is the magnificent steel bridge built by the Provincial government.
This little bit of the Tobique was all our party saw,
but it was enough to give an idea of the gorge, and it gave a splendid race
back down the rapid water to the St. John, which is a slow stream in comparison.
Those who would like to see more of
the Tobique can put their canoes on the train at Andover for Plaster Rock, which
will give a trip of about thirty miles down this most important branch of the St.
John. It is a side trip well worth taking. The water of the Tobique is so much clearer
than the St. John that it runs with it a long distance before intermingling.
Additional Scenes from the upper St. John River...
More historical images
of New Brunswick...