Canoeing on the River: Excitements and Pleasures of a trip down the Upper St. John
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and Perth' the twin towns' are joined by both railway and highway bridges' and are
splendid points at which to fit out for fishing or camping expeditions to any of
the many resorts in the neighborhood.
Between Andover and Woodstock the river' though its general course is north and
south' winds east and west and west and east is a series of gentle curves'
traversing a beautiful country' the garden of New Brunswick.
Indeed' the whole journey to Fredericton is through a fertile and well-cultivated
land. Woods are seen only in the distance. Most of the land is cleared and under
cultivation. That it yields profitable returns the general appearances of the farm
buildings show.There are no tumble-down houses' and no deserted homes. All dwellings
and outbuildings are kept well painted and many of them are models of architectural
beauty. These fine houses and well kept farms convey to the mind a far better idea
of the general prosperity than could columns of statistics on the yield of the farms.
The small towns along the river bank-Kent' Bristol' Florenceville' Hartland and
Upper Woodstock-all reflect in their buildings and stores the prosperity of the
farmers' while Woodstock itself is a hive of industry' a live' go-ahead town' where
the canoeist will want to spend time and money' and where if not camping' he will
find in the Carlisle a hotel that will meet all the requirements.
Florenceville and at Woodstock there are high hills that
will well repay climbing for the magnificent views they give both up and down stream'
views in which the river is seen like a silver thread winding for miles through
the rich and fertile country with its alternate patches of dark green forest and
light' waiving grain.
Down river the canoes steadily make their way'
the canoeists finding enjoyment in every minute of the trip. Now it is the scenery.
Perhaps one can see for miles down the stream' or perhaps it is but a short distance
till a bend shuts out the view. Again all attention is taken with the river itself.
Maybe there are rocks to clear' or rapids to pass' or perhaps it is only a shallow
spot where the water runs like a mill race over the clear white stones on the bottom
that seem to be moving up stream with great speed. There is a strange fascination
in watching the pebbles' which can be plainly seen through the clear water. Sometimes
all attention is directed to the going back and forth of one of the quaint wire
ferries' of which there are many in this section' or it may be that the interest
centers in the maneuvering of a log raft or a deal raft.
Our party caught up with one of these on the first day out' hauled the canoes on
board and rode for several miles' the current carrying us along at about five miles
an hour. Interesting it was to see the skill and dexterity with which the three
men in charge handled the big' unwieldy craft' using a sweep at one end and a rudder
at the other. The pilot knew the channel' every inch of it' and where the channel
crosses the river there were those curious contrivances' wing dams' to send him
scooting over to the other shore. When making this canoe trip don't fail to chum
with any raftsmen encountered' for a few miles of the trip made on their craft will
prove a decided novelty' and the experience will be greatly enjoyed' particularly
if some quick water is traversed.
From Woodstock to Fredericton' 63 miles there are more islands than above. The current
is everywhere swift' but the only heavy rapids are the Meductic.
These are the wildest met with on the whole journey' and the water below them runs
very swiftly for a mile or more. They may be safely run by keeping well to the right-hand
shore' for there the descent is easy and there are no rocks. At Hawkshaw' a few
miles below Meductic' the canoeist gets a sight
of the Pokiok falls' as wild a gorge and as pretty a fall and rapid as is to be
seen anywhere in the province. One comes on it suddenly' and it is only for the
moment that the canoeists are opposite the gorge that this truly beautiful sight
is enjoyed. At the Nackawick bend the canoeist enters a stretch or reach exactly
the same length as the Long Reach' eighteen miles' but containing islands' along
the shores of which the current sometimes runs with great rapidity. In this stretch'
in fact' anywhere between Woodstock and Frederickton' quaint tow boats are seen.
These are hauled up stream by teams of horses driven along the bank' a long tow
rope enabling the crew to guide their boat. When the channel crosses the river'
the horses have to wade or swim. About twenty miles can be made in a day. As there
is no railroad in this section' it is practically the only means of transport. At
the foot of the reach the river makes a right-angle turn' and there is a nine-mile
trip through slack water before the final stage of this wonderful journey is reached-the
stage through the numerous islands that stud the river a few miles above Fredericton.
It is a section as interesting as any portion of the trip' yet one is glad to see
ahead the bridges and the tall spires of Fredericton' and to hear the hail of friends
as he passes the summer cottages at Pine Bluff' the Beeches' Kaskiseboo and the
other pretty camps that line the river banks above the capital.
Additional Scenes from the upper St. John River...
More historical images
of New Brunswick...
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