GNB
Provincial Archives of New Brunswick

Canoeing on the River

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The total distance from Grand Falls to Fredericton is stated at 125 miles,Click to view full-size image - 30KB and the journey can be made comfortably in four days, but it is better to give it a week; then there will be time for sightseeing along way, time to look at some of the tributaries, to climb some of the hills and to thoroughly enjoy the varying beauties of nature. In freshet time, with the river a raging flood, the distance has been paddled in 14 hours and 46 minutes, and rafts have made the run unaided except by the current in a single day. It is figured that the descent of the river from Grand Falls to Fredericton is 298 feet, or an average drop of 2 feet 4 inches per mile-evidence in itself that the water must run pretty rapidly.

Paddling down the river, one is impressed with the idea that the authorities should take greater care of the river. Down almost every tributary stream float sawdust, deal ends,Click to view full-size image - 43KB shingle blocks and other lumber from the mills along the banks. It seems as if no care was being taken to prevent the throwing of refuse into these streams, and that refuse-so swift are the currents-all finds its way to the St. John.Then, again, great care should be taken of the fisheries. Almost every farmer has his net, and a good many hundred salmon get nabbed on their way to the spawning grounds. The fish ways on some of the streams were out of water, so no salmon could possibly get into them. There are hundreds upon hundreds of places along the St. John on the journey between Grand Falls and Fredericton that seem ideal spots for salmon. Click to view full-size image - 46KB It seems they should take the fly, and that the St. John should be just as famous a salmon river as its tributaries. The popular belief is that the fish will not rise to the fly, but maybe they have never been given a fair trial. Careful inquiry failed to show that in recent years any attempt had been made to catch them in this way.

The journey, besides being a pleasant and enjoyable outing, can be made about as cheaply as any summer trip that will suggest itself. For, say, a week's trip the expenses will be light. Guides, with canoes, tents, cooking utensils, etc., can be secured for $3 per day, and the only other expense is food and the transportation to Grand Falls. Neither of these are heavy items.

Of the guides themselves it is only fair to say that four better men could not be secured.George E. Armstrong, of Perth is the president of the New Brunswick Guide Association, a young giant, tall, well built, lithe and wiry, a lover of the woods, a splendid canoeist, and a keen huntsman, whether with rod, gun or camera, and withal a genial companion. What is said of him can be said also of Adam Moore and Henry Allan. They have lived in the woods and on the rivers, know them like books, can tell at a glance a good camping ground, and, like Mr. Armstrong, are master hands in a canoe. It is a pleasure to see them at work, so thoroughly and so skillfully do they handle the business in hand, and so comfortable do they make the tourists who are in the care. Mr. Allan, as has been said, is a perfect cook. Click to view full-size image - 31KBTom Phillips is a prince of rivermen, and in his hands his self-made 300-pound wooden canoe, or row boat, which every you like, moved along as rapidly as a canvas, and it was a sight to see the skill with which he polled it up the rapid Tobique.Click to view full-size image - 86KBClick to view full-size image - 36KB He is the great Fredericton shad fisherman, and is one of the handiest and best men that can be secured. All four are competent and pleasant, and in their care, or in the care of any one, a canoeist can feel that every want will be met and every comfort provided, enabling him to make the journey under the most favorable auspices.Right here it may be said that the voyage is one that ladies can make without any inconveniences and that they will thoroughly enjoy.

Additional Scenes from the upper St. John River...

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More historical images of New Brunswick...

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