The Bay of Fundy Trail is located in the village of St. Martins in New Brunswick, Canada. It is a park of sorts, with a 10 kilometer path and an adjacent auto road winding along the Bay of Fundy. Since my husband, Dave, and I are both runners we are always on the lookout for unique places for a long run, especially when we are traveling. A few summers ago while on a trip to St. John, we heard about the Bay of Fundy Trail (BFT) and thought it would be perfect.
It was a foggy July morning when we headed out to the BFT. We parked at the south end of the trail, intending to run the 10k path to its northern end and then back. We headed down the gravel path with a light mist falling around us. The trail was set up high, away from the coastline, surrounded by green and the hushed sound of the ocean far below.
After running for about 5 minutes we noticed a side path leading down toward the water. We decided to explore. Leaving the main trail, Dave and I headed down the steep path that eventually turned into wooden stairs. At the bottom we had a clear view of the beach below, even though we were still a good 100 feet above it. It was low tide, and since the Bay of Fundy is famous for its low tides, the water had receded behind a curtain of fog. We stood still, looking down on the endless beach rimmed with cliffs, our hearts still beating from our swift decent.
After snapping photos we headed back to the main trail and pressed on. It became apparent within the first few miles that this trail was woven into a miniature mountain range. Walking up a steep hill is understandable, but some of the down hills where so steep they also forced us to walk. It was a rollercoaster of a trail, threading its way through a pine forest with the foggy coast peeking through every so often.
We took one other jaunt off the main trail at about the 5k mark. This long series of wooden stairs brought us down to the ocean floor. It was a continuation of the beach we had spied earlier. To our surprise, we realized the beach was made up of millions of rounded rocks, not sand. We marveled over the unusual colors of the rocks, still wet from the blanket of ocean they had recently been under. We filled our pockets with rocks of all colors: dark blues, rosy pink, iridescent greens, grays with white stripes. Laughing about the added weight, we climbed the stairs back to the main trail.
We finally emerged from the woods at the end of the trail to see a visitor’s center. Fortunately, we’d had the foresight to carry cash, although we’d neglected to bring food or water. After snacking on candy bars and sports drinks, we set out to retrace our steps along the trail.
It was a memorable long run full of stops and starts. I used my hands to help me climb up a hill and lost count of the times my pace changed dramatically, from downhill speed to uphill speed. However, it was the type of adventure that makes me thankful to be a runner. And even though I was sore the next day, I saw things I would never have had the chance to see if I had taken the auto road.