I would guess that we are all quite familiar with Route 915 which starts at the Four Corners in Riverside-Albert (intersection of Routes 915 and 114) and ends in Alma. Many explore this route to experience its scenic wonders in spring, summer and autumn, but maybe some people never venture out in the winter to visit these same spots.
When leaving the Four Corners in Riverside-Albert and heading across the Shepody Marsh, we come to Mary’s Point Road, that takes us to the famous sanctuary popularized by Mary Majka, as well as by the migration of tens of thousands of shorebirds. We often go along the beach at low tide (no snowshoes required) and then go up into the centre of the peninsula (with snowshoes) then proceed through the forest until we get to a small cove overlooking Shepody Bay, Grindstone Island and Nova Scotia. Several times we have seen many deer on our journey. It always seems somewhat incongruous seeing deer frolicking on the beach and dodging ice growlers (large chunks of ice). The peninsula takes on a whole new look in the winter in terms of the sharpness and clarity of the light, the ice formations and even the colour of the water.
Just off Mary’s Point Road at the end closer to New Horton, there is a trail that goes out onto the dykes that cross the marsh and passes the remnants of an old wharf and possibly breakwater. The trail goes by a dam, and if you are there at the right time (when the tide is going out) a nifty whirlpool can be seen. Continue further and you will emerge at the shoreline and a cove, where you can sit on driftwood and have lunch. The shapes, colours, islets and views of the bay along this trail are impressive and well worth a wintertime visit.
After leaving Mary’s Point, the scenery continues to impress as we go up to New Horton that overlooks the Bay of Chignecto. We sometimes go down to Two Rivers and occasionally to Lockhart Lake, two spots that are, if not unique, then certainly unusual in terms of what they have to offer.
Further along, we go to Cape Enrage, sometimes snowshoeing to the beach near Munson’s Pond, which on a windy day at high tideis a powerful spot to observe nature and the sea in one of its angry moods.
Leaving the Cape, we come to one of the best places to go in the winter if you want to doff the snowshoes. The tide usually leaves the beaches at Waterside and Dennis Beach clear of ice and snow, allowing us to walk to our heart’s content at low tide. These two beaches―with their rocky redness and ice formations growing from the cliffs and the vast flats that are oh-so-comfortable to walk on―are the perfect antidotes to the winter blahs.
After the beaches we move along to the hamlet of Hebron (the name of a city in Palestine revered by Christians, Muslims and Jews alike for its association with Abraham). The scenery here is amazing as we look back towards West River Mountain, which is a great place to snowshoe as well.
The true treasure in terms of snowshoeing in Hebron is on the properties of “those who wish to remain nameless.” One of several trails explored on snowshoes takes us along the edge of steep cliffs, which feature old-growth forest overlooking the bay, ravines, streams and the odd waterfall. It is not always easy-going because the snow can be quite deep, but it is worth it because of the enormous trees and spectacular outlooks.
That pretty much takes us to Alma and Fundy National Park where there are more exciting snowshoe trails to explore. The beauty on-and-off Route 915 in the winter is just as impressive as it is in the other three seasons. Many of you know this already, but just in case you have forgotten, I thought that I would remind you.
and Vice-Chairman of the UNESCO Fundy Biosphere Reserve.