Going with the Ebb and Flow

Hopewell Rocks to Alma
  |  Gorp.com

At the Rocks Provincial Park lies one of the most dramatic shorelines in the world. At low tide, you can walk beneath towering sculptures of red-brown sandstone created by the force of the tides. On the tops of these gigantic "flowerpots," dark evergreens and ferns grow on little "islands" that are separated from the mainland for half the day by sky and half the day by sea. Miles of caves, arches, and giant fingers of sandstone beg to be explored, but do keep a close watch on the time.

A few miles west from Hopewell Cape, take an unpaved loop to Mary's Point. You pass through miles of shimmering salt marshes, which are part of the Shepody National Wildlife Area. The mud flats that line the point are laced with fat mud shrimp. This yummy stuff is the prime delicacy for shore birds that gorge on it on their way to South America for the winter. In early August, hundreds of thousands of sandpipers congregate here for their annual shrimp feast. Because they are white with dark gray feathers on the underside of their wings, when they fly in the low evening light, they seem to disappear — and then reappear in a flash as they change direction. To witness the sandpipers' magical dance is pure delight. You don't have to be Audubon — who came here often to sketch — to find bird bliss.

Back on the road, take a turn off Route 915 where the sign points to Cape Enrage. Here, you can explore the remnants of an old lighthouse and rock walls in which you can find fossilized leaves left behind from the tropical marshes that blanketed the region some 315 million years ago.

Back on Route 915, it's down hill into Alma, a quaint fishing village with an eclectic mix of motels, tourist cabins and restaurants. Do take a walk on the wide expanse of Alma Beach at low tide and pick up a few souvenir shells and bright pebbles from the ocean floor. A few hours later, this spot will be under 40 feet of water (glub, glub).

Distance: 50 miles
Time: A couple hours
Highlights: Rocks Proverbial Park, Mary's Point, Alma
Activities along the way: Bird-watching

Published: 30 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 15 Aug 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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