The Longest Paddle Day - Tobique River

Posted on January 20, 2020 in Paddling Multi-day Paddling Adventures

We had plans to go explore Mount Carleton Provincial Park by canoe, then paddle down the Little Tobique River to the Tobique River then to Saint Almo NB. We left Wednesday due to a schedule conflict, then on our way found out that I had to work on Sunday in Halifax, so our trip was cut short. We stayed with friends in Saint Almo and on Thursday our hosts took us to meet a canoe builder, Bill Miller (http://www.millercanoes.com/) in Nictau. We observed his workshop and he told us about the process of building canoes and other fun stores. He informed us that there may be a 1-mile long log jam on the Little Tobique so we didn't have the time for that. He showed us where to begin our trip downriver from there, which was at Green Bridge 13km up the Little Tobique. From there he said the paddling would be better. He told us of a time when river guides would be required to remove sweepers and other trees at risk of clogging the river. If all the guides did their part the river would never jam, but there are no guides now. We were dropped off by friends(our B&B Hosts), and away we went, in dry suits and with Iris, our poodle puppy. Drysuits were due to the impending rainstorm, as there were no real rapids on this run. The rain began, as we twisted our way along the Little Tobique River. Scraping on rocks, and dodging deadfall.

When we got to the end of the Little Tobique, we decided to camp on an island and set up the shelter for the night. Iris was happy we stopped as she didn't seem comfortable in the canoe. She was too young for such a trip. We cooked and slept under the canopy of a few very large cedar trees. The rain also stopped for the night revealing a full moon and stars on my 2 AM pee break.

The next morning we woke up, had breakfast, and packed the boat for a long day. I seemed to have pulled a muscle in my back so I was extra slow and more useless than usual. The river has lots of water and was many times bigger at this point. We had camped in Nictau on an island, which is where a few rivers converge into the Tobique River making it sizable. We hammered down, making several stops for Iris to pee, and the rest of us too, outside of the canoe. This would be our longest paddling day ever at somewhere in the 65km mark. The water was always moving, but rarely did we encounter any rapids. Only a couple spots where there was a bit of a ledge but they were minor at most. We did find many places to scrap along the gravel or rocky bottom.

As the day went on we realized we would be paddling in darkness if we paddled all the way to the Bed and Breakfast in Saint Almo, NB. We knew any paddling beyond Plaster Rock would be in darkness, and the Bed and Breakfast was another 8km crow-fly down the river, which was not straight at all. We didn't think an unfamiliar river in darkness would be a good idea. Especially after a full day of paddling about 65 kms. We needed a rest. We pulled out in the dark just past Plaster Rock at a small park and called out hosts from the B&B for a drive back to the car.

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