Excursion Mont Carleton
by: Rejeanne Francoeur
My sister, my family and I decided to go on an expediton to explore Mount Carleton Provincial Park. So here we are all seven of us on route for the park for the weekend. We rented a cottage at the "Center Plein Air du Vieux Moulin" near St Quentin; passing by Campbellton, using route 17 to get there.
We arrived at the cottage around 8 o'clock Friday night and we were in bed early to be ready for our expedition the next day. After a good breakfast, around 6 a.m. here we go on route to St. Quentin and there we take route 180 to the Park. You can also access the Park by the Plaster Rock road on route 385.
The Park's first trails were used by chariots we are told and new roads opened access to the visitor's admiration. The park is opened year-round.
Here are a few pieces of advice which may come in handy: Before undertaking your excursion stop at the main entrance to the park and register with them giving them the approximate time you expect to be back and how many people are part of your party. As soon as you come back do the same thing by letting them know you are back safe and sound. Another thing which is very important is to have good footwear, a good backpack (containing a first aid kit, food, clean stockings in case you get your feet wet, insect repellant, etc.) and please don't forget that what you bring with you, you bring it back. Do not pollute the trails.
For all nature lovers, Mount Carleton Park is surely the place you dreamed of visiting some day. It offers a varied landscape of lakes, rivers, mountains, and of forest in a wild and quiet environment.
Here we are, now ready for our excursion. Leaving the Visitor's Information Center, we drove to the parking lot. Here there are two trails, to the east (4.4 km., 1 1/2 hour) and to the west (5.2 km., 2 hours) which leave from the parking lot. These two trails are easy enough to do, except where it becomes rocky then it is a bit more difficult.
Our group took the trail to the east. It hugs an old road stocked with a mix of hardwood and softwood. At the 2.8 km. point, the trail turns to the left where it becomes rocky. This road use to be used to bring food to the Game Warden's camp. Near that camp we were finally at the top. There is another trail you can follow which takes you to the old Fire Tower which was in use from May 15th until October from 1923 to 1968.
Finally we have reached the hightest peak of the Maritime Provinces. At 820 meters of altitude the wind is cold, I must say we were here in mid-September, but the view is fabulous. We have the impression of being at the top of the world. Time to take pictures of all these lakes, mountains which surrounds us: to the north we see Mount Sagamook and Mount Head, to the east the Nipisiguit lakes, to the south-east Lake Sisson and Serpentine Mountains, and Mount Baily to the north-ouest.
After having taken it all in, or as much as we could, we had our lunch, hidden from the wind behind big rocks. We even found some cranberries and blueberries for desert. We came back down slowly, looking behind at where we had been, hardly believing we had climbed all the way up there.
Should you decide to ever visit, there is a free phone number you can call: 1-800-561-0123.
Have a fun, safe trip!