Between Bouctouche and Mirimichi on New Brunswick’s east coast was Kouchibouguae National Park. I arrived late in the afternoon after travelling from Hopewell Cape and touring Bouctouche first, so I only took two short hikes. A boardwalk stretched over Little Gully to sand dunes at Kellys Beach. This was home to shore birds such as the endangered piping plover, osprey, blue herons, and the common tern. From the midway point, a tern kept hovering above the water before it dived-bombed into the sea catching small fish. In fact, Canada’s largest tern colony nested within the national park. Birds like sandpipers and sanderlings combed the mudflats and beaches searching for food.
The Salt Marsh Trail led through both freshwater and saltwater cordgrass. Dried saltwater cordgrass was so full of nutrition that the Acadians once fed it to their livestock rather than regular grass. This tiny region was considered as a nursery because it was where insects and tiny fish got their start.
The following afternoon after a disappointing morning in Miramichi, I returned once again to the national park, but ventured to the northern side of Kouchibouguae River to the footbridge with open views of the river. Despite the blue skies, the wind almost blew me away as I crossed the footbridge and tackled part of Middle Kouchibouguae Trail that soon became too boggy. With both the slushy path and the mosquitos that hovered around my head I turned back glad to face the fierce wind that swept away the insects.