Mount Carleton, located in the north of New Brunswick, is the highest peak in the Maritimes, at 820m (2,690ft). The mountain is located within the Mount Carleton Provincial Park, where there are 4 peaks and more than 42,000 acres of wilderness to explore. Mount Carleton is the highest peak, followed by Mount Head at 792m, Mount Sagamook at 777m and Mount Bailey at 564m.
On Saturday, Joel and I got up with the sun and headed for Mount Carleton, an almost 5 hour drive from our home in Saint John.
We arrived at the park just after noon. We would have loved to be able to hike some of the other peaks but we only had a few hours and we definitely wanted to bag the highest peak in the Maritimes so we headed straight for the Mount Carleton trail.
The trail is a roughly 10km loop. Park staff suggest doing the hike in a clockwise fashion, up the left side of the trail and back down the shorter, right side of the trail.
The trail is considered moderately difficult, but we found that it was a steady uphill climb until you get to the last kilometer or so, where you can split one of two ways: one a more gentle roundabout climb and another that takes you right along the cliff edge, with a lot more boulders to climb over. We took the more exposed side as we wanted the better views.
The trail up the mountain is a pretty one, following a babbling brook for part of the way. Headwaters campground is on this side as well, if you’re looking to camp overnight. Once you hit the fork in the trail marking the last kilometer, you very quickly begin to climb out of the tree line, revealing some amazing views of northern New Brunswick. It truly is spectacular.
It is said that on a clear day, you can see more than 10 million trees from the top of Mount Carleton. Standing at the summit on Saturday, I definitely felt like I could see that many trees.
You are truly in the wilderness, unplugged from the grind of life, and connected to your immediate surroundings. This is what I love about hiking. It gives you a goal to achieve, it’s a great workout, and it allows you a chance to connect with yourself and the quiet solitude of nature. Joel remarked afterward that there were a few moments of the trail of absolute silence, and how peaceful he found it.
There are so few moments of silence in our everyday lives. So much information coming at us at once, from all angles. We must make time to unplug from our lives, and to make time for silence.
After we were finished hiking, we headed back to the pretty town of Perth-Andover and The Castle Inn. The Inn was first built in 1932 as the private residence of Bill and Pauline Lewis. The structure has a Norman Chateau facade and features many local river rocks collected by the couple themselves.
The building suffered a fire in the 1940’s and when the structure was rebuilt, the tower was added, along with a stunning, spiral staircase.
After his parents passed away, Lance Lewis planned to turn the home into a Bed and Breakfast but died unexpectedly and was not able to achieve his goal. The building is now owned by Peter Dunlop, who began building on to the existing structure in 2004 and turned it into the charming Inn we stayed at on Saturday night.
The food was great, the service warm and the rooms were lovely and well appointed. There is a great spa area with pool, hot tub, gym and saunas. It was fun to wander around the Inn and examine the beautiful woodwork and rounded doorways original to the house.
We had fun hanging out with the castle cat, Smoky, who comes and goes as he pleases and can often be found curled up on a comfy seat near the front desk.
It was great to cross something off my 2016 goal list this past weekend and to discover some new places in my own province. Now, on to the next adventure!