If you are a Game of Thrones fan, then surely you are familiar with The Wall, the massive wall of ice that protects the Seven Kingdoms from the wildlings and White Walkers that live Beyond. According to George R.R. Martin, it’s some 300 miles long, 700 feet tall and made of solid ice.
But, I bet you didn’t know that New Brunswick has it’s own version of The Wall, in the form of the Parlee Brook Amphitheatre. The natural amphitheatre becomes encased in sheets of ice on three sides during winter. And while it may not be GOT epic, when you’re standing at the bottom staring up at those massive ice walls, it’s pretty amazing.
Earlier this winter, Joel and I, our friend Mandy and her beagle Toby, decided to try to find NB’s elusive ice wall. Armed with our hiking gear, we arrived at the Abbey (for directions, go to hikingnb.ca). Just as we were arriving, the Saint John Outdoor Enthusiasts were gearing up to head into the amphitheatre. They asked us if we had ice cleats. We stared blankly back. We did not have ice cleats. “Do we really need them?” we asked.
Turns out, we really kinda did. We survived the icy hike but we all fell on our asses at least once, too. So yeah, ice cleats are highly recommended. It’s probably not highly recommended for dogs either, with all the ice but we did see quite a few heading in with dogs and they didn’t seem to be having too much trouble.
This is an amazing winter adventure. It’s not difficult, other than the ice. If you prepare and have ice cleats to go over your boots, you should be fine. You follow a dirt road in for the first few kilometers and veer off into the woods at the trail marker, following a frozen brook up into the amphitheatre. And since winter doesn’t seem to be loosening its grip on us anytime soon, I’m sure there is plenty of ice still to be seen. Just watch out for those White Walkers, would ya?
Here are some images from our hike earlier this winter: