Wards Brook Beach

It has been almost a year since I visited Wards Brook Beach for the first time. My second attempt was during a tidal phase when the water was too high to venture more than about 20 meters along the cliff edge. Last week I watched the weather carefully and while the sky was overcast, the wind was down and the rain held off for another day. I decided to explore this striking part of the Fundy Shore and UNESCO GeoPark.

Much has changed since I was here last. I almost didn’t get across the creek. One of the landowners has made a strong attempt at blocking access to the beach. Last year I was able to carefully make my way across the square beam, this year I knew I better not try that route. I walked this way and that and finally found a couple of rocks that were stable enough to walk across to the other side. As soon as I crossed the creek and climbed up to beach level I knew it was worth it. The question whether I would be able to get back to the car was something I pushed out of my mind for now.

I recalled my very first visit to this spot as I was walking toward the water’s edge. A little overwhelmed by the expanse of the beach I had looked down and was immediately drawn to the colourful offerings by Mother Nature. I am sure you will agree that the pebbles underfoot are not only intriguing for their colour but also their textures and patterns. I can’t get enough and finding a favourite pebble isn’t easy!

Small waterfalls along the cliffs are another source of inspiration. It was above freezing and the water was rushing off the smooth rock faces toward the ground providing an additional layer of sound to the concert already provided by the calls of gulls and crows against the gentle waves lapping at the pebble shore.

The cliff edges are as colourful as the pebbles and with the gray sky and high humidity, it was a fascinating display of colour and layers created over the course of this area’s natural history. Evidence of volcanic activity and the incredible force of continental plates colliding to lift, fold, compress and shift the layers juxtaposed with colourful sandstone cliff faces catapulted me forward to find just one more amazing section to photograph.

The receding tide revealed seaweed-covered rocks along the shore which reminded me of ancient sea creatures slowly making their way to land…

…but the main attractions for me are the rugged sea stacks that beckon from the distance. It was the point where last year’s walking group stopped to survey the area and turn around. This time I had timed my visit to ensure that the tide would not be surprising me too soon and force an early return to the car. Instead, I ventured past the sea stack to my left, the cliff to my right across the large slabs of black rocks and onto the sandy ocean floor.

Yes, this is the ocean floor. I was reminded of that fact when I climbed higher and saw dark green seaweed clinging to the rocks at my feet. I was determined to explore beyond this imposing landmark and it turned out that I would be richly rewarded!

I pushed on and once I reached the next pyramidal stack more colour shone brightly. It looked as if someone had accidentally poured a bucket of paint over the rocks! As I was carefully walking across the wet rocks I was reminded of images created by Swedish landscape photographer Hans Strand. “Channeling Hans Strand…” was running through my mind. Have a look for yourself, here is a link to his website and you will see what I mean.

I was nearing the two-hour mark on my walk and I noticed the light was beginning to fade a little. At this time I looked on to see what the beach ahead of me would hold. I was very pleased to recognize the familiar sea stacks of Phinney Green Beach. The first time I visited Wards Brook Beach I tried to orient myself and asked my walking group companion if this beach connects with Phinney Green. I was told that technically it does but the distance was too great to walk to Phinney Green. Imagine my delight in discovering that indeed one could walk from Wards Brook Beach to Phinney Green. It would all depend on the timing of the hike…

…but for now, I was satisfied with my discovery. I turned around and headed back in the direction of my car. I love exploring the beach in both directions and as I approached the first landmark sea stack I discovered that with the changing light this geological formation has so much more to offer.

What does this look like to you? Perhaps an extinct dinosaur grinning mischievously at you… or is it a hooded sea creature ready to pounce?

But wait, what’s this? A monkey nestled between the rocks? Oh no, it’s a tiny Buddha meditating! At least that is what I saw… ;-D

With a bounce in my step and renewed energy, I headed back to where the car was parked. I still had plenty of time before the tide was threatening my safe exit from the beach. I jumped across the creek and clambered up the soft embankment my head and camera full of amazing impressions. I was excited about my discovery that I could have walked on to reach Phinney Green Beach. Let’s see what the weather brings tomorrow…

I sincerely hope you enjoyed today’s recap of my excursion to Wards Brook Beach. I walked a total of 12 km in just under three hours. Happy Monday to all! Best wishes for a productive day, Anna

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