Family anecdotes, camping tips, how-tos, hiking with children, nature, motherhood, memories.

Adventures in Camping with Five Kids

Camping with kids is like pitching a tent upside down. Both are bound to fill with laughter and raindrops.

--Victoria Marie Lees

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A Walk on the Ocean Floor

Hopewell Rocks
            “How would you like to walk on the ocean floor and not get wet,” my husband asked the children one day when he returned from work. 

            “Oh cool,” our son piped up.

            “Yes, yes, Daddy,” the girls chorused. 

            The children were hopping up and down in the hallway, while I stood in stupor. 

            “Um.” I looked at my husband.  “Are we playing a game,” I asked.

            He shook his head.

            “Where are we going, Daddy,” our oldest asked.

            “To the Bay of Fundy,” he answered.

            “Is that an island,” our son asked.

            I‘m usually not this dense, I thought, but I’m lost.

            “It’s in New Brunswick, Canada,” he informed us.

            “Ah, next to Maine,” I said.

            “It has the highest tides in the world,” he told the children

            I exhaled.  No air tanks or wet suits required, I thought.  I’m safe. 

            Always remember to factor in time zone changes when planning a camping trip.  For New Brunswick, Canada, we lost an hour simply going through the customs booth.  The children didn’t care.  They pressed their noses against the van glass, watching the coast as we drove northward.      

            “Where’s the water, Dad,” the children asked in unison.

            “It will come back in,” he assured them.

            “But the boats are on the ground,” a twin said.

            “So are the docks,” the oldest said. 

            “Where do the fish go,” our fisherman worried.

            “They stay with the water,” I assured him.

            “Do the fishermen walk out on dry land to their boats and wait for the water to come back,” he asked.

            “Probably not,” his father said.

            When we next saw the sea at Hopewell Rocks, or the “flower pots” according to the locals, it had a brick red tint to it.  We puzzled over this phenomenon until we noticed the ocean swirling around the lopsided clay “pots.”  The conglomerate mud rock was red.  These “pots” seemed more like tiny islands forested with trees and shrubs to us.

            After lunch, we climbed down to traverse the ruddy seabed.  The pungent smell of brine filled our nostrils as the towering, shaggy, green-topped sculptures we saw from above loomed overhead.  The children clambered over the rubbery seaweed base to inspect the bits and pieces of shell and rock stuck to the spindles of the pots like mosaic works of art. 

            “Mom, look at this!” rang out from every direction as I tried to investigate the sea floor myself. 

            Crustaceous arches, layered, craggy seawalls and red cliffs attracted our attention for more than an hour.  We trekked farther down the coast to find slabs of bleached rock littering the beaches.  The red cliffs dressed in thick forested caps, appeared like regiments of buzzed hair cut soldiers from a distance.

            As soon as we rounded the bend in the coast, I spotted them.

            “Oh no,” I told my husband.

            Then he looked up.  But before we could turn around the children had found them too.

            “Boulders,” they cheered and ran toward them. 

“I don’t know what the fascination is,” my husband said as he pulled up a nice, comfortable sun-baked slab of rock for us to sit on.

“At least it tires them out,” I said, sitting on the slab.  “It’s their vacation too.”    

For the next hour, we watched our beloved children scamper all over the scattered boulders on the beach in front of us, thankful for the rest.