This is an excerpt from the Chapter called ‘The Mainland’ in a book I wrote back in 2004.
Most of our trip to the mainland has been forgotten except for our trip to Fundy National Park. The Bay of Fundy is like a funnel open to the sea. When the tide comes in the water is compressed between the walls of the ever narrowing funnel. Tides at the Hopewell Rocks are said to be the highest in the world as the tide rises up to forty-six feet. That’s roughly six stories high every day.
It’s still 1971. Well, back to my story. Several years before when I was a teenager, my family, Mum, Dad, Penny (my sister), and I, along with the family dog, camped at Fundy National Park. We had been forced to go to an overﬂow campsite called Bennet Lake. It turned out to be one of the most gorgeous campsites at which I’d ever stayed. Bennet Lake is a small lake at the top of a mountain with a few rather rustic campsites. It lacked some of the amenities of the main campsite below but it was heaven. When Cheryl and I and the two dogs arrived at Fundy National Park, I asked if we could camp at Bennet Lake. The answer was no. Bennet Lake was an overﬂow campsite and until the main camp ﬁlled, no one was to be sent up there.
I questioned the park ranger and was told that if we came back after four in the afternoon that we might be able to go to Bennet Lake. We toured for a few hours and returned a little after four and the main camp was still not full. The ranger scoured his map and board and was kind to us. With only a few campsites left at the main camp he was sure it would ﬁll up, and he booked a campsite at Bennet Lake for us. It was all that I remembered, a small quiet mountain lake with a group of rustic campsites at one end.
From earlier in the trip, we remembered to pitch our tent and attach it to the side of the VW Camper. The dogs would sleep on the tent ﬂoor while Cheryl and I slept on the bed in the van. As evening drew nigh, several other campers found their way to Bennet Lake since the main campground below with several hundred campsites was full.
As we retired following a nice campﬁre evening with some of the other campers, it started to rain. It rained and rained and rained and rained. We barely slept through the sound of thunder and the torrents of raindrops striking the ﬁberglass roof of the camper. Rarely did we use the port-a-potty in the camper as we’d always walk to the facilities provided at the campsite. With the rain, thunder and darkness, that night we used the port-a-potty.
We awoke the next morning, and it was still raining. I looked into the tent through the sliding door of the camper and there was Newf, our small dog, standing up while Taffy was still asleep laying in about six inches of water. The ﬂoor of the tent was waterproof and had a lip all the way round to keep water out!. The rain and wind had caused the tent to separate a little from the camper, and I guess it had simply poured in.
We began the job of cleaning up, as were the other campers around us. It was a sorrowful sight. The rains were still bucketing down, and one by one and couple by couple we started to gather under a large lean-to type structure perhaps thirty by sixty feet in size with open sides and rafters above. People began claiming space and hanging up their totally drenched belongings. Tarpaulins were hung on the open sides to keep the rain out.
Some of us had food still above water while others did not. We had a wonderful community breakfast. Those with stoves which worked and those with bacon, eggs, cereal, pancakes and bread came together to cook one of the warmest, friendliest breakfasts that I’ve ever had.
By mid morning, we had managed to squeeze the water out of most of our belongings, dried the dogs and we were on our way. We were not prepared for what we saw next, The car radio was on and the skies were clearing. We happened to hear that parts of the Fundy area received thirteen inches of rain overnight, yes thirteen inches of rain! No wonder we were wet. As we approached the main campsite, things did not look normal. We could see picnic tables and coolers ﬂoating around, the occasional roof of a camper, and perhaps an antenna or two on cars which were simply underwater. People were scrambling everywhere seeking high ground.
It was a terrible day for the people in the main campsite. We thanked our lucky stars that we had waited the day before for a spot at Bennet Lake. We helped a few people where we could. Later we would learn that the campers at Pointe Wolf which was one of the more rustic campsites were cut off from the main site for several days while the waters receded.
We were lucky that day. We headed off back to North Sydney Nova Scotia, enjoyed a trip around Cape Breton and took the overnight ferry to Port aux Basque Newfoundland.
I will never forget that storm!
The reposting of this reminded me about the Vicar of Dibley and the Great Storm
Season 1, Episode 4
This is an excerpt from the Chapter called ‘The Mainland’ in a book I wrote back in 2004. It’s still available on Amazon if you’d care to have a copy. The book’s title is Travels with Taffy and Other Tales. Taffy was our Saint Bernard. Cheryl and I enjoyed Taffy’s company during the late sixties and seventies. Taffy the Saint and Newf, our mutt were our “kids” for many years before the human ones came along. <AMAZON SITE>