The nice thing about my questionable blogging career? I don’t have a boss. There is no one there to tell me I am only allowed to talk about boring things like sheltering healthcare expenses from taxes and trendy topics like early retirement. It’s my project. So with that said, let’s talk tides. Not just any tides though. Let’s talk about the highest tides in the world.
Max OOP is a huge fan of the Maritimes. Nova Scotia gets all the notoriety, but the province of New Brunswick has proven to be a very interesting place. My mother-in-law calls it the “drive through” province. In my years of amateur traveling, I would interpret her comment as a sign it’s probably a good place to go. Move along tourist. Move along.
Now, I will be the first to admit that 10 years ago I probably couldn’t even point New Brunswick out on a map. I might not have even known it was located in Canada. Max OOP didn’t do well in geography, but traveling has helped a little with that. We also bought ‘map placemats’ for the dinner table so I can study up on African countries while I wolf down spaghetti meat bake or cinnamon toast crunch. If I knew how to create affiliate links, I would link to the placemats here so you could get some yourself and stare at New Brunswick while you eat.
Shortly after I met Mrs. Max OOP (a Canadian, native to Ontario), I found out that her parents actually retired to New Brunswick. So once I figured out that New Brunswick wasn’t one of the Scandianvian countries across the pond but it was actually located in Canada, a trip seemed in the cards. I made my first trip up there to meet the family back in 2010 and I have been back several times since then. My sister-in-law even got married there.
Now that we are located in New England, it is a much easier place to visit. We can easily get to New Brunswick in 6-7 hours compared to the 20+ hour drive it would have taken when we lived down south. A short four day weekend visit to this place can feel like a week long vacation away from the hustle and bustle of the United States. Unfortunately, our phones started working up there a few years back, so now we need to turn those off to completely unplug and recharge like I do at work conferences.
A Weekend ‘Sabbatical’
Well, we made last weekend a four day weekend and we took full advantage of it. Mrs. Max OOP finished teaching for the year and started summer vacation that Friday. I took that as an excuse to blow out of work a few hours early so we could make the 6.5 hour nonstop drive up to New Brunswick and get in Friday night. We did need to make one important stop along the way though. We hit up the duty free shop to get some Jameson and Jose Quervo to pump a little extra fun into the weekend. Liquor is expensive in Canada, so I highly recommend making the stop, assuming you are going to be there for more than 24 hours. Here at Max Out of Pocket, we try and save money in all aspects of our lives.
This trip to see my mother-in-law in New Brunswick was planned in advance. Mr. Max OOP has gotten in a bad habit over the years of never solidifying plans until the last minute. We planned this one out about a month ahead of time and stuck to it. The focal point of this trip was going to be Hopewell Rocks Provincial Park. In all the times I have been up to New Brunwsick, I somehow never made it to Hopewell.
So after a day or two lounging around the homestead pretending I was on a sabbatical detoxing from my corporate cube, I was ready to make the 2 hour drive over to the Bay of Fundy and visit Hopewell Rocks. What a pleasant surprise it was.
Highest Tides In The World
I am not asking you if they are the highest tides in the world, I’m telling you they are the highest tides in the world.– Paraphrasing the most interesting man in the world
When I say highest tides in the world, I mean it. I am talking about 160 billion tons of seawater rushing into a bay and raising the water level by over 50 feet in some areas. We are talking five-story buildings here and it only takes about 6 hours for the tide to come in. It has the strength to change the direction of a river. There is even a place in the Saint John River called “the reversing falls”, a name that clearly illustrates the power I am trying to describe here.
So the next time you finish a 12 hour workday that some people hold up as a badge of honor, take a second to visualize these tides and how small you really are.
What’s cool about Hopewell Rocks is the tidal erosion has created some pretty cool rock formations. Remember how the tide cycle is about 6 hours? That makes it possible to not only hike around these formations, but also kayak around them. All in the same day! Max OOP considers the kayak part a bit of a touristy money trap and we try to avoid these kinds of things. We save the money and buy medical office buildings instead.
So after a nice two hour drive through New Brunswick, Mrs. Max OOP, her mom, and myself arrived at Hopewell Rocks. This isn’t a place you just show up to. The tides advance 50 minutes every day, so you need to plan your trip so the tide’s path fits what you are trying to do. Max OOP would probably pay good money to see park management strongly shut down someone’s request for a refund because their kid missed out on kayaking that day due to poor planning. This is how the script would go. “Sorry ma’am, but this isn’t Disney. It’s not like a ride broke down. Mother Nature doesn’t revolve around you, and your kid is crying because you are a poor planner. I can’t give you a refund for this because it would re-enforce this behavior. Also, your kid probably shouldn’t be crying over this. Just an observation. The park is closing and you need to leave now.”
The Max Out of Pocket crew wanted to hike in and around the rocks, so we needed to plan and make sure the tide was partially out to give us time to hike. I believe we arrived at about 1pm. Leave it to the Canadians though; the park fees were being waived that day for any donation to the local food bank. My mother-in-law dropped in a Canadian $20 bill, the rubber admit stamp hit our hands, and we were on our way! I realized later that it was $10 per adult, so not only did we do a good deed and feed some hungry people, but the Max Out of Pocket crew saved $10 on our admittance fee.
Once we got through the entrance, it was about a 15 minute hike down to the coastline. There is on-site transportation to the coastline if you can’t walk the 15 minutes. But then again, if you can’t make this short walk, this might not be the park for you. Unless you have a legitimate disability, Max OOP discourages lazy behavior like this. The 15 minute walk is part of the experience, and may even help cut down on your future healthcare costs if you take a few short walks from time to time. In total, we spent about 2 hours walking around the coast for a total distance of about 3.2 miles according to my ‘map my run’ app. We saw some pretty amazing formations and also got to experience the tide coming in. I will let some pictures do the talking.
We closed out the trip with a nice picnic we brought from home that included tuna sandwiches, Pringles, cream soda, and Tim Tam chocolate bars. We live a good live. This decision and light planning probably saved us over $25 in concession fees.
You don’t always have to take a flight to the far corners of the earth to find an amazing place so you can go on to declare yourself a world traveler on social media. A little effort exploring your own region can produce extraordinary results. I saw the highest tides in the world and only had to drive seven or eight hours. Sometimes, you can find great things in your own little region of the world. Max OOP really liked Hopewell Rocks, and I will definitely be going back sometime in the future.
Max Out of Pocket for admission to Hopewell Rocket = $10 CAD per adult, $7.25 CAD for kids (as long as they promise not to cry when they miss kayaking).