crossing Reversing Falls

The fog is so thick you can barely see across the river. This narrow rocky gorge is where the St. John River rushes and foams into the harbour mouth. These rapids are extremely dangerous, featuring whirlpools, strong currents and sharp rocks… that is, when the river is running downstream. At high tide, the river is overcome by the the sea, which pushes the water back upriver — this is the local phenomenon known as Reversing Falls. You can see how the current runs from left to right, instead of the other way around. The fierce force of river and rapids has been tamed by the tide, but only for a short time.

Taken on August 20, 2010


waiting for the sun

This small beach is at the end of Ragged Point Road. The point to the right is Boar’s Head, where the Kennebecasis River flows into the St. John River. From the comfort of your beach chair, you can look out across the river to the communities of South Bay and Grand Bay. In the winter, there is no beach here at all. I remember visiting this cove in the spring when the ice was breaking up. Even though it was many years ago, I can remember seeing the sheets of ice pushed high up to the edge of the road, and hearing the boom of the ice as it cracked and collided with other ice sheets. When I recall the bitter cold of winter, I can better appreciate our less-than-tropical summers. Now all we need is some sunshine!

Taken on June 4, 2010

the mill

Saint John is an industrial city. There’s no mistaking the slight tang of sulfur in the air when the wind is blowing the right (or wrong) direction. There’s no avoiding the pulp and paper mill at the site of Saint John’s most famous landmark, the Reversing Falls (Rapids). I was told recently about a survey conducted with tourists at Reversing Falls; one of the questions was about whether they found the sight of the pulp mill offensive. But the tourists didn’t see a problem with having the mill there. What they wanted to know was the history of it — how did the pulp mill get there; what role did it play in Saint John’s history, what does it tell us about the role of timber and pulpwood in the growth of the city? And when you look at it like that, this pulp mill is at least as much a landmark as the blockhouse on Fort Howe, with perhaps more historical significance.

Taken on November 19, 2009