Photo story: following the wooded waterways of New Brunswick, Canada

Set in the north of New Brunswick, Restigouche County is named for the mighty river that runs through it — a journey that begins in the Appalachian Mountains and ends at the Atlantic coast. Life in this region is shaped by the river’s meandering path.Monday, 30 December 2019

By Richard James Taylor
Photographs By Richard James Taylor

Nancy Boucher, a moose caller from the small town of Kedgwick, demonstrates this popular New Brunswick pastime. Local knowledge, patience and cunning are all required to lure the region’s elusive moose from the thick forest — the mimicked moose calls, amplified through a cone or cupped hands, can be interspersed with the waving of wooden oars to imitate antlers. The region is popular with birdwatchers, too: Mount Carleton Provincial Park, one of the area’s gems, has thriving populations of both bald eagles and barred owls. 

The river’s twisting passage, carved through scenic poplar forests beneath mountain peaks, makes the Restigouche a prime destination for adventure canoeists. At a bend in the river, Alain Clavette, one of Canada’s premier ornithologists, and canoeing guide Marie-Christine Arpin relax after a long day paddling through the region’s pristine wilderness with a hearty Canadian campfire meal of bacon rashers with maple syrup and fried eggs.

The river provides many opportunities for enterprising locals to make a living, including Bryant Freeman, who’s been a fly tyer since 1946. His hand-crafted flies are sought after by anglers across the world and are used extensively by salmon fishermen along the Restigouche. André Arpin is a local legend in these parts: he organised the first adventure canoeing trips here back in the 1970s. Today, tours are run by his daughter, Marie-Christine, who’s spent her life on the river, learning from him. 

The Arpins pack their canoes onto their four-wheel-drive vehicle as clouds draw in across the pristine wilderness. The people here have a unique heritage, descending from British settlers and the Acadian French, who came to the area during the 17th and 18th centuries. As a result, New Brunswick is Canada’s only bilingual province: English and French are both official languages. 

See more images in our photo gallery:

ESSENTIALS
Air Canada provides regular flights from Heathrow to Moncton in New Brunswick via Toronto or Montreal. Arpin Canoe Restigouche offers expeditions along the Restigouche.   

More info: tourismnewbrunswick.ca

Published in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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