Last weekend we went hiking. It was the first time I wore my hiking boots in 2017. It felt so good. I am not a winter adventurer, we get out a bit but not in the way we do in the summer. This year I have been a complete hermit and am officially suffering from cabin fever.
This week I really noticed that the days are getting longer. It is 8:30pm and dark but it hasn’t been dark for long. This morning it was bright and sunny. I felt the joy of spring and the new life that is coming as the snow starts to melt.
Since the ground is still snow covered we decided to find somewhere that is best accessed in the snow. I read a great blog post on hikingnb.ca about Parlee Brook Amiptheatre and Friar’s Nose which is near Sussex Corner and shortly before Poley Mountain ski hill.
Take the exit at Sussex Corner and head towards St. Martins on Route 111. Stay left / turn left on Waterford Road, following the signs to Poley Mountain.
Take a right on Parlee Brook Road (after approximately 6km), which turns into a dirt road after 2.5km. Then keep straight until you see the Arnold’s Hollow Road. It will seem longer than it should and like you might have missed the turn but you will see it on the right but before a funky little house that looks like a hobbit house out of lord of the rings! There is also a little bridge just past the funky house so if you pass over that you know you have gone too far.
A car stopped as we were getting out of the car and advised us to move our car because vehicles drive in and out of Arnold’s Hollow Road. He told us that when they drive out they often slip and can run into those cars parked on the road. Better to be on the other side of the bridge or well before the road – just in case. What great advice!
Parlee Brook Ampitheatre
The sun was shining and we headed up the Arnold Brook Road. The snow was hard packed and icy but there was some snow cover which allowed for a little traction. I would suggest taking a set of crampons or ice grippers, my boots are a bit slippery and they would have been really helpful.
The trail starts on the road and in total is about 3km in to the amphitheatre. It is easy to follow and just goes straight to the spot. The walk was beautiful. We passed a frozen lake and what looked like a beaver dam in the lake, I love thinking about a little family of beavers living in there and just waiting for the spring thaw.
As you get past the lake you move into a canyon and the sun was shining on the snow and through the trees.
All of a sudden at the end the snow is replaced by ice that cascades down the top of all of the rock cliffs above. It is like a circle of waterfalls frozen in place.
We decided to hit the amphitheatre first and then up to Friar’s Nose on the way back. Heading in the trail is about 1km from the entry to Arnold Brook Road and is on the left. It is well marked with orange trail tape. There was an earlier trail on the other side of the road which was also marked with orange tape, we didn’t follow it and although we are not sure where it goes it does not go to Friar’s Nose.
The trail is easy to follow and appears to be well used. The trail is steep in points but nothing overly strenuous. When you get to the top you can see a long way, and the view is breathtaking.
It was well worth the trip. Definitely a must see.
The trek was about 8km total start to finish. We both felt that it was a little short, but we love a long day of hiking. If we were going to do it again I probably would have sought out something 3-4km to add on just to round out the day. That being said this was just a gorgeous spot and definitely worth bundling up and getting out in the snow!
As you will see if you follow my hikes we have a ritual that after we hike we grab a beer. When we are somewhere remote we will often take a couple of beer in a cooler. This time we decided to pop in to the restaurant at Poley Mountain ski hill for lunch.
We have eaten there a few times when we were skiing. I have to admit the service is pretty bad and the food is typical ski lodge, burgers and onion rings. That being said the beer was cold and a pitcher of beer was only $12!
What a great way to kick off the season!