East Coastal Drive, Day 22 – Miramichi, Forillion National Park

It was still raining in Moncton when we went out for the morning walk. The Bore Park, right outside our hotel room, had plenty of big trees so avoiding rain drops was easy. We were going to stop in Miramichi for a longer walk. On the way I saw a sign for Rexton and it reminded me of coffee.

It was the little independent, drive-thru, Smile a While, that served coffee and bagels. I came here on the way south into New Brunswick. I ordered a large cap and buttered bagel. Serendipity. We came full circle.

In Miramichi, I saw on Google Maps – the Middle Island Irish Historical Site. That sounded interesting. And it looked like a good place for the pugs to walk around. However, it was not open until 11 and we got there at 8:30

I decided to walk with them down the causeway to the park. Later, around 9, an employee opened the gate and drove in. It was a pleasant walk on the causeway along the river. Happy to see about half down and “Dogs Allowed” sign.

The island served as a quarantine station for immigrants in the 19th Century. The town had established residences on the island specifically for that purpose.

The town recognized the need for people to setup farms and contribute, yet also the unsanitary conditions of the ships they came in.

In 1847, as a result of the Irish Potato Famine, large numbers of Irish came to the Miramichi. Many became sick along the way because the “famine ships” provided little care. Disease spread quickly on Middle Island

Typhus and fever broke out on the ship Looshtauk. The captain decided to head for the nearest port – Miramichi. Joseph Cunard (of the Cunard Ship empire) was on the wharf at the time. He lent one of his steamers to tow the ship to Middle Island.

However, those that survived became part of the town’s history. The Irish Cross in the park is a memorial to those who suffered and died.

Today there is an Interpretive Centre, a restaurant, beaches and walking trails. And, there is no charge to enter. We were able to walk around enjoying the morning stillness.

We could have stayed longer but it was still a long drive to Gaspe so we headed out. I didn’t really stop anywhere else except for gas and quick pee breaks and leg stretch. It was overcast when we got to Forillion National Park. There was a lookout over the Gulf of St. Lawrence on our way to the campground.

It looked like rain so I setup camp and stayed by the fire. I figured we would go on a trail in the morning before leaving.