Tag Archives: Kouchibouguac National Park

Night Skies

We spent the past few days at Kouchibouguac National Park in New Brunswick, looking out on the relatively warm waters of Northumberland Strait (toward Prince Edward Island).  I’ll let students write about our days.  Here, I’ll just comment on our nights.

Stars.  Wow.  I think this part of New Brunswick participates in a dark-night initiative in which they intentionally minimize the amount of nighttime illumination.  That means fewer bright signs, downward-directed lighting, and dimmer lighting in general.  The effects are spectacular.

For several clear nights in a row, we could see not only the big, bright stars, but even the myriad little ones.  I saw constellations that I haven’t seen in years.  Milky Way?  Oh yeah, bright from horizon to horizon.

Satellites? Oh yeah, 2, 3, and sometimes even 4 satellites could be seen simultaneously, some moving in parallel paths, some in criss-crossing paths.  Some brighter and moving fast, others dimmer (farther away) and moving slowly.

And then of course, there were the shooting stars.  August is a good month for shooting stars in general, and we weren’t disappointed.  On two occasions I saw a flash, rather than a streak, which probably was a shooting star coming almost directly toward us, rather than across the sky; sorry, no photos!

The price for the beautiful night sky was collected by the mosquitoes.  But they were really only bad from 2 hours before sunrise and sunset to 2 hours after sunset and sunset (and sometimes in the middle of the day if the wind wasn’t blowing).  The campfires certainly helped, and the skeeters pretty much disappeared by the time we got to dessert and games of Liar’s Dice.

The academic content is getting a bit thicker about now, with a recent labor-intensive beach transect and a lab report on bedrock fracture patterns due tomorrow.  Fortunately, frisbee on the beach and good food soften the discomfort.  Hard to believe, but they have a mid-term exam (for Climate Change and Glacial Geology) on Friday.

– Johan Erikson

First Day in Canada

Saturday morning, we got up and our objective was to clean out most of our food supplies, because we could not carry most things across the border. We left our “home” at 7:40 and when we had to cross the border into Canada, thankfully they did not have to search the van. However, we did have to wait around for 40 minutes getting our passports checked. We entered Canada at 11 and because of the hour ahead time difference, dinner was at a late hour that night. We had lunch at Saint John, in New Brunswick. We all ate a variety of foods from the public market and a few of us even ate in the park. As we were walking around, we came across people from all over the world that were carving stones and making sculptures out of them. If you ask me, I thought it was pretty neat! Nevertheless, we got back in the van and drove for another 3 hours till we reached out destination in the campground of Kouchibouguac. On our adventures driving there, we almost squashed a Prius, came very close… Once we got to the campground, we had to put up tents, and that was a struggle for those of us who were new to camping. So, yeah that was our day of fun.


-Courtney Couture