In Van Buren we cruised over the Saint John River and followed the lineup of cars at border control. I dug into my overnight bag to locate my passport. They waved me through, and I said goodbye to Freeman and hello to Ross Antworth, general manager of the New Brunswick Federation of Snowmobile Clubs. With the sun starting to set, Antworth quickly led me to a Quality Inn in nearby Grand Falls, our room for the night.
Over dessert, an Acadian specialty of sublime sugar pie, Antworth told me that New Brunswick is home to 7,000 kilometers of groomed snowmobile routes.
“More than 50 percent of the trails are on crown land, under the jurisdiction of the province,” he noted, as compared with the numerous trails in Maine that are on private land.
The next morning, after gassing up at an Irving station, I spotted a rare white ermine digging into the snow. Then we were off and running to once again cross the Saint John, this time on a long railroad bridge that spans the river.
We would spend the morning snowmobiling through dense forest and on logging roads past timber mills. The highlight was Route 19, a narrow railroad bed lined with towering balsams weighted down with a fresh dusting of snow. For lunch, we stopped in the small French village of Saint-Quentin and dined on croque monsieurs while talking with other snowmobilers.
Heading back to the Maine border with the sun beating down, rays splintering through the tall trees, I followed Antworth at a good 60 mile-an-hour clip. All was bliss. My 225-mile weekend jaunt was coming to an end, yet I was in a Zen mode, taking it all in. This is why I live in New England during the harsh winter months, to play outdoors.
Stephen Jermanok can be reached at www.activetravels.com.