Back in late November, I decided to take the old highway on a weekend trip to Fredericton after one of the first significant snowfalls of the season. While I was driving past the Mactaquac Dam, I could glimpse some of the islands along the St. John River from the corner of my eye and was admiring the winter colours. I often come to Fredericton on weekends to visit my family, and upon arriving at my parents' place, I asked my dad if he would like to backtrack with me along the old highway to try and get a better view of the Burpee Bar Nature Preserve from the waterfront. There are a couple of roads that lead down to the edge of the river close to Burpee Bar, but it is all private property. We talked to some of the residents who were happy to grant us permission to gain access to the water. The first road took us north of the tip of Burpee Bar which didn't offer too much of a view. But on this first descent to the riverbank, we enjoyed watching a flock of Canada Geese.
We tried a second road a little further downriver and met a land owner who was happy to give us a tour. This afforded a great view of the Burpee Bar property. This gentleman was a long time resident of the area and described to us a time when Burpee Bar used to be a popular spot for salmon fishing many years ago. The water level was quite high so there was less of the island showing on the surface. I was quite captured by the frigid deep blue of the water in contrast to the yellow-brown vegetation still showing between pockets of recently fallen snow. It was a beautiful day with a brisk cold wind. But there was still plenty of sunshine casting dark blue shadows across fresh snow.
I've since completed an 18 x 24" painting of some of the interesting shapes carved by the fast flowing water on the northern tip of the island:
This past summer, I had kayaked with a group along the opposite side of the St. John River affording some beautiful views of Sugar Island -- a neighbouring nature preserve. However, our course had bypassed Burpee Bar completely. In the end, I am happy that my first time seeing this site was during the winter. It is very interesting to visit these islands in such contrasting seasons. As the Nature Trust website describes, these are the conditions that the island flora must endure until spring.
New Brunswick Artist and Art Educator