Saint John River, New Brunswick - Blake Stairs
Growing up in a rural area of New Brunswick, water played an integral part in my daily life. As a young boy I was responsible for carrying drinking water from the local spring, and the nearby creek was filled with trout and I spent many hours trying to catch those little critters. However, what captivated me the most was not the lure on my fishing line but the lure of the rapidly flowing St. John River that carried logs to the pulp and paper mill down river to the city of Saint John. During the spring, the river swelled with the melt from the snow, and softwood trees by the thousands were loaded into the river to make their journey down to the Irving Pulp and Paper mill. As a young boy, the sight of these logs floating down the river not only fascinated me, but presented an excellent opportunity. One day, I surmised that I could use one of these logs as a method of transportation, and visit the island that was strategically located in the middle of the river. Disregarding any potential danger from a rapidly flowing river and the chance of a collision with a large spruce tree, a few of my pals commenced with some calculations. How far up river would we have to launch one of the logs, and how hard would we have to flutter kick? Missing the island was not a consideration, we just assumed a safe arrival was possible. Unfortunately, to our dismay, we missed the island and floated aimlessly down river, only to end up in an eddy 1 mile down river. Did we panic, slightly, did we tell our parents, definitely not! Today, the river drive is a thing of the past, for a variety of economic and environmental reasons. But boy, did we have fun!