The Flower Pots of Hopewell Cape
Updated: Feb 21
There are many dimensions through which we can explore.
One is through space and another is through time.
The Flower Pots of Hopewell Cape allow us to do both of those.
Hundreds of millions of years ago this little corner of New Brunswick sat and developed in another part of the Atlantic near the Equator.
The forces of those times are almost unimaginable for humans to envision. Rarely would we have the opportunity to witness even a small fraction of the geological upheaval that was taking place back in those times.
Our mountains, our valleys, our rock faces, and even the small pebbles at our feet can tell us amazing stories of the past, if only we could interpret their clues.
So it is very easy to understand that the story of the Flower Pots of Hopewell Cape is one of both amazing force of continents colliding, tectonic plates moving, and glaciers passing, and also the slow and unstoppable passage of time and erosion.
When two continents collided those many hundreds of thousands of years ago, the resulting mountain range towered above the others. Over time, within the Caledonia Highland Mountain Range, wind and weather slowly shifted bits of shale and sandstone down into the valley below. With compression, the accumulated materials became rock formations, which comprise what we now see as the Flower Pots.
The still relatively young planet, as many teens do, went through a period of upheaval, resulting in a slight tip to the layers of rock which had formed in the valleys.
The actual mountain structure had also moved to the north through the shifting of tectonic plates, leaving the warm, dry climate of the equator to arrive at, and become, this part of New Brunswick.
A different climate, with rain, ice, the passing of glaciers, and the unrelenting carving created by the constant tides has resulted in the magnificent Flower Pots of Hopewell Cape, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Our journey through New Brunswick was lightning fast--far too fast. We had gone to visit family and left a little time for sightseeing. Of course, the Flower Pots were high on our list of places we wanted to visit. However, connecting the dots across the province only left us determined to return again, and again. But for now, we were here and we were racing with high determination to visit this world-renowned place.
We had a fair sense of the importance of getting there when the tides were low. The high tides of the location make timing visits very important. When you arrive makes the difference of whether you can walk on the ocean floor among the Flower Pots, or whether you can sit on the observation deck and look at the nearby ocean with some cute little islands bearing a collection of conifers (which are actually the flower part of the Flower Pots).
The arrival portion of the visit, parking, admission and then the long but lovely walk to the stairs, and then the stairs themselves which lead down to the ocean floor, all take time to get through, but then you are there.
Looking down from one of the viewing platforms, the Flower Pots look a little like giant figures paused on the edge of the ocean, perhaps looking for something. A legend of the Mi'kmaq people of the area relates that the whales of the Bay of Fundy had enslaved the people of that area, and the rock formations are actually those foolish people who had attempted to escape the area, and were turned to stone as punishment. The message is that you can't escape and you shouldn't try, and anyway, why would you want to?
It was certainly captivating to walk among the Flower Pots. The neighbouring cliffs are also fascinating, with massive dark caves reaching into the depths of the overhanging cliff of soft sandstone and other harder materials. The beautiful soft pink tones of the rock in the area is due to the presence of iron.
The bases of the Flower Pots are a compilation of uncountable bits of stone. Ranging in colours from pink to pale blue to light green, and grey, these tiny pebbles have been glued together over hundreds of millions of years by very flimsy compacted sandstone. It is estimated that the Flower Pots have about 100,000 years left before erosion finally completely breaks them down.
The surrounding ocean floor is deeply layered with more of these infinite tiny bits of rocks, alluding to that which once stood there before. In turn, each of those little bits of stone tell other stories of an age long ago when the world tossed and turned while it grew to become this beautiful planet which we call home.
As we walked among the Flower Pots, we were constantly aware of the ocean and the slow approach of the tide. It was time to go.
The Interpretive Centre delivers realms of data about the region. The most interesting, I thought, was that mastadons once roamed and grazed here.
It is hard to imagine what it was like back then, and before, just as the mastadons, as intelligent as they likely were, would never have been able to imagine us today.
We drove away pleased, and with a hot tip about another nearby destination.
New Brunswick has so much to see, to learn and to experience.