Prince Edward Island is a place like no other, and there is no better way to discover this place than to experience things hands on. The most unforgettable summer memories don’t just happen, they’re made, and at Red Rock Adventure Company, we want to help you make a memory to last a lifetime with one of our guided tours.
Situated at the beautiful Naufrage Harbour, we are fortunate to be able to show travelers from across the country and around the world how to make their very own dirt shirts. It is a unique slice of Island life which has been a proud (if not messy) tradition for generations.
It seems so simple, right? Grab a shirt, get it dirty, and let Nature do the rest. Not quite! The formula for making a dirt shirt is a little more complicated than that. It all starts at our shop, where we supply you with the shirt, a bike, and everything else you need to get rolling. All that you need to bring is a good pair of shoes and a sense of adventure!
Departing from our shop you’ll be led by our friendly tour guide as you leave the harbor and head for the beach. It’s less than a kilometer down to Cow River beach, and as you cycle down the dirt road toward the shore you will be greeted by a splendid view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Shorebirds are a common sight here, as are eagles, and as the river spills over the sand towards the sea you’ll be sure to catch a glimpse of the wildlife from atop the cliff.
From there we head down to the beach, destined for the rocky sandstone outcroppings which provide the location for our secret ingredient: red Island clay. And this is the key to the whole experience; although all Island “dirt” is red, it takes something special to make a lasting dirt shirt. The soil from a farmer’s field, or even that from a dirt road just won’t cut it. It will make a mess, but it won’t do much more than that.
On the contrary, the slippery clay which seeps out of the sand stone cliffs in just a few locations is the real deal. It is concentrated, potent, and hard to find. Don’t be fooled by other products posing; our shirts are the only ones hand made with real dirt in the great outdoors.
After a short hike to the cliffs, it’s time to get messy. Your guide will show which clay will work best, and how to find it. He’ll point out the best hidden reserves, and how to avoid just plain old dirt. Once you’ve found a spot, your artistic side takes over. The premise is simple: anything that is clean needs to get dirty. Our guides have learned a few tips and tricks which they’re always happy to share, but if you’re making a mess, chances are you’re on the right track.
The front and back of your shirt needs to be well covered in equal measure for best results, and it is crucial not to miss any spots. Patterns, designs, and tie-dye style can all be applied too. After both sides are covered, the shirt needs to be rinsed to prepare for the second stage. This is where things get really fun. You need to wade into the warm water of the Atlantic and rinse the shirt until the water dripping from it runs clean.
This will leave you with a pretty good shirt, but it isn’t finished yet. It’s time for a second round of clay, and this is the finishing round. The clay needs to be ground in well, and it should spread smooth, like peanut butter. Once you think it’s ready, spread it out nice and neat on the rocks to let it bake in the sun. It doesn’t take long for the color to set in. When your guide gives you the OK, it’s time to take it back into the water and wring it clean once more.
When everyone is finished we head back up to the bikes, dirty, wet, and fulfilled. From there it is a scenic bike ride back to the harbor, not more than a mile, where you ride downhill into Naufrage, cycling past the beach and over the harbor bridge, catching a glimpse of Island scenery at its finest.
All of this is messy business, and you can’t be afraid to get dirty. It’s fun for the whole family, whether you’re young, or young at heart, and is a great experience for groups of any size. Best of all, it leaves you with a lasting souvenir of your trip to Prince Edward Island, something unique which can’t simply be bought at a store.