I have to say that spending two weeks at sea level does not make returning to walking at 5000+ ft in altitude a walk in the park. Add to that that it was blueberry season at my destination, meaning that it was blueberry-dessert-everything and you can understand how a little damage was done.
…and the fresh, warm blueberry pie (made with wild, low bush berries), vanilla ice cream and blueberry sauce at Mo’s restaurant and hostel in Five Islands, Nova Scotia simply could not be resisted.
…so I was willing to pay the price of indulging…meaning that today’s walk up the easier route to The M was…well…let’s just go with I made it.
Back to my homeland of Nova Scotia and a terrific day spent with my NS buddy, Etta. She and her husband are great explorers and they’ve covered a lot of the Chignecto Cape area of the province that until recently, was mostly ignored by visitors. Even now, with more services available and wonderful restaurants such as the Wild Caraway (see more later) few tourists take the time to go to this out-of-the-way area.
However, Etta and I are native Bluenosers, so we planned a day, which involved driving, walking, eating, more driving, museuming, and then more driving..oh, and more food.
At Etta’s suggestion, we headed to Advocate Harbour where, slightly beyond, the Cape Chignecto point has become a fairly new provincial park. We were headed to the McGahey Brook trail, which would take us along the coast, then into woods along the brook, uphill and well into the woods, then out to the site of an old homestead and finally back to the parking lot at the park entrance.
We were greeted with the scenery above as we began our walk on the coast. This is the Bay of Fundy side of the province and we had a beautiful day. There’s tremendous history here involving ship building and the province’s fame for wooden ships. The communities that remain from those days are small and some are deserted and I’m hoping that Etta will indulge me again next summer and we’ll walk in to some of those. However, today we carried on, enjoying the tidal action…
…and coming to the entrance of McGahey Brook, which we followed upstream for a bit before beginning a climb up from the sea.
My friend is a botanist and it was a delight to hear the names of so many of the plants still visible, including this one, which of course, I’ve now forgotten the name of…(help, Etta!)…
There was some interesting topography as we walked and we discussed an area that looked like it may have served as a waterway for running logs down to the coast. Or, it could have been a pathway for horses that may have hauled logs. Or, it could be a slump caused by coastal erosion…any one of these theories works.
We came to a road/path that’s likely used for servicing the area, bordered by lush ferns…
…following which we came out at the old homestead. The house and any out buildings are long gone, but the woman was apparently an accomplished flower gardener and there are beds of beautiful perennials, many of which may date back to when this area had inhabitants.
It was time for a snack and we were happy to find a bench for weary walkers with this beautiful view…
Nice place to rest and enjoy and orange and some trail mix!
However, we’re more than snackers and the Wild Caraway was calling our names. We finished our walk and drove back to Advocate Harbour and lucked out in finding an open table at this lovely restaurant.
Yep, that is a plate of fish and chips in front of me and I enjoyed every morsel. The Wild Caraway prides itself in serving local foods, so the fish was from a local fisherperson of Advocate Harbour and the fixings for Etta’s salad were from the restaurant’s backyard garden…
From there we resumed our drive and impulsively turned down a road, which, ultimately we probably shouldn’t have tackled. However, it was signed, so we figured it was drivable, which it was, but let’s just say that we crept along, sandwiched between an intimidatingly deep ditch on one side and a dike on the other and Etta spent a great deal of time walking ahead of me, removing largish rocks from our route. Okay, enough said.
Once back on roads that are meant to be driven on…we continued on to Spencer’s Island, the launching site of the Mary Celeste – a ship with a rather spooky history. We ordered tea to revitalize ourselves and steady our nerves after our off-road adventure and enjoyed looking out at the community’s namesake…
The lighthouse is a tiny museum and inside, above the door someone has displayed this ship-like creation, made with driftwood, shells, beach glass and other items washed ashore.
We continued our drive, arriving at Port Greville and the excellent museum located there that tells the story of the area’s history in ship building. We had a terrific guide – a recent high school graduate who was heading to university in the fall – and who had a thorough understanding of this history. The museum is housed in a former Methodist church and has thousands of artifacts on display – well worth the stop. I took few pictures, but this is one of the entrance to Nova Scotia from New Brunswick, from decades ago, which back then featured a huge relief map of the province. It was gone before I came around, but my parents remember it…it must have been a fantastic intro to the province for visitors.
After this stop we scooted back to Etta’s and, of course, ate again. Some things go without saying.
What a great day this was! This area is so attractive – between the history, scenery and food, it’s really not to be missed if you plan a trip to this eastern province of Canada.
One other outing of our trip that I’ll include here will be of interest to any birders who happen by this blog.
You may know that shorebirds, primarily semi-palmated sandpipers and semi-palmated plovers stop and stay at an area of the Bay of Fundy to stock up their fat reserves before beginning their non-stop migration to South America. You can view these birds at rest in huge flocks at high tide, when they’re pushed up to shore. (They feed on invertebrates in the mudflats that are exposed as the tide goes out and before it comes in again.) The NCC has built a small interpretive centre along the Johnson Mills area of the Bay of Fundy, in New Brunswick. We were a few days late to see the biggest build up, when migrants numbered 120,000, but we were still treated to sights of over 60,000 birds, primarily semi-palmated sandpipers. The little blips that look like pebbles are the birds…
There’s more to show and tell about this beautiful region, but enough for now. I’ll close this post with a likely rare event that we endured this time around…you’ll see the puzzle we completed and if you look above the puzzle, you’ll see the box it came in. Made for an interesting challenge!