A Trip to…’The Other Side’

I’m catching up after a long week, didn’t take the time to reflect and share after last weekends adventure and now as I face a day that is ‘tick of fog’ as they say here, last weekend seems like pages from a book I’ve read rather than an experience I’ve had.  The sunny days enticed us to run away…I often wake and ask my husband, ‘would you run away with me?’   It’s always good to check to see if we have loyal partners in crime before go off to see what the day might bring.DSCN0595 DSCN0593

You have to stand at this spot yourself to truly appreciate the absolute majesty of the sight.  Pete Luckett’s Winery sits above the Bay of Fundy and as you look beyond the bay you will see the point and the lookoff at Blomidon.  Bay of Fundy, home of the highest tides in the world…some places in the bay see an 18 meter change in water levels with the changing tides.  Watching the tides come and go is amazing if you have the time but there is one alternative that I rather enjoy…check this video and see…once again, you have to do it to truly appreciate the power of the tides, the video is the next best thing…..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xaKWjgWJ0l4

The wineries of Nova Scotia are quickly becoming some of the finest and most celebrated in the world.  A trip to Wolfville, Nova Scotia will put you within a rocks throw(in Maritime terms!) of seven or more great vineyards.  The photo I have taken here at Lucketts shows the red telephone box in the middle of the vineyard where they welcome you to call anyone in North America, on their tab!  These vineyards seem a world away from the here and now, mist rising off the vast growing fields, the rolling valley and the bay bellow.  Got your bags packed yet?  Another of my favorite places is ‘The Tangled Garden’…tour the garden, taste their amazing collection of jellies, liqueurs, vinegars, oils and so much more…an intimate feeling experience to be shared with good company….check out their video too..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ts64QdO7GVA

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Yes, it may look like little more than a mud flat but it shows you just how far the water retreats in some places in the bay. This quiet morning horseback ride is only possible for a few hours and many walkers and hikers have found themselves trapped when the tidal water returns.  Spencer and Sable found what appeared to be a weir, supposedly for fishing but that’s just a guess and I’m open, as always, for correction.

The last images I have were taken of a church that had long since fallen to ruin on the road between Blomiden and Cape Split…I’ll share a few photos but I will also indulge myself by sharing a poem that I had published several years ago that spoke to this sort of discovery….DSCN0615 DSCN0605 DSCN0606

If These Walls Could Talk

 

 

Held you were, protected from the storms

Shaded from the blinding rays at midday

Warmed as winter winds preyed upon the land

Dry and safe as spring rains ensued

 

You buried your dead at my doorstep

Birthed your children beneath my eaves

Welcomed your loved ones at my door

Celebrated and mourned in my embrace

 

Standing as you are, so many years past

Wondering at the haste of my demise

Betraying your memories as I ease to the ground

To the bed of moss where I will make my rest

 

Think if you will of the day we last shared

Your life packed in bags as the urban din called

You took all that you desired and left me behind

These passing years my faith and I fell to ruin

 

Now you stand looking through me and I into you

Wishing that heart and home be united once more

But united they were and ever will be

As the earth rises to bring us both home

 

 

C. Norman/2005DSCN0612

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The trail from East River to Goat Lake…finally…

We’ve been talking about this trail all winter, it was our challenge trail at 8.2km a decision had been made long ago to leave home with two vehicles, park one and proceed to the other end of the trail.  I have to say that sometimes I need to learn when to be quiet…’ah come on’ I said, ‘let’s just take one vehicle, reduce our carbon footprint and all that and just walk in part way and save the walk in from the other end for another day.’  Sometimes I forget how stubborn and curious we both are, this was one of those times.  We parked at East River Sunday April 27th at 10:45am, a beautiful, cloudless, warm spring day and set out with the promise of a new adventure.  I will say that even from the beginning I seemed to know what was ahead as we admired the view and the nicely groomed trail, ‘I wonder how we’ll feel when we see this coming back?’…but in my mind, there was no question.  I tend to walk until I’m tired, never considering the return path, this was no exception.  DSCN0588 DSCN0592

The first part of this trail is lovely and easy to walk, the finely crushed gravel and wide path allow you to see well ahead as you walk and it’s not long before the sound of fast moving water lulls you into an easy rhythm of pace.  You quickly travel beneath the 103 at this point.  A small wooden bridge over the fast moving river with a quick drop in levels beneath the bridge is found early in the walk.  The trail continues to Labrador Lake after what I am guessing is a little less than 2km you will find a picnic table next to the base of the lake that allows for a great view and a chance for the more sane walker to have a snack or a drink of water then turn around and enjoy the nice walk back.  Not being more sane walkers, we moved along finding that a short time after this break the trail is covered with more coarse rocks and for those of us with old, hard bottomed hiking boots that have not worn out in ten years, is a bit more challenging.  DSCN0574 DSCN0571 DSCN0572

The trail takes you to the head of the lake and beyond through the woods, a place well traveled by those on ATV’s but we saw very few footprints in the occasional muddy puddle beds.  Slowly you make the turn and travel back in a southeast direction with a few marshes along the way.DSCN0580 DSCN0583 DSCN0584

Ok so we were both getting pretty tired at this point but they say curiosity killed the cat, not this time, the cat was at home well relieved not to be along as we continued along the trail ever curious of what was around the next bend in the road.  I cannot even say that it was one of us more than the other who engaged in this behavior, we both looked at the rocky path as it sometimes turned more than 1km in the distance and nobody blinked as we continued.  Sitting on rocks and stretching our toes, occasionally enjoying a wedge of apple and a drink of water, we moved on wondering just how far along the trail we had progressed until we saw this….DSCN0582…the overpass for the 103 highway and we were pretty sure that Goat Lake wasn’t far, and although neither of us said it we also knew that the walk back was going to finish us for the day.  Just past the highway overpass we saw an older lady on a bicycle who seemed very much out of breath.  She asked how far we had walked and grinned when we told her….then when asked how far Goat Lake was she replied, “oh it’s along way yet!’  Not long past this we turned around and began the long trail back to the car. The only people we saw in the depths of the walk were a few ATVs, not one soul on foot.  It wasn’t in fact until we got back to the picnic table that we saw fellow walkers smiling as I removed my boots and wiggled my numb toes in the sunshine.  I also have to tell you that our dog is much more intelligent than her companions were.  It was early on in the day that she began to stop and stare in the opposite direction, obviously questioning our sanity and wishing that she were at the car awaiting our return.  DSCN0579We returned to the car at 3pm after having broken an otherwise perfectly good dog, we, in fact, felt a little broken ourselves.  No regrets, we do bounce back much better than we used to before we began these walks and the next day it was quickly converted to a happy memory but for the scorching sunburn on the back of my neck, which continues to plague me.  All in all, it is a great walk and I’d do it again…will I see you along the way?

Oakland Rd to Narrows Basin on a Flawless Evening…

Let’s face it, we could all use an after dinner stroll, but last evening, with a perfect blue sky and a warm breeze we were on this section of the Dynamite Trail, just northeast of Mahone Bay, all by ourselves and it seemed a shame.  Don’t get me wrong, we like to quietly wander along these paths looking for hints of green and listening for peepers but I also wish that more of you were making the most of these trail systems.  I have come to notice that my mind is quiet on these walks, gone is the tax season banter, any worries that plague me during the rest of my day…in fact, as an experiment I tossed up a current concern and it ran off the side of my grey matter like water off of a Sou’wester, it’s bliss!  These level, perfectly groomed trails are the tonic for life, the remedy for sleepless nights, so many nagging ailments and imbalances, you can even forget about your mother in law for awhile!  DSCN0558 DSCN0555 DSCN0556 DSCN0557I think we’ve all seen evidence of spring around us but I could not help but share this bit of green I found on the trail, the evening sun shining off the coast and the ducks shifting out of the grass on the shore into the open water, I only wish the scent of the path in spring would come through so I could share it too.

Awake, thou wintry earth –
Fling off thy sadness!
Fair vernal flowers, laugh forth
Your ancient gladness!
~Thomas Blackburn

DSCN0562 DSCN0558 DSCN0559 DSCN0560 DSCN0561Our region, our province is waking from a long and rather more snowy than usual winter and if there was ever a time for celebration this is it!  I have mentioned it before but in my years in tourism I spoke to many travelers who believed that these trails were some of the best they had seen in the world.  You cannot tell me that you know the region or the province until you have parked your car and walked or biked along these trails or through the back woods in every season.  You cannot tell me that you have done everything you can to improve your outlook on life and your state of mind until you have carried your own weary body along these quiet trails.  I cannot help but think about how wonderful it must have been to take the train over this terrain to Shelburne, Yarmouth, Digby…around the loop and back to the city.  DSCN0564 DSCN0562 DSCN0563

I do love my quiet walks but it would be a pleasure indeed to meet you along the trail.  We could wink at each other with the sense of having found a secret spot, an escape from the darker parts of the mind…see you soon…..

 

 

Let’s Dance Nova Scotia, West Mabou Edition!

I have been out on the trails and enjoyed many great walks since last posting, the Dynamite Trail is clear and wonderful as are most of the regional trails.  You’ll find a speck or two of snow in spots where no sun can break through even the bare trees, which says a lot about the dense woods on some of these trails.  On these walks, being eager to get out, I’ve either forgotten my camera or left with a camera with dead batteries….I’m at that awkward age where my brain is not always fully connected, so be patient.  Today there is a thin layer of slush on the ground and I have been voluntarily house bound but it gave me time to think about my goals with this forum.  You may have noticed my great love for the province of Nova Scotia,  and indeed it is what motivates me to share these images, thoughts and stories…but I cannot limit myself to woodland trails.

Today’s theme?  Let’s dance Nova Scotia!  I want to share with you a piece I had published a few years ago in the hope that it will inspire travel around the province, for residents as well as travel to our province by all those who cannot resist her charms!  Go on then, indulge me here…..and just to set the scene, for those of you who have never been, here’s a shot of West Mabou Beach, oh and my own Hairy Highlander enjoying the view…..OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Gypsy Heart in West Mabou

‘Have you ever been to Mabou?’  I’ve been asked many times and, unknowing my reply has been yes.  The fact is I’ve been through Mabou, I’ve stopped for lunch and a pint, but until the third weekend of August 2005 I had never really experienced Mabou.

We needed a few days away, time to let life go. A notice found for a dance in West Mabou became the base for our plan of escape.  Howie MacDonald and Mac Morin were playing at the hall in West Mabou on August 27th.  Spencer, my partner, had told me stories about Howie, stories of younger days and foolish fun, but it was always said that he was a great musician, and this was my first chance to see him play.  We decided to drive over from our home on the trail at the North Shore on Friday night and pitch a tent for a couple of nights.

A quiet Friday evening and a perfect Saturday morning as we sat above West Mabou beach at 7:30am then drove to Port Hood to wander, knee deep in water, half way to Port Hood Island.  We spent the day wandering and took our time going up to the dance, being from the other side of the island we didn’t want to be the first folks in!  By 9:30 we had parked next to the hall and found our way to the door.  As we paid admission we were asked where we were from and given the sage advice of finding a seat close to the front if we wanted to truly experience the dance as it would fill up early. We took a seat and surveyed our surroundings.  The dance was dry, a family event, but there was a canteen with pop and homemade treats for sale.  The seating was indeed limited but what Spencer noticed first was the dance floor, simple plywood, well finished, one of the best, he noted, for dancing.

We had taken a table that would have seated six and soon two ladies found their way to us and introduced themselves.  They asked where we were from, what brought us here. They also asked if we went to dances in our community.  Spencer and I have frequented the dances in Washabuckt and Iona, where I have family, and he is from Ingonish and has spent many years taking in events all over the area.  When I mentioned having family in the Washabuckt area the more talkative of the two women perked up and asked if I was a MacKenzie or a MacNeil. Indeed I am related to both families and as it happens she had worked with my mothers first cousin, the late Charlie MacKenzie many years before.  She shared a few stories and we felt more at home all the time.  Engaged in conversation we hadn’t noticed that the hall was now full to overflowing, bench seats, chairs and available leaning space was even at a premium.

We also didn’t notice Howie and Mac as they came to the stage.  Tuning for a moment then into a tune as Howie made the first draw of the bow across the strings and the floor was full!  A mass exodus from the seats to the floor, I had never seen anything like it. No coaxing or waiting out the first couple of tunes, they were here to dance, and dance they did.  Young, old and all range of ability joined hands, always mindful of the ever increasing numbers joining into the set.  No complicated moves, nothing over organized, just a celebration of each persons ability and expression, every one of them appreciated and recognized.  Whether light of foot or just able to stay on their feet, each one enjoyed the chance to be a part of the dance, of the community, of the time.

I felt very much like a child witnessing a life changing event, a butterfly shedding its cocoon, the first snow of the season, the understanding of what community really means.  As they danced, one tune to the next, I was overwhelmed and felt a tear in the corner of my eye and rushed to brush it away. They would think I was foolish. Where did I come from that a summer dance in Mabou had struck such a chord with me as to bring me to tears?  Had I never witnessed this ritual?  I do not wish to offend those with whom I have attended dances in the past, a good time was had by all at each one.  What I do want to say is that this was different.

Not being from Mabou I can only speculate on what made this event so different.  In fact I am not from Cape Breton at all, it is my mother who was born here and it was my roots in Cape Breton and Newfoundland that drew me back.  For one perfect evening I did not feel like I was from away.  I wondered if the people of Mabou had suffered more hardship in their history that had drawn them closer together.  Every community here on Cape Breton is losing inhabitants, perhaps Mabou has lost more than their share and have even more reason to celebrate their return in summer.  Not much of a theory considering the observation of licence plates from Ontario, Massachusetts, New York.  But hey, where have you been that you haven’t found a transplanted Cape Bretoner?

The sets continued interrupted by the occasional promenade which involved every soul on the floor, the length of the hall.  Occasionally the lights would come up giving the more adventurous dancers the chance to showcase their ability as the crowd drew to the sides and individuals took the floor much to the delight of the crowd.  The younger dancers watched their feet, the voices of teachers in their heads.  The more practiced folks, who had learned on kitchen floors by trial and error, stepping lightly in loose easy steps.

I’m a bit of a gypsy, a lifelong traveler but each trip whether up the road or over the ocean gives us a glimpse of life from someone else’s eyes.  That Saturday night I was treated to a glimpse of life from my own eyes, that struck my heart and changed the way I see each place name on the map of Cape Breton.

Thank you to the people of West Mabou, those who live there year round and those who stop for a night.  Thank you from a gypsy heart…….

 

http://www.mabouvillage.com/dances–ceilidhs.html

Happy Bunny Day!

We could not ask for a more beautiful day here in Nova Scotia, a perfect, cloudless, blue sky and 10C…although the wind is keeping the air a little on the brisk side.  I’ll be a woman of few words today…I will share the days path with you.  We had missed a part of the trail going into Chester from just before Marriots Cove off #3 Hwy and today was the day to remedy this.  Now I have to say..and I know that I say it so very often…what a beautiful trail!!  Parking next to the highway, there is limited space at this end of the trail but there is a parking lot in Chester if you were to do it from that direction.  From Marriots Cove to Chester is 3.1km and another half km or so to #3, so return trip is about 7km.  The path has my favorite treatment, fine gravel and sand, the best for walking.  You cross the road at Marriots Cove headed northeast and there is a fine view of the water from there…then though lovely dense woods past a few beautiful estates by the water and on until you come out on a trail high above the back harbour in Chester.  The view here is beautiful, above Heislers and Stevens wharf and out to the harbour mouth.  We found only one short spot with some built up ice, two minutes worth of walking, everywhere else is snow and ice free, even up into the woods and beyond.  It was good to see a few folks along the way, out with anxious, playful dogs, ready to shake off the chills of winter.  Now our dog was another story, she was happy to start but it might have been too much of a challenge for her so early in the season.  On our return to the car the back door was opened and rather than launch herself into the back seat she eased onto the running board one paw at a time then one paw at a time onto the back seat…we’re all getting older.  Some people get bunnies and eggs today, we got a walk….we have seen too many years of bunnies and eggs…DSCN0554 DSCN0541 DSCN0542 DSCN0543 DSCN0544 DSCN0546 DSCN0547 DSCN0548 DSCN0549 DSCN0551 DSCN0552 DSCN0553

Salt air, wet ground and dazzling sunshine!

Famous words were these, ‘feet on ground, heart in hand’….and so it was that I stepped into the brisk breeze of a spring morning and for the first time truly believed that the ground offered herself to me, totally and fully, for an extended period of adventure and bliss.  There are a few trails that are still partially adorned in crystal grains of ice and snow and I can accept that, but for now, southwestern Nova Scotia is ready to be explored and admired!  My last thought last evening as I faded off to sleep was that after two steaming cups of coffee we would set out along the coastal highway to Hubbards and complete the process of waking up on Queensland Beach….have a look and tell me that this was not a brilliant idea!Anne 329 Anne 326 Anne 327

Back along #3 highway to Graves Island, high, dry and exposed to spring sun over many days it was sure to be perfect, and it was.  I have never been as addicted to anything as I am to the trails of our province.  I’m generally the sort who will go out for a walk but is more prone to moaning about than anxiously plotting and planning the night before, even I am shocked at the change.  We had one perfect day today, clear blue skies, the rays of low lying spring sunshine dancing off a calm sea and a daytime high of about 11C, not bad for March 30th.  I also have evidence to show that there are green things trying to emerge from the ground and tiny tight buds that may still shudder in the cool breezes, but it’s all promise.  Anne 345 Anne 333 Anne 335 Anne 336 Anne 339 Anne 340 Anne 343 Anne 344

If you live in this ocean paradise (yes I said it, it’s not tropical but it’s diverse and inviting and a wonderful place to live) I hope that these images, perhaps a few of my words and thoughts, will encourage you to take to the trails and paths around you.  For those of you who are not so fortunate as to make your home here, what are you waiting for?  We love visitors, who wouldn’t with all we have to share and show….this place will become your escape, your go to place in times of strife and even perhaps your new home. If on your journey you come across a big, tall, middle aged redhead, smile and nod or even offer a hug, I love hugs!

Let’s focus on March 14th shall we?

Yes indeed….wasn’t yesterday a doozey?  The best part about this is that I recognized this fact from early morning and quickly developed a plan to take full advantage of it.  ‘Carpe  diem’ as they say, the day indeed needed seizing and capture in a bottle so we could savor it on days like today and a few more that might follow.  Wednesdays rain washed away all the last hints of winter, very temporarily in fact and Thursday morning was spring personified!

I’m a little old fashioned, or what they now call environmentally friendly so my first task was to fill my clothesline with wash, admittedly I do this all winter but a fine day works so much better.  Once that was completed I put my plan into play.  I’ve learned not to inform my husband about outings too far in advance, very much like one of our four legged family pets, once he knows the score there will be no consideration to tie ones hair in a fashionable knot or fuss over the best hiking boots for the day.  I made this mistake Monday and he was standing by the door with the dog about 5 minutes after I mentioned going for a walk saying, “are you coming or not?”  I am a woman at that, shall we say awkward age, although men think that woman are always at that awkward age…my reply was ,”go on then, I’ll go later.”  He waited but the first half of the walk was a little quieter than usual.  I’m as far from high maintenance as a woman can get, but I do need a moment or two to make myself presentable.  With this in mind I got up and got all my chores and primping done before saying, “I’m headed out toward Liverpool, stopping at a few beaches along the way to walk and play then going down to finally see the new Whitepoint Lodge.  If you’d like to come along the dress appropriately.”   Ohhh that felt good!  Better yet…it worked a treat!

Besides this lead in you will find that this post is more of a photo essay with a few short notes….Cressent Beach was beautiful but a little cool and windy, Rissers Beach was a little more protected and the boardwalk was beautiful, as always.  Beach Meadows had the best surf of the three and the view from the rocks on the southern end of the strip was stunning.  White Point was very impressive too…I will admit that I did not take photos there, there are already so many online, but the new lodge, while having hints of the previous structure is a new and marvelous reincarnation and the surf there was inspiring too!  We walked a lot, in fact, we wore out a once perfectly good dog…a squirrel could have danced on her face last evening and she wouldn’t have twitched a whisker!DSCN0516 DSCN0481 DSCN0482 DSCN0484 DSCN0485 DSCN0486 DSCN0488 DSCN0492 DSCN0495 DSCN0496 DSCN0498 DSCN0500 DSCN0501 DSCN0502 DSCN0504 DSCN0505 DSCN0508 DSCN0512

I have itchy feet, it’s not something that I am able to get medical treatment for it’s a condition that comes with daydreaming about long luxurious walks on the best walking trails in Canada!  I am checking my beloved trails on a nearly daily basis, taking short challenging walks over heavy slush and melting ice under the canopy of trees that I once loved but now have begun to loathe as it protects this mess from the nearly springlike sun that might compromise it’s hold on the ground.

March 10th, 2013 I could take no more, my husband, our canine companion and I set out on one of our longer trails, Northfield Rd toward Blysteiner Lake.  Our thoughts were that the open fields might offer clear walking for distance..if we could get to them through the slush and snow…we did!!  As I had mentioned before the parking for this part of the trail is found by turning right on Station Road just before the quick left hand turn in Northfield Rd and travelling a short distance, 100yds or so then turning left into the unmarked parking area.  First glance after parking was not promising…I will admit.  This part of the trail has a rather unusual cover of what appears to be ground tires or shingles, I should find out what it is actually and between the heavy slush and melting ice with this black substance churned into it I was ready to call it a day, but my itchy feet won out as they took off ahead of me under stiff protest from my head.  A stretch of mess followed by the dry patch while crossing Northwest Rd then more snow, slush and water mental protests until finally we could see the opening into the field and the dry gravel base, I swear I heard a choir of angels singing at this point!  Just before we got to the open field three deer ran across the path in front of us..my husband turning to me with the camera around my neck asking if I got it…oh yeah, I got it mentally but it would not be captured to share.

The next stretch was bliss, sheer uninterrupted joy as far as the eye could see, a trail that had quite simply been waiting for us to arrive and discover it’s progress toward our next season of walking.  The fields and marshes around us showed varying levels of winter recovery  but all I could think was how beautiful they would be when the marsh grass stood tall and the birds and creatures returned in a few weeks.  We have a week of fine weather ahead and by fine I mean above the freezing mark with sun, rain and wind, the forerunners of spring indeed!  I have few doubts that in a week or two I can show you a less challenging path or two and perhaps even a few buds and bits of greenery along the way.  I am hoping that these little messages are embedding themselves in your mind and you too are anxiously awaiting spring and a chance to share these trails with us.  You might, at first think it is much nicer to stay at home with a book or the TV but trust me, once you get out and try these trails you’ll be hooked just like me….don’t laugh, it’s true!March10-7 March10 March10-2 March10-3 March10-4 March10-5 March10-6

Time Travel & Promise…

I’m taking liberties, as I’m apt to do at times. This month is like a bag of cats, shaken not stirred and most entirely unpredictable,  my son said it best ‘Go home March, you’re drunk!’  I want to tell you about the part of the trail that starts in Chester Basin between #3 and #103 at the #9 exit to the 103.  I’ve been on this trail lately and it is not someplace to be admired by lovers of winter and snow and neither is it marked by the promise of spring….it is, quite simply, messy and challenging.  I want to show this trail to you as it was in the late fall of 2012, so you can see what it has to offer.  I will return to it in spring in an effort to expose it’s virtues as the ground warms and the ice and slush recede. There is easy parking at this portion of the trail, very near the church on the southwest side of the road and although the path is lovely and wooded to the north east I will show you the southwest trail right now.

I was certainly surprised to find that after parking the car and setting out on foot we immediately came upon an outdoor workout centre.  What seems to be custom welded and sturdy equipment, anchored in concrete and available for anyone who might want to stretch or raise their heart rate in lieu of or before or after their walk.  I had never seen something like this in such an out of the way spot and I thought it was amazing.  The trail beyond this is lovely and wooded and just far enough away from the homes and buildings that you can get lost in the wilderness but still hear hints of civilization around you, you’d never get lost on any of these trails that’s for sure!   My favorite part of this walk is the bridge that carries you over Gold River, a beautifully remodeled trestle bridge that gives you a stunning view of the river valley bellow and the two highways on either side in the distance do nothing to take away from the wonder of the structure and the vista it provides.  These portions of the trail are well marked for distance and I can tell you that from what they call ‘the playground’ to the Gold River Bridge is 2.1 kms…I love the wayfaring markers that have been used here, so much nicer than guessing.  I have a habit of going until I’m exhausted without taking into account that the return trip will leave me done in…but the further I go the further I want to go.  We like to go beyond the bridge toward Western Shore and it is some time before you get into populated areas so it’s well worth carrying on.

Once again I return to the topic of our unpredictable weather…looking ahead at the weather forecast I very much think that the trails will bare up in most places in the next week or so.  There will be areas that are well protected by the woods that will hold their packed ice for a bit longer but in the meantime I keep an eye on our paths and I look very much forward to the presentation of the promise of spring and warmer seasons….you’ll be the first to know!#9 to Bond CB 8 #9 to Bond CB 1 #9 to Bond CB 2 #9 to Bond CB 3 #9 to Bond CB 5 #9 to Bond CB 6 #9 to Bond CB 7

Spring is in the air…really, I can feel it!

I’ve continued to wander out onto the trails but my longing for the fine gravel base that graces many of these paths lingers like a toothache.  I took these photos on the trail that runs from Mahone Bay to Blockhouse a few days ago, before yesterdays heavy rain, so the paths may have reincarnated themselves since this.  This was a solid crust of snow where I left no footprints behind but I could see the tracks of a walker from late the previous day when the sun was on the path and his were wet and pronounced.  In fact so were those of a deer whose tracks were beside his….having just read a great little book out of Norway,’ Doppler,’  about a man and his moose and having had a little experience with the human traits of these creatures myself I will admit to wondering if they were walking together!  This trail is wonderful and there is easy parking just off the #3 highway on the tight turn in town where the antique shop is.  Just go straight on the road at the turn and park at the side of the road beyond the shop or in the parking area to your left next to the power pole.  The trail leads in behind the shop and comes to a T where you can turn right to take the trail behind Mahone Bay through the top of town and into the woods, it’s beautiful or you can go left through some of the most beautiful woods towards Blockhouse.   The trail is bordered by soft white pines  and meanders through the woods and over the road you have just parked next to a short distance up.  Continuing on this is a great place to get lost in thought and you don’t really know where you are until you come out to the back of the ball field in Blockhouse then just above the crossroads at Blockhouse at the #11 exit to highway 103.

This trek through uneven snow and ice packed base takes a little longer, but perhaps that is just my take on it….but it’s a quiet trail even on the best of days and a great place to think or not think at all if that’s the break you need at the moment.  I have faith that this snowy base is on it’s way out.  The fact is that much of the grass around my home is bare once again, it gets an occasional dusting of snow that disappears in a few hours and the crusty banks that have been created by plows are slowly liquefying as well.  I find it amusing to watch weather forecasts from central Canada that speak of great storms in the Maritimes, blustery winds and heavy snow that I often cannot seem to see from here. The south shore has had the worst winter since I have moved here in 2007, we joke about never having to clear snow but that changed this year, it came late and stayed for a couple of weeks but we often miss out on much of what is being touted in these ominous forecasts.   I asked my husband if he realized how different the climate and the seasons were at this end of the province before he moved here from Cape Breton and I was not surprised to hear that he did not.  The south shore enjoys a bit of a micro climate, a longer growing season, longer fall and spring and it seems most assuredly due to the water and well hey, the fact that we are what we are, ‘the south shore!’  The entire southwest region is dotted with wineries(I will expand on this in the spring when everyone should be making a trip to see us for a wine tour!), orchards and farmland.  I have planted grape vines, cherry trees, rhododendrons, holly and honeysuckle with great success since moving here.  This is not the place to be if you are looking for great snowshoeing, cross country skiing or tobogganing…. while it may happen these toys are not worth the investment if you are a permanent resident.

So prepare yourself because my not too far in the future posts will be accompanied with photos of bare ground and budding trees…ok I may get in one or two posts before I can show you some buds but believe me, I will photograph the first one I see and share it with you within the hour!!  What are you waiting for?  Get out and walk if you’re here already….or begin the plans for your next trip to Nova Scotia…we haven’t seen you in awhile and we’re beginning to worry!!Mahone Bay to Blockhouse trmb trmb1

 

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