Sunrise Start…

The alarm rang at 4 am, picking up my friend at 4:45 and the drive to West Advocate seemed even more curvy in the dark. We arrived in good time and only waited a couple minutes before our third hiking friend rolled into the parking lot. We set out for the trailhead knowing full well that…

Our packs were on the heavier than normal side because we carried rubber boots, just in case…. Just in case the pinch points along the beach would not be cleared enough for dry passage. Well, suffice it to say: we didn’t need them😁. Yesterday was the lowest tide for the month at only about +30cm and we were willing to chance hiking to visit The Fang, Mermaid’s Cave, Old Sal and Refugee Cove.

The sun soon rose casting amazing light and fully illuminating the 600 m high cliffs and various geological formations along the way. I had hiked this stretch about 11 months ago. This year I was able to take it all in again and take note of significant changes, sure proof of constant environmental changes to the Earth’s climate.

The Cape Chignecto area is easily one of the most impressive places I have ever visited and explored. “The Fang” was bathed in the most favourable light, water falls were dancing from great heights fanning out at beach level to quench our canine companion’s thirst, and the keyhole had doubled in size since last May. I was in a constant state of awe!

I came upon a new cave carved out by tidal action. The opening beckoned to enter, mysterious light illuminating it to the point where I expected another opening inside but there was nothing! The cave does not have a name… yet!

And just a little further along, another new cave. The inner oval waiting to be commanded to slide aside. “Open Sesame” did not work. But what a great discovery!

“Mermaid’s Cave” was barely recognizable! The relentless tides and wind had completely transformed the formerly sandy beach into a field of rubble. Large pebbles were piled up high and we had to climb up into the cave to explore.

Scrambling over rocky beach terrain I was grateful for my trusty hiking boots. We came upon another discovery high up. By the way the light refracted we determined it to be a Quartz seam.

And then we arrived: Refugee Cove was beckoning in all it’s splendour. I called it Middle Earth as it was so full of discovery and wonder. We had hiked approximately 10 km and spent the next hour just exploring.

This rest is vital as the next stretch leads uphill, a steep uphill (500 m) over about 1,100 m to the top of cliff #1. The rewards are spectacular views and early spring flowers. The trail leads through beautiful woodlands with manageable terrain, the elevation changed and eventually we arrived at…

Mill Brook Hill, as they call it, highly understates what comes next. I tried to capture it in pictures but the trail looks like any other uphill path. The “hill” leads up a steep, 2 km long path. “Don’t look up” is good advice as one cannot see the end of it. Just getting into a slow and steady pace, setting one foot in front of the other and perhaps counting to a certain number below 30 is the best advice to receive. Brian counts to 28, my magic number yesterday was 20. We made it! I took it slow, rested regularly and was happy to see how fast I recovered my steady breath.

More tiny flowers sprinkled across the forest floor, spectacular views and directional signs lead the way.

We chose to conclude our nearly 20 km hike with one last stretch of beach. It was where we had started the hike at 6 am just as the sun was slowly cresting on the horizon. Our hike time may not have been as fast as last year but we certainly made many new discoveries and took our time to appreciate the awe-inspiring landscape. Here is a detailed graphic of the terrain we navigated:

A fantastic hike with fabulous, like-minded friends! Happy Earth Day, Anna

3 thoughts on “Sunrise Start…

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