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Taking the long way to Clarke Head

I found out recently that a hiking friend of mine had never explored the shore from First Beach through Second Beach to the Glooscap Campground. We agreed to venture out together and just a couple of days ago I suggested we walk all the way to Clarke Head. I knew he would jump at the offer. Today was the day: the sun was just breaking through the early morning cloud cover as we arrived at First Beach. It was 8:30 and the tide was well on its way out.

The beach terrain continually changes and with each tide the ocean floor is churned. I last walked here New Year’s Day and there were noticeably fewer large rocks. Everything had changed since then!

The cliffs always show off their colours so well on a bright and sunny day!

And each new excursion offers up fresh details and discoveries.

In one direction the Geopark Cliffs and in the distance, across a churning Bay of Fundy, Cape Split.

Our 15 km hike took just under 4 ½ hours. We were moving swiftly, perhaps the stiff breeze propelled us along. The closer we got to Parrsboro and where we parked the car the warmer it became.

What a great way to spend a Friday morning!

General equipment and terrain info: Based on today’s breezy weather and the temperature hovering around -2 C I was grateful for the fleece-lined wind-proof pants over a thermal layer. A merino shirt, polar-fleece lined wind and water-proof jacket and merino neck gaiter helped me to retain body heat. Those who know me also know that I rarely wear a hat. I was truly grateful for my hand-knit toque😁. I wore gloves which eventually worked just fine. At the onset I regretted for not bringing mittens.

The rocky terrain demanded my water-proof hiking boots and for the second half of the hike I even extended my trekking poles. They really helped with balance on the chunky rocks.

I sincerely hope that these posts help some of you with their hiking preparations.

Wishing everyone a fantastic Saturday! Best wishes, Anna

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Snowshoeing 101: Hitting the Trail

I left off with this image yesterday. Today I want to cover just a few basics to help you feel more confident once boots and snowshoes are securely fastened to your feet.

If this is your first time on snowshoes look for fairly flat terrain. With your trekking poles for balancing support try and slowly turn around on the spot by just shifting your feet, one at a time in one direction. Don’t rush, just make slow movements and get comfortable with how the snowshoes feel attached to your feet/boots. Complete at least one full revolution, then reverse your direction.

Next find a snow covered area and practice getting up from a fall. You will fall! Don’t expect never to make contact with the ground. The sooner you know how to upright yourself, the better. Poles will be your best friend as you use them to pull yourself up. Avoid icy sections as pictured in the image above. Snowshoes have substantial cleats but caution is still advised when crossing icy areas. It’s easy to loose control without somewhere to firmly plant your poles. Give yourself time to build skills and confidence.

Respect groomed trails. Groomed trails are often found in public parks and nature preserves and favoured by cross-country skiers. As a snowshoer it’s a good idea to keep to one side. Also try to avoid placing your poles into the ski tracks, it potentially can tear up the smooth tracks and pose a hazard for skiers.

What happens when we encounter skiers or snowshoers? Faster moving outdoor enthusiasts have the right away. Step out of the trail and let others pass. They won’t sneak up on you, skiers and snowshoers approaching from behind will call out to make you aware. Keep your eye out for skiers coming toward you and move aside to make room. If you are still feeling a little unsteady, just step off the trail, stop moving and let the skiers pass completely before you resume your trek.

A word of caution about exploring private land: always obtain permission to avoid misunderstandings and unnecessary confrontations ahead of time.

Navigating hills can be daunting at first. Remember to take shorter steps and get acquainted with how it feels to move uphill or downhill with snowshoes attached. Watch your balance. In most cases you can just keep your snowshoes straight. If the terrain is steeper than what you are comfortable with feel free to step in a herringbone pattern or side-step uphill. Side-stepping downhill is perfectly acceptable. Don’t let people rush you. Move to the back of your group so you don’t feel rushed or self-conscious during a descent. And don‘t forget to use your trekking poles!

This pretty much covers the basics for getting on the snowshoe trail. Snowshoeing is one of the easiest Wintersports to get involved with, a natural progression for hikers. It’s a great way to socialize. Packing a lunch and sharing it in a suitable location is always a good idea. Remember to pack out what you pack in. Food wrappers and beverage containers don’t have a place in the backcountry, beaches or ditches!

The 2023 winter in Nova Scotia has been a bit of a let-down for snowshoers so far. I haven’t given up hope for more snow yet but instead of worrying about the current lack of fluffy white stuff I believe in being prepared. Reviewing some simple and straight forward information on snowshoeing this week will help anyone who plans to get out and enjoy the snow when it arrives sometime in the future.

I hope to see many of you out there sporting snowshoes, trekking poles and big smiles like this group!

What did I forget? Leave your questions in the comment section below and I will do my best to answer them. Happy Friday, Anna

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Snowshoeing 101: Equipment

Have you ever imagined yourself breaking a pristine snow covered trail without sinking up to your knees into the white stuff? You may be interested in trying out snowshoeing. If you love hiking you might enjoy snowshoeing just as much.

When it comes to equipment you may already have everything except the snowshoes. Equipment shops and, as is the case in Nova Scotia, many municipalities rent snowshoes through their recreation department. We are so fortunate here in Parrsboro: snowshoes are available to rent for free for a two week period.

Let’s talk about this equipment: snowshoes come in all sizes. Depending on where you plan to venture you need to consider what best suits you. As a beginner we go to the basic snowshoe and just look at lengths. Be aware that there are snowshoes for children, women and men. And the size you need ultimately depends on weight, that is body weight, outdoor clothing AND the pack you are carrying. I suggest a google search with keywords: men, women, snowshoe sizing chart. It will yield the info you are looking for. For example: 21” snowshoes will accommodate a female with a combined weight of up to 150lbs, 25” snowshoes allows for a combined weight of up to 200lbs.

Above are my 25” snowshoes that have served me well for over 10 years. I recently invested in some adjustable carbon trekking poles for hiking which do double duty for snowshoeing.

It took me a while to make friends with the binding. These days most snowshoes feature a ratchet binding system that is easy to adjust across your boots, the adjustable strap that wraps around the heel varies from a simple silicone strap with securing post to a click in fastener, depending on the brand you decide on. There are pros and cons with either heel strap but one gets used to the mechanics easily.

The question comes up often: what footwear do I need? If you have waterproof hiking boots they meet the requirements spot on. Sneakers, no matter how much you love them, will not work for snowshoeing. A soft winter boot also lacks overall support but may be fine for a short excursion. In my experience participants with inadequate footwear tire easily and don’t find the experience enjoyable.

Let’s move on to some tips on how to attach snowshoes to your boots. It took me several frustrating attempts to get comfortable with my snowshoes. Once I realized that there is a right way to put on snowshoes the sport became much more enjoyable.

And yes: there is a right way to proceed. Start with your dominant foot and step into the binding, lining the ball of your foot up with the front of the binding. Fasten the strap across your toes first. The ratchet mechanism (grey square) easily tightens the strap to the point where the toe section is secure. To release the strap, lift the red square. Another consideration: the straps always point to the outside!! Strap ends facing each other while snowshoeing contribute to tripping, falling or other difficulties.

Lastly tighten the strap across your foot and arch. Bring the heel strap around and pull the silicone strap to the point where it is tight and the post easily slips into the hole. Now guide the strap back and slide it into the provided holder so it doesn’t flop around. (See above image)

If you are not wearing waterproof or snow pants you may want to use leg gaiters to stay dry. When snowshoeing we kick up snow which often clings to our pants and has a tendency to melt. Exercising in wet conditions is not a lot of fun, so protect yourself, stay dry and warm and look for gaiters. The set pictured above are short, full length gaiters reach from just below the knees to the ankle, they hook onto the shoelaces and a strap positioned just in front of the boot heel keeps them securely in place. Here is is an example of what it looks like in use:

What do you wear inside your boots? Stay away from cotton socks. Cotton absorbs perspiration but it does not wick it away from the body. Get yourself wool socks, synthetic socks work in a pinch. If you are a knitter or know someone who knits see if they will make you a pair. Hand knitted merino wool socks sound not only luxurious, they are the best. Once you have tried hand-knit socks you will be hard pressed to wear anything else!

A word about trekking poles: some like them, some don’t, others just use one.

I am flexible with that decision. I always bring both but there are loops on my backpack I can use to fasten them to in case I find they hinder my movement. if you have never snowshoes before I suggest you use them. Trekking poles will aid with balance. On uneven terrain they help us test the ground and if the trail has a lot of elevation differences poles are wonderful.

If you opt to include poles in your hiking and snowshoeing gear look for lightweight options. You won’t regret this! The fact that trekking poles are adjustable make them easy to pack. My poles have clips for quick adjustment, I also have a set that adjusts by simply twisting the section to losen or tighten for height adjustments.

Poles usually come with two sets of baskets. I like the smaller set as they provide a little resistance when snowshoeing or passing through muddy sections.

As always, dress in layers. Wear comfortable pants and outer shell to allow for unrestricted movement. Carry a pack with water, high energy snacks, extra socks and mittens. Mittens are warmer than gloves and remember a hat! We lose more heat than we realize via our unprotected head.

That’s it for today: a primer for snowshoe equipment. Feel free to contact me with questions. Check back tomorrow where I talk a little about the basics on how to break the trail and general trail etiquette.

Happy Thursday! May you be blessed with a fresh layer of snow to embark on a snowshoe excursion, Anna

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First Snowshoe Outing This Winter!

I have made myself available this winter to lead snowshoe or hikes on Wednesday afternoons under the auspices of NSWalks and Cumberland County Rec. The local recreation department has a free lending program for locals and tourists where one can try out snow shoring or cross country skiing without investing their own money in equipment. Many Nova Scotia communities have this program.

I was pleased to see three interested participants meet up with me after lunch. It has really been the first Wednesday this winter that we could actually don snowshoes for the first time: we have a thick layer of the white stuff to test.

The woods we explored are in Parrsboro proper and we all agreed that the snow covered trees lent a certain magic to our outing. Did I create some new snowshoe enthusiasts? The jury is still out on that. I am very proud of everyone who came out and gave this Wintersport an honest try!

It was a beautiful setting for our outing. The forecast for tomorrow is for strong winds and heavy rain. All the more reason for feeling grateful for today’s outdoor experience!

Best wishes to all, Anna

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Time stands still…

A winter wonderland greeted us this morning. I can’t remember the last time I was excited about so much snow… it means we can do a snowshoe session instead of a hike on Wednesday afternoon. Yeah!

The back yard looked magical!

And the Canada Geese appeared frozen to the ground. Every once in a while there was some gentle chatter between family groups but everyone did their best to preserve body heat. By the time I cleared the snow from the driveway and decks the geese were up and about on the water.

Happy Snow Day! Best wishes, Anna

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Redhead Trail Hike in Five Islands Provincial Park

The map on the AllTrails app was somewhat confusing when I checked it a couple days ago. I decided to leave it for a bit and connect with someone who knows the area well. I didn’t have to wait very long: yesterday my friend Gaby asked if I was up to exploring, wait for it: the Redhead Trail. We thought there would be enough snow to use our snowshoes for the first time this Winter. But once we arrived at the trailhead we left the snowshoes in the car and put our trust into our winter hiking boots instead.

The Redhead Trail leads through the forest to a look off providing unrestricted views of the Redhead, Old Wife Formation and Moose Island.

We could not have asked for better weather: minimal snow over on the natural trail, at times sheltered from any wind, constantly changing light with clouds opening up to blue sky and and reflecting off the Bay of Fundy. It was a treat and I stopped often just to survey the landscape and sea beyond.

Once we reached our destination we caught glimpses of Soley’s Cove at high tide in the opposite direction, another favourite ocean floor hike I embark on several times a year.

It was tough leaving the look off behind with the scenery bathed in magical light and the powerful sounds of waves crashing against the Jurassic sandstone cliffs below.

Upon returning to the main path we decided to hike back to the car via Five Islands Provincial Park Campground. The trail wasn’t easy to navigate and at times the descent proofed quite steep. We remarked how grateful we were for our hiking poles.

Downed trees from Hurricane Fiona were a constant reminder of last September’s devastating storm. The layer of fluffy snow added contrast and a way to highlight how much damage the area sustained. The trails were mostly clear and easy to navigate for which we were grateful.

Trail notes: we gauged the distance of our hike to be about 10+ km which took us approximately 3 ½ hours. We didn’t push, took time to admire the scenery and kept a steady pace along the road leading back to the main gate.

Hiking poles are highly recommended. Carrying water and some energy providing snacks are also strongly suggested. We didn’t notice issues with cell reception but I can’t vouch for full cell service as we didn’t check constantly.

While we didn’t use cleats and/or snow shoes I recommend carrying cleats if the weather stays below freezing or more snow accumulates. We completed this hike on January 22nd, 2023

Hope this hiking recap had something for everyone. May you find energy and inspiration for the start of a new week, Anna

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Recipe for a Great Sunday

The best way to reconnect with a friend after not seeing each other for a while is during a crisp winter morning at -11C with the sun shining brightly!

Try it some time… it’s good for the soul! Happy Sunday from the Bay of Fundy, Anna

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Frosty Saturday in Magical Light

The snow had stopped and the sun tried to break through the clouds this morning making for a surreal landscape experience.

The chilly beach walk presented a strong contrast between silvery greys against colour-infused close ups.

Wishing you all a restful weekend, Anna

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Tranquility…

It’s a snow day today and I am grateful for yesterday, when on my way home from the Cape Sharpe hike I stopped at the beach near Partridge Island. The tide was receding. And all I did was listen, give in to the rhythm of nature … and breathe.

I was reminded of that moment today while reading a passage by Mark Nepo in The Book of Awakening: “…to be accepting of the life that comes our way does not mean denying its difficulties and disappointments. Rather, it means that joy can be found even in hardship, not to be demanding that we be treated as special at every turn, but through accepting the demand of the sacred that we treat everything that comes our way as special.”

Friday blessings to everyone! Best wishes, Anna

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Cape Sharpe: Solitary Hike

A return to Cape Sharpe has long been on my “to do” list. It’s not a long hike but it is one I don’t consider an easy hike.

I came here last October when I was not my best due to a shoulder injury. The relative short but steep rocky ATV path posed a challenge and I seriously questioned my overall fitness level.

Today helped me verify that the October incident is behind me. I hiked the stretch solo today so I wouldn’t slow down my hiking buddy. With regular stops along the way for photo opportunities the 2.6 km round trip took me just under 1 hour. The images above don’t really do the steep path justice. But if you take your time it is achievable for most hikers.

The views are second to none! On a sunny day the lighthouse would make for a great picnic destination.

From stunning vistas to tiny natural treasures, this hike offers something for everyone!

Some trail details to consider: this is one of those “uphill both ways” kinda trails😜. It is rocky and uneven and requires sturdy hiking boots. Hiking poles are also recommended to aid with balance when negotiating the steep uneven terrain. Dress in layers as the wind can be strong and getting chilled is a definite possibility.

…here is a reminder to pack out what you pack in when you plan your lunch or picnic. Please respect the “leave no trace” principles. The aluminum beverage can was an unnecessary tree topper. I was unable to retrieve it as the tree grows on the extreme cliff edge.

Hope you find this trail info valuable. Happy Thursday, Anna

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Phinney Green in January

Yes, it’s January 18th and we are exploring the Cliffs of Fundy GeoPark beaches! I had planned a hike a little closer to Parrsboro but after the snow and rain we had last weekend access was too uncertain. Instead we carpooled to Phinney Green, about 10 minutes further down shore toward Advocate Harbour.

With five participants and loads of enthusiasm I was very pleased about the level of interest this hike generated. The beach was vast due to the outgoing tide and the light was magical, as it so often is after several days of rain and snow.

Several participants had never visited Phinney Green before. There was much to discover and appreciate on our hike. We may not have walked far but a short rest was welcome. While refuelling we discovered a petrified tree not far from where the driftwood log was. There were scallop shells scattered along the beach for another impromptu sharing session.

It’s always a great day to explore a beach on the Fundy Shore. Phinney Green is not an easy beach to find. Driving from Parrsboro watch for the Fraserville Loop and take the turnoff at the guard rail. Follow the road to where it leads down a hill (80 m) through the forest. Today I was glad for the option of four-wheel drive. This approach through the woods is often rough and can have washed out sections. There is a level space for parking at the bottom of the approach.

After last weekend’s storm we encountered a lot of driftwood and debris that had washed up near the beach access. We watched our step and took it slowly. Once on the beach it’s easy going. I would consider it Level 1 terrain, which means no slippery rocks or boulders to climb over. Watch for cliff erosion and keep your physical distance. A good rule of thumb is to stay at least one school bus length away from the cliffs to avoid falling rocks or mini-mudslides.

I hope this short recap of today’s hike will inspire you to get out and explore. Happy Wednesday, Anna

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Rainy Landscape Musings…

On grey days one must look for colour, and delight in the small treasures nature presents.

The way a raindrop captures the whole world and throws it back at us… upside down!

Or how, by accident, the camera lens beholds that one magical moment when light appears in a flash…

On these gloomy Winter days I yearn for the sun… don’t you? Tuesday blessings, Anna

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Backyard Inhabitants

I love observing our resident crows and their antics. The species of crows living at the bottom of the yard bordering the wetlands is identified as Fish Crow. Fish Crows fit the standard crow shape: hefty, well-proportioned birds with heavy bills, sturdy legs, and broad wings. At rest, Fish Crows’ wings fall short of their medium-length, square tails. Fish crows are on the larger side, and at first sight we wondered if they were ravens. But the beaks gave them away…

Our crows are lively and communicate loudly when our ShihTzus decide to explore the yard. The neighbour feeds them, I just enjoy their chatter and how they patrol the yard, moving from tree to tree, hopping from branch to branch.

Happy Monday. Best wishes, Anna

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Memories are Golden…

…and so are images of favourite beach hikes.

The Soley Cove group hike scheduled for today was cancelled due to freezing rain and overall inclement weather that has lasted all weekend. I took time to reminisce and decided to share images of this spectacular destination. I visited four times last summer and the landscape always inspires.

I hope this virtual walk along the Jurassic landscape brightens your winter day. Happy Sunday, Anna

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Reflections on a Grey Day

Yesterday morning’s snow had nearly melted by mid- afternoon. I donned my rubber boots for a walk about town and captured the inner harbour bathed in diffused light and natural grey scale any artist would love to explore.

The circular slushy tracks caught my attention for their pattern and texture.

I do look forward to when the rain let’s off and some colour comes through the clouds. the last images was captured at Ottawa House Beach near sunset the day before last.

Wishing everyone a relaxing and calm weekend, Anna

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Ward’s Falls, Part 2

Two days ago I quickly posted images from the afternoon group hike to Ward’s Falls. Today we woke to a surprise snow day. We weren’t supposed to get this much white stuff until further into the weekend. But, here we are, somewhat housebound. And before I immerse myself in a long overdue studio reorganization I wanted to share a few more images and more details from the hike.

This hiking trail is considered Level 1 terrain with some higher levels sections, meaning: challenging sections. The narrow trail requires attention due to protruding tree roots and rocks. On Wednesday the trail was snow-covered, with about 1” of powder. There are several sections that have experienced minimal flooding. The wet areas had frozen and navigating these sections was relatively easy.

The first of three challenging sections is roughly 400 m from the trailhead. Negotiating it with poles in single-file was the way we conquered the undulating terrain. The second section is found approximately ⅓ of the way to the falls, a distance of about 1.5 km from the trailhead. There the path presents with a steep incline coupled with very rough terrain. A rope is provided to assist with the ascent and equally steep descent. Wrapping the rope around one’s arm will further help with staying upright. Most of us used poles, an additional helpful piece of equipment to carry.

This scenic hike is stunning at any time of the year. 16 bridges lead to the destination, an imposing granite wall eroded for millennia, where a stunning waterfall has carved its path. It is one of two so-called slot canyons in our area of the Cobiquit Mountains. During the colder months, icicle formations offer unique photo opportunities.

I have already mentioned two challenging sections to navigate along the trail, the location of the third and last section is immediately following the final bridge. I discouraged everyone from climbing it on this hike as it was impossible to determine how icy it would be. Everyone was cautious and in agreement that we will leave the climbing to the pool of Wards Falls for another time. After a short snack break, we headed back to the parking area.

The last time I hiked this popular trail was in mid-October, shortly after Fiona had blown through the area. At the time I didn’t realize how many trees were affected by the storm. With a dusting of snow over fallen trees and broken limbs, the damage was hard to ignore this week.

For anyone interested in following in our footsteps, here are some pointers to consider: We spent roughly 2.5 hours hiking at a leisurely pace. This included a 10-minute snack break at the turnaround point. We had ample time for photographs along the way and nobody raised concerns about the pace (too slow or too fast). The terrain requires focus and attention due to the uneven path riddled with tree roots and rocks. There were two trees that had fallen over the path but we cleared them easily. The trail is advertised as 7 km round trip but according to my step counter, it is more like 6 km round trip.

The most challenging sections remain the path through the trees along the brook and the final ascent past the bridge below the falls. If the ground was more frozen it might have been easier to negotiate the section along the shore of the brook. The securely fastened rope really helped with balance and steadiness.

Personal equipment must include hiking boots with excellent tread. We didn’t use cleats or micro-spikes due to the lack of ice and there wasn’t enough snow for snowshoes on the narrow trail either. We dressed in layers, some of us had to switch to mittens when gloves proved not sufficient for warmth.

I hope this detailed account of our hike is helpful in planning your outing to Wards Falls. Have a fantastic weekend, everyone! Best wishes, Anna

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Sublimation…

…post sunrise.

The view was spectacular once again this morning. Vapours rising from the Farrells River as it flows toward the Bay of Fundy, peaceful and mesmerizing!

Happy Thursday, everyone! Best wishes, Anna

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Winter Walk to Wards Falls

Wednesday afternoon means hiking time for anyone interested in Parrsboro.

I was joined by four like-minded people eager to explore one of the best woodland hikes in the area. 16 bridges lead the way to the falls. No words are necessary as I share this afternoon’s stunning scenery.

Hopefully everyone enjoys the images as much as we enjoyed the hike. Six kilometres through a winter wonderland. Sheer joy!

Enjoy, Anna

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Off The Beaten Path: Londonderry, NS

On our way home from shopping in Masstown we turned right toward Londonderry at the crossroads in Bass River. Finding our way to Londonderry, an old mining town, has been on our agenda for two years. The sun shone brightly but it was too chilly for a walk with -15C due to a steady wind. So the impromptu Sunday road trip was the best option.

We travelled mostly on pothole-riddled gravel roads, through woods, past isolated homes and farms. Once we crossed the Trans Canada Hwy via a tall bridge the village of Londonderry appeared in the distance

There wasn’t much to discover in the village. I had hoped to come upon remnants of the mining site. The only sign of its historic significance was situated on the north side of the road. The Geosite sign drew our attention. We pulled into the minuscule parking area and explored Londonderry Memorial Square.

We left with our curiosity heightened. It is our goal to return in spring or summer. Meanwhile we shall engage in some research about Londonderry, it’s industry and the families that lived and prospered there.

A Sunday well spent! We discovered another historic site in the Cliffs of Fundy GeoPark. Thanks for coming along. Best wishes, Anna

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Road Hike to Cape d’Or

I am calling this a “road hike” because that is exactly what we did today. We met at the bottom of the first hill on the Cape d’Or access road in Advocate.

I joined the first group hike of 2023 expecting more of an adventure on less travelled paths. In the end I was not disappointed! Collectively we refer to this outing as “the hike that went uphill both ways”😜. It proved to me that there is such a thing! We stuck to the well maintained main road to Cape d’Or and got an amazing cardio workout!

Our first stop was at Horseshoe Cove. We often come here in the summer with a picnic, camping chairs and friends to spend an afternoon. Today was the first time I experienced this special beach at high tide. The clouds, sky and light made for some memorable scenery. Rested and refreshed we soon set out on the last kilometer to our final destination.

Cape d’Or was calm, bathed in sunlight and breathtakingly beautiful as always! The views were magnificent. We clearly saw Cape Sharp and Cape Split across from each other framing Moose Island and the Cobequit Mountains in the distance. Isle Haute beckoned from the opposite direction.

I reached deep within mustering up the courage to venture out further than ever before to fully appreciate “The Two Ladies”. It’s so wonderful when you have a chance to go out with a group to learn the names of some of the ancient rock formations. The Two Ladies are best viewed by clicking on the bottom photo of the above image set.

And this is my favourite image from today, a panoramic capture of the most spectacular view!

And then it was time to turn around and head back to our cars. The uphill stretch was much longer than anticipated and challenged each and everyone. In the end we were all smiling and excitedly planing our next excursion before waving good bye.

Thanks for tagging along for the challenge! Happy weekend, Anna

Hike Insights: keep in mind that this was an ideal winter hike with little snow and no ice anywhere at a temperature around 0 Celsius. The distance was just over 10 km return. Most challenging were the approaches to Horseshoe Cove Beach and the rocky natural road from the gate down to Cape d’Or. We were fortunate that there was no snow or ice cover.

I carried a pack with first aid kit, warming blanket and micro spikes just in case. My pack also contained a water bladder with 1.5 litres of water, some group snacks to share and a light lunch. I always carry an extra sweater, fire starter supplies, a charger for my phone, extra mittens, socks and toque. I highly encourage the use of adjustable hiking poles for balance and when navigating steep and rocky downhill approaches.

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Fox Point Beach as The Tide Recedes

Fox Point Beach is located in the small community of Fox River. From the first time I visited here it has always held special attraction for me. Andy Goldsworthy, English sculptor, photographer, and environmentalist who produces site-specific sculptures and land art situated in natural and urban settings has actually worked on this particular beach. I was reminded of his past presence when I came upon these amazing icicle groupings. In fact, when Andy created in this location he chose to do so with icicles.

While cliffs hold a certain fascination I am always awestruck by the large seaweed covered boulders emerging from the water as the tide rolls out.

It’s almost full moon and the tide was very high. Even three hours post high tide we were unable to make our way around the rock formations. But there was so much more to discover!

Even this time of the year there is colour, so much colour!

The beach is pebbled and slants toward the water. It lacks packed sandy stretches which makes for a workout sure to elevate one’s heart rate. The terrain is moderately challenging and is best navigated with sturdy hiking boots that keep ankles supported. If balance is lacking hiking poles are a good gear addition. As always, bring along water to stay hydrated and a high energy snack in case of fatigue.

It was amazing to revisit Fox Point Beach. Last winter we needed snowshoes to get down the approach. There was no snow today and the wind was absent as well.

Wishing everyone a relaxing Friday evening, Anna

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Which Hike Today?

After 19 months of sharing walk and hiking destinations in the Cliffs of Fundy GeoPark area on this site, I took some time over the past week and revisited each post… there are close to 600 already.

I am very excited to share with you the release of a new page on this website. Drumroll please: I have created a “Hike Destination Index” page in the menu. This page is organized alphabetically by destination and will help visitors to our area as well as locals to check out places to visit.

I will continue to explore new and favourite places in the future. As I gather additional information and images they will be shared and published on the “Hike Destination Index”. It is my sincere hope that this index is especially helpful to local B&B and AirBnB providers in their advertising of the Parrsboro area.

I will once again be available to guide individual and group hikes in 2023. With my four seasons Outdoor Council of Canada Field Leader Certification and sound knowledge of the area, I consider myself an asset to the tourist industry.

Thank you for your patience in developing the index, Anna

Here is your direct link to the Hike Destination Index Page https://fundycontemplations.ca/hike-destinations-index/

Enjoy and please don’t hesitate to provide feedback and suggestions!

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Wasson’s Bluff Excursion

I kicked off a new and free hiking program in Parrsboro today. The fact that one hiker showed up means that it is already a success!

Maddie and I set out to Wasson’s Bluff as planned. But as we arrived at the beach we assessed our situation in relation to the tide and decided to venture to the opposite side from the scouted hike on Monday . Maddie had never walked this stretch of beach before and I know it very well.

After carefully navigating a short distance of rocky terrain the tide had receded enough for a leisurely stroll. The wind was not harsh and we had the beach to ourselves. What glorious two hours we spent in like-minded company

Thanks for joining me for the Wednesday afternoon hike today, Maddie. I am planning next week’s excursion already! With no snow in the forecast it will be another hike unless things change drastically.

So grateful for another day spent in nature! Blessings to all, Anna

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Afternoon Adventure in the Rain

I am sure everyone has a spot in the town or village they reside in that could use some attention. I have been walking past a popular teenage hangout on a wooded hill almost daily for two years now. It’s tolerable in the summer when the bushes and trees are in full foliage but once the leaves drop the area is an indescribable mess! Snow will also cover up the unsightly trash site but snow eludes us this year.

I have been on a bit of a war path for the last week, a war path with garbage in places where it doesn’t belong. The images above don’t really do the area justice. Colin and I took the plunge (just as the rain started) and spent 90 minutes clearing this hillside of trash. The result: three large bags totaling 58 lbs!

We were wet, we were cold but in the end it felt great to have removed the eye sore on our street! Our philosophy is that if you remove the unsightly area you also remove the temptation to add to further littering. To be perfectly clear: It was not all trash generated by teenagers, there were plenty of take out cups from the local coffee shop. Adults and youth both need to step it up… we are a tourist destination after all!!

The highlight of the adventure beside the final weigh-in? A contemplative moment presented itself to examine the exquisitely wet and shiny, partially burnt out log. Images are at the top of the post to focus on the positive!

Enjoy your Tuesday evening, Anna

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Wasson’s Bluff Two Islands Beach

It was lightly snowing in Parrsboro today but I had to scout a beach for a hike scheduled for Wednesday. Risk Assessment and hazard reduction/elimination is first and foremost on a field leader’s mind when planning a group hike. The approach to this beach can be difficult with washed out sections but today it passed inspection. And just look at that sky!!

My intent was to head toward the dinosaur excavation site but the tide was too high. I timed my excursion to emulate Wednesday’s time frame. The beauty of this area is that it offers an alternative, Two Islands Beach.

The tide was already out enough to explore this section without worry or water lapping at my boots.

On the way back to my starting point I took full advantage of the exposed sandstone ridge. The first image covered in green seaweed is located near the cliffs, the last image in the above grouping is made from the furthest point into the Bay of Fundy looking back to where the first image was created.

Small rivulets of water competed with the sounds of wind and shallow waves lapping at the shore. The landscape always takes my breath away!

I sincerely hope you enjoyed the images from my short hike today. Happy First Monday of the year to everyone! Best wishes, Anna

Hike Assessment: I categorize this hike as easy to moderate. The approach to the beach from the parking area is the most challenging. Hiking boots with good tread and poles for balance are a must. The beach itself is a mix of pebbles, rocks and sand. If venturing out without a guide one must be familiar with the local tide schedule.

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Happy New Year!

It was a bit of a tough decision between cuddling the pups on the couch…

…and grabbing my backpack to explore nature in the rain.

The call of Clarke Head and the beach won out. I arrived about 45 minutes before low tide.

The rain had stopped as soon as I arrived on the beach and my solitary walk was just what I needed after socializing over the holidays. Breathing in fresh sea air, watching the light change and listening to the waves was so therapeutic.

Walking alone is always best when I want to focus on practicing my contemplative photography. I discovered a treasure trove today:

The blue sky appeared as I reached the ancient arch…

…and the sun tried to push through the clouds providing an amazing backdrop for Clarke Head.

On the way back I picked up 8.5 lbs of trash, leaving my favourite beach just a little cleaner for the start of 2023.

Mostly rope, styrofoam, plastic bottles and take out beverage containers.

I hope the first full day of the new year has set the tone for what’s in store for 2023. I feel I have made a great start. Best wishes for good health and happiness, Anna

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The Last Day of 2022

From first light till sunset (which was not too memorable nor visible) it was a perfect day to say good bye to 2022.

There was just enough time to get in one more walk at Five Islands Lighthouse Park Beach complete with collecting 7 lbs of trash.

Good night world! See you in 2023!

Best wishes, Anna

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Best Birthday Ever!

What does a cargo space in our SUV stuffed with beach trash have to do with the best birthday ever? It signifies the sense of community along the Parrsboro shore where friends come together and pitch in to reduce trash along the Bay of Fundy..

Together, in 2.5 hours, we pulled 175.5 lbs of trash from the Cochrane Road Beach in Port Greville. We found a body board (very helpful in pulling several bags of trash at the same time back to base), 2 lobster traps, lobster bands and tags (mostly from Maine), a bent-metal chair, rusted out hibachi, copious yards of synthetic rope, twisted metal, buckets, a metal trash can, bits and pieces of plastic, styrofoam, bouyes, bottles and aluminum beverage containers.

No beach clean up is complete without a bit of celebration. A wiener roast with hot chocolate, giant crispy cookies and marshmallows followed the work portion of the beach outing.

Thank you to everyone who took up my invitation to join in. We could not have done it without you! with sincere gratitude, Anna

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Spring Tide

We don’t see this often: a fishing boat visible from across the parking lot of the pier in full view! It’s a sign of the extreme high tides referred to as ‘spring tide.”

Turning to the left toward the Minas Basin the Parrsboro lighthouse has waves lapping at the foundation and the approach to the lighthouse is cut off. Only a few days ago I walked there!

The sky looked threatening yesterday afternoon…

…which didn’t seem to worry the seagulls too much. All was calm, no waves crashing onto the beach, only the ominous sky overhead in stark contrast to Boxing Day afternoon at roughly the same time!

May the blue sky return soon!

Best wishes for the last Wednesday of 2022, Anna

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Backyard Red Pine Tree Study

The bottom of our backyard is a favourite place for the pups to romp. This morning, with snow flakes dancing from the sky, I joined them in their favourite spot.

It gave me time to take a look around. As branches were covered with a layer of snow I became more aware of intersecting lines and bent tree limbs all around.

Examining needle foliage came next. Clumped together they form dense, dark areas against the sky. Isolating a branch draws attention to their broom-like nature and focussing on one individual needle-foliage tip one is reminded of a fan skeleton.

Here is a link to more information in case you are interested https://www.conifers.org/pi/Pinus_resinosa.php (copy and paste into your browser)

Happy Tuesday! Stay warm and enjoy a special cuppa, Anna

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Contemplative Walk

The light mid-morning was beautiful as I set out for a short walk through the Winter Wonderland, otherwise known as Parrsboro. I focused on familiar landscape transformed by the Christmas Day snowfall.

The salt marsh bull rushes, bent by relentless wind and covered with a dusting of snow.
Standing tall times three
Tracks long the edge
Slicing the sky
Shadow Play
Salt marsh texture
Curious Canada Geese
This one’s for you, Vaughn! Found calligraphy!
Icy patches
Icy texture with snow
Good morning, Mr. Fishing Crow!

I hope you enjoyed my Boxing Day walk. It was refreshing to venture out after two days in and out of the kitchen entertaining friends and spoiling them with home-made meals and treats.

Happy Monday! May you embrace all the final week of 2022 has on offer, Anna

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A White Christmas After All!

The snow began around midnight and this morning the world was transformed. At the bottom of the backyard Canada Geese are gently conversing with the ducks, floating on the river while Ash and Teak chase each other.

Wishing everyone a peaceful Christmas Day. May you spend it with family and friends, or celebrate it the way you want to. May there be a warm fire burning and food on the table for all, Anna

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Storm Day

The predicted storm arrived earlier than expected. The preparations this time around involve a bit more than usual with Christmas just a couple days away.

I was able to tear myself away from the kitchen for a little while to make my way to Ottawa House Beach. I am so glad I got outside…

The usual approach was difficult to navigate after powerful waves had rearranged the rocky base and deposited driftwood on the path. We proceeded slowly and found a place to park the car. It took all our strength to push the door open. Leaning fully into the wind we slowly moved toward the waves.

The word to describe this experience? Exhilarating!!!

Enjoy these examples of nature’s powerful force. Best wishes, Anna

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Winter Solstice Hike to Clarke Head

What happens when you bring together five dynamic women for a beach hike on December 21st? Let me tell you the story in pictures and a few words…