Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Much More Hiking to Come.... Thanks to Taryn's New Job

Last Sunday Greg and I headed out on yet another hike. This time we were aiming to hike a trail on the Salmon River in nearby Dartmouth that was made by fisherman hiking upstream. We had heard that there was still lots of blowdown from Hurricane Juan in 2003 and that the trail was in rough shape. Within the first 10m we found this to be very true. The trail detoured almost into the lake to get around the blowdown and the bridge had been hit hard. It had been pushed downstream a few meters and turned sideways. The piece of decking Greg is standing on is actually perpendicular to the stream flow. This made for one of the more challenging bridge crossings I've ever done!

Once we made it over the bridge, however, we found that the trail was very clean, recently brushed out, and very well marked. Strange since the entrance seemed to be in such bad shape. We eventually ran into some trail builders who explained that we were on part of a new and expanded trail system that was not yet open and that the old trailhead was closed so they wouldn't be brushing it out.

Instead of following the northern portion of the unmaintained Salmon River trail over a sketchy half underwater bridge we got to follow the beautiful new trail system over a ridge then down to West Lake. We think this will become our new favourite place to hike. And with a 30 minute driving time, it's somewhere we can go quite often. Next time we plan to start from the east trailhead (at the top right of the map) instead of the now closed Salmon River trailhead on River Road (bottom left of the map). That way we'll get to see the other half of the trail system that we haven't seen yet.

We'll get to do lots of hiking because I have a new job for the summer in retail, which means flexible hours. My new job is also at my favourite outdoor store in the world, wait... make that my favourite store in the world, so my staff discount means I can afford some sweet new gear, even on my limited budget. I'm excited!

Monday, May 01, 2006

Saturday April 29: Pennant Point

With Taryn finding out she does have a job at MEC starting on Tuesday, we decided the best way to celebrate would be to hike as much as possible this weekend. As well, it seems half of our building has decided that the end of April is the perfect time to move, so it's a zoo-- the kind you don't want to be anywhere near (think Big Al's Yak and Reptile Farm).

Very close to Halifax is a lovely little park with a beach that, apparently, is also a zoo when the weather gets nice. Of course, it's still between 7-12 degrees here most of the time, so we had no concerns there.

However, there really isn't much of a hike there, at least not according to our 8th edition of the Nova Scotia trails book. Fortunately when Calvin was out I managed to find a 7th edition at a used book store, and its trail is significantly longer (13km).

Much of it follows crown land outside of the Provincial Park, but the trail is very obvious. Here it is:

Closer to the point we ran across some boulderers monkeying around on some of the granite rock that lies between the ocean and the forest. They had quite the little day camp set up, with a small fire and everything! I guess that's one reason why the trail is still so prominent.

For part of the way back we went inland and took (what seems to be) ATV trails for a while, until we met up with the main trail. I am a big fan of loops, so this made me happy, but there was quite a lot of mud and marshy patches what definately made for slower going. Luckily this route had some interesting features: the rusting remains of an old Van and a former WW2 outpost/bunker.

It turned out to be a little shorter than promised (11km), but it was still a nice outing, and quite close to home too.

My photos

Van- N44.44346 W63.63848
Bunker- N44.44979 W63.62845

Sunday April 23: Delaps Cove + Annapolis Valley

Delaps Cove is the site of a former black loyalist colony, way down the Annapolis Valley close to Annapolis Royal. There aren't many remnents of the former colony, but it's not surprising given the ruggedness. It must have been quite a slap in the face for the black loyalists to get such crappy land when just over the ridge to the south the whities got some of the richest farming land in all of Nova Scotia.

The day was a little bleak when we started out, but it turned out quite nice by the time we reached the start of our hike (about 2 hours drive). The route was well marked and quite pleasant, although overall the hike was a little short for our tastes (8km and very little elevation gain).

Here's our route:

Here's some photos:

And you can get more here:
My photos
Taryn's photos

We also took a quick walk through Annapolis Royal and Fort Anne, and then meandered back a ways towards home on the old #1 highway, before getting a little tired near Kentville and hopping back on the 101.