Tuesday, August 8, 2017

What I did on my summer vacation...

OK right off the top that's a stooopid title for a blog post.  What is a "summer vacation" when you're retired ?  It's my lazy way of saying I haven't posted for a while and have a bunch of photos I don't know how to distill into a cohesive blog post.

Ooooh Look ! Look !   I'm sitting on THE  red couch.  "Big freakin' deal" you say.  Well, to me it was. I'd heard about the red couch that would be touring Canada for our 150th birthday (I'm ignoring the fact that we claimed a land where people had been living for thousands of years).  I heard the couch would be at Pier 21 and sought it out so I could give my two cents about what Canada means to me.

I went camping.  I haven't camped in a couple of years so this was a big deal.   I've passed that age of wanting to sleep on the ground or a cot so I sleep on a mattress with real sheets and pillows ... in my Honda Fit !

Doesn't that look cozy ?

I have a Napier tent which goes over the open hatch of my car.  I don't bother to put in the tent poles as I don't need that much space ... and can't be bothered.

The tent has room for the cooler and a blanket for the dog to lie on and for a water bowl and room for me to change.

I drove up the Cabot Trail and from there took a gravel road to Meat Cove.  Once there, I was lucky enough to land this campsite overlooking the beach.   I could lie propped up in my bed and look out at the dark sky.   I woke briefly at 3 am to see a sliver of crescent moon and Venus rising above the sea and then at 5 am I woke to watch the sun rising.   Because the tent has "windows" that can provide fresh air I enjoyed a lovely bug-free sleep.  

Wendy and I hiked up a nearby hill with a marvellous view.

The trail was a bit narrow near the top and I feared I might slip and fall to my doom; but I didn't.

I travel quite light.  This is my stove.  It's a marvellous tiny little set up that nests inside itself when not needed.  I have two pots and a frying pan and most importantly can boil water for my mint tea in 3 minutes flat !

On my way to Meat Cove and the Cabot Trail I camped at Whycocomach  (say: why-co-go-mah) Provincial Park where Wendy and I (Sooki stayed home) had a marvellous hike.


The trail though less than a kilometer long was VERY steep, so I guess I should not have been surprised when a side path brought us out to this stunning view of the Bras d'Or Lakes.

To say that the Cabot Trail is a scenic drive would be like saying Everest is a big hill.   The trail winds its spectacular way around Cape Breton with frequent lay-bys where travellers stop to gawk at the stunning views.

It's hard not to stop at every opportunity.  

 There is a very difficult 12 km return trail that leads to remote Fishing Cove in the background (below).   The hike would be way out of my league.

I love the freedom of stopping whenever the mood moves me.

Cabot Landing.  How's that for summer crowds ?

On the way back I stopped in the town of Baddeck to see a photo exhibit of the works of Roberta Bondar at the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site.

 Through a friend I got invited along on a catamaran cruise on the Bras d'Or Lakes.  It was an unexpected treat.

It was the perfect end to a lovely holiday.

Who's a lucky girl !

Friday, July 14, 2017

A Thank you to someone who loved lighthouses ...

I always enjoy getting together with chums Sara and Kelly and today was no different.

We met up at the Port Grocer restaurant in Port Medway on the Southern shore, about 90 minutes from my place.  

Sara had a lovely Snowy Owl photograph in an exhibit in the restaurant and that prompted our visit there.

After a yummy lunch, and slurping on three "Mariner's Sea Salt and Caramel" ice cream cones, we strolled down to the small lighthouse at the end of the road.

Port Medway Lighthouse (much smaller than the Medway Head Light lighthouse)

There Sara and Kelly clowned around trying to set up an illusion photograph in which Sara appeared to be plucking a Seagull off the top of the lighthouse.

We've done this sort of silliness before and the results are usually pretty entertaining.

Exhibit "A"

Sadly, Sara had only limited time with us and had to leave so we hugged her and sent her on her way.

Kelly and I then sauntered back to the cars making a brief detour through an historic cemetery on the way,

stopping to read epitaphs and brief sad family histories etched in stone ... or brass !

Two children who died too young.

Here lies Buried the Body of 
Mr. Samuel Mack
Who Departed this Life
October the 10th 1783
Aged 46 Years

My flesh shall slumber in the ground
Till the last Trumpets joyful sound
Then burst the grave with sweet surprize
And in my Saviour's image rise

Cease then to mourn my friends, bid earth adieu
Loosen from hence the grasp of fond desire.
Weight anchor and some happier clime explore.

The building beside the cemetery wasn't as abandoned as it appeared to be. Peering through the windows we could see displays of photography on the walls.

  I lamented to Kelly that the dogs had been in the car -- parked in the shade, with windows fully open -- for quite a while.  Kelly suggested we drive down Long Cove Road to yet another lighthouse, so that's what we did.

Medway Head Light lighthouse

There wasn't a huge place to walk the dogs but they had fun sniffing around in the grass while Kelly and I gawked at the lovely scenery.

Kelly said it reminded her of a mini Peggy's Cove.

The trapped pools of water provided all sorts of opportunities for reflection photos.

Speaking of "reflecting" I'd like to reflect back upon that first photo of this lighthouse.  Notice the bench in front of the lighthouse ?   If you scroll back up you'll see where it was.

This is what it says on the back of the bench but it's the front that stopped me short ...

It had the name of someone I knew !   What are the odds that Kelly would take me down this road to this lighthouse and I would turn and see the name of someone that I knew on a memorial bench ?

I knew Jalynn from her time as chair of the Board of Governors at Trent University.  She was a caring person who selflessly donated her time and talent to the University and I was deeply saddened and shocked to learn of her untimely death a couple in 2015.  Upon her passing the family asked for donations to the Lighthouse Preservation Society and that's how I learned about that group.   Apparently Jalynn was instrumental in fundraising for lighthouse preservation and those efforts   ultimately raised $250,000 through crowdfunding, benefiting twenty-six lighthouses in Nova Scotia.  

Sadly she did not live long enough to see the success of her efforts.

Thank you Jalynn.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Another amazing day in Nova Scotia

If I can have a "major adventure" once a week I'm happy.  I define "major" as just getting out of town and going somewhere different.

Like meeting up with chums Ros and Terry in Hall's Harbour for an outdoor lunch at the Lobster Pound while watching the tide recede in harbour.

 The boats were still floating when we arrived as it was only an hour or so after high tide.

But not long after they were siting on the bottom of the harbour.

With tides of 35-40 ft. it's important to know where you are in the tide cycle before you go strolling on a beach along the Bay of Fundy.

I was glad to get a shot of the last of the Lupins and the first of the marvellously scented roses.  

As Ros and Terry are new to the area I insisted on dragging them over to nearby Huntington Point and my beloved "Jelly Bean cottages".

The cottage with the blue roof can be rented to $400 / wk. in summer.  I'm told it's pretty chilly and damp as it's entirely made out of concrete.

The other cottages are privately owned.

The bottom two are facing directly onto the Bay of Fundy.

BTW I was quite taken with that driftwood fence.

Just as you're coming into Hall's Harbour is Cove Road.  Nothing special there.  

Unless you count this stunning cove.

At least a kilometer of shoreline and we had it to ourselves.

Terry sat on a rock, while Ros and Bella explored the shoreline.

I think Ros was a tad creeped out by the clearly evident rockfalls that happen from time to time and stayed as far away from the cliff bottom as possible.

Things look a mite unsettled up there.  Notice the tree just right of centre and the way it's tilting.  Perhaps the land under it isn't that stable ?

 There are amazing rocks to be found along the shore.  Many have crystalline cavities.

There must have been a partial rock fall a while ago.  Notice the upside down evergreen in the centre.  It's crown is starting to grow upward indicating that it's been hanging there for a while.

Of course we were not alone.  



Well this is a first.  No photograph of Sooki !

I've been to this waterfall before but never noticed the cave entrance beside it.  It's listed on Google Earth as "Hall's Harbour Sea Cave".  I shimmied into it and found it was only about 50 feet deep.


The waterfall is even more stunning in winter !


And this my friends is Hall's Harbour in the mirror.  Be warned.  There is a very sharp turn as you're coming into town.  Keep your eyes on the road and wait till you're safely parked before gawking at the stunning scenery.

But rest assured, it's a trip worth taking.