Sunday, February 2, 2020

A bleak and barren place.

I went for a chilly walk today with my friend Mickie and her dog, Remi.


The words that immediately come to mind to describe the scenery are "bleak" and "barren".   

In the dictionary, bleak is defined as "lacking vegetation and exposed to the elements", while barren is "(of land) too poor to produce much or any vegetation".   

And yet I use these two words come together to describe a place of incredible beauty; the High Head trail beside the Atlantic Ocean.



The land is covered in erratic rocks; those that have been left behind by the receding glaciers.



Vegetation is sparce and low to the ground as it has to cope with the high winds and salty sea spray.



A storm passing by,  far out at sea was the cause of some pretty impressive waves crashing onto shore.

The ocean rushes in and out like some gigantic breathing entity.  In and out.  In and out with great roaring power.



 Never fear, Mickie used a zoom setting when she took this shot of me and the dogs and the waves were not as close to us as they appear to be.


Between the foamy waves and the snow covered rocks sometimes it was hard to tell where the land stops and the sea begins.







Aren't bleak and barren beautiful !

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Rainbow Haven in winter.

Today the dogs and I headed to Rainbow Haven, that is after I checked the tide times.

Being on the Atlantic side it is not dangerous to get tide times wrong; it just means that you may be disappointed by the total lack of beach.  I learned that low tide was to be at 12:30 so I knew that by arriving at 1 ish there would be lots of beach, and I wasn't disappointed.


The beach is quite different in winter with blocks of ice that have been pushed up to the high tide mark.

Frozen in time the waves lie rigid on the shore.


 Not just bigger waves, but little ones were also stopped in their tracks too.


How remarkable is this ?   Frozen bubbles !


Of course I wasn't walking alone.    My best buds were with me.  I think Sooki looks particularly dignified in this photo; which isn't easy considering the crazy outfit she's wearing.


And of course they were glad to have a huge expanse of beach to run on. 


In a couple of hours this whole area would be under water.


In the summer we'd walk up the beach and then circle back down on the path that runs up the peninsula which juts into the harbour.


Compare the photo above with the one below.  Both images were taken at just about the same spot.


It would appear that even more of the land is being covered at high tide.  The land to the right of the path is covered by ice.


And in the foreground was an interesting ice formation with layered slivers of ice.  Of course I just had to taste a piece to confirm it contained salt.  And yep, it did.  


Wouldn't you ?

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Good grief, I'm an arse !


Yesterday we went for a walk at Sandy Lake.   I wanted to walk to Jack Lake to see if the trail to the boardwalk there was reachable.   Sadly it was not, due to accumulated snow and bent trees blocking the path.



I thought a wander in the woods might be nice.   


I call it "bushwhacking"; wandering off trail through the woods to see what I can see.  





I came across another hiker and her dogs and together we  followed an orange flagged trail through the woods.  At one point a second marked trail veered off to the left and impulsively I took it.  The other hiker clearly was worried about my choice and asked me what sort of car I drove.  I guess she wanted to check if my car was still there when she got back.

The trouble with me is I'm overly confident in my sense of direction; far too confident in retrospect.

I was sure that that trail would get me out of the woods well ahead of the other hiker.  


I followed the trail until it came out on a wider rather familiar looking trail.  Instead of forging ahead in a direct line, I had blundered in a circle and come out on my original trail !

At this point you must be asking if I'd turned on my Geo tracker and the answer is "yes".  It was the tracker that showed me I was almost back where I'd started.  

So I went back into the woods.  Oddly enough when I came to a cross trail I would again rely on my unerring sense of direction and not check my Geo tracker until I'd slogged down the path for ten minutes and finding I was once more going the wrong way.

At one point in the woods I found a set of tracks and happily followed them for a while before realizing that they were my own.

Being lost wouldn't have been a big deal except that darkness was falling as it does after four o'clock in winter.

My tracker showed me where I was parked so I could see the general direction of my car but I didn't want to keep stopping to check the tracker as light was fading and my worry was rising.  I would think I saw a path ahead only to find it was a stream cutting across the woods.  I was entirely off trail and in deep woods.

I could relate to the irrational feeling of panic that causes lost people to make poor decisions.

Ultimately I reached my car at five o'clock.  I'd been walking for three hours and we'd covered five km.

Like I said, I'm an arse !


Friday, January 10, 2020

Point Pleasant in Winter

I haven't been to Point Pleasant Park in ages.  Sandy Lake and Shubie Park are our usual hangouts; and sometimes Second Lake; oh and Lake William ... oh and ...

Well you get the point.  We have lots of wonderful places to go dog walking and Point Pleasant Park a massive dog-friendly park located on the bottom of the Halifax peninsula facing the open ocean is an amazing treasure.


The main walking "trails" are wide, plowed, and sanded for easy walking.


Old ruins of defensive buildings add to the interest of a walk here.


In the summer time the fortification below is used as a backdrop for live theatrical performances by "Shakespeare by the Sea".  I can't believe that after ten years here I still haven't seen one of their shows !   Guess I should rectify that.


Across the peninsula are many trails, each of which has smaller side paths which are not plowed but simply packed down by previous walkers. 


Even though it was a work day and a mite chilly there were quite a few dog walkers in the park.  I did pass one or two people without dogs but they certainly were in the minority.


Sadly, even in winter nature calls.  Oh my the toilet seat was c-c-cold.


Single solitary tall  trees dot the skyline.


These lone trees are remnants of what was once a magnificent forest,  devastated by Hurricane Juan back in September of 2003.  The park lost 70,000 trees and was closed for over a year during the clean up.


All these years later a new generation of trees is growing up; but it will be many, many years before the park reaches its former state of glory.


In the mean time we'll just have to make do.  ;-)



Oh by the way, we had a terrific walk !

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

It's a new dawn, and a new day, and a new year ... and I'm feeling good


Today found Dexter* and I heading to Lawrencetown for an invigorating beach walk.


Our goal was this wonderful hill just past the Lawrencetown Beach.

We had a choice of walking on the trails behind the beach,


or along the Trans Canada Trail.


We did a section of each and then slogged up the steep hill.


The reward is a terrific view and a stroll by a rapidly eroding cliff.  As you can see Dexter was wildly unimpressed by the cliff.


And I imagine the view didn't impress him much either.


I found both to be more than adequate and very much worth the hike.


Clearly it was stormy out on the ocean as the waves were big,


 and sheets of rain were visible on the horizon.


It seems to be a marvellous tradition in Nova Scotia to visit the beach on Christmas and New Year's Day as I was not alone in my explorations.  But it wasn't crowded.


We crossed back over one of several boardwalks and noticed something on the side of it


it was an unexpected sign.


"If you enjoy this beautiful place, please remember all those and their families that sacrificed so much !  Let us remember not only today but every day"   D.W.S.

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* BTW Sooki is getting over a wrist infection which is compounded by the fact that she has recently been diagnosed with Lyme disease.  She cannot go for walks until she stops limping.