Friday, July 12, 2019

Flat Bay to Robinsons

This morning began with much excitement. When I stumbled out of the tent and made my way down to the trailbed to set up the stove, I flushed an American Woodcock! This was a first for me!


 As I sat on the side of the trail making breakfast the show continued. We enjoyed the thrilling of the Swainson's Thrush that was nesting beside the tent site, and we got to watch a pair of Common Yellowthroats and a pair of White-throated Sparrows busily and somewhat frantically foraging for their young. There was also a Yellow Warber singing nearby, as well as the "Quick three beers!" call of the Olive-sided Flycatcher.


When we finally set off down the trail it was in a hot, sunny, and relatively buggy morning. We began climbing almost right away, which made the going slow. After two hours of walking we only seemed to get 5 km.

When we came to the community of St. Teresa we found a multilingual stop sign. This in itself is unusual, but what made this interesting is that the second language was aboriginal. Our best guess is that it was Mik'maq, but we weren't able to find any specific information.


For much of the morning the trail threaded it's way between open, flat, marshes on both sides. The thin band of shrubs on either side of the railbed offered little to no shade, so whenever we encountered a shade tree we paused to enjoy it.

During one of these breaks we were passed by a group of people on ATVs, who stopped to chat. They suggested we stay at an RV Park and Campground called Pirates Haven in Robinsons tonight. A bit farther down the trail we received the same advice from a second group of people. Although it was only 21 km from where we started, our progress was so slow today that we decided to take their advice.



As the trail continued to climb throughout the afternoon it turned into a wonderfully wooded track, and we crossed over several impressive trestle bridges that spanned wide, shallow, rocky rivers. The most impressive of these was at Fischells River. The bridge was quite high up, and crossed a deep valley beside a towering white cliff. We were very hot at this point, and the river looked so inviting that we almost went in for a swim.


Late in the afternoon, as the heat set in, the breeze from the ocean seemed to stop, and the mountains in front of us appeared finally to get closer we found a warm-up shelter! It was in great condition, but sadly nowhere near a water source. As we sat inside, enjoying the shade and taking a break a man with two young boys stopped by. He was the caretaker of the shelter, making sure it was clean, collecting the garbage, repairing it, and putting in wiring that could be used with a generator. He said that the original shack had been burned down, and he had caught people trying to burn this one. He also said the wood stove had been stolen twice, as well as Christmas lights he's put up, the broom, the shovel, and the lightbulbs. It really makes you wonder why people engage in such senseless violence and vandalism, and how volunteers can keep fighting it year after year without getting utterly discouraged.


After the warm-up shelter we had five long, hot kilometers to slog to get to the campground. They seemed to take forever, but it was worth it in the end. We had a good meal, a shower, and did laundry, and were left feeling much better.  The owners of the campground are extremely nice as well.

Another interesting thing about staying in the campground is that we are camping two sites away from someone else who is walking to Vancouver. Neil Hamilton is walking to raise awareness for mental health issues and to raise money for the Canadian  Mental Health Association on his Walk for Samantha. What are the odds of randomly finding someone else here who is also walking across Canada?

It has been a long day, but as we lay here listening to the sounds of people talking and laughing, and a pair of Common Loons dueting on lake we didn't know was there, we are happy to be right where we are.

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