Through the Fairy Forest : Boylston P.P. to Ogden Lake Wilderness Area

Today began with another few soaked morning, making everything glisten in the soft morning light. As I built the fire to cook breakfast, I could hear a Wood Thrush singing in the shrubs at the edge of the campsite, and I watched a pair of Black-throated Green Warblers feeding their fledglings in the empty campsite beside ours. We also heard the clear song of a White-throated Sparrow, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, an American Robin, a Black-capped Chickadee, and in the distance the rough claws of an American Crow.

When I ventured up to the comfort station to recharge our battery packs, I found a large, impressive looking Polyphemus moth resting on the deck. As I stopped for a closer look an inquisitive Ruby-throated Hummingbird curiously examined my blue scarf, trying to decide if it might be tasty. Combined with the panoramic view of Chedabucto Bay, which was beautifully lit by the early morning light, but still quiet and peaceful, it was a beautiful start to the day.

We eventually made our way down the steep hill out of the campground, and continued our hike along Marine Dr., out around the bay.


A few kilometers into the hike we came to the charming and prosperous community of Guysborough. This small town boasted a bakery, a theater, museum, a distillery, an upscale restaurant, many heritage buildings, and the Rare Bird Brewery! If the brewery had been open we would have had to stop in for sure on our hike four birds :) We did however stop for coffee and oat cakes at Robin's, and to visit the grocery store to buy supplies for the next few days.

With our newly loaded, and considerably heavier packs, we then set off again. A few kilometers down the road the Great Trail joined the Guysborough Nature Trail. To our absolute delight this turned out to be a wonderfully shaded gravel track. This was very refreshing after the roast walking!

The Nature Trail began at the Mill Pond, the site of an old carding mill. It then took us through a beautifully forested area of dense conifers, then through an open section with a lovely view out over Chedabucto Bay, and then between a few houses and picturesque barns.

A little while later we came to a Fairy Forest! This was a short section of wooden trail that had been decorated with mushrooms, rock art, and many, many fairy abodes. The creativity and art work were inspiring, and made it a truly magical spot.

As we walked we saw quite a lot of animal tracks in the mud. Last night we found a guide to wildlife tracks in the provincial park,and it turned out to be good timing! We identified what we thought were black bear prints, and quite a few others we couldn't recognize. We had fun trying to ID them though.

At one point the trail crossed a wide river, and we saw the old pilings the train used to use.

We had cell service at that point, so we took the opportunity to answer a few emails and coordinate the the next few weeks of hiking and talks. We have the opportunity to give up to 10 talks here in Nova Scotia, but planning the logistics of this while on the trail is proving to be quite a challenge.

After crossing the road the trail took us through another lovely wooded area, where we found a beautiful mossy waterfall. The past few days have been determined by our need to find water, so we really appreciate it now when we find it!

Our next surprise on the trail was finding a warm-up shelter for snowmobilers. Ever since we spent a night a lovely night in one in Newfoundland we've had a soft spot for them. This one was equipped with sofas, a wood stove, cast iron pots and pans, and decorations. It was really beautiful and rustic looking, but unfortunately there was a pretty overpowering musty smell.

Later in the afternoon when the trail had become a more open rail bed, we crossed a suspension bridge over a large river. Feeling the bounce and sway as we crossed was quite fun, and just as we reached the other side we encountered another Ruby-throated Hummingbird!

Other birding highlights from today included being startled by three separate sets of Ruffed Grouse families. The fledglings were now big enough to fly, and they erupted out of the trailside vegetation and flew into the treetops with much energy and noise. Otherwise the hot, still summer day was pretty pretty quiet in terms birds, except for the occasional American Robin, Red-eyed Vireo, or European Starling.

Since we spent time resupplying this morning, our progress was a bit slow. Our goal for today was a lake in the Ogden Round Lake Wilderness Reserve, which was about 28 m from where we started this morning. We made our goal, but not until 6:30 PM, by which time we were pretty hot and tired.

We pitched the tent on the side of the trail, in a lovely forested area with babbling brook down a steep slope from us. It feels very peaceful here with the sun streaming through the trees. As we fall asleep there are no birds singing tonight, just the sounds of splashing from the stream below us.

See you on the trail!

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