Saturday, August 31, 2019

Cole Harbour to Halifax

This morning began bright and early with an act of generosity and kindness from Dwight, who offered to drive us back to the trailhead where we left off yesterday so we could finish the last 12 km of trail in to Halifax. We shared trail stories on the way, and left with wishes for a 'Buen Camino' for him as he heads off with family and friends to begin the 800 km Camino Frances in Spain. The happy memories of our hike there, and the people we met along the way are still strong for us, and will remain so.

The last kilometers of our hike in Nova Scotia along the Shearwater Flyer Trail felt like they flew by. The trail was shady, forested, and beautiful, and we were very pleased to see many people out jogging, bicycling, and walking it.


As we approached the outskirts of Dartmouth we got a glimpse of the industry that powers the economy in Dartmouth and Halifax. First we walked past a CN Rail yard full of brand new cars waiting to be shipped away. From this vantage point we could see the cranes down in the harbour, waiting to load the container ships bound for overseas destinations.

Next we walked past a complex of buildings used by the Armed Forces, and finally we found ourselves walking beside a large facility with Imperial Oil storage tanks.

We walked a short stretch of road, and then found ourselves on a waterfront trail. We had a magnificent view of the Halifax skyline across the harbour, and we could hear the joyous sounds of live music floating across the water from the Mosaic Festival of Arts and Culture. We couldn't have wished for a better welcome to the city.

As we continued around the harbour toward the Alderney Landing Ferry we saw some very colourful, creative, and interesting street art. In fact, some of the artists were taking advantage of the warm sunny weather to work on their pieces.  Once to Alderney we found a Great Trail Pavilion on the harbour front whose focus was on the efforts of Canadian Armed forces personnel and Engineers whose hard work and dedication went into building many of the bridges and pathways across Canada from coast to coast to coast.  As someone who has both travelled these infrastructures and waded through water in areas without bridges I can tell you that their efforts are greatly appreciated.


 We boarded the small ferry to cross the harbour from Dartmouth to Halifax on a water portion of the Great Trail. The ferry was pretty full of people enjoying the weekend weather and heading to the festival. As we crossed we had a lovely view of the Angus L. MacDonald Bridge.


We made our way along the waterfront, enjoying the festive atmosphere on the boardwalk. We passed the famous Cows Ice Cream shop, and wandered through the Historic Properties on the waterfront.

Our main goal was Mountain Equipment Co-op, where I hoped to find a new pair of Keen hiking boots, as well as a few additional items. The staff were very friendly and helpful, but unfortunately they didn't have any boots in my size :( It seems that although my current Keens have held up for nearly 2,500 km, they will be called on to go a little farther ... Charlottetown? Moncton? St. John? Oh my. We also failed to find any sleeping bag liners, or warmer sleeping bags that fit our budget and weight requirements, so we have yet to equip ourselves adequately for the cold nights that are already here. It seems a new set of challenges await us on the trail for the next month....


After visiting MEC we made our way back to the waterfront to celebrate finishing our second province with a pint at the Lower Deck pub. It was nice to relax and watch the crowds go by, many of whom seemed to be students about to begin university at Dalhousie.

Although our hike in Nova Scotia has come to an end, we will remain here for another few days as we speak at a number of locations in and around the Annapolis Valley. We have enjoyed our time in the beautiful province of Nova Scotia enormously, but it will take a while for all our experiences to sink in.

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