Sunday, August 25, 2019

Dollar Lake Provincial Park to Musquodoboit Harbour

Since we are ahead of schedule for our talk in Musquodoboit Harbour, we took a day off yesterday in Dollar Lake Provincial Park. We did laundry, mended clothing and gear, and took a walk through the park and around the lake. Dollar Lake has a beautiful rocky shoreline as well as a nice sandy beach. The day use area was quite full of people happily enjoying the warm sunshine on one of the last weekends of the summer. It felt good to be in the company of so many other campers.


Last night was cold - so cold that our summer sleeping bags were nowhere near up to the task of keeping us warm, and sleep was next to impossible. As we lay there we heard the loud clear 'Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you, now?' calls of a Barred Owl in the forest. Some of the other campers mimicked the call, and for a while the owl and campers exchanged calls.

When we got up this morning the main washroom was out of service, and we had to search a bit for a water tap that worked. We were still very grateful for the clean running water. On the way out of the campground we spoke with a man who had also walked the Camino de Santiago from St. Jean-Pied-de-Port, France to Santiago de Compostela, Spain. He said he couldn't imagine walking across Canada, but wanted to go back and walk across Spain again. Once you get outside and hike, it often leaves you wanting to continue.

We were back on the main highway and heading northeast by 8:30 am. The walk down the paved road was considerably easier in the cool morning air, with the shadows of the trees still long.

As we headed northeast towards Wyses Corner we climbed through a forested landscape. We had glimpses of an impressive granite escarpment in the distance, as well as treed ridges, which gave the area a very different feel from the river valleys and agricultural floodplain we've been walking through recently.


Shortly after turning onto Wyse Rd we came to farm with a group of adult and baby deer in the yard. They were hanging out on the lawn under the trees eating fallen apples. At first they were reluctant to leave their feast, and stood stalk still, with their huge ears perked, looking at us. Eventually they took off in giant leaps and bounds as we approached.


A little farther on we paused to watch as a Red-tailed Hawk was pursued through the skies above a hay field by a Sharp-shinned Hawk. The aerial chase was quite impressive, and when the Sharpie finally gave up, a couple of Tree Swallows took up the fight!


As we continued on we passed a marsh where we startled an American Bittern into flight. These birds typically hang out in the tall marsh grass and are very hard to see, so this was a rare treat. Unfortunately it happened so fast there was no time for a photo.


As we followed Wyse Rd we had some beautiful views of the deep, flowing Musquodoboit River. We also crossed a very picturesque trestle bridge. The landscape by this point was rural, with open rolling fields and an ever increasing number of houses.

Finally we turned and began heading south again on the shoulder of a highway that followed beside the Musquodoboit River. Google maps showed that we were walking beside the Musquodoboit Trail at this point, and we tried at several junctions to access it. However, it seemed to be something that was being planned for the future rather than something that exists now. The trail followed the railbed, which was just visible, but only short stretches of trail were open. We continued on the road.


Finally we reached the official beginning of the Musquodoboit Trail. It turned out to be a lovely shaded, tree-lined pea gravel trail. On one side was the river, and on the other a steep treed slope with some incredibly large granite boulders. It was in fantastic condition, and an absolute joy to walk. The trail also featured interpretive signs, picnic shelters, pit toilets, and benches strategically placed to capture lovely views. We took lots of breaks, and at one of the shelters found an enormous Dark Fishing Spider.

There were many wilderness side-trails leading up the boulderer ridge, which looked like they would offer fantastic views from the top. However, since we were already walking over 30 km today, we didn't venture up any.




A highlight of this section of trail was reaching Bayer Lake, which was the site of a Scout Camp. It was a very beautiful lake, and we stopped to watch three Double-crested Cormorants perching on a branch in the middle. There was also a Greater Yellowlegs that caught and consumed a frog on the rocky shore. It spent quite a long time bashing the carcass on the rocks before swallowing it whole. Perhaps this was to break the bones and soften it up. This was both disgusting and fascinating at the same time, and we could see the bulge slide its neck as it swallowed.


After the lake the trail continued into the community of Musquodoboit Harbour. Happily there were quite a few more amenities in the town than showed up on our Google search, including several bakeries, a brewery, and an ice cream stand, in addition to the convenience store, market, and railway museum we were expecting. We will be spending a day here before giving our talk and bird walk, so we are looking forward to exploring a bit tomorrow in between working on our presentation.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.