Monday, August 19, 2019

Kemptown to Truro

Two days ago Sean got a series of nasty spider bites that left him feeling unable to hike the last few kilometers of hot, shadeless, hilly, road into Truro. So, we took a taxi to the nearest pharmacy, which was 24 km down the trail in Truro. Yesterday he spent recovering, and today we backtracked to cover the section of 'trail' we missed.

It was very hot and muggy today, but luckily it was overcast, which made the road walking easier. The winding highway took us past houses, the landfill, a small section of forest that resembled the Boreal, several areas that looked like quarries or gravel pits, and many forested kilometers.



Although it wasn't the most interesting section of trail we've hiked, we did enjoy the views from the tops of the hills and the pink colour of the asphalt was something different.

When we reached the community of Valley, we had a learning experience that made us feel like technological dinosaurs. We came to a McDonald's at the crossroads, and decided to stop in for a cup of their ethically sourced, rainforest alliance certified coffee. With me being vegetarian, we never ever go to McDonalds, but really, how hard could this be? I'm sure every single reader of this blog is familiar with the multi-step phone/online/kiosk ordering and numbered delivery service that occurs to number tables, but for two naive hikers who are used to placing their orders with actual people in Tim Hortons, exchanging physical money for coffee, and walking away from the counter with said coffee, it was quite an unexpected experience - especially for Sean who does not own a phone (or know how to use a smart phone), has never mobile ordered, is not great with technology and only had cash on him.  Fortunately a young staff member took pity on him and helped him out - and brought him back to the table. 

Feeling foolish, but having enjoyed the coffee, we continued along the trail through the neighborhood of Bible Hill. This was a very well to do suburb of Truro, and to our surprise and delight we saw four White-tailed Deer along the way. Two were munching in a small stand of trees, and two others were happily grazing on someone's lawn.


A few blocks later we came to a park where the baseball diamond had been converted to a community garden. This was kind of cool, but it had a very tall fence around it, so obviously the deer were well known and frequent visitors there.


As we approached the outskirts of downtown Truro we passed the Dalhousie Agriculture Campus. This looked like a very interesting place, complete with what appeared to be a working farm, butterfly and botanical gardens, large greenhouses, and several heritage buildings. The multi-story red brick residences were not yet filled with students, but there was a definite air of expectancy for the coming school year.


Shortly after that we crossed a bridge over the Salmon River and entered the town of Truro. There was a group of four Common Mergansers floating on the river as we crossed, one of which was comically making its way up a small set of rapids.

We took some time to explore the downtown as we passed through. We walked down several streets with lovely cafes, shops, and restaurants, and we were pleased to find The Trail Store, where we purchased a few Backpacker's Pantry meals that were NOT rice and beans. Yay!

We also stopped for an ice cream at the Clay Cafe, which turned out to be a great little place. It was filled with paintable ceramics that you could purchase, and you could paint them at the cafe tables! Once you were finished you could leave them to be fired. There were some really amazing pieces in the shop, and quite a few people there working on their own art. A great idea!



We also walked past the Colchester Historium, which is a museum that also houses the town archives, and the Truro Post Office National Historic site, which is a very impressive Victorian building. The Farmers Market also looked very nice, but sadly it is only open on Saturdays.  On the lawn beside it however was a though provoking project entitled "Before I die...", which sought to get people to have conversations about life, expectations, hopes, dreams, etc.  Ultimately we were fascinated by the range of hopes and wishes expressed, the willingness of people to courageously put themselves out there, and to see that so many people had a desire to travel and explore more!

On our tour through Truro we also visited the small Kiwanis Park, where we took a break to watch a flock of Mallards paddling about. There were also three juvenile Double-crested Cormorants on the pond!  I am always amazed that Mallards, which are among our most common birds, are often ignored for their beauty.  I could spend hours watching them. 


As we completed our section of The Great Trail today we managed to pass by the Salmon River during the Tidal Bore, so we stopped to watch it a second time. It was just as entertaining, and today we saw a small group of Black-bellied Plovers out on the mud flats as well, which was also quite exciting.

Having walked just over 25 km today, we are ready to continue down the trail tomorrow towards the Copequid Important Bird Area!

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