Saturday, August 17, 2019

Meguma Falls to Kemptown to Truro

Today began with a lovely breakfast at our campsite beside Meguma Falls. We really didn't want to leave that peaceful and beautiful spot. As we made breakfast the sound of falling water drowned out most bird song, except for the rough caws of a Common Raven flying overhead.

 

We eventually climbed out of our beloved river valley, up the steep slope to another enchanted looking hardwood forest. We found more of the same from yesterday - a hardwood canopy with a lush understory of ferns. The trail took us past several waterfalls, in a section that was relatively easy to walk. It looked like there were campsites at all these spots, all begging to be used.

 
 
 

When we reached Gully Lake we found a beautiful open marshy area, with standing water in the middle. There was another lovely campsite with a great view out over the lake.




The walk past Gully Lake was a bit challenging, because we found ourselves wading through thick grass, ferns, and thorny wild roses with uneven rocks underneath that we couldn't see. The sad part about this stretch was that we were walking through a stunningly beautiful forest, but we had to look down at the ground the whole time to keep from tripping.

 
 
 
 

At one point we came to a family of large Ruffed Grouse that were sitting near the trail, concealed under the ferns. They waited until we were nearly stepping on them, and then erupted out of the undergrowth in their best attempt to give us heart attacks. Their strategy nearly worked.

 

We did nonetheless find lots of things to enjoy. The fungi in this wilderness area were highly diverse and interesting -coming in a whole array of different colours, shapes, and sizes.

 

There were also loads of caterpillars everywhere! Have you ever been in a forest on a bright sunny day, and it sounded like it was raining? This is actually the sound of frass, or caterpillar poop falling. It was coming down like crazy, and every time we paused for a break we would find at least 2-3 inchworms on us.
 

Of course, caterpillars make great snacks for birds, especially warblers. We saw several Dark-eyed Juncos with beak fulls of the juicy insects, as well as a pair of Black-throated Green Warblers. Our birding highlight for today was seeing both Oven Birds and Black and White Warblers feeding their young in a stand of young maples.

 
 


After what seemed like a lot more than 5 km, we found ourselves at the charming little bridge over Juniper Brook. We paused to take a break and mourn the fact that we would soon have to leave this beautiful preserve.

 


Eventually we emerged from the park, and began our trek down old highway 4. There wasn't much traffic on this road, because it runs right beside the Trans Canada Highway, and it did provide some beautiful views of rolling hills, forests, old fields, and marshes. However, it was tough going in the hot sun and afternoon heat.

 


We stopped for a couple breaks, and spent some time around the Salmon River, which was the only good looking source of water along the route, searching for a spot to camp. There were a couple places we could have pitched the tent, but they were all clearly heavily used, and there were quite a few ATVs in the area. With it being Saturday night we decided something a little more hidden would be preferable, but we were confounded by extremely thorny wild roses at every turn.

 
 
 


We continued on for a bit, but Sean had been feeling lousy for a few hours by this point, and it was getting worse. Last night he was bitten by a spider, and it had left him with painful welts and feeling rotten. With 13 km of hot road walking left, he felt he couldn't continue.


We called a taxi and headed in to Truro, where we stopped to ask a pharmacist  and walk in clinic what he should do. The recommendation was antihistamines and cold compresses, so we are giving that a try. Hopefully tomorrow he will be feeling better, and our adventure will continue. 

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