Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Truro to Wide Open Wilderness Campground

This morning arrived with heavy cloud cover, and the distant hills were shrouded in mist. It has been a while since we enjoyed the cool, refreshing, softening, presence of fog, and we thoroughly enjoyed those first hours of the morning.

 

We left Truro by way of the Cobequid Trail, which was a continuation of the lovely, flat, pea gravel trail we took through town. It came complete with covered benches, garbage bins, and scattered interpretive signs. A joy!

 
 


For the first 8 km we followed this lovely, partially treed trail as it took us past corn fields, marsh tidal flats, colourful barns, and finally out to Cobequid Bay. The tide was out, giving us a nice view of the slick, sculpted, sticky-looking red clay shores of the basin, as well as the textured looking mud flats that were exposed in the middle.


 
 

Cobequid Bay has been designated as an Important Bird Area due to the abundance and diversity of shorebirds that pass through during spring and fall migrations. Between 1 and 2 million shorebirds pass through this area in fall, including nearly 95% of the global population of Semipalmated Sandpipers. Today we didn't spot a single shorebird, although we did see lots of American Goldfinches popping in and out of the fields of blooming goldenrod. We also saw a pair of Northern Cardinals darting across the trail into the shrubbery, and we saw quite a few Mourning Doves and Cedar Waxwings.
 
 
 
 

We enjoyed the views out over the eastern arm of the Cobequid Bay until the trail ended and we began a new section of trail down a red gravel road. The interpretive signs indicated we were in Acadian Country, and we passed the sites of several historically important farms and homesteads. Shore Rd took us through rolling countryside and a beautiful pastoral landscape. Although we essentially walked an 8 km loop that brought us back to nearly the point where we began, it gave Sean a chance to do one of the things he enjoys most: photographing historic buildings, which in this case was aesthetically beautiful barns.
 


 

Eventually the gravel road came to an end, and we started down a paved highway. By this time the sun was blazing down, and it was very hot. These shadeless highway walks always make us realize how inhospitable the world we've built for cars is for living organisms. Hard, hot surfaces with no shade and no water are just not friendly for wildlife, including humans.

 
 
  
This isn't to say that the rural landscape of Nova Scotia isn't beautiful. We trekked over rolling hills, passed fields with dairy cows lazily enjoying the summer afternoon, enjoyed the clean fresh scent of freshly mown fields of hay, and enjoyed picturesque red barns with rows of nearly rolled hay bales laid out in front. It was very beautiful.


 

 

When we got to the community of Beaver Brook we paused for a break under a shady tree outside the volunteer fire fighters hall. As we sat there we noticed a lush and beautiful garden next door, and were delighted to discover that it was being grown in support of the Colchester Food Bank. This part of Nova Scotia seems to be doing a lot of great work with gardens.

 
 
 
 

One of the challenges we faced today was a lack of water. Although we were essentially walking near a river, all the waterways around this area are affected by the tidal bore, which brings salt water from the ocean inland. This obviously makes them unsuitable for drinking. We had spotted a few small streams on the satellite images of our route that we thought might provide drinkable water, but in the end they were all dry as a bone.

 
 

In the end, after walking 26 km of trail, we decided to walk across the river and trek an additional 6 km to a private campground for the night. It was a long, hot walk, but it turned our to be a good decision that led to interesting adventures.

 

When we crossed the Shubenacadie River, we found ourselves high over the tidal flats on a long, arched, concrete bridge. From this vantage point the patterns created by the rivulets of water at the bottom of basin, and the vast mud flats looked very impressive. We noticed that there were people standing on the bridge looking down river, and we were also surprised to see a metal observation platform full of people watching the Tidal Bore. We were just in time!


On the other side of the bridge we watched as a group of people slide down the slippery mud banks into the water below. The kids would take a running leap and slide on their bellies or bums down in one big swoosh. Then they would climb back up and repeat. It looked like their clothes would likely never be the same, but it must have been lots of fun!



The Bay of Fundy has the highest tides in the world (16 m), and from the vantage point in East Hants you can watch the wave come in, and then see the water level rise 10 ft in the first half hour after the ride came in. It is actually very impressive.

We walked down to the observation platform, and just as we got there a whole fleet of river rafters came boisterously through, riding the incoming waves. This looked like a lot of fun too!
 

The Tidal Bore interpretation center had a lot of interesting information about the roads and how they have affected the wildlife, history, and industry in the area. It also had a 1 km long walk through a marsh that was rehabilitated and built by Ducks Unlimited. It was a lovely walk down a grassy track, and we saw a small group of Black Ducks, a Belted Kingfisher, lots of American Goldfinches, several Yellow Warblers, and a Common Yellowthroat.

 

It was a lovely spot, but we still had about 5 km more to walk to the Wide Open Wilderness Family Camoground, so we reluctantly got back to it. The afternoon sun is often at its hottest between 3:30 and 5:00 PM, so these last few kilometers over rolling hills were tough going.

 

When we finally arrived at the campground we found a lovely place with treed sites. We set up, did laundry, and had showers, after which we felt much better. There is a fire ban effect, despite the rain over the last few days, so we had a cold supper of bread, beans, and cheese.

As we were sitting at the picnic table, a Ruby-throated Hummingbird came and checked us out, hovering about a foot above our heads. Shortly afterwards a Northern Flicker landed a few feet away on a snag. It is a quiet and peaceful spot, and we are glad to have water and everything else we need here.

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