Sunday, September 22, 2019

Borden-Carleton to Port Elgin....or PEI to New Brunswick....


We woke early to a beautiful sunrise, and the slightly annoying caws of American Crows having an argument above us. With great reluctance we packed up and set off to catch the shuttle across the Confederation Bridge. This bridge spans the Abegweit Passage of the Northumberland Strait, and connects Prince Edward Island to New Brunswick. At 12.9 km it is the world 's longest bridge over ice-covered water. Construction on the bridge was completed in 1997. Pedestrians are not normally allowed on the bridge, but a shuttle is available upon request.


And so, we crossed into our fourth province along our #hike4birds! The shuttle dropped us off at the Cape Jourimain Wildlife Area. We took some time to explore the Interpretive Center, and it was well worth the visit! This is a great place to explore to learn about birds! There are lots of displays describing the history and development of the area and the 170 species of birds that love there. There is also a tower visitors can climb to get a view of the Confederation Bridge and the beautiful red sand beach below, several nature trails, and a lighthouse to explore.


We walked down to the beach and saw a group of eight Semipalmated Plovers, a Willet, several Greater Black-backed, Herring, and Ring-billed Gulls, and a Greater Yellowlegs walking through the shallows. There were also about 50 Double-crested Cormorants roosting at the base of the bridge pilings. Among the songbirds we saw were Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Black-capped Chickadees, and Blue Jays. As we combed the beach a pair of hawks circled overhead.



After exploring the beach we headed back to the Visitor's Center. We purchased a couple homemade muffins, and the very kind lady at the cafe threw in an extra to help fuel our hike. It was a lovely welcome to New Brunswick!

As we headed down the trail we were very happy to find a nice flat railbed bordered by low shrubs and trees. A few minutes along a Bald Eagle swooped low over the trail and was gone, like a good omen.


The first few kilometers took us past some stunningly beautiful marshes. The fall colours are really starting to show here, and the golden cattails in front of the blue water, with the red maples in the background was wonderful. There were quite a few ducks on the move, giving the landscape movement.


About an hour into the hike we came to a parking lot and then turned onto a new section of trail. We were slightly dismayed to find that the damage from Dorian was still evident here. There were a lot of downed trees in that section, and throughout the course of the day we found ourselves climbing over, under, or around 52 fallen trees.

Trail conditions over the 27 km we covered today varied greatly from nice hardpacked dirt, to sections of crushed gravel dust, to stretcheds of deep, large, painful gravel that reminded us of walking across Newfoundland.


Although we found ourselves dearly missing the very high standards of the Confederation Trail at times, the scenery was gorgeous, and very different from what we have seen so far. We passed many marshes, with their fall colours contrasting with the bleached white wood of standing snags. Much of the trail was bordered by areas of low, shrubby, regenerating forest. We also passed the occasional field or river crossing.


As the afternoon progressed the wind really began to pick up, raising small dust devils on the path, and tossing the yellow, purple, and white wildflowers on the trail edges around. It was a stiff headwind, and quite a fight to keep moving forward.


As the sun began to set, and we approached Port Elgin, we passed a mash with a couple duck hunters in it. We had seen three ATVs on the trail,all of which turned off onto side trails ahead of us, and one parked on the side. Again, we felt a little like we were back in Newfoundland.


When we finally reached Port Elgin it was getting dark, the wind was very strong. We crossed a high arched wooden bridge over a waterway, and found ourselves in the tiny community of Port Elgin. It was a lovely but long day, and we were ready to stop running against the wind.


After 33 km of hiking and few options for camping we were grateful to be hosted by Pumpkin Inn in Port Elgin for the evening.  As we write our journals and head to bed the wind is ranging and rain is pouring yet owing to the kindness of one beautiful individual we are safe inside.


1 comment:

  1. Your comments always make me feel as if I am with you on the trail. Thank you! Enjoy the soft bed and hot shower!


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