Friday, September 20, 2019

Hunter River to Kinkora

This morning Maxine very kindly picked us up and drove us to the trailhead in Hunter River where we stopped yesterday. This was an enormous favour, and one she did before heading in to work for 7:00 am! As she drove over the rolling hills the sun turned the sky a brilliant red and orange. Dark shapes of trees, houses, and steeples poked up through soft white mist in the valleys. The moon was still up, adding to the stunning beauty of the scene!


Before dropping us off, Maxine gave us fried egg and veggie sandwiches made with fresh bread, and a container of blackberries. We felt truly spoiled, and later discovered just how delicious these goodies were. We were blown away by her kindness, especially for making all this before going to work!


The morning was cold and crisp, but as the sun crept up above the horizon its warmth could immediately be felt. It cast long shadows across the trail, and made beautiful reflections on the nearby river. As we watched a Great Blue Heron walked sedately through the golden water into the mist.
 
 
 


As the air began to warm up, the trailside bushes came alive with birds. Common Yellowthroats, Black-capped Chickadees, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Cedar Waxwings, American Robins, and Blue Jays were among the most active and vocal species. 

 
 
 

The trail again took us through rolling hills and a pastoral landscape.
 
 
 
 

When we reached the small community of Breadalbane we came across the Breadalbane Nature Trail, which makes a loop that partially runs alongside the Confederation Trail for a bit. We explored a short section of it, and were delighted to find that it was a forested footpath that led up into the hills.

 
It gave a sense of being more surrounded by nature and wilderness, and begged to be explored. However, we pressed on without allowing ourselves to get too distracted.

 

As we walked we admired the curving lines of grass and grain in the mown fields and the vibrant red barns, all set off by trees that were just beginning to turn red, yellow, and orange in the fall.

 
 
 
 

In this section there were also several horses roaming the fields. They seemed curious, but couldn't be enticed to come over for a visit.

 
 
 

Just before we reached Emerald Junction we met a large dog who came bounding out of his yard, barking and half growling at us. His bluffing soon turned to friendliness however and he began to follow us, bringing the occasional stick in the hopes of finding a playmate.

 
 
 
We hoped he would return on his own when he reached the boundary of his farm, or when we crossed a beautiful trestle bridge, or when we stopped and tried to send him back. No such luck. After 3 km we decided we had to walk him back to prevent him getting lost. We trekked back and knocked on the door of his house, but no one answered. Not sure what else to do, we returned to the trail and kept going, one lonely dog the richer. When we reached a road we finally managed to get him to turn around and head back. Hopefully he returned safely!

 
 
 


Shortly after that we came to Emerald Junction, which marks the point where the trail branches and you choose either to continue west towards Tignish, or you turn south towards Borden - Carleton and the bridge to New Brunswick. Reluctantly we turned south towards the bridge and the beginning of the end of our time on PEI.

 


It was more or less a straight run on to Kinkora down the rail trail. We paused to read the interpretive signs, enjoy the benches and gazebos, and revel in the beauty of the landscape and the summer afternoon. It was a real gift to slack-pack today and just enjoy!

 

By 4:00 PM we reached Kinkora, and discovered that not only is there a little ice cream stand right on the trail there, but O'Shea's Pub is also just down the road. We stepped in for a cold drink and salad while we waited for Maxine to pick us up.

It was quite a long drive from Kinkora back to the cottage, and we deeply appreciated the ride. Not only that, but Maxine and Jeff returned later that evening with an absolutely delicious meal of veggie burgers, lobster salad, green salad, PEI potatoes, and wonderful strawberry rhubarb crumble for dessert. It was an evening of wonderful food, great company, and good conversation.

 

 We went to sleep feeling warm, full, cozy, and overwhelmed by the kindness of people who until a few days ago were complete strangers.

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