Saturday, September 21, 2019

Kinkora to Borden - Carleton and Birding the Confederation Bridge

Today was a beautiful day, filled with many unexpected gifts. We awoke to find the sun shining through the window in our cozy bedroom under the cottage eves. It was so comfy and warm we really didn't want to get up.


After a breakfast of flatbread, peanut butter, wonderful locally produced strawberry rhubarb jam, and coffee we headed down to the shore to explore Canoe Cove. The tide was partially out, and we were thrilled to see a group of seals, including several youngsters, basking on a sandbar.



 


 

The peaceful cove was quiet except for the sound of the seabreeze and the cries of Herring and Bonaparte's Gulls overhead. The bright red cliffs were glowing in the early morning sun, set off by the blue of the sky.

Around 10 am Maxine picked us up and drove us back to Kinkora, the point where we left the trail yesterday. Along the way she kindly highlighted points of local interest, including the Matos Winery. One of the things we have really enjoyed about PEI is the abundance of local and homemade produce, as well as wineries and cider breweries. The culinary culture of PEI has reminded us what it is like to really enjoy food again.

 

When Maxine dropped us off she left us with another treat - a ziplock stuffed with fresh fruit and veggies! Fresh produce is like gold to us, because it is something we cannot carry in our packs, and we miss it enormously. Her thoughtfulness and kindness were overwhelming, and we would soon learn this was not even the last of it!

 

By the time we got underway the morning was sunny and quite warm. It was another beautiful day of hiking along the tree-lined Confederation trail. Much of the surrounding landscape was rural, with rolling hills, barns, and a few horses.

 

Around 5 km into our hike we took a small detour to visit the Handpie Company. If you are driving to or from the Confederation Bridge, hiking or cycling the Confederation Trail, or really anywhere on or near PEI this is a must-stop place!


 
This lovely establishment offers a wide variety of savory pasties in flavors such as beets, corn, and goat cheese, or cheesy potatoes and onion, or breakfast (maple sausage, baked beans, and scrambled eggs). They also offer sweet pies, such as blueberry and cranberry. The pies are handmade on-site, and the lovely staff shared their history with us. Apparently they are derived from the pasties miners took for lunch, which could have been half savoury and half sweet. Apparently miners didn't eat the crust, because it would be covered in soot. The crust on these pies was absolutely delicious, as was the filling. They were the perfect fuel for adventure, and when we made our selection we learned that Maxine was treating us! Her kindness and generosity was truly amazing.

 
 
 

With full bellies and hearts we set off to finish the last 6 km of trail on Prince Edward Island. It was as lovely as all the rest, and we were really dragging our feet, not wanting our time on this lovely island to come to an end.

 

When we reached Borden-Carleton we came to the end of the trail. We continued on to the Gateway Village, which was a picturesque strip of shops offering souvenirs, Cows Ice Cream, and Information, among other things. We wandered around, still reluctant to cross the bridge.

 


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

There is an Important Bird Area right at the base of the Confederation Bridge, and a member of the Island Nature Trust had indicated it was not to be missed. We decided to check it out, and and as it turned out, he was right! The Bedeque Bay IBA was designated because it supports large numbers of Canada Geese during spring and fall, as well as large numbers of Brant during spring migration. Not only did we enjoy spectacular views of the bridge, but we saw at least 17 species of birds.

 


Among the highlights were several waterfowl species that were new species for this hike, including a group Gadwall and several Northern Shovelers. There were also Wood Ducks, a Mallard, and Ring-necked Ducks. On the shore, we spotted a large group of Sanderlings, nearly all asleep, balanced on one foot with their beaks tucked up under their wings. Whenever a ripple washed up on their legs they would squint an eye and hop sideways in objection.
 
 
 
 
 

We spent a long time in the IBA investigating the marsh, looking at the ducks in the water treatment pond, and walking the beach. As we reluctantly turned to leave we spotted se real Great Blue Herons fishing out in the marsh, and a Merlin perched high atop a snag.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

By the time we extracted ourselves the sun was beginning to set. We convinced ourselves that it would be more appropriate to begin a new province as a new day was beginning, not as an old one was ending, so we headed back to a campground near the bridge to spend one last night on PEI. Tomorrow a new province, and a new day will begin!






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