We were out the door at 8 AM, early sun shining in our eyes. The temp was almost 50, so we were bundled. Again, we were amazed at how far we had to walk to reach water's edge. The students (so young) were already out there, collecting specimens in marked grids. We were privy to their knowledge and willingness to share what they were finding: Sea stars, blood red stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers, dog winkles, mussels, limpets, sponges, a skulpin (ugly), worms with fancy names, sponges that looked like slime, a fish that looked like an eel, chitons, etc, etc. I don't have a dictionary at hand, so my spelling might not be correct. We spent nearly two hrs out there. Dr. Aiken, their instructor, graciously answered our questions. Wonderful experience. We returned to town by 11 to check out an auction we'd learned about yesterday and it seemed half the town was there. We walked to Kingsbrae Garden, an 11-hectare horticultural gardens featuring 50,000 flowers, shrubs and trees - lovely and serene - and we spent several hrs strolling the paths. Walked slowly home, ate dinner, and watched the tide recede once again.
Rain began at 3:30 am and continued till around Noon. That gave us needed time to do laundry and other household chores. In the afternoon, we walked to town and poked around. We've stumbled onto a lovely old town on the Passamaquoddy Bay. The tidal variation here is about 26'. The town was settled by Loyalists who fled the American Revolution - some brought their homes with them. We toured several historic churches and homes, inc Sheriff Andrews house (1820), Ross Memorial Museum (1824), and ended up checking out the 1832 county jail, a horror of a place that housed prisoners up to 1979! Ate a wonderful lunch at Great Harvest Market. Back in camp, after supper and towards dusk and a near-record low tide, we spied "ants" WAY out on the recently-revealed ocean floor. Wasn't really ants - it was people, so far out they looked like ants. Jimmy put on his boots and I put on my hikers and we joined them. Figured we walked a half mile or more over rocks and sand and seaweed! The people were 3rd and 4th year marine biology students studying what they could find with this super low tide. It was great fun to be out there with them, but darkness sent us all back to shore. They'll be back in the morning for the 8:30 low tide... and we'll join them again. The two photos above show the same place: Almost-low and High Tide!
Our hiking shoes have definitely been broken in, but it's time to leave the chattering red squirrels, bunnies, chipmonks, Boreal chickadees and Juncos of this fine campground and continue west. Besides, our feet and knees need a rest! We don't know our destination yet, but we're moving toward St Stephen, near the New Brunswick/Maine border.
At the RV yesterday, we spied the Shiphaven Trail, an alleged 1 km trail which seemed much longer because it involved many stairs, but off we went anyway. We ended up at the covered bridge and the remains of an 1881 logging outfit that threw sawdust into the river which killed off the salmon. Not good. Quite interesting, tho, for the views across the mouth of the Point Wolfe River and the bay as well as the old sawmill days.
What am I doing in that tree?
On our way, we traveled thru a wide lush valley, alive with autumn color, stopping in Saint John. With our limited time, we managed to visit their City Market, Saint John Stone Church, and the 1904 Carnegie Free Public Library - now an arts center. (We've seen several Carnegie libraries on this trip; they're easy to spot because they were well-crafted.) After lunch at Reggie's, we hit the road again.
St Stephen in New Brunswick, near the Maine border, boasts Ganong's Chocolate Museum and store; obviously we had to stop there first. With the museum tour, samples of fine chocolates on large silver trays were offered in each room ... how amazing! Eat till you burst - so we did! Hah, we were so full that we skipped the store altogether!
We doubled back to a CG on the Bay of Fundy shore in St Andrews, NB - another gem find for us. Plus they offer wifi. The good news is: We have to go back thru St Stephen (think chocolates!) on our way out of Canada ....
Another gorgeous day, perfect for hiking! We drove to Point Wolfe, even taking Tergel through a covered bridge! The trail then took us down to the water. Operative word here: Down. When we got there, the tide was just beginning to enter a cut, and when the Fundy tide comes in, it wastes no time!
In the space of a half hour, we watched the rising Bay of Fundy water completely cover the spit of land we'd been standing on. Check out the photos above and below of Jimmy by the driftwood! Only a few minutes elapsed between the top and bottom photos.
We hiked back UP to our RV, after which we decided to trek to the old Coppermine (4.4 km), one more beautiful trail ... straight up. At the coppermine, we climbed to the top of the tailings pile, without thinking about how we'd get down, besides sliding on our butts! At the top we saw a rusted steam boiler and a deep cave. We found a different way off the tailings pile and then came the trek back DOWN to our RV. A PBnJ sandwich on the trail energized us. We made one more stop on the way back to camp at Dickson Falls and opted for the shorter of two trails, which also involved: STAIRS. The falls was lovely, but our feet said it was time to head for camp.
We bought a mousetrap on our way home yesterday and set it tonite. A loud SNAP at around 2:30 AM told us we'd dispatched a dinky (but noisy) big-eared deer mouse. Maybe tomorrow we'll sleep w/o interruption....
Tuesday the 25th we put on our hiking clothes to explore the "moderate" Kinnie Brook trail, roughly 4km. This trail turned out to be a narrow footpath that took us up and down, including 175 steps (Jimmy counted), between sheer cliffs, bordered with the usual "Christmas" trees that smell oh-so-wonderful, and colorful autumn maple trees. Good thing we opted for moderate! These trails are rated 1 thru 4, with 2 being moderate, so "4" must be a killer!
After lunch we drove to Cape Enrage Lighthouse on an incredibly bad winding road. Once again, the end was worth the trip. Quite a view! Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy was next -- over a kilometer of coast is lined with uniquely shaped flowerpot rock formations. The brochure states that the tides here are the height of a four-story building! We were there in the 3-hr window of low tide where we could walk on the ocean floor, and touch those rock formations. Hard to believe that a mere six hours later the 40+ foot tide would cover the area where we walked! We hiked up and down and all around and loved every minute of it! Strange noises last night... and this night we saw that we'd picked up a passenger....
Decided to move on to NB as most of the campgrounds on PEI are already closed for the season... time to leave. Stopped first @ internet café to catch up on emails and the world’s goings-on. Chilly morning (and windy), so coffee tasted extra special. On our way, we stopped at a roadside stand for another king-sized cabbage, some broccoli, and a new pint of blueberries which we enjoy on our morning cereal. Drove across Queens County to the new (1997) Confederation Bridge, 12.1 km span over the Northumberland Strait, linking PEI to New Brunswick. Of course, the wind gusts were 60 km/hr, which gave me extreme shudders, but Jimmy drove and he said it was fine. I wanted to kiss the ground when we landed at the Visitor’s Ctr in New Brunswick. Drove to Chignecto campground (only one open) @ Fundy National Park on Bay of Fundy, a most beautiful place.
On Sunday, 9/23 we drove to Charlottetown for a look-see, parking downtown at the Visitor’s Center. The weather was fine enough for a Cow’s yummy ice cream cone each! We watched an interesting video at the Province House Founder’s Hall, site of meetings in 1864 that led to Canada’s Confederation three years later.
You go, girl!
While in town, we visited an art gallery and numerous century-old churches, including St. Dunstan's Cathedral, above, a large, stone church in the centre of Charlottetown. Designed and built in 1896-1907, the church suffered extensive fire damage in 1913 and was rebuilt in 1916. It was consecrated and elevated to the status of Basilica in 1929. St. Dunstan's was designated a national historic site of Canada because of it's fine High Victorian Gothic Revival style of architecture. The inside was magnificent; even the ceiling is ornate. The outside was just as imposing as the inside was beautiful.
Next, we drove to Beamish Apple Farm outside of Charlottetown – Open Farm Day – and enjoyed an apple farm tour, complete with open wagon ride and u-pick apples. We picked some, too. Nice afternoon!
At Cardigan we had dinner at Cardigan Lobster Suppers. I had a 5-course lobster dinner, (yay!) including steamed mussels, and Jimmy had a delicious lobster pie. We'd never eaten mussels before, and we were surprised by their good taste. They were quite yummy. Fun day all around!
Nova Scotia is a very hospitable place with friendly people who love well-tended velvety-green lawns. Since it's surrounded by water, you may well imagine that water is everywhere – lakes, streams, rivers, ocean. The entire province is very green with colorful wildflowers. It was our pleasure to observe the reds and golds of autumn showing up in mid-September. Beautiful trees dot the province: Spruce, fir, white birch, maple, etc., as well as apple trees loaded with apples growing roadside, with apples squished on the road. Road signs and printed material are always given in both English and either French or Celtic (?). We didn't encounter much traffic on most roads and signs are easy to follow. Paved roads are marginal, and some are terrible, but the speed limits are lower, which saves on gas and gives people (like us) more time to gawk. It is not flat, except perhaps at oceanfront – everything else is tilted either UP or DOWN – which makes Nova Scotia ear-popping country. The wind blows constantly. If it had a national bird, my money would be on a CROW or a SEAGULL. Nova Scotia is expensive for Americans, but we enjoyed our visit.
One of my favorite Canadian road signs.
Sunday the 16th we moved to Cheticamp C/G at Cape Breton Highlands Nat’l Park for a couple of nights. The day was still cloudy and cool, jacket weather, but no rain. We decided to hike the sometimes-rough 7.6 mile R/T Salmon Pool River Trail, which started out wide enough for a vehicle and ended up a narrow winding footpath. We followed the tannic Cheticamp River from our campground near the ocean to the mtns where it became a raging torrent, plunging over boulders, wild with rapids and waterfalls. We didn’t see any salmon, but aren’t they hard to see in the water unless they’re jumping? We enjoyed a great hike, and got back sort of late.
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Monday the 17th dawned clear and sunny, altogether gorgeous, and we set out for the Skyline trail. The brochure says it’s a “dramatic headland overlooking the rugged Gulf of St. Lawrence coast. Whales, eagles, moose, bears.” This 5.7 mile loop was one of the most outstanding trails we’ve ever been on. We saw both Minnie and Mickey (big rack!) moose, hawks, and at the top of the headland, we watched pilot whales frolicking in the waters 250 meters down. Fields of wildflowers and ferns mixed with fragrant conifers. A boardwalk led off the trail with stairs and platforms for viewing the Gulf far below. Fainthearted people wouldn’t be able to do this one!
After finishing this trail, we elected to do a wee 1.9 mile hike to Benji’s Lake, very different than Skyline. We spotted more birds (no moose) here, inc. a spruce grouse poking along on the ground, and identified the red-breasted nuthatch, an early warning fella, whose call sounds like a toy tin horn and who alerted everything else in the forest of our presence, the rat. We were tired when we got “home,” but we had a terrific day! Windy and 5°C (40°F) is our forecast low – real snuggling weather – we can add that third blanket, and wear lightweight long-johns! We don’t sleep with the heater on, but we appreciate it in the morning – either electric or propane, depending on if we’re hooked up or not.
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Tuesday the 18th we pulled up stakes to drive wherever the wind blew us … and we ended up at the world’s end – Meat Cove, at the very top of Cape Breton Island – where the road ends and the sea starts! The last 5k was an unkind dirt road, but the view … oh my, it was worth it! Meat Cove is a tiny rural fishing community, the most northerly settlement in Nova Scotia. We managed to pull our little RV onto a high grassy bluff next to the ocean. Yikes, don't get too close to the edge, because it's a long way down! This campsite has to be the best ever, with mountains behind us and the ocean in front, and craggy coves along the coast. No hookups here! We love that we can camp in our little RV with or w/o hookups.
Our little Trail Lite is camped at the top of the world!
We got "directions" to Cape St Lawrence Lighthouse, so we set off on foot – straight up, and up, and up. The route was tortuous. We either missed our turn or didn’t go far enough, but we didn't find the lighthouse. I don’t know who was more surprised – me or the ponies – as a line of three horses, two painted ponies and a big brown mare, came around a curve, ambling up the trail like they were out for a Sunday stroll. They stopped to see if we had any goodies and continued on! Nothing and nobody else around – huh! Crazy! We also startled a ruffled grouse. I'm not sure far we hiked, but we were gone for hours. We were tired this evening, but we stood outside after dark, studying the sky that stretched from horizon to horizon, eyeing the Milky Way and a heavens full of stars – wow! Another cold nite is forecast. We don’t mind a bit. Such a spectacular place to camp!
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We left Meat Cove on Wednesday the 19th and followed the scenic Cabot Trail south to Louisbourg. Somewhere along the way we stopped to pick a dishpan full of really dinky “native” apples hanging on a tree in front of an old white clapboard church that seemed unused. We also paused a couple of times while still in the Nat’l Park at awesome scenic viewing places; such a pretty day to drive. At Point of View RV Park in Louisbourg, we signed up to stay for two nights. And, we enjoyed a buffet dinner in their restaurant. Halibut, oh yeah, yum-yum! Did a lot of laundry here, too.
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Thursday, Sept 20th, turned into another warm, sunny day. Jimmy and I were at the Fortress of Louisbourg National Historic Site of Canada ... founded by the French in 1713 and abandoned by the British in 1768. The British blew up the fortifications in 1760, and in 1961 Canada decided to reconstruct one-fifth of original Louisbourg. Nowadays dozens of costumed animators become the town’s residents, àla summer of 1744. Period homes and exhibits line the central streets. We spent fascinating hours touring, asking questions, watching demonstrations, etc. The blacksmith made us a hook, and we bought a loaf of “period” white/wheat bread to go with our chili, which, if it had been round, could've been used as a bowling ball, but it tasted good … the first night. After the Fortress, we rode our bikes to town to go thru the RR Museum. FUN day. After our return to Tergel, we ate our delicious chili and bread! Then, we peeled and cored those silly apples and cooked ‘em up with a bit of brown sugar – nice, sweet desert!
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Friday the 21st we elected to hop the ferry to Prince Edward Island (P.E.I.). When we drove up to the ticket booth @ 2:45, the ferry was boarding, and this time we weren’t last to board – three monster gravel trucks pulled up alongside our little RV (geez!). We chose Brudenell CG in eastern PEI because it was close to Montague, which has a farmer’s market on Saturday. It’s one of the few campgrounds open at this time of year, and it’s a great choice for us ... as we’re close to the Confederation Bike Trail.
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On Saturday the 22nd, we hopped on the bikes aimed for Montague. Cool temps to start, but the day warmed fast in the bright sun. The Confederation Trail (rails-to-trails) stretches across the island, and it’s perfect for riding as its relatively flat and smooth. This wonderful trail is bordered by raspberry canes and ferns, flowers and cattails, and fabulous trees. More reds and yellows and oranges of autumn are appearing. (Watch out for woolly bears!) We found the farmer’s market, but were disappointed as the vendors were at the 70-mile yard sale! We rode around (up and down) the town and even checked out a couple of yard sales, then rode back to camp for lunch. After lunch (we finished up the everlasting cabbage we bought in Liverpool!), we rode to Georgetown, an old shipbuilding town with marvelous old homes and beautiful Chestnut trees. I bought a newspaper at Darryl’s (they have everything) mostly for the paper's name: The Guardian – Covers Prince Edward Island Like the Dew. Okayyyyy! Still windy, but t'was a wonderful day to ride – we put on 30 miles. Lovely, lovely day.
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Week three – Sept 9-15
We caught the CAT ferry from Bar Harbor ME to Nova Scotia on Monday, the 10th… an easy three-and-a-half hour crossing, though cool and misty. Most of this wk we spent on the Lighthouse Route of southern Nova Scotia, camping in four different places, all but one on the water and all very nice. In Liverpool and Bridgewater we visited the Ft Point Lighthouse and the Wile Carding Mill Museum (1860), both worth stopping to see. It isn’t easy to pick a favorite, but Lunenburg ranks high because it’s what the guidebooks call a “quaint fishing village,” and it really is. The harbor is beautiful and home to the Bluenose II, which we watched sail into port, but the afternoon sail was booked, more’s the pity. We enjoyed climbing around the town admiring the architecture of homes and churches. We spent several hours at the Fisheries Museum and had a delicious fish and chips lunch. Several times this wk we’ve stopped to buy fresh produce at farmer’s mkts, and we’ve eaten well…!
Further east, Peggy’s Cove also ranks up there because of its sheer beauty – a tiny village built around a snug harbor on the craggy south coast. We hop scotched across huge granite boulders, with waves crashing below, sidestepping peat bogs w/ pitcher plants, and finally ended up alone on one of those massive boulders, the sun warm on our faces, and we thought we’d died and gone to heaven. Mailed a few postcards from the old lighthouse there, which also serves as the post office!
Friday we visited Halifax. We climbed to the Citadel and toured that structure. Climb is the correct word. Most of the guides wore kilts. We hiked up (truly) and down Halifax streets, again admiring architecture, though we spent most of our day on the waterfront. We even took the ferry to Dartmouth and back to get a better view of the skyline.
The days were mostly sunny and warm, nites cool, though we had light on-and-off rain on Tuesday. We drove north on Saturday to Cape Breton Island, with a fierce tailwind (good gas mileage!) We reached Inverness on the Cabot Trail midafternoon and hove to at a campground on the coast. A walk on the beach was cut short when rain began, and that night we were in for a dandy storm: 110-120 km/hr winds with rain. Our little RV rocked that night, but she held steady, and we slept like babies in spite of the howling storm. We are learning how to figure the temp in Celsius and distances in kilometers, etc.
What a great family time we all had! Loved seeing my two brothers, Rus and Bill, and their families. Niece, Kris and her hubby Rob, their two cute little ones, Anna and Kyle, plus, nephew Jon and his friend, Lauren. We didn’t have time for a bike ride, darn it, but we did talk about bike riding! Maybe we’ll catch up to Bill and wife, Faye, in NH on the return trip …. Nice, nice time. (Thanks, Anne, for the delicious spaghetti dinner on our arrival Sept. 1st.) Thanx everyone for a wonderful visit!
Jon and Lauren
Jimmy, Bill, and Rus ... aka the Three Goofy Mouseketeers!
Jimmy and I left Tuesday, aiming toward Freeport ME. We stopped at Nubble Lighthouse for lunch and a look-see, and spent the nite at Recompense CG on Casco Bay. Beautiful weather. Jimmy bought a red windbreaker at LL Bean, as he figured he might need one on this trip! We also purchased an indoor-outdoor weather station, which we know will come in handy.
Beautiful lighthouse setting.
Camden-Rockport ME was the next stop, staying at Megunticook Campground. Using seawater Jimmy hauled up to our campsite in a collapsible canvas bucket, we had a fantastic boiled lobster dinner. We didn't have a big enough pan to cook both lobsters, so one went in our largest (but still kinda small) pan and the other boiled in our skillet! Still, it was the best lobster ever!! The kicker is that we bought the lobsters from the back of a pick-up truck!
On to Bar Harbor, along the picturesque ME coast, with a stop and a walk at Moose Point State Park. We have four nites at Bar Harbor CG, with a water view – our longest stay thus far – so we can spend plenty of touristy time in Acadia Nat’l Park.
On Friday, we took the bikes out on the carriage roads in Acadia (a hot day, too bad), including a climb to the top of Day Mountain – whew, what an effort – but what a view! With lots of hills in between, we were tired when we finished up. Wowzers on this day! We were really grateful for the shuttle service to haul us and our bikes back and forth to the CG. We toured the Seawall and Bass Harbor, climbed on rocks, watched an otter fetch dinner, and enjoyed some bird watching ... eider ducks, etc. Oh boy, lobster for dinner again!
Next we bussed to Sand Cove to hike the boulder-strewn shore, past Thunderhole. The day was cloudy, and unfortunately, soon rainy. Lovely anyway. Comfy and cozy in our RV on a cool, rainy nite. Very enjoyable time in ME. Photos to follow, compliments of Cardrecovery.com ....
Our First Retirement Trip of a Lifetime! (photo in Lunenburg, NS, Canada)
Begin: Week One: Aug. 24th - A day's drive from Daphne to Memphis (HOT, HOT, HOT) to spend a few days with my Aunt Bea and hubby, Frank (both in their 90's). From there it was on to Land Between the Lakes KY and the bison/elk loop drive, to Mammoth Caves KY. We hiked some, and took two cave tours (Historic and New entrances) and I can sum up the caves in one word: Unbelievable! This stop was our first real camping experience ... we did all right.
From Kentucky, we had as a long drive, inc. Louisville, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Akron OH, to Cuyahoga Valley Nat’l Pk, specifically so we could ride the Erie and Ohio Canal Towpath Bike Trail. We rode one way (roughly 30 miles), and then we took a $2.00 Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad trip back to our RV! That included the bikes. We lucked up, it was a special deal on Wednesdays. What a great ride we had, both bike and train.
We moved on thru the Allegheny Mtns of PA and decided at the last minute to drive north to see the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning NY, and we're glad we did, because it was well worth it. While there, we saw a brochure advertising a scenic train ride on the Delaware and Ulster Railroad, from Arkville to Roxbury NY in the Catskill Mtn region, made the decision, and that was next. It was just delightful. Of course the Catskill area is beautiful with soft mountains and lots of wildflowers.
Then we hopped on the freeway for Boston. This week was a chance to visit family we hadn’t seen in a long time, as well as a break-in period for us in the RV…with no major mishaps: A good week!