Victoria Park – A jewel in Truro Nova Scotia

IMG_1066Truro is a town of about 12 000 people on the Salmon River near the mouth of Cobequid Bay. What this town has is something really special and the something is Victoria Park. The park spans 1000 acres and all but a small developed portion is wooded with old growth forest. The parks main feature is a gorge that Lepper Brook travels through creating two waterfalls.IMG_1064x

There are many trails throughout the park that include many bridges and stairs near the entrance is the 175 step Jacobs ladder, it will really get the ticker pumping. the kilometers of trails in the park can lead you away from crowds that sometimes are in the park to quiet spots to enjoy nature.
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As you explore the park you can find may trails and unique geography and two beautiful waterfalls that you often find people swimming in in the summer.

 

 


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The park can provide gentle strolls or challenging treks and also has facilities such as picnic tables, washrooms, benches, playground and community pool.IMG_1108

Spring hike at Cape Split

IMG_1585I made my annual spring trip to hike to Cape Split on the Victoria Day week end here in Nova Scotia. Last year DNR added a parking lot for 60 or so cars greatly improving the trailhead. We started the nearly 8 kilometer trek to the end just after lunch under bright sunny skies. I expected spring hiking conditions which in Nova Scotia means mud and wet, but with the exception of a few spots the trail was in exceptional condition.

IMG_1589The first 45 minutes of the trail is up hill cutting across the peninsula going from a mix of primarily softwood on the Scots Bay side to hardwoods on the Minas Channel side. After reaching this point there are periodic water views as you hike along. I was somewhat nervous are there was litlle flora on the uphill saunter, was I too early this year? To my relief at the point where the hardwoods start the floral show began. Primarily three flowers are the show.
The Carolina Spring Creepers literally carpeted the forest floor with its delicate five petal pure white to light purple and many in the middle with purple stripes on the white petal.IMG_1654IMG_1650IMG_1646IMG_1618
Trilliums punctuated the show towering up with its crimson showing boldly and almost shyly the hiding sitting atop green mounds the Dutchman’s breeches. I walked in the beauty for over an hour before arriving at the real treasure, Cape Split. As I emerged from the woods to the meadow at the end of trail I was welcomed to the end by nesting cormorants and gulls

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The view was very good seeing a great deal of the coast and as fa r away as Isle Haute.After a snack and allowing myself to drink in the beauty of the Split I did an alternate route back along Scots Bay toward Little Split Rock Cove and then overland rejoining the main trail to return to the parking area. The weather did turn quickly becoming overcast and a light but steady rain for the last hour of my hike.

This area is becoming more and more popular with latest estimates put upward of 14 000 hikers on the trail last year so you probably won’t get solitude on this trail but beaty by the bucket load.

See the full album from my hike here

Admiral Lake Loop

IMG_0076IMG_0107A favorite trail system of mine is in Musquodoboit trailway that winds along the Musquodoboit river east of Halifax. The trail system consists of the rails to trail and five wilderness trails. The Admiral Lake Loop is the first trail off the trailway and probably the most hiked. I hiked to the second access and hiked in a counter-clockwise fashion. You quickly rise above Bayer Lake to reach a look-off called Jessie’s Diner. You continue along the trail slightly down hill passing by Eunice Lake before you climb again reaching a look-off that overlooks the island specked namesake of the trail. I then continued along the trail going through the “cave” and eventually reaching Harbour look-off, Rolling Rock and Skull Rock. After Skull Rock you go downhill until you reach the trailway and retrace your step to the parking lot. It is a wonderful wilderness trail that isn’t too difficult to hike.IMG_0125

My Top Ten Hikes of 2013

My Top Ten Hikes of 2013

I had the pleasure of hiking some wonderful trails in 2013 from Yarmouth to Cape Breton an Amherst to Halifax. Of the 54 trails i hiked in 13 counties I noted a few stand-outs although they were all great. Here are my top picks from 2013.

IMG_02941. Cape Split – I hiked this one in the Spring as part of an organized group hike. I have often refer to this area as the Jewel of Nova Scotia but until this hike I never hiked this trail in the Spring. The trail was a little wet but the show mother nature had for me was wonderful. The Spring flowers were in bloom and as alway the view at the end was outstanding. It is a top day hike in any season really in my book.

IMG_11682. Gaff Point – This was my first visit for me to Gaff Point but definitely not my last. It is a lovely coastal walk starting on the shoreline to the point. It has some lovely views and a cool breeze in the summer.

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3. Skyline trail – I visited Cape Breton Island for a few days this year and finally got to visit this trail. I was hoping to see wildlife as a bear, moose and fox were spotted the day previous but no luck this trip. The trail was very busy this particular day but the trail is great. If you brave the stairs at the end you get fantastic views. Nice easy trail you can do linear or loop.

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4. Taylor Head Provincial Park – This spit of land stretches out into the Atlantic and is a bit of tough day hike. I did the headlands portion that again give beautiful ocean views. This trail is rated by Micheal Haynes as one of the top hikes in Nova Scotia, no arguments from me.

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5. North Granite Ridge Trail – My friend Jocelyn and I tackled this trail the day after a tropical depression passed by. This is one of the toughest day hikes I have done in Nova Scotia mainly due to length and elevation gain and loss. Lots of great views of Whites Lake Wilderness Area. It was a wonderful hike.

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6. Blomidon Provincial Park – The red cliffs are always inspire me as I visit the Annapolis Valley. Parking at the beach you have a big hill to climb and a campground to navigate but then you have a very nice wooded hike with some nice views of the ocean and a lovely waterfall at the end,

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7. Rogart Mountain – On a late spring day most of the Avoiding Chores gang set out to hike this trail. It is a great little trail with some elevation gains, vistas, Janes Falls and best of all pancakes at the end.

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8. Martinique Beach Provincial Park – One of the longest beaches is also a great place to hike. I walked the length of the beach, which I have done several times but this time I continued on to discover Bayers Island, a protected area left wild.

IMG_10369. Victoria Park – This trail was vastly different from the others on my list in that it is a city park. But its vastness allows for a lot of trails that make you think you are miles from anywhere. I love this park and try to visit it often.

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10. Salt Mountain Trail – This trail was an unexpected surprise. While I was camping at Whycocomaugh Provincial Park I decided to hike this trail. After a near heart-attack on the way up I came upon the most breath-taking views of the Bras D’Or lakes.

This years hiking was interrupted but was still great. I will be out on the trails again soon visiting familiar trails and many more new ones.

2013 Hiking Goals Progress

I haven’t written anything down in a while so I thought I would do an update given we are 100 days plus into 2013. I have to say I am a bit disappointed in my progress but we are having the worst weather so far this year. What this has done has left a lot of ice on the trails and limited the choices of where I can go.

Despite my poor progress I managed to get 12 of the 30 trails done in the trails of Halifax Regional Municipality #30haliaxhikes. These were a mixture of parks and walking trails all within 20 kms of my house. I enjoyed these hikes as they were all to places I have visited and in some cases many times.

From the other guide I am following I have done a grand total of 2 #60NShikes, both in Hants county. I hiked Nine Mile River trail which I had never done before and was very impressed with the trail. The other one was Uniacke Estate Museum trail which was the first time anyone had joined me, my friends Jim and Jocelyn came along. It was a great day and I appreciated the company.

So if you are keeping track of my county count it is 2. My next plans are to get an upgraded bike to start my trek from Halifax to Bridgewater and continue hitting the trails every chance I get. I am planning on staying in a yurt in Cape Breton and using that as a base to hike the 4 counties on the island and for the most part I am going to do the hikes as day hikes.

I will try to write more on my adventures as I go along and I will do another update in July.

Visit to Long Lake Provincial Park

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It was the last week end of February and I really wanted to start on my challenges for 2013. I picked Long Lake as it is one place I am familiar with and have been there many times. I was a little nervous know the trails may be treturous due to ice and my fears were heightened by a crew putting someone in an ambulance.

I had brought my Katoohla microspikes so putting my nervousness aside I set off from the parking lot on St. Margarets BayIMG_0450 Road. I followed the stream straight down to where it flows into Long Lake and turned right to continue along the shore. The wind was biting and cold, finally making it to the shelter of the trees was welcome. After meandering through the trees along the lakeshore I came upon Beaverdam Brook. After walking along the brook slipping and sliding checking out all the ice in the brook.

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Eventually I made it to the main trail leading back to my car. I have hiked this trail many times before and always enjoy it, this was a great way to start my hiking challenge for 2013

Snowshoe After the Blizzard 2013

After the blizzard I went out for a snowshoe and a hot chocolate. The temperature was -6 C with a windchill of -16. I parked at Maskwa Aquatic Club on Kearney Lake and  hiked up into the Blue Mountain Birch Cove Lakes Wilderness Area.

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I used my GV snowshoes, which I have had for many years, and my new Leki trekking poles to travel. I found some shelter on a ridgeline above Charlies Lake and used my Flopsy and Mopsy stove from Smokeeater908 and my Snow Peak 600 to heat up my Swiss Miss chocolate. For me Swiss Miss is a treat that I stock up on every trip I take to the US.