Martock — x-country skiing

cross country skiing at Martock, NS

After a bit of lovely light snow this week, we set out to try the trails at Martock.  We had a fine time in the warm sunny weather.  Imagine our surprise to find steep hills on the trails! Cross-country ski trails at Martock are laid out in a series of loops.  There is a map at the start and another at a cross point farther in and these maps are useful, but not enough.  We would have really appreciated some signs or labeling of the trails.  Because the trails are laid out in loops that cross it is difficult to know where you are.  At one point, I felt like I was skiing in circles – to which my partner replied “we are”.  Doubtless he was right, but I would have liked to be able to plan my circles!  There are not really that many loops and trails; a morning or afternoon of skiing will easily take you over all the trails.

country skiing, Nova Scotia

This week not all the trails were open and the snow conditions were ok, but not exceptional – lots of base, but a bit icy with fluffy snow on top.

Martock is close to Windsor and easily reached within 40 minutes from Halifax.

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Keji Seaside – in the wind

Kejimkujik National Park - Seaside

Excellent day hiking at Kejimkujik Seaside.  We walked the trail counter clock-wise out around Port Joli Head and that direction was a most excellent choice because the wind was really blowing!  Gusts up to 50 k (at a guess) and it was cold!  But with the wind at our backs, the ground frozen and the sun shining we had a first rate day.

To start we headed into the wind across a large wetland/bog typical of this coastal area.  The spruce are scrubby and often low and spreading under the influence of the constant wind.

Nova Scotia shoreline spruce

Generally the path is in very good condition with gravel, and boardwalk. In a some sections of the trail is beaten dirt. We were fortunate that the temperature was below freezing so the ground was frozen is these places, since it can sometimes be soft and mucky.

Kejimkujik Seaside, trail

Other posts about Kejimkujik Seaside can be found in 2009 and 2011 under shoreline or search Keji.  The general map has directions.

reflection – contemplation

Dollar Lake provincial park

Dollar Lake – quiet and contemplative today.

With all the snow this winter there has been fabulous skiing around Halifax.  Dollar Lake provincial park has excellent skiing although after the rain yesterday trails are icy now!. We walked to the lake from the outside gate.  Its about 45 minutes along an open road (completely snow/ice covered!).  We met a family with young kids having a snack under some pines, but once at the lake we were all alone and spent some quiet time enjoying the frozen lake. Dollar Lake provincial park NS

Dollar Lake provincial park, Nova Scotia

The road to Dollar Lake is a bit tricky – so, coming from highway 102 take exit 5A, turn onto Aerotech Dr., then left onto Pratt and Whitney Dr. and then right onto the Old Guysborough Rd. and what looks like a regular Nova Scotian secondary road, highway 212. It is all highway 212, but not signed that way.

The Martock Nordic Ski Club maintains the cross country ski trails at Dollar Lake Provincial Park.

 

 

 

after snow – rain

After the mid week snow (and there was lots!) last week, we had rain creating icy conditions when the temperature dropped again.  Consequently, on the weekend we walked!  On Sunday we walked about 6 km at Shubie Park.  And there were still many km to go.  That’s because from Shubie Park in Dartmouth you can connect to the Trans Canada Trail.  We always enjoy our time there.  With the thin covering of melted snow the traffic had left tracks in the snow – everything from runners to snow shows, to skis to bikes.

Shubie Park in Dartmouth, NS

There were intermittent snow flurries too!

snowflakes in Shubie Park

Snow storm – blizzard conditions

In anticipation of the snow (20 to 40 cm) to arrive tonight and tomorrow, I am suggesting two locations with fun after storm skiing. And in Nova Scotia, especially around Halifax, that means you have to get out soon, because it could all be gone in a few days with the rain that is sure to follow.    …So…

Early in January we had snow, snow and snow, and two days of wonderful cross country skiing.  We skied at Dollar Lake Provincial Park one day and at Pockwock Watershed the next.  Each of these locations is within an easy two hours or less of Halifax.  Each of these locations offers kilometers of varied trails through woods and along open, unploughed roads.  Trails are not groomed, but Pockwock, is popular enough that by the afternoon there will be tracks to follow.  If you like to break your own trail there are sure to be lots of untouched paths to explore and break trail too!  Dollar Lake Provincial Park is a bit farther from the city than Pockwock and has perhaps fewer trails, but the lake is closer and walking trails can be skied as well.

At the Pockwock Watershed streams and creeks add to the charm!

creek, pockwock watershed

Pockwock Watershed Skiing

Tiny jellyfish at Martinique Beach

Martinique Beach

A sea gooseberry is not a jellyfish – title above not withstanding! But they really do look like jellyfish.

sea gooseberry at Martinique Beach provincial park. Nova Scotia. Jan 2014

beach find

Recently we were walking at the beach and there were these amazing little beasties, the size of dimes to quarters, that looked like droplets of water on the sand.  They were scattered across the sand in strung out lines revealing where waves had washed and retreated. A short internet search turned up this excellent video of these sea gooseberries.

There are always neat things to see at the beach and Martinique Beach provincial park and it is such a great walking beach  – highly recommended.

Crystal Crescent Beach’s fall colours

Crystal Crescent BeachA beautiful fall weekend and beautiful fall colours in shades of orange and brown accented by a blue ocean and green spruce.  Crystal Crescent Beach is one of my favorites (and for many Haligonians too!). We didn’t make it out to the point, since we started late in the day and stopped frequently to admire the view, and snap pictures.  The sun was brilliant on the ferns and the fields were painted in sweeps of golden browns and orange browns.

Check out this post for more info on the trail itself and this one for more.

Crystal Crescent, fall colours, Sept, 2013.crystal crescent beach - fall colours