Cap Auguet – Eco-Trail in Cape Breton

We recently took a quick trip to Isle Madame, a small Acadian island lying south-east of Cape Breton Island.  While there we walked a bit of a shoreline trail found in Cap Auguet.  We had limited time and so were not too disappointed that the trail was only open for the first short loop.  Apparently storms in recent years have devastated some portions of the trail.

Since the head of the trail is located on a small headland there are great views of the shoreline looking back towards Boudreauville and down the shore to Pointe à Barachois;  And modern navigation aids are easily visible for fishers and other boaters.

 The location for this trail is not easily found, so do check out my map to locate the trail head.

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Fishing the Petitcodiac River

Fishing with an “enfilée

Before we set out on our walk to Beaumont [point] we chatted with a fisherman along the bank of the Petitcodiac River.  He was using a rod and line, but no hook.  He was using something Acadians call an enfilée.  No hook is used, instead nightcrawlers are threaded along two loops of line.  These loops are then carefully swung into the water.  When fish bite, the fisherman must bring them in gently – it takes real skill since the fish is not actually “hooked”.  Apparently this old technique is rarely used these days.  The fisherman (not a young man) we spoke with talked of coming to fish at Beaumont with his father.  They fished then as the gentleman on Saturday was – for tomcod, known in French as poulamon.

night crawlers as fish bait with no hook

Petitcodiac River – Beaumont

Petitcodiac River, at Beaumont, New Brunswick

We explored the shore along the Petitcodiac River this weekend – from the Church, la Chapelle Sainte Anne at Beaumont out to the metal frame remains of an old lighthouse.  There is no walking trail and consequently we walked on the road, le chemin Beaumont, which follows the shore.  We began our walk part way along the road, some distance past the Church and then after walking about a kilometer left the road (which cuts north/west away from the point) to reach the point overlooking Shepody Bay.  By walking this road rather than driving, we spotted lots of forest paths leading to the river.  We were able to make lots of short forays out to the shore where we discovered great views, a small deep, deep cove, now closed off from the river, and of course rocks and MUD.

Petitcodiac River looking southeastIf you follow route # 925 southeast you will travel out to Beaumont.  The pavement ends after the church and the road is certainly passable, but it is not great and there is very little traffic.  In the two hours we were out we met no vehicles and one boy on a bicycle with his dog.

While looking for some information on Beaumont came across this website prepared by the Centre d’études acadiennes at the Université de Moncton which has good introductory info on Acadian history and the impact of  the Deportation on contemporary acadiens/culture.

Acadian dykes in Annapolis Royal

Dyke walking is one of our favorite walks.   Annapolis Royal and the surrounding area offer lots of opportunity for dyke walks.  On Sunday past we set off to walk the dyke on the west side of Allains Creek.  It is a short walk since the dyke is interrupted by a large stream entering the “creek”, but exhilarating nonetheless.  Dykes raise you up so that all the open sky and vast expanse of marsh meadow (cultivated and uncultivated) stretches out…

Dykes and their origins in Acadie (Nova Scotia) are explained by RGS at Annapolis Royal Heritage and for a more nature oriented explanation try Ducks Unlimited.

There are numerous places around Annapolis Royal to find a dyke for walking:  the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens, Allains Creek as mentioned in this post and found on the map, and Melanson Settlement NHS.  And if you wish to explore the Annapolis Valley there are many other locations, even dykes from downtown Wolfville.

[A note on the post title: I don’t know that these very dykes are Acadian, but it seems likely that if not these dykes then dykes in the same location since the French settlers who came to this area with Charles de Menou D’Aulnay in the 1630’s introduced dykes to Acadie and began here on the Allains Creek marsh.]

from waterfalls to mudfalls

Easter weekend we were fortunate to have time to hike near Pomquet, Nova Scotia.  There is a wonderful trail on the bluffs (Monks Head), overlooking Saint George’s Bay.  The trail runs along the shore and has loops that are both on the shore and up above in the woods.  The bluffs/cliffs are “actively eroding” and from the shore we saw the most amazing mudfalls – like waterfalls but not.

The sound as the mud falls is a gentle plop, plop, plopping.

The beginning of the trails at Pomquet can be reached by traveling to Pomquet from Highway 104 and choosing the Monks Head Road.  You will pass the Kingsley Brown road on your way to the beach.  Drive up the hill for a parking spot, or park along the road at the bottom if you plan to stay on the beach.  The Sunrise Trail, Antigonish Area has a grand tourist map in Google Maps.  It is well labeled with lots of trails in the area.

Melanson Settlement – early Acadian village site

Pre-Deportation Acadian Village location

MS south-east_7756 cv1

There is a lovely little walking path at this site, but in addition you can walk through the fields for a super view of the marsh below and the Annapolis River.  Walking this site is an absolutely marvelous way to experience the type of landscape found along the river during the Acadian period – dyked marshes and neighbouring uplands where people lived.

This site, known at the time as le point aux chènes, protects the below ground remains of a pre-deportation village typical of those found along the Annapolis River in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. It commemorates the Acadian villages that dotted the Annapolis River marshes in this area before the Deportation of 1755. – Depicted here in an image taken from the orientation panel at the site – drawn by Kevin Sollows.

MS 17thC-PC drawing-Name_7701

The Queen Anne Marsh is today partly farmed and partly being overtaken by low scrub.  It makes for difficult walking and following  our wet June and July is thick with mosquitoes and very healthy pricklies (canes and wild roses)!  So, I wouldn’t recommend walking down to the river from here. – At least not in shorts like we tried on Sunday!!  There is no path and the marsh is not part of the national historic site.

There are also some wickedly healthy hawthorne on the site.

MS hawthorne_7775The short loop path takes about 10 minutes to walk.  Walking to the uplands and back will take about an hour and is a nice easy hike, but does require good footwear since there is no path, the ground is uneven and crosses a small wet area.   The site is located on the road to Port-Royal NHS and makes a good stop to stretch your legs, before or after a visit to the Habitation.

Walking to Annapolis Royal – Part IV

Tupperville to Round Hill

DSCN5535Long walk yesterday, but really close to the Annapolis River for a good bit of the walk.  Despite rain all week, we had sun and 25°C – really hot on the gravel!  All along  this path there are cultivated fields and abandoned fields.   We saw some cherry trees in the woods – with cheeries – not quite ripe, but sweet.  Maybe we’ll go back.

DSCN5547

Wharf  Road where the walk ended,  finishes at a provincial historic site (on highway 201) marking Pierre Thibodeau, an early Acadian in Nova Scotia.  It is just a patch of green space, a pleasant place to wait for our ride to pick us up.  Thibodeau settled here in 1651 and set up a grist mill on the Round Hill Brook.

DSCN5579Check out the map for exact directions.