Upper Burnside Waterfalls

Spring is a great time to see Nova Scotia’s waterfalls.  On Sunday last, after a week or more of rain, we went on a waterfalls hunt.  We successfully found 2 out of 3 and so we plan to go back for the third. (We did find falls #3, after circling the same back roads twice. We heard it, but didn’t see it – at least not from below because we had run out of time to search for a clear path through the woods.) The first falls, Unnamed Falls, according to Allan Billard, was the tallest and most impressive.

waterfall in Musquodoboit ValleyThere was a sign in the woods that labeled these falls – “Fantum Falls”.  Neither of the two falls required long hikes to see them, although Unnamed Falls was at the end of a rough path (about 400 m) through woods and brush. The second falls, Burnside Falls, was very close to the road and a worthwhile addition to our list since we were in the area.  The local community has created a small park along the road with a long, steep stairway leading down to the falls.

waterfalls near Upper Burnside in Nova Scotia The waterfalls we planned to see were all in or near the Musquodoboit Valley.  The two falls shown are on my HRM map and directions can also be found by looking at photos by benoitlalonde on Panoramio.  From Halifax, visiting these falls is really a driving trip with stops for short hikes into the falls.

There are some lists about Nova Scotia waterfalls online.  There is also a great little book, that I refer to, Waterfalls, Nova Scotia’s Masterpieces, by Donna Barnett with text by Allan Billard.

Walking – do we walk enough?

The Crisis in American Walking by Tom Vanderbilt posted in Slate on Tuesday, April 10, 2012, is the first in a series of articles about walking and especially walking in the United States.

For anyone interested in walking from many perspectives this is a great series about walking.  Have a read, there are some really interesting references to follow-up as well.

ducks feeding – black ducks and mallards

Saturday, after slipping along Frog Pond Trail, we walked along the shore and watched the ducks feeding.  They were ranged along (and in) a trickle of water from the woods/hill as it washed down the beach.  The ducks actually seemed to be eating the sand and mud.  I wonder what they were really finding – water or maybe some small invertebrate not yet frozen?  There were mallards and black ducks (or hybrids?) mixed together in this group and even a crow wandered by.

Information on Mallards and Black Ducks can be found in the excellent Birds of Nova Scotia by Robie Tufts published by the NS Museum on its web site.  Other really good information is available from the relaunched Hinterland Who’s Who series (anyone of a certain age will remember tv ads).  And I couldn’t resist putting up a page from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, which has such excellent material.

We meandered along the shore at Sir Sandford Flemming Park in Halifax, NS.

A history of walking – book review

Leo and shoes

favorite walking shoes and favorite dog, Leo

Finished reading Wanderlust, A History of Walking yesterday.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book by Rebecca Solnit.  It is exactly as the title says – a book about the history of walking.  She recounts this history mostly through a review of the literature of Europe and North America.  Other traditions and perspectives on walking, are not treated by Solnit, as she herself points out.  Solnit peppers her writing with references to follow-up on all the ideas she introduces.  I think I enjoyed this book precisely because she references so many other people’s work – whether writers, scientists or artists.

The bulk of these references relate to writers, both of fiction and non-fiction.  It is a treat to follow the evolution of walking by the walking of fictional characters and their authors in real life and then read (briefly) about the evolution of walking from a human evolutionary point of view.  Who would have guessed that it may be secondary to other features of evolution or central and primary to the essence of becoming human?

Solnit quotes extensively and at length in her review of walking through literature.  Some readers likely find this quite tedious and certainly some of the book reviews to be found about Wanderlust say this.   It does slow the pace of the book and make the narrative thread more difficult to follow, but I was interested to see the full context of the references and not just short, one sentence (or less) quotes.  Perhaps a more well read person would not require such extensive quotes…

The book is divided into three sections and the final section is more personal (with the least references) based more on Solnit’s own experiences and personal opinions; and perhaps the easiest to follow.  The book was first published in 2000 and some of the ideas Solnit introduces are less remarkable today.  Nonetheless, some of Solnit’s opinions or claims will strike readers as reaching.  Can walking really be subversive/a political comment just because it is not the preferred activity or method of displacement by the majority in North America and Europe?  I’m not sure that it can, but examining some of the consequences of our current world – even in rural Nova Scotia, or small towns and cities – helps to stretch the mind.

Books about hiking in Nova Scotia

Okay, I confess, I love books and reading so it was inevitable…I’ve added a new page to this blog and it is about books, any kind of book releated to hikes, walking or any other way I can think of to fit a new book in.

The two books I have chosen to begin the page are Hiking Trails of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Atlas.  They are among our favorite books for planning a hike.   We like to read and plan during the week for longer weekend jaunts, but these books are fun to read anytime with no specific destination in mind. I highly recommend them.