Old Annapolis Road Trail

Spring flowers continue to abound in the woods and on our hike this past Sunday, I had a chance to take a few more flower pictures.  Besides flowers we saw an American Toad – very common and very photogenic!

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There were signs of squirrels all along the trail – pine cones that had been taken apart piece by piece to free the pine seeds. It’s been years since we’ve seen frogs eggs, so I couldn’t resist sharing that image too.

The trail is a lovely walk in the woods; and the forest under story is wonderfully intact compared to some other areas near Halifax.  Mountain bikers also use the trail and so some low sections are churned up, wet moss, duff and earth.

The trail, the Old Annapolis Road Trail, is close to Halifax, but somewhat complicated to find.  Michael Haynes book, Trails of Halifax Regional Municipality, provides excellent directions and I have marked the trailhead location on my map.

This trail was previously maintained by the Bowater-Mersey Paper Company Ltd., however the company is now owned by Resolute Forest Products and they are not maintaining the trail.  This may (almost certainly will) be an issue in the future as the various boardwalks and bridges decay, but on Sunday the everything was fine.  The trail is located on land managed, if not owned by the paper company.

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Poppies on Thanksgiving Dartmouth Harbourwalk

This Thanksgiving weekend the weather has been fabulous.  Today before dinner we walked along the Dartmouth side of Halifax Harbour. There is a short city walk along the shore.  The views to Halifax are great. The cruise ship tied up in Halifax actually dwarfs Georges Island. Amazing!

Port of Halifax and cruise ship

Some stretches along the walk are surrounded with greenery and others are fairly industrial. One section has been seeded with a mix of flowers.  The bright colour of the red and pink poppies just popped.

Thanksgiving poppy in Halifax, Nova Scotia

And on one flower, a fly (mimicking a wasp) was busy at work.

This walking path is easy to find.  It links the two Dartmouth ferry terminals – Aldernay Landing to/from Woodside.  The asphalt trail includes one section which is actually sidewalks on nearby streets.  It is also a great path for cycling.  Walking one way, terminal to terminal, will take about an hour. A detailed map is provided by my-waterfront.

More pictures of the fly in the poppy can be found on flickr.

Roses at the Gardens

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Earlier this week we went for an evening stroll around the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens.  There are all kinds of neat plants to discover.  I especially liked the Wingthorn rose, Rosa sericea pterancantha.  The new red thorns are translucent and capture the light beautifully.

And the roses are just coming on.  It’s really wonderful.  Check out the fat buds below.  The Gardens is planning a Rose Festival from July 4-12.  Not to be missed.

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You can spend as long or as short a time as you like at the Gardens.  Walk on the dykes or do as we did the other night and amble slowly to check out all the neat blooms and plants.  It is wonderful and lush this year – thanks to all that rain we’ve had.

And if you would like regular bloom reports from the gardens, write admin@historicgardens.com.  They’ll be happy to add you to the subscriber list.  Some of the pictures below come from the latest bloom report.

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train tracks from Annapolis Royal

Today was a lovely day to walk home from work.   I followed the old tracks or more accurately the old train bed, now that there are no tracks.  It leaves Annapolis Royal going both to the east and west.  In town this path is limited to non-motorized traffic; making for a lovely peaceful walk.  The trees grow close to the trail and in some places lean over the trail making a lovely shady path.  Disturbed, gravelly soil forms an a  natural home to wild strawberry, now in bloom.

strawberry_3849 The ant in this blossom is most likely collecting nectar secreted bythe receptacle and held at the base of the stamens.

In Annapolis Royal you can easily reach the old rail bed in several places.  Check out the map for the access point that suits the walk you would like; at the start of the French Basin Trail, behind the Old Train Station, where Clean Annapolis River is located, or along Saint George Street near the Annapolis Royal Historic Gardens.  Early in spring some parts of the trail can be wet, but by now it has pretty much all dried out.

spring violets near Annapolis Royal

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Holy Smokes, how did a month pass with no posts? Or near enough as to make no nevermind!  Have I been out on walks?  Of course, but some how not to write-up.

Yesterday we cut across the field to the old train tracks.  Everything is in flower – well not everything – but lots and lots: violets, willow, alders, sedge, maples, magnolia, kalmia, dandylions.  Some are just starting and some are almost finished – Wow- It was really lovely.

Pussy Willows and Spring

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Spring is here and for over a week now I’ve been seeing pussy willows on my walks.  And for over a week I’ve been taking pictures… these catkins (groups of little flowers with no petals) are harder to capture than you would think.  Flowering pussy willows are a sure sign of spring, and so many different types too.  If you walk by really wet places you may see some like these:

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And if you walk by drier places (but still with water) you may see these:

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