Spring green and more at BelleIsle

Spring green comes to BelleIsle, one of our favorite places to walk.  Last Sunday there were signs of spring everywhere, from the nesting geese, to the elderberry flower buds.  It is a grand place to walk and there is always something new to see.

Some day I hope to try elderberry wine…the flower buds are just so colourful the wine must be good too!


Petitcodiac River marsh/walk in Dieppe NB

Walking the Linear Trail in Dieppe, New Brunswick was a welcome break from a recent intense visit there.  Part of the TransCanada Trail, this gentle walking trail follows behind residential areas along the marsh lining the east bank the Petitcodiac River. 

This trail provides excellent access for residents to the outdoors and links Dieppe to Moncton as an alternative for getting to town.  Plans call for the trail to continue all the way to Memramcock, but for now it ends at le ruisseau aux renards, Fox Creek, at an area known locally as the aboiteau.  Today there are double modern sluice gates in the dyke.  Mud and marsh grass are abundant at tidal creeks such as this. 

More information about the trail can be found here  and this map lays out lots of paths in Dieppe.  Also if you are interested in river and ecosystem restoration the Petitcodiac Riverkeeper organization will fill you in.

new map – hikes i like favorites

Just in time for Walkfest in Annapolis Royal.

There are lots of places to walk in Annapolis Royal and the town is developing a trail system.  I have some favorites and I wanted to share them so with the help of Todd Graphic here is a map that collects my top picks.  Over the coming weeks, I’ll post about each one.  One of the most popular in town and a great lunchtime or after dinner stroll is the French Basin Trail.

Fr-Basin-tr_4443-cropLots of nature to see:

Fr-Basin-tr_4470-cropMuskrat and wood duck with ducklings:


dykes and rail beds


Annapolis Royal is surrounded by dykes.  This past weekend we had a delightful walk along a combination of old rail bed and dykes.  (The train ride must have had a superb view of the Annapolis River!)  Walking here will take you along the Allains Creek where it meets the Annapolis River and then follow this larger river west.  You can follow the old rail bed exclusively or you can take side jaunts out onto some dykes.  If you walk out onto the dykes and it is low tide, then you can even walk out onto some salt marshes.  Pretty neat – You’ll be right along the Annapolis River.  Be prepared, if you venture very far onto a salt marsh, it is muddy and mucky!

At one point a stone covered path leads down from the rail bed (also the dyke at that point) out to the salt marsh.  Here we found seaweed stranded by beach plantain. This salt resistant plant has extra thick leaves when compared to its more fragile cousins.


Walk for as long as you like and then turn to retrace your steps.  The walk is just to the west of Annapolis Royal on highway #1.  Cross the Allains Creek bridge and be ready to turn and park on your right.  Check the map for the exact location.

Beaver’s delight revisited


Have you ever heard that expression about revisiting the scene of the crime?  Beavers may not be criminals but today we saw that they do indeed come back to gnaw on a tasty tree.  In December I posted some photos of a tree beaver(s) had visited and chewed on at BelleIsle Marsh.  We’ve been back to BelleIsle lots since then, and the tree has been just as it was, but today…there it was, down on the ground.


One of our great pleasures on our Sunday walks (when we are not discovering new places) is to discover the changes that happen in familiar and well known places – just like today.

If you would like to see more photos of the beaver’s work check out flickr.

Beavers’ delight at BelleIsle Marsh

belleisle_1556_1 Every walk has its own delight and sometimes you discover an extra something.  On Sunday this week we went for our usual walk around BelleIsle Marsh.  An ice skim on the water and muted fall colours were enough for me, but this Sunday there was that extra something.  A beaver had been hard at work…s/he had almost felled a black cherry.  The whole thing was like a sculpture. Really amazing – neighbouring slender trees, nipped right off, a branch from the main tree nipped off but not fallen (it’s upper branches and twigs remained caught in the upper reaches of the tree), a large branch almost entirely cut and the main trunk gnawed and eaten but just not quite enough to fall.  After all that hard work, why did the beaver give up – tired, enough food, chased by a predator, trapped? My brief internet search did not turn up anylikely answers, but maybe you have one.


And for the beaver fanatics there are more pictures of this tree trunk.

Dusk around the basin

Dusk at this time of year lasts a long time; time enough to walk the French Basin Trail in Annapolis Royal. Half an hour or less is all it takes if you begin from the parking lot and do the loop at a brisk pace.  Of course, if you stop to admire the ducks, check the cattails or take pictures, it may take a bit longer.  Friends have reported fox, and deer at other times of year and I’ve seen heron, all sorts of ducks and other birds.

This easy trail leads around a dyked marsh which now encloses a large pond and through a small wooded area. The interpretive signs, present in the summer, point out aspects of local nature and the work of the marsh as a tertiary (or later) step in the town’s sewage water treatment system. For directions try the map or the town’s walking map.

across the water and town to the south moutain

looking across the pond and town to South Moutain