Trans Canada Trail cont.

Now that I have sorted the info from our trip – not one photo from the section of the trail that we enjoyed the most!!  What was I thinking?  Not only are the photos a way to share the walk with you, the reader, but this visual record helps me organize my thoughts about what I want to share! So… I can recommend this website to plan and see news about an Ontario section of the Trans Canada Trail and – as promised it links to a great map for this Peterborough to Hastings section of the trail. Drive west out of Hastings, follow the smaller roads (concession roads) and head down towards Trent River/Rice Lake.  We parked in the woods on the side of the road and set off.  A lovely walk under the trees, along wetlands and little traveled – at least when we were there.


Trans Canada Trail near Peterborough

Trent River, Ontario, June 2013Lately we had the chance to do part of the Trans Canada Trail while visiting in Ontario.  We did two sections, one to the west and one to the east of Hastings. It is wide and easy walking. To the east, the trail is an unexciting rail bed.  We did however have several neat sitings  – a couple lovely views of the Trent River, predated turtle nests, osprey,  healthy, luxuriant poison ivy.

poison ivy with new leavesWe also walked behind cottages and had a bit of a time finding an entry onto the trail here.  Maps to follow later – once we are back home.

Up and down and around

Harbour Lookoff on Musquodoboit Trail “Strenuous climbs and panoramic views”  that’s what the sign at the trail head says and it’s all true! Several weeks ago we spent over 4 hours on the Admiral Lake and Bayer Lake Loops of the Musquodoboit Trailway.  We had a fantastic day. The hiking really was tough for this weekend hiker and it was a good thing that we began at noon and that the days are longer now.

Some views look all the way out the Atlantic Ocean (above).

view of Bayer Lake, Musquodoboit, Nova Scotia

Other views look over inland lakes, like Bayer Lake in Musquodoboit Valley.

Witches broom describes an abnormal plant growth.  There was a great example growing half way up a spruce tree along the trailway.  The growth hormones that promote this growth can be stimulated by a number of causes from fungus to insect damage.  I’ve posted a couple extra pictures here as well.

The Musquodoboit Trailways website has lots of information about their various trails and directions on how to find them.  These trails are about 40 minutes from Halifax.  Just a note:  I have placed these trails under degree of difficulty – medium because my rating system does not include a harder level; the loop trails really are challenging and you should allow time and be very fit.

Shearwater Flyer Trail

Last weekend the roads were quite icy, so we went for a walk close to home.  The Shearwater Flyer Trail is part of the old rail bed which has been converted to trails all around HRM and connects to the Salt Marsh Trail out Lawrencetown way.  This walk is very flat and straight.  It is an easy walk (when you’re not slipping on ice).  The western end passes behind houses and an industrial area, but once past these areas it is a pleasant walk in typical Nova Scotia spruce and scrub/brush woods. The ground in the woods is very wet and covered in mosses; Kalmia (sheep laurel) grows in more open, boggy areas.

burned woods along Shearwater Flyer trail in Nova ScotiaThere were burned woods along part of the trail.  Not sure when this area burned, but not too many years ago, I think.

conks on dead treeThe conks (polypore fungi) along this dead tree trunk caught our eye through the leafless trees.

Directions and maps of this trail were surprisingly few online.  However, the trail has been mapped and named on Google Maps.  We began near the western end, but I would suggest beginning at the parking lot identified on my map.

The trail is named for the former CFB Shearwater which while now a part of CFB Halifax continues to operate as an airport and wharf.

Salt Marsh Trail – Snow!

 December 25 was a beautiful winter day in 2011.  The Salt Marsh Trail was just the place to admire the snow (before it all left later in the week!). The trail begins in the woods, but quickly leads out into the salt marsh where the old rail line used to run.  It is really a great opportunity to walk with dry feet through a salt marsh environment.  Rails to trails - Salt Marsh Trail Close to Halifax, the trail is easily accessible and even on Christmas Day we met other walkers and runners. The full length is 6.5 km, but since it is not return, tracks in the snow indicated that most people don’t go the complete distance. This trail is part of the Trans Canada Trail system and the HRM recreation web pages includes a map.  There are often ducks on the water here.  During our walk we saw lots of ducks and Canada Geese who may never leave if the weather continues as warm as it was today (10 C).

Dynamite Trail near Mahone Bay

Martins River Bridge - Dynamite Trail

Brilliant sunshine shone Sunday several winter weekends past, as a group walked the Dynamite Trail with the Scotian Hiker.  This section of the rails to trails system in Nova Scotia is particularly suited to easy walking.  It crosses several different types of habitat – forest, lake, marsh, inlet and town.  The bridges crossing the several brooks and river are especially neat. The bridge pictured above crosses Martins River and offered some great views.

Martins River Bridge, Nova Scotia

Dotted along the trail are signs of agriculture such as wild apple trees.

wild apple tree, Nova Scotia

There are few maps of this trail online.  A great map is located at, although we began some what farther east (see my map) at the end of the Chester Connection Trail and ended on the number 3 in Mahone Bay.

The holiday season has been especially busy and I hope to post regularly over the next few days (several days…week…).

Saint Margaret’s Bay Trail – 4 : on a bike

Saint Margaret's Bay Trail - view

Earlier this year we began walking the Saint Margaret’s Bay Trail.  It’s a great walk, but after three days (over separate weekends) it was time to try biking on this rails to trails trail.  We had lots of fun and went to the end of this part of the old rail bed in Hubbards.  The rail bed continues with the trail under the name: Aspotogan after the Aspotogan Peninsula. While we enjoyed walking some sections of the Saint Margaret’s Bay Trail, I think on the whole this trail is best  done on a bike.  It is long and flat and some sections follow the provincial secondary road # 3 – not deep nature woods that’s for sure.  And, if your goal is to do the whole thing and you want to see some great views along Saint Margaret’s Bay, a bike will allow you do this most easily since the views are interspersed with lots of forested areas.

Saint Margaret's Bay Trail view. Nova Scotia

This mixed use trail is well suited to bikes.  Check the map for a sense of the trail route.