Water drops on the waterfront

Lovely stroll along the Dartmouth waterfront trail today. I began after the rain under overcast skies and finished under a warm sun. Water drops glistened on leaves, flowers, and spider webs.

The trail offers a great view out to Halifax Harbour, including a wharf for the Canadian Coast Guard which you pass on the trail.

Halifax Harbour and Canadian Coast GuardLots of people use the trail, although not all at once – there was a steady flow of people walking and biking in both directions. This trail includes lots of green space and I quite enjoy its proximity to water, but it also crosses behind working docks, marine company warehouses and and some barren brick apartment buildings too. Other information about the trail is found in this previous Oct, 2011 post.



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.

bridge walking – transit strike

The ferry is not running! During the current transit strike in Halifax there are lots of walkers out – even across the Macdonald bridge in winter! The view is fabulous and today the temperature was above freezing and the sun was out. Of course taking pictures added considerable time to my traverse, but the light was great and I had never taken the time to really look across the expanse of the view.  It is possible to see out to the ocean, past Georges, McNabs and Lawlor Islands.

The walk across the bridge adds about a 1/2 hour to my regular walk-ferry combo so… I have been alternately walking and catching a ride to work.  Sidewalks and my destinations make it easier to walk on the east side of the bridge, but I hope to try the west side too – just have to check that walkers can use the bike side!

Old growth forest

Cape Blomidon from South Mountain The view near the Wolfville Watershed Nature Preserve across a part of the Minas Basin to Cape Blomidon is excellent – truly. Last Sunday Scotian Hiker and co. completed a loop hike around part of the preserve.  Many in the group had been there on previous hikes and even skied there years ago, but for some of us, it was our first time.  I am so glad I found the time to go. It is a fabulous walk through some of Nova Scotia’s rare old growth hemlock forest.  The preservation of these 605 acres is the result of an agreement between the town of Wolfville and the Nova Scotia Nature Trust.  Following Ravine Trail led us over an old concrete dam – part of the old water supply system (and still a back-up system) for Wolfville.  This dam is along either the Duncanson Brook or Little Indian Brook as is this waterfall. There are now at least two rough trails in the preserve as well as the parking lot. The preserve is fairly close to Wolfville, but definitely off the beaten track, so it is important to plan how you will get there.  Check the map.

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.

Taylor Head hike begins vacation

hiking Nova Scotia shoreline

My vacation this summer began with a fabulous walk out on Taylor Head.  The Day was brilliant – sunshine, but not too hot, a slight breeze, no fog – always appreciated on the Atlantic coast. We’d been to this provincial park before, but not at the height of summer and this was our first walk out towards the head.  The plants and their habitats on this point of land cover the gamut for Nova Scotia’s shoreline: spruce woods, boggy uplands, coastal barrens and rocks, cobbles and great slabs of …more rock (metamorphosed sedimentary ones)  .

As we walked across the head, from east to west, we crossed the bog/heath area and spotted some pitcher plants, (Sarracenia purpurea).  These carnivorous plants are endlessly fascinating (at least to me!). The flowers of these plants are particularly interesting. (The upside down umbrella is the pistil.)

pitcher plant fower in Nova Scotiapitcher plant in Nova Scotia

Several trails follow the shore. In fact, this is one of the best accessible places in Nova Scotia to walk a long stretch of shoreline with out cottages and roads.  We hiked parts of the Spry Bay trail and the Headland trail.  This combination took us about 4 hours and is about 20 km return.  I’ve marked it on my map and the Friends of Taylor Head have a great map and other information.

Cole Harbour Heritage Trail

Easy walk today as we did all the loops at the Cole Harbour Heritage Park.  These short, gentle trails loop over old farm fields and woods.  There are some great views of Cole Harbour;  and looking east to the Atlantic Ocean one can see the Atlantic View Trail.

One of the many alders we passed was full of iridescent, metallic blue alder flea beetles.  These beetles (and later their larvae) mine the leaves, but since leaves are not out yet, they must be out very recently – in anticipation of the leaves!