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An early spring hike on the Sandy Cope Trail

I hadn’t been for a hike in far too long and I was feeling very guilty about having four days off over the Easter weekend and not having any plans. So I looked up a trail I hadn’t done before, topped up the car’s gas tank — yikes! — and headed north out of the city towards Truro.

Gravel access road on the way to the trailhead
Gravel access road on the way to the trailhead

I’ve done other trails in the Cobequid Eco-Trails system in the Gully Lake Wilderness area so I decided to head up that way and do the Sandy Cope Trail. As you can see, from the parking lot you take the gravel access road to the trailhead. There’s a smaller trail you can take from the parking lot that joins up but I wanted to do the whole loop, start to finish.

Helpful signs at the start of the Sandy Cope Trail loop
Helpful signs at the start of the Sandy Cope Trail loop

Once you make your way to the trailhead you head into the woods and quickly find a well-made and helpful trail sign with map, directions, and distances. I decided to go counter-clockwise around the loop and soon found that not all the snow had melted from the shady parts of the trail. This would be a theme throughout the day. I should maybe have waited a couple of weeks as making your way through knee-deep snow in some sections is a bit exhausting, especially when you’re really out-of-shape.

Bridge over White's Brook
Bridge over White's Brook

I soon found myself at a small wooden bridge crossing a stream. I was happy to have this one but the rest of the trail is basically without such luxury and during high-water times of the year, like the spring, the water is too high to be able to cross over the rocks or fallen trees over the many streams. More than once I found myself having to bushwhack a bit up and down the banks of a stream to find a suitable place to cross. It’s during times like these I’m very happy to be wearing a good pair of boots.

About halfway around the Sandy Cope Trail
About halfway around the Sandy Cope Trail

The trail itself is fairly easy, flat with just a few ups and downs to contend with. During the summer months this would be a great trail to spend an afternoon exploring. Eventually I found myself at the roughly half-way point, the aptly named Sandy Cope Lake. I was even lucky enough to spot a pair of Loons hanging out in the beautiful warm afternoon sun. At this point I pulled my flask of coffee out, poured myself a cup and had a seat on a rock for a short rest. There was no one else on the trail so I had the whole place to myself. Just me, the hooting owl, the chirping frogs, and the breeze in the trees. Fantastic.

A small valley basking in the sun
A small valley basking in the sun

After my little rest I was ready to tackle the rest of the trail. There was much more snow around the top part of the loop than anywhere else and I found myself slowly trudging my way through the crusty remnants of winter. Soon enough though the forest opened up again and the snow was behind me. At this point my legs were becoming quite tired and my mind turned to getting around the loop. As will all loops, this one eventually met back up with the sign and I made my way back to the gravel road.

The gravel road back to the small parking lot is all uphill from the trailhead making the last kilometre-and-a-half a bit of a slog when you’re as out-of-shape as I am. At least the sun was shining and it was neither too hot or too cold. I made my way back to my car, happily took off my boots and took a long drink of water. All-in-all a pretty nice day out in the woods and a good reminder that I need to do it more often.

Check out a map: An early spring hike on the Sandy Cope Trail