This year’s Victoria Day long-weekend trip into the backcountry of Kejimkujik National Park had a lot of weather but it was another fun trip with friends. It always feels so good to be back at Keji, the trees, the trails, the lakes, the big sky. This year I somehow managed to get the site I was hoping for, site 45, even though I was over 7000th in line when the reservations opened.
After a few years of being unable to make our annual Victoria Day weekend canoe trip into the Kejimkujik National Park backcountry, we were back on the water this year. The national parks have instituted a more “fair” lottery system for reservations and as in every other lottery, I’ve been pretty unlucky with the results. This year I was 2306th in line so I wasn’t holding out much hope of getting what I was hoping for. Turns out I was right and had to settle for a two night stay on a site further down my wishlist, site 6. It wasn’t my first choice but it turned out to be a pretty good one.
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.
After a long pandemic and life-related hiatus from hiking I thought it was about time to get back on the trail. After not having been out on a trail for so long I had to choose carefully: something challenging but not too challenging. After a quick look around I landed on the Admiral Lake Loop, part of the very good Musqudoboit Trailways Association. I’ve done a couple of their longer, more challenging trails, the South Granite Ridge and North Granite Ridge trails but knew I couldn’t handle either of them at the moment.
Desperate for a relatively local hiking challenge this year, I decided to finally hike the Liberty Lake Loop, a 56km trail in Kejimkujik National Park. I’ve had my eye on the loop for almost 10 years but just never took the plunge to make the reservations and take the time off work. Without a trip to some far-flung destination this year, it was time to tackle it.
After taking last year off from our (mostly) annual tradition, three friends and I jumped back into a couple of canoes and headed into the backcountry of Kejimkujik National Park for the Victoria Day long weekend. This time we were headed for Site 22, the last site on the West River. The weather was sunny and warm, the winds light. Perfect conditions, except for the flies which seemed to have exploded into life. Nothing a good bug net over you hat and some spray can’t solve.
It’s been another fairly quiet summer when it comes to hiking. I haven’t been completely lazy though as I’ve been helping a friend build a rustic cabin on some family property. While building a cabin is fun and difficult work it’s not quite like getting out on the trail and exploring. So with that, this past weekend a friend and I decided to head back out to the Crowbar Lake trail, a short drive from the city.
After a long and messy winter it was time to get back on the trails now that the weather has turned warmer and drier. It’s hard to believe that it’s been over six months since I’ve been out on the trail, but that’s the way it is sometimes. To start the hiking season off with a bang, my hiking partner and I decided to tackle one of the most challenging trails in the area, the North Granite Ridge Trail.
I hiked this trail almost six years ago when I first moved to Nova Scotia. I was looking for a good, lengthy, challenging trail and I found it. It’s been a few weeks since getting back from Tanzania and it was time to get back on the trails here at home. The weather so far this spring hasn’t been great for hiking — unless you like hiking in the pouring rain — and this past weekend I found myself with both the time and weather to get out for a good long hike.
One of my favourite hikes in the province is Devil’s Bend, in the hills above Economy. I’ve hiked it at least four times now and it never disappoints, except maybe when I try it too early in the spring and I forget to bring my snowshoes. It’s a quality trail with many ups and downs with a few lookoffs along the way. It’s a great workout with a beautiful reward at the end, Economy Falls.
I decided to switch it up this weekend and leave the hiking boots at home and do something I’ve been meaning to do since I moved to Halifax. I’ve always wanted to walk the entire length of the peninsula but for one reason or another I’ve just not gotten to it. As I’m trying to add some distance to my hikes, I thought this would be perfect as it’s around 18 kilometres to walk the loop.
Continuing with the string of spring hikes I’ve been taking this year, a friend and I decided to stay local and drive out to East Pennant and hike along the ocean out to Pennant Point. It’s a relatively easy hike, about 9.6km return with no hills. There’s a bit of scrambling along the rocks at the beginning and end of the hike, but nothing too demanding.
The Black Rock Community Trails are a set of trails located in the small community of Black Rock, NS, a short drive north of Berwick, off exit 15 of Highway 101 close to the Bay of Fundy. A friend and I decided to make the drive from the city and try out the longest of the trails. It was a sunny morning as we left the city and got on the highway toward the valley.
After too much to eat and drink over the holidays it was time to get back on the trail and work some of it off. I decided to enlist a friend and head outside of the city for a hike over the Crowbar Lake Trail, part of the Waverley-Salmon River Long Lake Wilderness Area. I particularly enjoy hiking in wilderness areas as they are left alone and there are no motorized vehicles allowed. I don’t think enough people appreciate the quiet those two things bring.
I don’t know what happened this summer, but I didn’t get out hiking as much as I wanted to. The weather was perfect this year, so the opportunities were there. I think it was poor planning on my part and not prioritizing properly.
For the third year in a row, a few friends and I headed into the backcountry of Kejimkujik National Park for a few days of
relaxing and exploring. This year we reserved site 32, a beautiful spot on Île de l’Original on Peskowesk Lake. Compared to last year, the weather was spectacular. It’s rare in Nova Scotia to get four straight days of heat and sun in May, but that’s exactly what we got. Site 32 has a beautiful, west-facing white sandy
beach, so you get afternoon and evening sun, as well as a breeze that keeps the bugs away.
After finding out there were two yurts in the backcountry at Kejimkujik National Park available for winter camping, I couldn’t help but want to get into one for a couple of nights. Winter camping can be a good time if you’re prepared, it can be even better when you have a ready-made shelter and wood stove ready for you when you arrive. A few stories in the local media made these two yurts a hot commodity so they weren’t easy to reserve on or near the weekends. I had some spare time come up unexpectedly so I decided to book a couple of nights in the middle of the week when they were open and I could convice a friend to come along with me.
Hike Nova Scotia Hiking and Snowshoeing Summit 2012
On I attended the first ever Hike Nova Scotia Hiking and Snowshoeing Summit. I’ve been a member of Hike Nova Scotia for a couple of years now and thought it’d be fun to attend and meet others who share my love of hiking and just generally like to be outside. On top of that, the summit was held at Kejimkujik National Park and National Historic Site, one of my favourite parks in the province.
This summer had been a bit of a write-off weather-wise so I didn’t do nearly as much hiking as I’d hoped to. I got to do more bike riding for some strange reason but hiking is my first love when it comes to being outdoors so I was a little down about my lack of fun on the trail. So when a friend of mine suggested we hit Cape Breton for a couple of days of hiking over the Thanksgiving long weekend, I jumped at the chance. There’d also be a cottage for us to use so no camping required. Because if camping was involved there’d definitely would have been some sort of freak rain storm.
Since moving to the east coast, I’ve been trying my best to do as much hiking as I did when I lived in central British Columbia. One of the trails that caught my eye was the Cape Chignecto trail, a 50km loop around Chignecto Head, in the Bay of Fundy. It intrigued me because not only was the scenery beautiful, it was also a decent length and had challenging terrain. I’ve been thinking about doing the trail for a few years, and this year I finally convinced another crazy person to come with me.
For the second year in a row, a couple of friends and I canoed into Kejimkujik National Park to spend four days in the wilderness of the park. It was a little more special this year as Parks Canada is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Congratulations! So on a chilly Friday we set out in our canoes toward backcountry site 26, on a small peninsula between Mountain and Cobrielle Lakes. It’s a great spot, we had a pair of loons to keep us company, but that was about it. We only saw a couple of other people the whole four days.
This winter has been decent weather-wise in Nova Scotia. It has snowed fairly regularly and has remained cold enough for it to stay. All this means an opportunity to get outside. This year is the first year Kejimkujik National Park has had a trail grooming program for their cross-country ski trails. If my trip there was any indication, it was a fantastic idea. Since this is the first year, it looks like not too many people know about it. There were only a few other people on this trail during this visit. The weather was perfect, clear blue skies, not a breath of wind and a temperature around freezing. It doesn’t get any better than that if you like to be outside in the winter.