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.
As I had a couple of extra days off for this year’s Labour Day long weekend I decided at almost the last moment to spend a few days in one of my favourite places: Kejimkujik National Park. One of the few remaining parts of the park I hadn’t hiked or paddled through was the Channel Lake Loop, an almost 27-kilometre loop in the middle of the park.
I can’t remember exactly why I chose Nepal as a travel destination this year but it probably had something to do with seeing the Himalayas. Having lived near the Rockies for a while, been to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro, and hiked through the Andes, I’m starting to knock off some of the world’s famous mountain ranges. Adding the Himalayas to that list seemed fitting.
This year for an adventure “holiday” I was off to Peru for two weeks. G Adventures offers an Amazon to the Andes package that included quite a bit in the twelve days. As I was to find out, it’s all packed in pretty tight.
It’s been about three years or so since the Wil-Bo-Wil cabin was built in Kejimkujik’s backcountry, and even though I’ve passed it many times on hikes destined for elsewhere in the park I’ve never actually stayed there. I decided to remedy that situation by booking it for a couple of nights and doing a little luxurious late summer camping in one of my favourite places.
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.
After being cooped up indoors for a couple of consecutive weekends I decided it was time to get back outside for a good, long hike. I recruited a friend to join me and decided to book a couple of nights in the backcountry of Kejimkujik National Park , one of my favourite places to visit in the province. The weather forecast was as good as it gets in these parts for October: temperatures in the mid-teens and no sign of rain or wind. I called up the park to see what was still available for backcountry campsites and found the place almost completely booked up. No surprise there. I managed to get site 39 at Poison Ivy Falls for Saturday night and — score! — the yurt at site 28 for Sunday night. This was going to be good.
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.
We decided to do the Marangu Route, otherwise known as the Coca-Cola Route. It’s a five day trek up and down the mountain, a timeframe that packs it all in pretty tight. Other routes typically take six days but also tend to be a little longer. The Marangu Route is about 70km round-trip with an altitude gain of about 1000 metres per day. I didn’t feel like it was a strenuous hike until the final ascent, mainly because we walked very slowly, or pole pole in Swahili. The point is to get to the summit, not run up the mountain so I was happy we took our time to get from camp to camp and allow our bodies to acclimatize properly while saving as much energy as possible for the last two days.
This year I convinced a friend to travel with me to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro. While I was away I brought a small notebook with me to record some thoughts along the way. I ended up with thirty pages of notes with the idea that I’d post them here, but I don’t think I’ll bore you with all that. I’ll split it all up into two posts, the first about the trip and the second about the trek itself. I won’t get into too much detail, I’ll just try to get across the main points. I can’t possible communicate the whole trip, so you’ll have to visit me here in Halifax and buy me a beer to get the full effect.
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.
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.
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.