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Archive for Wolfville

Day 13- From the Valleys to the Shores

Sherwood Forest was just as empty in the morning as it was the evening before. And if they were vampires, well, they didn’t bother us. It was a cool night and we slept well. Which was good, because we had a busy day of exploring planned. After a breakfast of oatmeal that we filled with the last of the fresh blueberries and cherries, we packed it in and headed off to find rocks.

In Canada they have what I consider to be an excessive number of tourist information centers. They are marked on the highways by signs with a question mark. At the one we stopped at yesterday, the woman had recommended that we visit a “look-off” where you could see the farmland of the Annapolis Valley and also a couple of beaches- one that had agate rocks and another that had amethyst. Their tourist info centers are weird. There are the normal brochures organized by either topic or area. But to get the good brochures, you have to actually talk to a human being and listen to their advice about what to see and do. I had done that as soon as we got to Nova Scotia and here were our personalized recommendations. So off we went.

One of the things we quickly realized in Canada is that gas is NOT cheap the way it is in the US. Where a tankful in the US is subsidized in such a way that it might cost us about $38 to fill up the car, that same amount of gas was $54 in Canada (or at least in Nova Scotia). We were a little surprised and I’m not sure why. Since we’d noticed that they drive a lot of trucks, I’d have guessed that they weren’t paying so much for gas.

We drove across the valley and then up the side of a steep hill to get to the Look-Off that had spectacular views of the farmlands below. And a putt-putt golf course (though we didn’t take the time to play). We wondered about why they called it a “Look-Off”. From there we headed down the other side of the mountain ridge we were on to the shores of Scot’s Bay near Cape Split. The hike out to Cape Split would have been too long and too much for Tenzin, so we just wandered beaches. The beach at Scot’s Bay is totally rock strewn and known for agates. We also found amazing spotted rocks there. It was about at this point in the trip that I realized that we’d found pink granite rocks on nearly every shore we’d seen.

Tom was starting to get hungry, but I really wanted to see the beach with the amethysts, so we persisted and found a red sand beach near Kingsport that I thought would be the one. We didn’t find any amethysts there, but there were some amazing red cliffs and lots of kids splashing on the shore. We didn’t stay long and proceeded to Wolfville in search of lunch.

After a nice lunch in Wolfville, we wandered through town. It was a college town scene not unlike you’d find in New Paltz or somewhere else that had lots of outdoor activities in the surrounding area. There was a movie theatre/coffeehouse where a local coffee provider and old movie theatre had partners to revitalize an old theatre and make a great new shared business. There was also a bike and woodstove shop- the first that we’ve seen. Tom joked that there was something there for both of us (I do obsess about woodstoves sometimes). There was also a great store that sold only items made from bamboo (look Wendy- you can do it!) that had some fabulous clothing.

It was somewhere on this day that we noted that we saw a huge flock of crows in a tree overhead. Tom was concerned we were about to be in the middle of a Hitchcock film when I reminded him that the crows had been following us the whole trip. We had seen crows everywhere. They were on Cape Cod and at Freeport and Acadia. They were at the Bay of Fundy and sitting on the ferry along with the gulls. They were in the trees at Sherwood Forest and flying by when we were taking pictures at the look-off. I wasn’t sure whether there was a pair following us who just kept meeting up with others, but that’s what I like to think. They were vacationing with us.

We left there and headed across the island towards Ovens Natural Park, south of Halifax. It was supposed to be a rainy afternoon and we kept weaving around what looked like stormy clouds on our way, though saw little rain. We got to Ovens around 5:30 and got our little trailer set up perched on top of the cliff that they had assured me would be a great and beautiful site for it. It was pretty looking out on the Atlantic. We decided to go for a hike and check out the caves there before the weather changed.

Ovens is a spectacular place and exactly what you might expect of the rugged Nova Scotia coastline. I had originally wanted to stay at this place on our trip and then nixed the idea because it felt a little out of the way. But then my friend Carol recommended it because it is owned by Steve Chapin, the brother of her friend Tom Chapin (both brothers of the late Harry Chapin, who I was a big fan of growning up and both great musicians in their own right). I reconfigured the trip agenda so we could stay here and then at a hotel in Halifax the next night.

They have a trail that leads along cliffs and ventures down to show you several areas of caves that have been carved out of the cliffs by the pounding of the Atlantic. These caves are shaped like ovens and for a couple of rock lovers are really cool. We took lots of photos and were headed back to camp just as it was starting to get darker and look more stormy. Despite that, we bought the last of their wood and schlepped it back to the camper.

We also checked out the point that jutted into the water just below the cliff we were camping on and did a little more rock hunting among the masses of dulse that had floated up. Tenzin wasn’t so sure about walking on that squishy stuff and was completely uninterested in the many bleeding sea birds that were camped out on the big rocks.

We got back to the camper and were talking about how difficult it would be to make dinner with the wind gusting off the ocean at us when it started to rain- actually to pour. Literally and sideways. We quickly moved from the camper to the car and decided to drive back to the Miner Diner restaurant in the campground. When we got there, we were soaked from the rain and they were fully booked for dinner, but the place wasn’t full of campers at all. It was full of locals and others here to see the live music they have every night. We begged for them to find somewhere for us to sit and they put a couple of folding chairs at a little bar ledge along the side of the restaurant and we settled in to warm up, dry off and listen to some music while we ate.

The previous weekend had been the big Chapin family concert that they hold here every year. But that night was Steve Chapin playing the piano and singing along with Jennah Barry (formerly of the O’Darlings) who was covering classic sad songs that night. They were great together and the music was fantastic. We were really happy that the rain had driven us inside for the evening.

We drove back to the camper and I used the car to try to block the little camper from the winds and rain driving sideways in from the ocean. It helped, but the trailer rocked all night with the wind and we were very afraid of blowing off the cliff. We couldn’t open the vent on the top of the camper because it would have been torn off by the wind. We had the side screens open, but the water poured in through them and got us and the bedding wet. There were people in tents on the cliff as well and they packed up in the middle of the night (how, I don’t know- it was raining too hard to see where they were 40 feet away) and left. It was a long and fairly sleepless night.

Pics of today can be found here- http://bit.ly/bnhFNS