A Nova Scotian wilderness provincial park along the Bay of Fundy with jagged sea cliffs, coves and gullies and 40 beautiful kilometers of backcountry trails and remote campsites. Ideally one would take a few days and do the Cape Chignecto Coastal Trail, the whole loop around the park but time not permitting this time, my family and I did a weekend-version with two 6K hikes in (Mill Brook, Refugee Cove) and one 12K out (Refugee Cove to the visitor centre).
The terrain at Cape Chignecto is rugged, with several steep climbs that seem to never end, with loose rocks and dirt, the trail switchbacking up to dizzying heights in endless zigzags. Backpacking heaven and hell all in one.
Life on the trail is so much simpler, the placing of one foot in front of the other, shoulders straining against pack straps, boots slipping on roots and rocks and dirt, greenery on either side and air, fresh air.
Walking at the top of cliffs plunging into the ocean, the edge so close and the water at the bottom so blue, the rocks so sharp.
Walking on the edge makes the breathtaking views all the more spectacular.
Forests of sugar maple leaning against the slope, hermit and swainson’s thrushes, encouraging us with their musical notes, glimpses of blue through the trees, the ocean always there and the cool breeze with a hint of salt to remind us.
Mixed forests with the tiny but long-winded winter wren who has so much to say about who knows what. The black-throated green warbler who adds his own personal touch to his song, an excited flourish at the end that makes him recognizable amongst all the others of his kind.
There’s sweat and soreness and blisters but the trees offer support and the birds sing… Sometimes there is no flat ground to stand on for almost an hour and sometimes it becomes difficult to decide what is harder; up or down? Does this descent ever end? Is there anything at all at the bottom of this? But then, a waterfall or the stream, rushing over boulders, the bottom.
Cliffs rising on either side of the cove, bronze veined with black, or slate grey, and rocks covered in shaggy seaweed and barnacles and periwinkles, dog whelks, isopods…
Fog banks collecting on the horizon and disappearing again, ravens swooping into the valley close on the heels of an eagle…
Waves rumbling against the shoreline.
Life on the trail is always real, never fake.