Annual Hike with Ryan: Salt Marsh Trail, 2016

Once again, Ryan Neily and I met last month for our annual hike. This year, to give our aging knees a break, we visited the Salt Marsh Trail for the first time. For an added level of challenge and to access the trail by public transit, we started with the Shearwater Flyer Trail and finished with the Heritage Trail. It was a perfect day both for hiking and photography: cool with cloud cover and a refreshing coastal breeze. The entire hike was over 25 km and took the better part of the day to complete. Good times, great conversations, and I look forward to visiting these beautiful trails again!

Salt Marsh trail hike, 2016. Click to start the slideshow.
Salt Marsh trail hike, 2016. Click to start the slideshow.
We start here, on the Shearwater flyer trail.
We start here, on the Shearwater flyer trail.
Couldn’t ID this bush. The berries are spectacular! A pond to the side of the trail. Different angle for dramatic lighting effect. Rail bridge converted to foot bridge. Cranberries! Reviewing our progress. From the start … Map of the Salt Marsh trail ahead. Off we go again! First glimpse through the trees. Appreciating the cloud cover today. Salt-marshy grasses. Never far from rocks in NS. Rocks all laid out in stripes. Lunch & selfie time. Ryan attacking his salad. Vantage point. A bit of causeway coast. Plenty of eel grass. Costal flora. We head for the bridge next. Impressed by the power of the flow beneath. Snapping more marsh shots. Ripples. Gulls, and if you squint, a copter. More ripples. Swift current along this channel. Until it broadens out and slows down. Nearly across. Heron! Sorry it’s so tiny. Heron again, before I lost it. Ducks at the head of the Atlantic View trail where we rested and then turned back. Attempt at artsy. Nodding ladies tresses on the way back. Several of them. Sky darkening, but we still have time. A lonely wild rose. The last gasp of late summer. Back across the marshes. A short breather on the Heritage Trail.

Here’s the Strava record of our hike:

Bluff Trail icy dawn: Winter 2016

Before the rest of the family was up, I took a brief excursion to explore the first kilometre of the Bluff Trail and check out conditions. I turned at the ridge, satisfied I had seen enough to give an idea of what it’s like out there, and then walked back the four kilometres home on the BLT Trail.

I saw three joggers and their three dogs just before I exited the Bluff Trail on the way back, and later, two young men on the BLT with day packs approaching. The parking lot had gained two more cars for a total of three as I headed home. Exercising appropriate caution and judgement, the first loop is beautiful and rewarding, and I’m not alone in feeling the draw of its delights this crisp morning.

Click the first photo below to start the slideshow.

Click to start the slideshow
Click to start the slideshow
At the parking lot, some ice, but passable with caution Trail head: a few mm of sleet Many footprints since last snowfall Thin ice encrusts the bog The boardwalk offers some loose traction Mental note: buy crampons More thin bog ice Bubbles captured in the bog ice Shelves hang above receding water First challenging boulder ascent Rewarding view at the crest Time to turn back here Flowing runnels alongside BLT Trail Home soon to fix breakfast If it looks like a tripod, it is Not a very adjustable tripod, however Pretty, encrusted pool The sun peeks out briefly Light creeps down the rock face Shimmering icy droplets and feathery moss Capped with a light dusting of sleet

Colours of Autumn 2015, Bluff Trail

My friend Ross Mayhew and I enjoyed a perfect Autumn afternoon yesterday, full of colours on the Bluff Trail. Not all of these photos do justice to the splendour and intricate detail I had hoped to capture, but I hope you enjoy them all the same. Click the photo to start the slideshow.

Late afternoon at the top of Pot Lake loop
Late afternoon at the top of Pot Lake loop
On my way to hike, the Canada holly hints of things to come Canada holly berries bright red and close to the branch (vs. dusky red false holly berries on long stems) Unsure which fern this is. Ross says Christmas, but the leaf margins aren’t serrated, but smooth. Sheltered by this mossy stump, a pretty mushroom Moss found climbing up a rotted stump, peculiar in that it has flat, fern-like fronds Ross and I spent a while examining this peculiar flat-fronded moss The reds of the huckleberries and maples were striking A tiny fern by a trickle of water across the path A familiar view overlooking Cranberry Lake, now in its fall splendour Brilliant Canada holly berries along the bog at our hike’s end

Cranberry Lake and nearby bog – Fall, 2015

On one of my regular walks with a friend, we decided today to walk part of the BLT Trail to Cranberry Lake and the bog just past it, an easy 5 km round trip.

On the trail to the lake, golds dominate
On the trail to the lake, golds dominate
A calm day, the lake like glass
A calm day, the lake like glass
In the bog, copper and golden hues
In the bog, copper and golden hues
On the margins of the bog, brilliant orange and red
On the margins of the bog, brilliant orange and red
The reds, dark greens and dead trees in counterpoint
The reds, dark greens and dead trees in counterpoint
At our turning point, my cranberry patch provided a puckery snack
At our turning point, my cranberry patch provided a puckery snack

Annual Bluff Hike, 2015

Here is a photo journal of our hike on the Bluff Wilderness Trail with my friend, Ryan Neily, as is our tradition at this time of year. Rather than hike all four loops, as we achieved last year, we chose to cover only the Pot Lake and Indian Hill loops. Like our meandering pace, our conversations were enjoyable and far ranging, with Nature doing her part, stimulating our minds and bodies and refreshing our spirits.

A break at the summit of Pot Lake loop. Click to start slideshow.
A break at the summit of Pot Lake loop. Click to start slideshow.
Northern bayberry A few showers quickly dissipated into light mist on the first leg of the hike Ryan, enjoying one of the many beautiful views Cormorant or shag. Hard to say from this poor, zoomed cellphone shot. Darkened pool amongst the rugged trees Late summer colours A riot of life shoots up in every crevice Large boulders and trees, forming a non-concrete alley along the trail margin Huckleberries still plentiful on the Indian Hill loop Sustenance to keep us going Not at all picked over, like the Pot Lake loop We break here for lunch Just about ready to embark on the last half We are surprised by the productivity of these short, scrubby huckleberries Barely rising from the reindeer moss, each huckleberry twig provides sweet, juicy handfuls A small pond on the trip back A break on the home stretch “Common” juniper, which nevertheless is not so common out here Immature green common juniper “berries” (actually cones)

Hike at Blomidon Park: Late Summer, 2015

I had the wonderful privilege to go camping and hiking with my kids’ scouting group, the Pathfinders of Tantallon SDA church. The day started with a quick trip to Pugwash with one of the leaders to bring back some chairs to their school, and then we headed back out to Blomidon to meet up with the group. Click the photo below to start the slideshow.

The road trip started early to fetch some chairs
The road trip started early to fetch some chairs – click to start
The smudgy truck windows make an interesting filter Still an hour or more away from our first stop More funky filtering, this time with trees participating Wentworth valley – taken over the cluttered dash We disturbed a great blue heron’s breakfast at Wallace The beach at Pugwash SDA Camp where we loaded the chairs Trucking along past Truro After dropping off chairs, finally approaching Blomidon Getting very close to Blomidon Some bikers out to enjoy the views Interesting white berries Interesting red berries My first up close look at the point with my hiking buddy, Dave, on the first day An experimental panorama. Not sure I have the knack for keeping the horizon straight. We must bring the group out here tomorrow! Fast ringneck snake! Hard to get a clear shot Pre-dawn over the campground The first blush of coming dawn The Moon and Venus just before dawn Evergreens surrounding our camp site, pre-dawn Seems I’m still the only one up Half of the tents on the spacious group site Half of the tents on the spacious group site My daughter, the artist My two youngest and their best friend Some relaxing down time after breakfast Not sure who said what, but apparently they were hilarious. ๐Ÿ™‚ The smoke was a bit much for my eldest Geoff entertaining the troops Dave making breakfast Dave making breakfast Breakfast just wrapping up Relaxing while we finish breakfast Looks like that needs some tweaking A bit too smoky The whole group The whole group Just goofing around Who’s winning? Enjoying the last embers of the breakfast fire before heading to Jodrey Trail I admire this young lady’s great eye for photography She has some sweet gear A lot of old hardwoods out here Dave did this hike with me yesterday – Excellent hiking buddy! Words can’t describe how much more stunning these views are in person All the cameras came out Got to get that perfect shot! A tree clinging to the eroding ground above the sheer cliff A lookoff on Jodrey Trail A lookoff on Jodrey Trail Lining up her shot /a> A lookoff on Jodrey Trail A lookoff on Jodrey Trail A lookoff on Jodrey Trail A fern with sharply serrated sturdy leaves I’m not familiar with Breaking camp at group site 404 One final chance to enjoy the view from the park entrance before heading home

BLT Bike Trail – Early Summer 2015

This is one of my regular walking routes, from home to Five Island Lake and back. It’s about 15 km. I usually walk too briskly to capture the many visual delights of this route. Today on the trip out, I stopped and took several photos to share with you.

An early morning walk up the BLT bike trail. Click to start the slideshow.
An early morning walk up the BLT bike trail to Five Island Lake (pictured here) and back. Click to start the slideshow.
The walk starts from our subdivision. It’s cool and clear when I leave.

Saskatoon berries Saskatoon berries Saskatoon berries Dew on leaves Dew on leaves Pitcher plants Something’s attacking this alder. Maybe woolly aphids?

Wild strawberries Wild strawberry Wild strawberry Wild strawberry Wild strawberries Daisy Daisy Vetch Vetch Water lily Water lily

Sensitive fern Squirrel! Cranberry Lake Cranberry Lake