Meat Cove to Pollett’s Cove

As my hiking companion Etienne says, “The hike from Meat Cove over to Pollett’s Cove is an experience worth doing over and over again.  It’s one of those adventures that holds new surprises, new ways of getting there and trusted old friends to share it with”.  The same crew was on-board once again; Derry, Etienne, Laura, and myself.  We started Saturday at 10am and hiked for 8 hours.  We hiked Sunday for 10 hours and arrived at Pollett’s Cove at 6pm.  There is NO TRAIL … just map and compass work to get from Meat Cove to the trail head of Pollett’s Cove in Red River.   We completed this adventure a couple years back and thought we would attack it again.  This year we added the coastal portion of Cape St Lawrence and the coastal meadow along the shore to Lowland Cove.

There are numerous thick trees and groves of alders.  At times the underbrush also took its toll as we could not see what was in front of us.  One wrong step, over a fallen log, could easily result in a broken leg or ankle!  I remember once that we were crossing a bog at our feet, laced with tuckamore at our thighs, and facing very thick alder bushes all the way through as well.  This short short trek to the other side took what seemed like forever.  Another memorable event was when we could see what looked like a beautiful grassy field in the distance.  This looked to be an amazing place to set up camp on night 1.  After struggling through the alders, over a brook and to the other side … our beautiful little grassy area was soaked with water underneath and we could NOT set up camp in this area.  So off we travel to find dry land.

Categories: Nova Scotia, Cape Breton | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Mount Baldface

Mount Baldface Map

Mount Baldface Map

A significant portion of Mount Baldface is above treeline and Baldface’s ridge loop offers nearly continuous views in most directions, including a breathtaking view of Mt Washington looming above the Carter Range.

This is a fantastic loop hike with several fun stream crossings and a lot of views at the top of both peaks and along the ridge. As their name implies both peaks have bald summits and in some steep places you may find yourself on fun scrambles.  The Baldface Circle Trail makes a loop from the east over both peaks. Its two halves diverge at Emerald Pool about a mile from the trailhead. The southern part passes Chandler Gorge and the South Baldface Shelter, and includes a section of steep ledges on South Baldface. The trail follows the ridge from South Baldface to North Baldface, condinues north a short distance to Eagle Crag, and then drops down (short steep section right near the top) and returns to Emerald Pool. There is a noteworthy stream crossing just above Emerald Pool, and a smaller stream shortly above that. The complete loop is 9.8 miles, with about 3600 ft of elevation gain. (Elevation gain is about the same for any route.)

Categories: White Mountains, USA | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

Mount Chocorua

Map of Mount Chocorua

Map of Mount Chocorua

Mount Chocorua is located in the white Mountains of New Hampshire. At an elevation of 3,490 feet (1,064 m) it is the easternmost peak of the sandwich range. Although the range is not outstanding for its elevation, it is very rugged and has excellent views of the surrounding lakes, mountains, and forests. Mount Chocorua’s bare summit can be seen from almost every direction and can be identified from many points throughout central New Hampshire and western Maine.

This is one of the most popular and beautiful hikes in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Once you get up to the ridge via the steep ridge trail you will be following a ridge traverse over several rocky peaks to the summit of Chocorua.

Categories: White Mountains, USA | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Mount Washington via Huntington’s

We decided to return to our favorite mountains to vacation and hike with little Kasper this summer. Kasper is 14 and a half years old and full of health and energy and loves to hike. She has been hiking the White Mountains every summer with us since she was 6 months old when she submitted her first mountain. She even has a certificate and patch from the Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) for summiting the forty eight 4000 footers in NH. We decided to have a basecamp and do day hikes with recovery days for Kasper (and ourselves). We started with our favorite hike up Mt. Washington on the Huntington Ravine trail and down the Tuckerman Ravine trail.  Kasper tore up the trail and hiked most of every trail upwards of 10 miles a day. We put her in our backpack whenever the boulders were too big and when the sun was too hot. Coming down Tuckerman’s we had to put her in our pack because we lost her leash and she was too fast for us to keep up. We were so happy to see her energy!!

Categories: White Mountains, USA | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Pollett’s Cove

Laura, Kasper and I went to Cape Breton for the weekend. We decided to spend Friday night at Corney Brook campground which is near Cheticamp in the national park. For night two we hiked into Pollett’s Cove for a quick overnight visit. This was only a two hour 8 km hike into our favorite Nova Scotia beach. The only way to access this location is through hiking in or by boat. Some years there has been cows as well as horses that reside at the beach. This year there were six horses and no cows. One mare had a young foal. There’s usually other hikers and this year there were about 10 other tents set up in the valley. A few people even came in as day hikers.

Categories: Nova Scotia, Cape Breton | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

Cape Chignecto Annual Adventure

For years Laura, Kasper and I have been hiking Cape Chignecto. We have gained many friends on this trail and it has become an annual tradition for us to connect on the May long weekend and experience the trail together.  Kasper chose to sit this year out and have a luxurious weekend with her grandparents. The trail could not compete with the fun she has visiting with them… Although it was hard to leave her behind, we were able to have an awesome hiking experience with our friends.

Categories: Nova Scotia, Other | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Katahdin Hiking

Laura and I traveled to Baxter State Park to hike KATAHDIN again.  Katahdin is the highest mountain in Maine and the northern boundary of the Appalachian Trail.  Laura and I really enjoy this mountain as it is only a 6 hour drive from our Halifax, Nova Scotia home.  It is just as convenient as some of the Northerly Cape Breton adventures we have hiked.  Here are some photos from our hike.  Check out my previous Blog posts for more detailed information on the hiking Katahdin.  We spent the week staying at Camp Cozy which is a bunkhouse located in Nesowadnehunk Campground.  Nesowadnehunk is the most remote of the Park’s roadside campgrounds and provides easy access to Ledge Falls, a popular swimming spot during hot summer weather.

On this trip we hiked the Knife’s Edge trail on two separate occasions.  We first hiked the Hunt Trail from Katadhin Stream travelling 10.4 miles return trip. The next day we did Hamlin Ridge Trail to Knife Edge and down Helon Taylor covering 11.1 miles.  Great challenging hikes, both mentally and physically!

Categories: Maine, USA | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Pollett’s Cove

Pollett’s Cove is one of our favorite places in Nova Scotia. You can have a beach pretty much to yourself with only a short 10km hike to get there. It is home to wild horses, cows, seals and eagles.

Categories: Nova Scotia, Cape Breton | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

West Coast Trail

West Coast Trail Documentary from CBC Television

The West Coast Trail, originally called the Dominion Lifesaving Trail, is about a 75km long backpacking trail following the southwestern edge of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.  It was built in 1907 to facilitate the rescue of survivors of shipwrecks along the coast, part of the treacherous Graveyard of the Pacific.  It is now part of the Pacific Rim and is often rated by hiking guides as one of the world’s top hiking trails.  The trail starts at Bamfield and runs south to Port Renfrew on Port San Juan Bay.  You can choose to begin the trail in Port Renfrew and travel north, or in Bamfield and travel south.  The southern parts of the trail are a bit more challenging than the flatter area in the north. You must buy a permit as only a set number of people are allowed to enter the trail at any one time.  The trail itself winds through a beautiful rain forest, bogs, and beaches.  It passes some very BIG trees, waterfalls, streams and thick patches of deep mud.  To cross the larger rivers and streams hikers must ride cable car suspensions, while smaller or slower waterways are bridged by fallen logs or bridges.  Wildlife that can be encountered include cougars, black bears, wolves, eagles, seals, sea lions and whales.

There are two waterways that require a boat to cross: the Gordon River, at the southern trailhead, and the Nitinat Narrows, near the midpoint of the trail. A ferry service is operated by the local First Nation.  There are two locations on the trail where food can be bought; the ferry at Nitinat Narrows (km 32) has fresh seafood, a choice between salmon, halibut, and crabs, baked potatoes.  Chez Monique’s on the beach (km 45), just south of the Carmanah Lighthouse, sells burgers, fresh fruit, and treats.  Both locations also sell pop, Gatorade, and BEER.

We chose to travel North (Bamfield) to South (Port Renfrew) and had to take part in a mandatory orientation session prior to starting the trail.  This is a very spectacular adventure that I recommend everyone experience.  I would also not change a thing about our timeline.  We have had fellow hiking friends complete the trail in under 5 days and each one of them really suggested that we extend our time on the trail and take in the beauty it has to offer. With this in mind, we really embraced the trail and stretched it over 7 nights.  You have a chance to weigh your pack before you start and my start weight was 36lbs with Laura at 38lbs.  I usually carry about 25lbs but had to account for 7 days of food which weighed about 12lbs.  There are about 100 evacuations per year with 7 evacuations for our week.  Hikers were evacuated because of sprains, fractures, and dislocations but a group also got evacuated because they had enough of this rugged adventure.   Here is a recap of the days we spent on the trail from July 2nd to 9th, 2014.

Day 1:  We took a 6 hour shuttle bus ride from Victoria to the northern trail head in Bamfield.  We then sat through the park orientation and started hiking at 3pm. We hiked into the 14km Darling River tent site and arrived around 6pm to set up camp.  Advice: Many people hike to Michigan site but we opted not to pitch here as it is more active being the first and last site on the trail.

Day 2: We arrived before noon at Tsusiat Falls and were the only people there. We had the pick of sites and were able to find a site that provided some shade for this amazing 30degree hot day.  Advice: it seems that the majority of hikers tend to congest and tent to the left as you enter the beach from the ladders. We camped on the opposite side of the waterfall and had plenty of room and what we think was the nicest site there.

Day 3:  This was a bit longer day as it involved a river crossing by boat at Nitinat Narrows (km 32) and also involved a wonderful feed of fresh salmon and crab. We pitched at the 40km mark of Dare. On route we crossed through a closed section for camping because of cougar activity between 36km and 38km.  Advice: We chose the earlier Dare as compared to Cribs as it was less busy. However; Cribs does look to be the nicer site. The whole experience with the ferry crossing at Nitinat Narrows took 2hrs so plan accordingly.

Day 4:  We traveled 4km and had lunch with Chez Monique. This was a very pleasant experience. Chez Monique is a beach tarp restaurant located at km 45. Monique sold the most expensive burger that I have ever purchased at $25.  Although it was one of the most heart warming, juicy, and delicious burgers I have ever eaten.  On another note, my wife Laura has food sensitivities and has a gluten and lactose intolerance.  Monique catered to Laura’s sensitivity and created a burger and salad option that rivaled any fancy restaurant.  Monique also sells beer so I was able to get hydrated and refreshed.  We were pleasantly surprised to find Monique sold bottles of wine.  Laura and I purchased 2 bottles and traveled along the beach to Bonilla campsite, pitched and celebrated. We pretty much stopped hiking at noon and only traveled 8km this day. Advice: Take time to sit and enjoy the burger … you won’t regret it.

Day 5:  We hiked to Cullite.  This was my favorite day (even though we were soaked) as it involved some cable car crossings, a suspension bridge, and some very unsafe ladders. The past two days were wet / rainy so it made the conditions that much more challenging. We were happy to shut down, build a fire and get warm.  Advice: Cullite is a nice site as there is woods cover to get out of the rain if need be.

Day 6:  We left Cullite and headed to Camper as this was going to be our lunch spot. When we arrived at camper, the sun was shining and it was a beautiful day … so much that we decided to end our hiking day at noon once again and pitch for the night. This provided us the opportunity to unload all our gear in the sun and dry everything out after the past couple days rain.  Advice: Great spot to freshen up and have a bath.  Could get busy here as this is sometimes the last stop before heading out or the first stop for many as they start.

Day 7:  We left camper and made our way to Thrasher via Beach Access A.  Owen Point is a must see and we had a lot of fun running around the boulders.  Advice:  Camp high at Thrasher as the tide comes in very high and you don’t want to get wet.

Day 8:  This involved a 2 hour hike out and across the Gordon River by ferry service.  We then went to the Port Renfrew Hotel and had a real meal and a couple of beer.


Here are a few thoughts and tips for a safe and enjoyable hike:

  • Take your time, stretch the trip out and enjoy the scenery …. you will appreciate it so much more.
  • Although I ended up in the Mud quite a bit, Miss Laura completed the entire trip with only mud splatter while using little gaiters.
  • There was lots of water along the trail so there is no need to carry more than 1L at a time.
  • Keeping clean … we were able to bath every night as the accommodations allowed for this.  There are some great bathing holes (Tsusiat, Campers, Cullite, etc) … But bath down steam and collect drinking water upstream.  No one wants to drink ass water.
  • Friendship … it is really neat how you connect with others on the trail.  We met some really great people and enjoyed food, fire, and laughs with them.  We will keep in touch and someday hopefully connect again.  If you are in a rush, you may miss out on this special opportunity.
  • Listen to peoples guidance but remember hikers have different abilities. We would have probably never left the trail head based on some of the feedback.  A simple example for us is time and distance.  I would consider us as active hikers and backpackers.  For instance, what took many people all day, we shut down at early afternoon.  People told us to not do the boulder section from campers to thrasher because it was so tough and unsafe when it was easy and one of the most beautiful sections of the trail.  When we were on our last day, everyone was saying to plan for an hour to climb out of Thrasher Beach and a 5 hour hike out.  It took us 15 minutes out of Thrasher and was to the trailed in under 2 hours after that.  Plan to your skill level not what others do.
Categories: British Columbia | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Cape Chignecto “Back Again”

Chignecto 2014

Every year Laura, Kasper and I head out to embrace the 52 km Cape Chignecto hike for the May long weekend. Our friend Sheryl joined us this year and we were able to connect with many of our hiking friends along the journey. Kasper is now 13 years young and she did awesome! She was ready for the trail, sometimes before us, every morning. Normally she won’t leave the nest for early morning journeys. We love ocean front tenting and usually always spend our night’s on the beach. For the past 4 years we have “Kicked Off” our summer hiking season with Cape Chignecto… and this has been a ritual for fellow like minded individuals as well. We have met some really great people on this hike and see them each and every year during this same weekend.

Categories: Nova Scotia, Other | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

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