Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Surprise Waterfall

The weather in Nova Scotia is volatile at the best of times. Because we stick out into the ocean, have a run of mountains in the northwest and the northeast, we are affected by a number of systems. First, there's the Arctic cold that comes down in the winter. It is usually tempered by the Gulf Stream, though not always, and January and February can be drastically cold for a maritime province. The Gulf stream and its warmth is affected by the ocean and so we get a lot of precipitation and fog. In the fall, we get the tail end of hurricanes that come up the Eastern Seaboard of the US, sometimes we even get an actual hurricane (like Hurricane Juan about 5 years ago). The summers are generally nice, but frustrating when we get a wet one. People at work wait to find out when I've booked time off and don't take the same weeks as that's when we get the down pours.

There's a saying in Nova Scotia: If you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes, it'll change. On Saturday night we had a thunder and lightening storm the likes of which we don't usually see until August. On Sunday, the northern part of the province, connected physically to the rest of the country, and New Brunswick received almost a foot of snow. On Monday, we experienced snow, snow-showers, sunshine, rain, and snow pellets. Every time I looked out the window there was something different going on. The only way to know if spring is actually coming is by the plant and insect life.

So, Lanette, in answer to your question on my last post, yes, spring is here, judging by the buds, crocus, and the few bugs I've seen. However, even if we do get warmer weather, and an abundance of gnats and black flies, they are often killed off with a "killing frost" in mid May. Their populations rebound of course, as that's how Mother Nature works.

I have been trying to convince my dad to so a little hiking with me and the Wookie. He was ready until he discovered that sneakers aren't appropriate for where I go. I showed him how to use Google maps to see the different hiking trails and access roads I use and with the promise of taking him to Jack's Lake when it's dry and he can do it in sneakers, he has agreed. That's a few more months away. To inspire what he can see on the hikes I snapped a couple of pictures of Marsh Lake yesterday. Sandy Lake is to the south and empties into Marsh Lake which in turn feeds into the Sackville River.

I was standing on what I'll loosely term a road taking those shots. Runoff from the big hill I'd hiked is going down the road and emptying eventually into Marsh Lake. In the summer time it's bone dry on the road with sometimes a tiny trickle on the side.

While standing there, the wind picked up, the clouds moved in, and the snow started again. I couldn't continue on that road in those conditions so I ducked into the woods on the left. Those woods are chock full of cross country running trails and extreme mountain biking trails. If you just duck into the shelter of the trees along the edge you can wait out any weather, secure from the winds and dry from the snow and rain. I was stunned when I ran into the trees. I could hear water pouring from somewhere and it wasn't the stream on the road I heard. Fearing a possible flash flood (not bloody likely), I whipped around towards the source of the sound and discovered:

How cool is that? The tree was kind of scary looking, but despite the onslaught of water, it was standing like a sentinel.

After a few minutes I popped out of the woods, feeling almost like a deer during hunting season. After inspecting more of the road and checking my watch, decided to cut through the woods back to Sandy Lake. I went into the woods at a different place, but very soon ended up on a familiar trail that the Wookie and I had discovered last year. Continuing on I was going up hill. At one point I got off that trail and onto another, going down hill now, and ended up at a dirt road. A road?! It was still snow covered, though melting, but I couldn't figure out what road it was. I knew if I kept on going I'd end up somewhere along Sandy Lake. I sat down to rest, have some water, and try to figure out what road this was. Once I sat down I could see blue water through the trunks of the trees. Aha! That's Sandy Lake, about 100 metres away. I laughed as I realized I knew exactly where I was, continuing through the trees until I ended up at the park on the shores of the lake. I had seen this path from the entrance of the park but had never ventured to travel it. The road I had crossed actually leads to two cabins close to the park that are privately owned.

From the park to my car was short 1 k walk on a gravel path/road, so the final leg of my journey was an easy one. At one point on my jaunt I frightened some large animal in the bush; I saw a flash of black and white run away. A feral cat? A skunk? Glad it decided not to stay. And the wind was causing the larger dead trees to rub against each other making creepy squeaky toy noises that made me wonder if I hadn't been followed by a demonically possessed baby. And of course, I found several signs of deer with tracks and poop. So every time I go on these walks I think of Linda at Braincheese when I see the deer poop.

When I'm out on these treks now, I almost always think of the MS blogging community, snapping pics for Diane and Herrad to enjoy from their homes, looking for little things that I want to put under the microscope for Linda, and interesting birds Joan may not have a chance to see in Delaware. Which reminds me, Joan; the Wookie, on his business trip had a seagull poop on him. That's supposed to be good luck isn't it?




Oh! Sorry to bother you...I was just searching for deer poo as instructed...LMAO It does bring me such joy. :-)

Lanette said...

So glad to hear spring is starting for you! That surprise waterfall is cool and glad that black/white animal fled the scene. See if that had been me, I probably would have gotten sprayed by a skunk then had a flash flood take me away - but that's generally my luck - glad it wasn't yours! :)

That's great that you can take your dad hiking later in the season. And we all appreciate your wildlife photos! :)

Herrad said...


Hi Shauna,
What a great trek and great photos.

Thanks and a big hug.


Shauna said...

I see deer poop almost on a daily basis so you're never far from my thoughts.

Glad you're enjoying the pics. I'm having a blast going out to get them.

I'm glad you can enjoy my treks from way over there!