Friday, July 3, 2009

Vacation (Kind of)

I have been going non stop for the past two weeks. Work, personal appearances, remote broadcasts, and fund raising for the upcoming bike tour have occupied my time almost completely. Until this week. The Wookie and I left very early yesterday morning for a drive to Kejimkujik (called Keji for short) National Park. There is an old growth forest that the Wookie really wanted to see so we spent a couple of hours in the car in order to get there early enough for a hike. We traipsed through mixed wood forest and finally got to the hemlocks, some of which are 400 years old.

The Wookie taking a pic:

The beauty of this park is such that I am almost tempted to take up camping. Almost. As much as I love nature and the outdoors, I prefer to sleep in a bed with a pillow and use indoor plumbing with hot and cold running water.

Anyway, we only spent a short time in this park (for now - we will return) as we also wanted to go to the Sea Adjunct of Keji, 40 minutes drive away. The main part of Keji is in the middle of the province; the adjunct is a pacel of protected land right on the ocean. We hiked most of the trail through the park, after having checked in at the entrance and learning that a black bear had been spotted on the beach. And there were seals on the rocks off shore. Cool. So off we went.

We never did see a bear, though two kilometres from the end of the looped trail (and technically two kilometres from the start) we did find bear scat. Having already published pics of bear poop from one of last summer's treks, I declined taking a pic. We saw seals swimming and trying to sneak up on several ducks, including two eiders, and we startled a porcupine, the probable source of animal poop that was quite abundant on the trail and poop I did photograph for Linda:

We came across deer tracks on the beach and wild strawberries, ripe for the picking (and I did eat two). We also came across a small frog pond with at least 12 frogs in and around it. And the flowers! I had never actually seen a pitcher plant in bloom; actually, I don't think I'd ever seen a pitcher plant period. The barrens were covered in them. And the orchids were in bloom as well. I have known that we have orchids in Nova Scotia, but have never seen them. They were the most spectacular candy pink. And the blue flag iris were everywhere. Fields of iris, iris on the beach, iris next to the trail, clinging tenaciously and in various states of bloom. These wonderful flowers reminded me of Herrad, hanging on in the most discouraging of weather, living so close to the violence of the North Atlantic seas just waiting to pop open. Herrad, these flowers just made me think of you, biding your time as your sore heals and you can get out in your chair again:

The weather here has been atrocious; wind, rain, drizzle, fog, and mist and about 5 minutes of sunshine towards the end of the day just to tease us. We left the park and continued on to a resort for the night, where we ran into family friends. Of course, the two of us were absolutely exhausted and eventually collapsed into puddles (after I insisted we go to the marshmallow roast on the beach so I could have a few of those ooey gooey treats).

Today we headed specifically for two other beaches. One is Risser's Beach, a provincial park with a gorgeous sandy beach bookended by jagged rocks. There we found tons of snails, shrimp like creatures, and actual shrimp in the tide pools, and even a couple of live hermit crabs. What a hoot.

I will publish as many pics as I can over the next day or two. The Wookie and I are going to get some biking in this weekend. I'm off Monday as well so the first part of my summer vacation will be complete and the sunshine will return to this part of the world on Tuesday. When I get back to work.

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