Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Tags ...

How many photos do you have stored on your computer ?  3,000 ?   4,000 ?  How do you organize them all ?

I give all my photos "tags".  Helpful little descriptors that say something about the image.

One of my more unusual tags is, "What is it?".

Feel free to take a guess at a few of these by leaving your guess in the comments section.

1.  Snow in summer ?  Nope.

2.  Snow on the beach ?  Nope.

3.  I think this one might be easier to figure out.

4.   Kudos to you if you can guess what this is and what it's for.

5.    Oh, the odd things you see at the beach.

6.   Impressions in the snow.

7.   Took this a couple of years back when I had a different car.

8.   Not stone, but  something much more fleeting.

9.   At the beach.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Hike to Gaff Point ...

Late Saturday "Scotian Hiker" posted this ...

Short notice, but I'm opting for a coastal hike on the south shore: less snow and better trail conditions (snowshoes probably not required, but bring them in your vehicle if you have them), plus temperatures, great scenery, short and not too difficult, and wind-driven surf. Optional rope climb down to Sand Cove. It WILL be windy, so dress appropriately. Meetup is at the Hirtles Beach parking lot at 1130am. Bring water, lunch, whatever you need to shield yourself from wind. Terrain is sand/cobble beach, coastal forest path (possibly some ice underfoot), rocky shoreline. Dogs are fine, but may need to be leashed at times due to cliffs at Gaff Point. Directions: take Hwy 103 Exit 11 (Blockhouse/Lunenburg), proceed due south into Blockhouse. At 4-way stop, go straight for 10 minutes. At next stop, turn right and drive for 1 min. At stop, go straight and follow winding road for 20 minutes. Watch for Rose Bay Convenience Store/NSLC on right, and turn left toward Kingsburg. Drive for 5-10 mins, come down hill into Kingsburg (ocean will be in view), turn right towards Hirtles Beach.

I hummed and hawed about whether I'd join the group. The drive was just over 100 km.  I'd need to leave by 10 a.m.  It was only when I woke up to an encouraging note from Mr. Hiker that decided to eat brekkie, fix a lunch, fill the car with gas and head out at 10:10 a.m. to meet up with Le Gang at the Hirtles Beach parking lot.

The group met up just after 11:30 and set off within 10 minutes.

It was several degrees above zero and unseasonably mild.  Gaff Point is at the end of that spit of land to our right.

The wind whipped layers of foam up the beach.

Not snow.

I was delighted when my new South-shore chum, Kelly joined us on the hike.

The trails were well kept and much of the land is owned by The Nature Conservancy of Canada. The NCC is one of my pet charities.  It purchases sensitive, significant or endangered habitats to keep them protected and safe from future development.

I've gotta get me some of them thar hiking poles.

The scenery was lovely.  The trail often leading us to beautiful outlooks,

or along seaside rocks where the waves crashed noisily with stunning blue waves the colour of THAT lake near Jasper, Alberta;  you know the one I mean ?

Wendy was the only dog on the hike.
An off shoot of the trail lead to this amazing location.

                                Look at that lovely beach below.

                                    Do you think it's possible to get down there ?  

Why "Yes.  Yes it is."

See that handy knotted rope ?


As the others made their way down without hesitation, Kelly and I watched in awe and fear, and screwed up our courage,

                                          and with the encouragement of the group,

                                                                                                                     joined them.

A lousy photo of Kelly coming down via the rope.
I "thought" I was smiling.  Actually this pic is of me coming back up later.
On the way down, someone held the rope taut at the bottom.

Can you see how proud we were of ourselves for overcoming our fears and making it down to the beautiful beach.

BTW Wendy just sauntered down the "cliff".  No rope needed.  Sigh ...

Kelly 'n me and Wendy.
It's called Sand Beach.  Luckily it was low tide.  At high tide the water would be to the base of the cliffs.

After hiking back up and walking a while through the woods, we found ourselves back on Hirtles Beach.  Kelly and I always seemed to be at the back of the pack but we were OK with that.  We'd get held up taking pics, helping each other put on and take off grippers and stuffing rocks into Kelly's pack.

That's the rest of our group waaaaaay in the distance.  Wendy doesn't like it when her hiking "pack" is not together.

As we got nearer the group we were amazed to see that three of them had doffed their shoes and socks and rolled up their pants,

                                                   and had gleefully run into the January-chilled Atlantic Ocean !

Scotian Hiker didn't even bother to roll up his pants !

What a crazy group !    

                                          That's why I love hanging out with them.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Life is a series of dog walks ...

Just got home from a lovely dog walk at Auburn Golf Club with Wendy and Sooki.

I thought at first it was going to be a cold walk but after a while I found myself pulling my mitts off and yanking off my ear muffs.

Wendy fetched her ball while Sooki followed Wendy ... or her own nose.

The snow wasn't really that deep, but still it was harder to walk in as I had to lift my  knees higher than they like to be lifted.

We encountered a few other people out walking their dogs or taking their kids sledding on the wonderful hills.  The man in the shot below was snow shoeing while his two dogs tagged along.

The golf course is very scenic with several covered bridges crossing a pretty river.  As I always have treats in my pocket, Wendy and Sooki come quickly when called.  They'll even put up with posing for a picture when a bribe is in the offing.

This is Wendy's "Throw the ball, throw the ball" look.

This was only my second time visiting Auburn.  I learned of it a week or so ago when I hooked up with a local Facebook dog walking group.

The photo below is from that first visit.  I love how there are no humans in the photo and the dogs appear to be on their own. 

I'm sure you can see why I went back again today.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas Day at Peggy's Cove ...

Christmas Day in Nova Scotia dawned sunny and unseasonably mild.  What better way to spend the day than with a road trip to Peggy's Cove !

Nearby there are plenty of lay-bys where you can park and hike to the shore.

Once there, look what we saw; a Seal out basking on a rock !  

After an hour of  walking we popped back in the car and drove 2 minutes down the road to Peggy's Cove.

Apparently I wasn't the only one who decided to visit this Canadian icon on Christmas Day. 

Guess who !

Look at that.  Shorts and bare feet on Christmas Day !   I told you it was crazy mild.

The most famous fishing cove in Canada.

Wendy and Sooki

  Hope you had a nice Christmas and that the Happiest of New Years awaits.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

You just never know ...

Recently I've gotten into Geocaching.  Have you heart of it ?   It involves a grownup (me), looking for hidden "caches"  using a GPS.   "Where are the geocaches?", you ask.  

Below is a map of the area near where I live.  Each of those icons is a hidden cache.  The nearest one to me turned out to be about 200 m from my front door !   BTW those four happy faces near the centre of the map are four that I have found.   Wherever you live, I can guarantee that there are caches nearby.

 That's it.  That's about all there is to it.  Geocaching is an excuse to explore places with fresh eyes and a challenge to see how many caches you can find.  Most caches include a log book for you to sign and even if they didn't you can always log your find on the Geocaching.com web site.

Last week I went to Lunenburg to have lunch with some chums there.  I figured I'd also look for some caches while I was there.

One of them was hidden in an old rotted tree in the cemetery next to the Lunenburg Academy.

The cache in the tree.  Pretty small eh ?
However, sometimes what you find is not what you're looking for ...

While exploring the cemetery I was attracted to this pretty plot and was surprised by the sad message it contained on the two plaques.

Sophia's tragic story brought me up short...


Sophia, I am so sorry.  I truly hope that you did find your reward in Heaven; but I wish you'd had a full and wonderful life first.  I also wish I could travel back in time and smack your mother and give you a hug.


Monday, November 30, 2015

A genuine "Scotian Hiker" group hike.

There is a marvellous dude here in Nova Scotia who for six years has lead group hikes through various scenic areas of this lovely province for no other reason than to share his joy of hiking and his love of the place.   "Scotian Hiker" as he calls himself, has a web page with a link to a calendar of monthly hikes. Anyone who wants to, is welcome to tag along on a hike.  No need to sign up; just turn up.  For a couple of years I've been following S.H.'s antics on Facebook and have occasionally sought his advice on places to hike, but I'd never actually been on one of his hikes.  Timing and lack of motivation have stood in the way.

I am happy to report that (at last) I finally got off my duff, set the alarm, had an early breakfast, packed a lunch, and drove 110 km. across the province to join yesterday's hike along the Woodville Hiking Trail.

I arrived at the parking area on Bligh Road late.  The hike was to start at 11 a.m. and when I parked my car I could just see the group of hikers at the top of the gravel road in the distance.  By the time I got my gear from the car, togged up in warm coat, mitts and ear muffs, put on my back pack and got Wendy from the car -- they were out of sight  !   

The trail begins with a loooong uphill slog and I was moving in double-time in an effort to even catch a glimpse of the group.  By the time I did catch up with them, they were resting by a lovely waterfall and I was huffing and puffing like a 3-pack-a-day-smoker -- and their rest stop was over.

 As you can see from the map (above), there were many choices of trails and it was lucky that our intrepid guide had a map.

 Occasionally we'd stop for a head count and to see where we were on the map.

 Guess where "Cabin Trail" led ?

 The cabin was old, sturdy and beautifully made with carved, interlocking wood corners and massive door hinges. 

 There were some soggy sections of trail and I quickly became aware of the benefit of having a walking pole to steady oneself on uncertain ground.

 We found this memorial stone next to a stone foundation

.  I wonder if Mr. Balsor ever lived here ?  

Later, we came across this BIG sign for "Picnic Table".   See the tiny sign for "Look Off".  

As a result, the  look off view came as a lovely surprise.   The picnic table was nothing to write home about..    ;-)

For some it was an irresistible "selfie with view behind us" photo op. 

And then we did more walking.

Overall we guessed that we walked 12-13 km on the whole hike.   Some of the dogs probably did twice that distance.

More walking ...

Finally back at the parking lot we said our "goodbyes", and spoke of looking forward to the next "Scotian Hiker" led hike. 

Sam gets a hug.

See you next time everyone and many thanks to Scotian Hiker for a marvellous outing.