Well the Sunday after the graduate research day I finally got outside rock climbing in Nova Scotia. I’d been in touch with Amanda via Facebook and text and on Saturday they told me they had a plan to head out climbing on Sunday. However come the end of Saturday this plan had fallen apart thanks to “beer and the weather” but I was informed that something may be arranged at the last minute. Well that’s what happened because Sunday morning I got a text saying the original plan was back on. The climbing was an hour and a half drive away for me so I didn’t make it to the crag, G-spot, until about midday. The crag was a little bit overgrown but the guidebook directions were good and I soon caught up with the person I’d been in touch with.
I again limited myself to seconding, in part due to my ankle and in part not being used to the rock. I don’t think I’ll be able, or indeed want to, use either excuse next time! Anyway the first climb I did was to top-rope a nice short slabby 5.7 that had been put up by Amanda’s friends. It took me about half the route to get used to the amount of friction that the granite had – you could stand on nothing, but once I’d get used to it my love of slab climbing kicked in and I really enjoyed myself.
Next I seconded Amanda up a long, well over a half-rope length long, 5.10. Everything agrees it’s nowhere near 5.10, more like 5.7, if you’re over about 5 foot 6, which apparently the first ascensionist wasn’t. It certainly felt more like 5.7 and it was really enjoyable climbing. The next route I found myself seconding was rather harder in a couple of places and involved a couple of falls, although one was due to a caught rope. Again it was really enjoyable climbing and something I think I could lead once I have my strength back a bit more. By the time we topped out the weather had started to change and it was starting to get cold and windy so it was generally agreed to call it a day, something I was going to do anyway as my ankle was a little sore. All in all a really nice introduction to climbing here and I hope there’s more days like it. No photos I’m afraid. I’ll try to get some next time I go climbing outdoors.
The first few days of the week after I was laid low with a cold so there’s nothing interesting to report there. If there was anything interesting to report before the next weekend it wasn’t that interesting as I don’t remember it by the time I’m writing this. I couldn’t manage to arrange climbing that weekend, so instead during the latter part of Saturday I went and explored Grand Pre and the surrounding area. This was the site of a Acadian settlement (i.e. French) until, so Wikipedia tells me, the mid-18th century when us Brits got up to our old tricks again and brutally kicked them out. Have to say that the historic site wasn’t very exciting, although that may in part be due to the visitors center being closed, and although the surrounding area was nice I think there’s nicer areas near by. Photos are here.
Sunday I went back to Blomidon park where I’d been earlier in the year and where my attempt to hike most of the trails at the park failed due to the snow. This time it didn’t. There was much less snow around – although there was some in places – and the biggest problem I encountered was a very flooded trail – more than a foot deep – that required some bushwacking to get around. The trail was really quite scenic and I enjoyed myself. My enjoyment was increased by finding a reasonably spectacular waterfall when I was almost back to the car and which I had no idea was there. Photos from the walk are here.
The rest of the week was mostly spent preparing for my two week trip back to England. As I was moving out of my previous place before I left and not into my new place until I was back from England, this involved putting all my stuff in storage. Come Friday evening I was on my way to Halifax to catch my flight. I parked at the hotel I was to stay at on my return and caught the flight to Toronto. I was going via Toronto as even with the cost of a hotel in Toronto this was the cheaper option and also meant I didn’t have to do a red-eye flight and so would hopefully have less jet-lag, a win-win situation. Both that flight and the flight to the UK the next day went well and I was back in England, where, as per usual, my parents picked me up. What happened in England will be the subject of my next exciting (or not) post.