Winery tour and backpacking

The Saturday after my trip to Cape Breton I went on a winery tour with one of my bouldering friends. Before starting the tour we met downtown for a drink. the first place we went was severely understaffed (in their defence they were advertising for staff) and so we moved on elsewhere only just giving me enough time to get lunch – going on a winery tour on an empty stomach did not seem like a good idea! We then did the Wolfville Magic Winery Bus tour which took you round several winerys. Some people were really quite excited by the bus but I can still remember the old Routemaster buses being a regular sight in London so this was nothing exciting to me. We visited three winery’s in the afternoon, sampled a lot of wine, each brought a fair bit of wine, and both ended up quire tipsy. All in all a very enjoyable day!

Next day, after a not exactly early start, I went and did the hike at the research station. Nothing that to report really although I did take a few photos. I did part of the hike slightly differently to normal and went through a really quite wet area but that’s it for even quite boring stuff. That evening something more exciting happened as it was the lunar eclipse. I took rather more photos. It was pretty cool. In the middle dark patch I walked down to Tim Hortons. I don’t think they knew what had hit them. It was as busy as a lunchtime on a nice summer weekend but it was the early hours of the morning!

The following weekend I didn’t get up to too much. Went for a decent swim on the Saturday and went for a hike on the Sunday. I left my house walked to Wolfville Ridge, somehow ended up on the other side of it, walked quite a distance on roads, before hiking by a canal a bit and returning with more road hiking. A very odd hike but I got to explore a couple of nearby hikes and it was quite enjoyable. That evening I decided to try to update the OS on my tablet. Big mistake. It was several days later before I had a mostly working tablet again – and still with the old OS!

The following weekend was Thanksgiving – as I probably mentioned last year Canadian Thanksgiving is not at the same time as the American version. I’d long planned to do the Cape Chignecto hike, a three day backpack, and if I was going to do it this would be my last easy chance as the park closed immediately after thanksgiving. As the weather forecast was also looking pretty good I went for it. Well I say the weather forecast was looking good. It was for the whole weekend apart from Friday evening and night. Finding the campsite I was staying at was not the easiest and the inside of the tent got more than a bit wet while I was pitching it. Why they insist on inner pitch first tents on this side of the pond is beyond me. Thankfully it was my car camping tent that got wet not my backpacking tent so I wouldn’t be sleeping in it the next couple of nights.

The Saturday was the day forecast to be the worst out of the three days when I was booking campsites so I had decided to do the long hike through the woods that day. This effectively linked the two ends of the coastal sections by cutting inland and seemed like it would be a less interesting day so the best option to do if it was raining. As it happened it didn’t rain which was nice. The plan was to do about 12.5 miles (20km) and things started well. I was soon over the up and down bits at the start (which I’d also have to do on the way back) and then heading on a mostly quite flat section for several miles. There was one campsite about four miles before my campsite and it got to the stage I thought I must have gone past it as my GPS was saying I’d covered more than enough distance to have reached and my general feeling was I should have reached it as well. However not more than a couple of hundred of meters later I reached it. Which was a bit disheartening knowing I still had quite a bit of distance to go, time was getting on and I had started to feel a little ill.

The time pressures meant I didn’t spend as much time as I’d have liked enjoying the views when I finally reached the coast a couple of miles before my campsite. Which was a shame as it turns out it was probably the most scenic bit of the hike. I did manage to make my campsite, pitch my tent and make dinner before it got too dark. I even managed to get down to the beach to catch the last of the sunset. Would have been nice to have caught it earlier but I think I did the right thing making sure I was fed and had somewhere to sleep! Not much to do when it’s dark and your backpacking by yourself so I packed my self off to sleep pretty early.

Sunday was going to be a only slightly shorter day than the previous day – about 12 miles / 19km. I started out still feeling not 100% but started to feel a bit better once I’d been going for a while. The first few miles were reasonably brutal for a hike with no great overall height gain as you went steeply down and then steeply back up several gullies. As is the way with a lot of coastal hikes on this side of the pond a lot of it was in woods but there were occasional views and some of them were pretty decent – a couple even included waterfalls! For once I was pretty pleased the hiking was mostly in the woods as it was a mostly overcast day with strong winds. When you were unprotected on the cliff tops it was pretty brutal.

Towards the end of the day I reached Cape Chignecto itself so I dropped my pack and hiked the short trail to the point of the cape itself, only to find an incredibly boring view. Pretty much all you could see was sea as the cliff in either direction was obscured by the trees. I returned to my bag and did a slow ascent for a couple of miles before a very quick descent into the river valley where my campsite was. Whereas my previous night’s campsite was just a spot in the woods this one was in a really quite scenic location being virtually by the river. Once again I ended up having a pretty early night.

Monday dawned a nicer day again and I was up and going at what I thought was a good time given that it was only 7.5 miles (about 12km) back to the car. But I was still the last person to leave. The day started with a pretty brutal slog up a track to get back up the side of the valley before continuing through the woods with occasional views for a few miles. Then it was drop down into another river valley, where I had lunch, followed by another probably even steeper uphill to get out. Thankfully it seemed a little shorter and from the top it was reasonably easy going back to the car. The last 2.5 miles (4km) was the same as the first bit I did on the Saturday and I stopped and took a selfie at the same point that someone had taken a picture of me on the way in. I was back to the car by mid afternoon which was nice as I still had a drive ahead of me. Pictures from the hike are here.

On the way home I saw signs for Cape d’Or. I’d seen a lot of signs for the place when exploring the general area and as it was only a little off my route and still quite early I went and had an explore. It was basically a lighthouse on an exposed cliff top and because it was exposed the views of the cliffs were pretty darn good – probably better than anything I’d seen on the actual hike. Photos are here. On the way home there was a rather pretty sunset photos of which are here.

Leave a Reply