Thoughts From The Wilderness – Perservence

It’s so close that you can almost taste it. It’s near, but still outside your reach. You look and see the destination in the distance. It’s there, or at least you think it is. Nothing more than a speck on the horizon.

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We’ve all been on adventures, whether they be multi-day canoe trips into the wilds of northern Ontario or a short or half-day trip to a locale close to your home. Especially on that longer multi-day backcountry trip, we’ve all encountered issues we could never have planned for. We might have imagined them, but secretly hoped they wouldn’t make an appearance.

Weather can be one of the most unpredictable foes when charging along on an outdoor adventure. We want the weather to be “our friend”, but it does tend to do its own thing, regardless of how much we might do a “please don’t rain for three days straight kind of dance” out on the rocky point of our campsite.

Regardless of what the obstacle or situation we may encounter, we usually have a couple of options laid before us. One, we can turn around and go back, which may be the best alternative at that particular juncture in time. Nothing wrong with packing it in and heading out of the bush and off the water, if continuing on the trip just simply isn’t an option.

I wonder though if many times we quit too early in the process. We’re ready to head out on our adventure and even after all the careful planning, we get to the start and it isn’t as we hoped it would be. So, what do we do?

We can get all frustrated; maybe angry and a little whiny and fail to see the new opportunity that may be unfolding right in front of our very weak eyes. What we hoped for may not be, however, and this is the exciting part, what’s in front of us maybe even more spectacular than imagined.9

When Lynn and I were in Prince Edward Island this June, one of our adventures was to hike to Indian Head Lighthouse located at the end of a rocky break-wall that protrudes one kilometre out in the ocean at Summerside.

All the planning and research I did suggested that going at low tide, one could walk along the ocean floor on the harbourside pretty much unimpeded. As the pictures illustrate, that wasn’t the case. The tide was certainly low, but not low enough. Right then, we felt left with only a couple of choices. Give in and not even try or we could head out scrambling, crawling and walking out a kilometre across that rocky break-wall.

We selected the later – a trip across the boulders.

The point here isn’t necessarily the choice we made, but that we didn’t give up half-way or two-thirds of the way out towards the lighthouse. Getting out to the lighthouse was a challenge for sure. Up, down, walk a bit, then up, down and crawl a bit. At times it didn’t seem that the lighthouse was getting any closer.

But, perseverance got us to the goal. Each step; each up and down off the boulders brought us just that much closer. And then finally, we were there. A year’s worth of planning and dreaming of coming to fruition. 10Like this adventure, sometimes in life, we get situations that seem to just fall into our laps. Some good; some bad. Everyone would admit though, or at least I think they would, that having something with an excellent goal at the end is overall a good thing.

What can trip us up is the need some adjustments as we move along. We either fail to see the need to re-calibrate something or we go with the often fatal and stubborn choice of knowing we need to change something, but deciding not to. And just as significant, we start out all full of excitement and adrenaline, but then realize soon enough that this is going to be more of a slug-fest than anticipated. “Gosh, it’s harder than I thought!” And we do what – give up. Kind of fade away with a file-folder full of reasons and excuses why this wasn’t to be.

Will people quit; not sticking it out for just a little longer? Sure they will. But, those are the ones who miss out.

Perseverance is our friend. Even though the goal may be hard to see and the trip may be a lot of up, down and crawling over rocks, it will be worth it in the end.

Just ask Lynn!3Thanks for reading.

 

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Thoughts From The Wilderness – Does Magic Exist?

While at work this week, I spent a fair bit of time thinking, “working four days a week this summer seems like a remarkably brilliant decision. But, cramming five days worth of hours into four, is creating some long and exhausting days on the job” Not a profound life-altering moment or revelation by any stretch, but at some point when I was on this mind-wandering interlude and on a totally unrelated topic, my brain made a U-turn; re-programmed the “old GPS” and headed into the realm of magic.

Don’t ask how or why? It just went there all by itself.

DSC_0043-Edit-EditMy mind also decided to adventure down the toll-road of reminiscing and reflecting on those past memories of, “wish I hadn’t found out about that; now the wonder and magic about it are gone forever.”

We live in a world that most time spins at a mind-numbing speed. Careening madly out of control heading for the nearest concrete barrier resulting in carnage and wreckage to rival a late Friday afternoon when heading into “cottage-country on Highway 400.” The pressures and commitments put upon us to deliver more on our jobs for less. The pressures others put on us and more often than not the pressure we put on ourselves to be the perfect parents; the perfect spouse; the perfect “insert whatever fits best here.” For many, if not most of us living can result in a stranglehold around our throats, which can seem impossible to escape from.

15The internet serves as a never-ending source of sometimes relevant, but ever-increasing brain-cell clogging bits of information, all of which can be at our fingertips and eternally etched into our eyeballs in nano-seconds. We live in a world of 20-second sound bites, never really getting the full story about anything. Want to know about a topic, simply go to “Mr. Google” type in your query and you’ll get more answers than you could ever imagine or possibly read through. All the while, trying to figure out is this a credible source?

Through all of this though, a type of innocence is lost. The innocence that simply sees and believes. The child-like innocence of believing in Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.  I mean that child-like, not childish, but child-like view that simply sees something and believes it to be so.

Doesn’t need an explanation or a Google-search for an answer.

1The innocence that just simply believes it’s magic.

If most of us harken back to our childhoods, those moments of Christmas and Santa Claus or Easter and the Easter Bunny were magical in some aspect. A time of innocence and simple belief. The awe and wide-eyed wrapping yourself in the magic that surrounds and encompasses each of those celebrations. A time of blissful ignorance that surrounded us before others decided we needed to be “illuminated” with a much different perspective on how the world turns.

Unfortunately for all of us, part of our child-like wonder came to a sudden “enlightenment” the moment we find out there is no Santa Claus or that the Easter Bunny really doesn’t exist? It’s the day we figured those things out for ourselves or when our mean older sibling exclaimed, “hey you know there is no Santa. It’s Mom and Dad who put the stuff out!” 

Right at that express moment in time, a bit of our innocence vanished forever.

Why do we need to know the answer to everything?

cropped-7.jpgHave we evolved or better devolved to the lowest of lows as a species, to the point we can’t believe anything unless there is an overwhelming body of research that confirms it’s existence? All of which needs to be summarized into a maximum of three bullet points on the screen or a twenty-second sound clip because we can’t pay attention to anything for more than a minute?

What’s so wrong with child-like wonderment?

Over the past 12 months, Lynn and I have made three trips to Prince Edward Island. We’ve been fortunate to capture “magic” in pictures. Not the “Well, wasn’t that a magical evening or My goodness, the play was simply magical.”

No, I mean real magic. The magic that takes child-like belief. The magic only truly found in the Island’s sunrises and sunsets. In fact, PEI has perhaps the most beautiful sunsets found anywhere on our little blue planet.

Now, I’m sure there’s a reason for these spectacular sunsets. There is likely some exceedingly dry “hit me in the head with a shovel to put me out of my misery” spirit-crushing scientific physics related explanation for the brilliance of the sunsets here. Realistically, I should now type into Google “why are Prince Edward Island sunsets beautiful” or “what is the scientific reason for PEI sunsets” and I’m sure I would get a perfectly reasonable and three-bullet point answer albeit, “hit me in the head with a shovel to put me out of my misery” response.

But, I’m absolutely sure I DON”T WANT TO KNOW.

Once I do that, my eyes and mind would be open to that answer. And like finding out there is no Santa Claus or that the Easter Bunny doesn’t really hop around leaving chocolate, a bit of whatever remaining child-like innocence I have would be gone.

You see, I really don’t need to know the answer.IMG_20171017_183113946I’m just going to go with this as to “why are PEI sunsets so spectacular?

IT’S MAGIC

It’s simple and all it requires is child-like belief. Whenever we’re there, all I need to do at sunset or sunrise is park my butt on a beach or a cliff someplace; look out across the horizon and simply gaze at the magic in front of me.

There isn’t life, living or pressures of the world trying to wrestle the last vestiges of goodness and that tiny spark of hope and belief out of me. In fact, I think the magic that is in front of us and that exists in the world today is simple, not complex at all.

We search for answers that are complex and difficult to grasp and understand, to questions that are really simple, to begin with. Maybe, complex and often long-winded answers stroke our ego’s to some extent. Make us feel more important because we’re middle-aged grown-ups and that’s how it’s supposed to be. All of which is likely due in part to having that child-like innocence beaten out of us over the past decades.

On the other hand, a little bit of child-like wonderment, belief and some magic might do us all some good.DSC_0143Getting back to the original task at hand; to answer the question “does magic exist? Sure it does.

Do what Lynn and I do and did to find out that magic exists in this world and in fact in this very country.DSC_0151-Pano-EditHead to Prince Edward Island and watch the sun as it sets and drops over the horizon. Just believe in the magic. – what is so difficult about that?

What are you? Too old to believe?; too important to believe?; too self-conscious to believe? I hope not. From my own experience, child-like belief does not have any age dependent criteria attached to it.

Remember, all you need to do is sit and believe.

Don’t try to figure it out. And whatever you do, don’t be a fool and look for something complex when a simple belief will work just fine.

Thanks for reading.

 

 

PEI National Park and St. Peter’s Harbour Lighthouse

The stresses of day-to-day can take a toll on a person. Work, our home life and the constant bombardment of issues and negative circumstances that pop up from time to time can make a person wish that holidays and vacation time would come around about once a month. Maybe even more!

For some of us, vacation and the opportunity to relax and just plain enjoy life may come around each month. I suspect for the rest of us though, we get relegated to a few weeks of vacation each year and likely taken in the summer to coincide with school being out and great weather.

Ah yes, that time to relax and enjoy.

On the other hand, there are those of us who see vacation as the time to ramp things up a bit. To move away from our mundane existence and monotony of work; sleep; repeat. To make sure each day of vacation is lived to its fullest extent possible. These people often quote the phrase, “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.” Or something very similar.

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Source: Google Images

Our trip east this summer was to be in theory, slightly more laid back than the whirlwind of long days and short nights last year.

I did say in theory – right?

So, after 13 to 14 hours on our first day of hiking and scrambling across the rocky break-wall to access Indian Head Lighthouse and an evening at Thunder Cove checking out the “Tea Cup”, our next full day was going to be spent exploring the trails, dunes and beaches of the Greenwich section of Prince Edward Island National Park.

The Greenwich section of Prince Edward Island National Park is located on the north shore of the Island and is the most easterly section of the National Park system on PEI.

Greenwich is home to the biggest sand dunes on Prince Edward Island and also has a long history with connections to Mi’kmaq and Acadian culture. This area of the province and specifically Greenwich is in some aspect a story of the shaping and re-shaping of its landscapes through sand, wind and waves.

Greenwich tends to be a bit less travelled or busy as compared to the other areas of PEI National Park. Nevertheless, it’s a great place to discover through exploration of its trails, beaches and Interpretation Centre.

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We visited Greenwich in June 2017, as part of a long day that involved trekking along The Points East Coastal Drive, including hiking out to Boughton Island, the East Point Lighthouse, Elmira Railway Museum and finally a short visit to Greenwich. The only part of Greenwich we checked out in 2017, were the trails that lead us out and across the floating boardwalk and up and over the parabolic sand dunes and finishing with a quick but spectacular view of the Greenwich beaches and beyond.

This year, we planned to hike the trails we didn’t get to in 2017 and as well to venture along the oceanfront and as well check out the Greenwich Interpretative Centre located at the entrance to the Park.

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After getting our permit at the Interpretative Centre, we headed back out along the main roadway to the parking area located at the trailhead access. After getting our stuff for the day collected and organized, we headed out to the Tlaqatik Trail which heads west through the park and then turns towards the water(St. Peter’s Bay).

I should note that there is no place to buy food or drinks in the Greenwich portion of the National Park. There is a small takeout spot called Lin’s partway between the village of Saint Peter’s Bay and the Park. As well, there is a small convenience store in Saint Peter’s Bay. It’s about 10km one-way between the Park and Saint Peter’s Bay.

Knowing this, we bought sandwiches and other munchies in the Atlantic Superstore in Montague where we where staying and put them and some water in a small cooler that fits inside my knapsack. Good idea to plan ahead.

Lynn getting the day going. I wish she was a bit more excited.

Heading out along the Tlaqatik Trail with St. Peter’s Bay in the background.

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A section of the boardwalk crossing one of the many sensitive areas of the Tlaqatik Trail ecosystem.

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Checking out one of the many interpretive information boards scattered throughout the trail system at Greenwich.

30I wish in hindsight I had taken pictures of them with at least my phone. Each board had some excellent and specific information relating the spot you were at or details regarding the history of the area. They were interesting and informative to read and added significantly to our experience along the trails. It would be nice now to have the opportunity to re-read them and digest and understand the history of the area just a bit better. Oh well, next time!

At one point along the trail, we found a path that took us down to the shore of Saint Peter’s Harbour.

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A couple of shots of jellyfish up close to the shore.

The first one is called a White Moon Jellyfish.

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White Moon Jellyfish

This one is an Arctic Red Jellyfish. It also goes by the name Lions Mane Jellyfish

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Red Arctic Jellyfish

The Arctic Red Jellyfish is more common than the White Moon in the Prince Edward Island area. Although they “sting” if you come into contact with them, some people will feel irritation from the “sting”, while others won’t feel it at all. A spokesperson from Parks Canada indicated that people who have been stung and felt the pain indicated it wasn’t that bad.

If you do get “stung”, there is no need to get all freaked out. The best remedy out there you are likely standing on. By rubbing wet sand over the irritated area that should remove the stinging barbs that are on the tentacles.

A little bit of the flora found along the way.

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We finished hiking the Tlaqatik Trail, where it intersects with the Greenwich Dunes Trail. Screen Shot 2018-07-09 at 6.48.12 AM

At this point, we concluded that our best bet would be to start out on the Greenwich Dunes Trail which takes you through a lovely wooded area before the floating boardwalk and the expanse of the parabolic dunes which explode open before your eyes and then to head either right or left along the oceanfront.

The start of the floating boardwalk which crosses Bowley Pond.

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Another view of the floating boardwalk with one of the larger parabolic sand dunes in the distance.

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Looking across the expanse of Bowley Pond and two of the many sand dunes.

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The raising dune from the boardwalk.

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At the end of the boardwalk, there is a rope and wooden staircase to help climb up over and onto the beach.

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After, arriving on the beach, this a shot to the east or the right. As you can see it quite busy the day we visited. Note – sarcasm.

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Remembering from a previous life and profession that the vast majority of people will turn to the right when exiting or entering a space, we as we do most times bucked the trend and the norm by turning left and heading west along the Greenwich beachfront. Again, it looks pretty busy. In all seriousness, we didn’t come across anyone along this stretch of beach from the time we hiked along the oceanfront and Saint Peter’s Bay and back.

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This is the far western end of Greenwich with the ocean on one side and Saint Peter’s Harbour bordering the other. My back is towards Saint Peter’s Harbour when I took this picture. We literally had this whole beach area to ourselves.

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A short 360-degree video clip of the western part of Greenwich.

Lynn sitting and staring out at the ocean in front of her; contemplating the universe; transporting herself to a future time imagining what life would be like when we’re permanently here. I personally think it’s a great picture of her.

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After spending a long time at this end of Greenwich, we slowly made our back along the beachfront.

A piece of driftwood captured by the ever-shifting sands of time, wind and the sea. From this angle, it looks similar to a snake slithering towards to the camera lens.15

Along the beach, but slightly before the opening up the slope to access the floating boardwalk, there is a path up to the top that has a couple of Parks Canada Red Chairs, making this a prime photo location.

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A panoramic view from the “Red Chairs.”.

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One thing we found sort of astounding, at least to us, was that people would leave their strollers, shoes, sandals, and backpacks at the end of the floating boardwalk. It’s obviously easier walking in the loose sand in your bare feet and not having to push a stroller along. I guess my point is, no one we encountered seemed to pay any attention or think it unusual for items being left there.

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There wasn’t anything that had been damaged, stolen or gone through to my estimation. I wouldn’t leave anything valuable here, but people just seemed to focus on their own stuff and to leave the belongings to other alone.

That view might be a bit naive, but we’re going to believe in the good of people if only for our own sake.

A leisurely stroll back to our car put us back in the parking lot around 4:00pm. After tossing our stuff into the trunk and a quick pit stop at the Interpretative Centre to use the washroom, we headed out of Greenwich and over to the village of Saint Peter’s Bay.

There are a number of small retail shops called Saint Peter’s Landing on Highway 2 in the village. We stopped primarily to get some ice cream, but Lynn recognized the name of this small soup and sandwich shop “Ang and Mo’s” from an FB group she belongs to.

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The two ladies that own this establishment exemplify the meaning of “life is too short” not to follow your dreams.” You can read a bit about their story here in this July 3rd piece.

After getting ice cream and milling about Saint Peters Landing, we headed down the road to check out the Saint Peter’s Harbour Lighthouse and the abandoned wharf at the mouth of Saint Peter’s Bay.

A short and quick drive of about 20 minutes, got us to the end of Lighthouse Road and the Saint Peter’s Harbour Lighthouse.

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Saint Peter’s Harbour Lighthouse as viewed from the end of the road.

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27It is interesting to note, that at one time the lighthouse was essentially at the water’s edge, marking the entrance to the harbour. Over the years, the sand has blown and altered the landscape forming a massive sand dune system here. In recent years, a group of concerned citizens call “The Saint Peter’s Lighthouse Society” raised the lighthouse up by 6 or 7 feet, underpinning it with beams as shown above, as blowing sand had started to cover the bottom portion of the lighthouse. They also completed some obvious restoration work.

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A view west along the ocean front from the top of the slope before getting on the beach.

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These are the pilings that are left marking the original location of the wharf at Saint Peter’s Harbour. It is interesting to note, that much of the original landscape that was the original harbour is now gone covered over by the ever-moving and shifting sand.28

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A bit further along on the beach.

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After wandering along the beach for a bit, we clambered back up over the slope from the beach, past the lighthouse and back to our car.

This was a wonderful day spent at both Greenwich in PEI National Park and also exploring Saint Peter’s Harbour Lighthouse and the area immediately surrounding it. Nature does what it does and at times there appears there isn’t a whole lot we can do about it or in fact need to do about it. The movement of sand over time has certainly changed the area where the lighthouse and wharf are located.

The Greenwich area of PEI National Park is one of those places on the Island I feel a natural connection with. Ever since we visited in 2017, getting back to those sand dunes and the vistas of the beach and ocean has been a top priority and at the forefront of my mind for over a year.

We left Saint Peter’s Harbour Lighthouse around 6:30 or 7:00pm, noting that we had a drive of about 45 minutes give or take and needed to get dinner, but more importantly an early start of 3:30am the next day to go commercial lobster fishing.

Thanks for reading.

 

A Tea Party – Thunder Cove Beach and the “Tea Cup”

The “Tea Cup” rock formation located in the Thunder Cove Beach area along the north shore of Prince Edward Island near Darnley and Cabot Beach Provincial Park is a natural shaped sea stack. Like all sea stack formations, the rock around the bottom of “Tea Cup” has eroded more quickly than the “Tea Cup” itself, leaving the sandstone sea stack alone in the water.Screen Shot 2018-07-08 at 5.45.29 AM

Last October when we visited the Island for a couple of days, we ventured out to Thunder Cove Beach to see what the Tea Cup was all about. High winds combined with high water levels made getting around the point to the Tea Cup difficult, to say the least.

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Last October

What I remembered from last October was jumping gingerly over rocks between wave crests to check out some neat eroded parts of the sandstone cliffs.

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Last October
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Last October

This year, those rocks seen in the above pictures at the base of the openings in the rock face are completely covered by sand. In fact, there are hardly any of those rocks visible at all.th cove

I commented to Lynn that I had a hard time recognizing much from just 8 months prior.  It’s amazing how much sand had blown up onto the beach covering the rocks and other openings that formed part of the landscape such a short time prior.

Wednesday, June 20

But, back to this year. We visited Thunder Cover Beach on the same day we adventured out to Indian Head Lighthouse in Summerside. You can read about that here.

After spending most of the afternoon with friends in Summerside, we made the short trip north to Thunder Cove Beach, with the intention of hiking across the beach and around the point to the “Tea Cup” and with any amount of luck snapping off a few pictures of the formation with a magnificent PEI sunset as the backdrop.

Arriving around 6:30pm we collected our stuff and headed out from the car and along beach proper. From where we parked our car, it would be about a 600-metre hike along the smooth and peaceful beach at Thunder Cove to reach the rock formations.

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There are no formal parking area or beach facilities in terms of washrooms at Thunder Cove. Most people park along Thunder Cove Road and access the beach through a path and opening down the slope to the water. All the property in this area is privately owned and dotted with “No Trespassing” signs. The only other way I know of accessing the “Tea Cup” is from the Twin Shores Campground further west. I’m sure there are other ways to get here, but this is the way explained to us last year. So, be respectful of people’s property when in this area.

On the beach and heading to the first point in the picture. The “Tea Cup” is more or less around that point.

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After coming around the point, there is an opening in the cliffs and then the “Tea Cup.”

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Lynn with her camera at the ready.

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A bit closer shot. I wonder how long it might be before the bottom part gets eroded away by the ocean and the “Tea Cup” topples over?

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The next picture I found in a tourism article of “The Most Stunning Rock Formations in Canada.” Looks like the “Tea Cup” has gone through some changes over the years. I believe this picture might have been taken around 2004.

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A pano shot with some ominous weather in the distance.

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While there, we hiked a bit further down the beach and climbed up to check out the Malpeque Outer Range Lighthouse. Apparently, the lighthouse is still active but is in need of some repair and upkeep.

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Only the shadow knows for sure.

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A short video from the base of the “Tea Cup.”

That ominous weather starting to roll in with rain off in the distance. Didn’t seem to stop Lynn though.

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I guess we spent a couple of hours here, taking shots of the “Tea Cup” and the cliffs and beaches within the vicinity. It is a great spot to visit and I would imagine that on a summer’s day, this would be a very busy spot, to say the least.

I’m glad we made the effort to come back. Not our typical adventure, but it is a popular attraction within the Island nonetheless. I was surprised in some aspect how something as simple as wind, sand and water can erode rocks and change the landscape in a relatively short span of time.

Unfortunately, we didn’t get that fantastic shot of the “Tea Cup” with a blazing sunset backdrop that PEI is famous for. Rain decided to show up and put a slow and drizzly end to our evening at Thunder Cove Beach. Seeing it was close to 9:00 pm, and with an hour and a half drive back to Montague ahead of us and a full day planned for Thursday we reluctantly trudged back to our car. It was wonderful to think back that this was the only rain we got on our entire time spent on the Island.

If you’re visiting the Island, be sure to put a trip to Thunder Cove Beach and the “Tea Cup” on your list. A beautiful spot to come and check out for sure.

Thanks for reading.

 

Indian Head Lighthouse – Summerside

The Indian Head Lighthouse located at the entrance to the harbour in Summerside, PEI was one of the two main items on our agenda when we visited during our second, albeit whirlwind visit in October 2017. However, stormy seas and some misinformation regarding tides made it impossible or exceedingly difficult to adventure out to either of these spots.

As such, we vowed to make getting to these two Island landmarks a priority when we visited this June.

Indian Head Lighthouse – Wednesday, June 20

As these following two pictures illustrate, the ocean was a bit of nasty temptress on our October attempt.

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Indian Head Lighthouse was built in 1881. What makes this lighthouse design unique is the lighthouse keepers residence was actually built into and part of the lighthouse structure itself. Not a separate dwelling as we see in most cases. The octangular base of the structure was the keepers’ home. Above the octagonal keeper’s residence is a two storey tower topped by a red iron lantern. A railing encloses the lantern on the observation deck.

Although not normally found today, this unique style of the lighthouse, with the octagonal keeper’s dwelling on the ground floor, and a tower above, was once a common practice in areas where it was difficult to construct a separate dwelling house, such as on rocks.

Indian Head Lighthouse can be reached more or less three ways. Walking along the ocean floor at low tide on the harbour side of the breakwater or by scrambling across the one-kilometre rocky pier. Or thirdly, by kayaking out across from Summerside.

This picture I had found when doing research on reaching the lighthouse that suggested going at low tide was a suitable and achievable objective.

lighthouseSo, from the tide table below for Wednesday, June 20, the first low tide would occur at 11:12 am. We planned to start out towards the lighthouse around 10:45 am, noting the ocean should be mostly out by that point making an easy 1-kilometre trek to the lighthouse itself. Or so we thought.

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Now, there are a number of factors however that affect tides heights including the time of year and the relative location of the earth to the moon. When we arrived on Wednesday morning, we found although it was just about low tide, the ocean wasn’t as low on the harbourside as the picture portrayed above.

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Low tide on the harbour-side to the right of the break-wall

Seeing as defeat isn’t part of our vocabulary, we made the decision to scramble across the one-kilometre length of the rocky break-wall.

Getting started and as you can see, Lynn was having a challenging time getting excited and motivated!

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Hopefully, Lynn’s pictures captured the overall magnitude of the boulder sizes. These weren’t small chunks, although they existed. Most of were a metre or more in height which at times resulted in an easy walk for 20 seconds, usually followed by a hands and knees approach, perhaps then with a 10-metre stroll along the ocean floor and then usually back to the hands and knees approach.

The one-kilometre trek out to the lighthouse took us over an hour to make. Lynn suggested that much of the time issue was due to her having to be extra careful due to her camera slung around her neck.

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Me starting out across

About half-way. The last few hundred metres seemed to take forever to complete. It was like the lighthouse kept moving further away from us, just to make the rock scrambling just slightly more “enjoyable” than it already was.

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And finally, Indian Head Lighthouse. The octangular portion sitting on the concrete base was the keeper’s residence, while the light proper sits on top of the two-story tower. Although the lighthouse is still functional, it is fully automated. It is however in a slight state of disrepair. From looking at the outside of the structure, it is in dire need of some upkeep.

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If ya gotta rest, ya gotta rest!

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As we were approaching the lighthouse, the rocky point it is situated on is apparently the top sunning spot for the local cormorant sea-bird population. As we got closer, they decided to “fly the coop” and settled just off in the water.

A few more shots of the lighthouse.

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A slightly stylized one

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After 30 minutes or so, we decided to start the trek back. The tide had started to come back and the wind was starting to pick up a bit as it usually does in this area as the day progresses. We weren’t terribly enthusiastic about the possibility of strong winds blowing most of the Northumberland Strait up and over the rocks on our return trek. That exact thing did happen later in the afternoon we observed while eating ice cream along the Summerside harbour waterfront.

In order to pick up our time heading back, Lynn decided to pack her camera in my knapsack, thus freeing her hands and not having to worry about her camera jostling around.

The tide has mostly moved back in along the left side of the break-wall.

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When we trekked out across the break-wall earlier, we knew there was one spot in about 20-metres in length that was considerably lower as compared to the rest of it. Going out, it didn’t pose any real concerns other then gingerly hopping across the stones.

Kind of had a feeling this might be an issue on the return though. On the way out, you could walk across this section by just being careful and you wouldn’t get your boots wet. Not so much on the return trip.

So, up to our knees in water, we went. And let me say, it wasn’t exactly warm water.

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And you think your feet are wet now?

With wet feet and great memories made, we arrived back at our car around 1:00pm. A round trip of about two-half to three hours more or less.

 

17Was it worth it you ask?

You bet it was!

Lynn and I would head back out to scramble across those rocks again in a heartbeat. Upon getting back to the shore, we kind of did a mental “high-five” towards each other. When we first arrived, we had two options. We could have wimped out given the tide wasn’t low enough or “pull up our socks” and head out across the rocks.

We pulled up our socks and chose the spirit of adventure and the rocks.

It was a good choice.

I would encourage you, that if you’re in the Summerside area, get a map or ask someone and take a trip out to have a look at the lighthouse. You might not be able to physically walk up to it, but on the other hand, if the Spirit of Adventure shines in you…well you just never know.

Thanks for reading and look soon for rest of that day’s adventure as we headed north to the Darnley area of the Island to hit up Thunder Cove Beach and the “Tea Cup.”

 

 

 

Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia – A Mixture of Emotions

We’ve all been there at some point. You’ve arrived back home from vacation; a vacation that was wonderful in all aspects, but there is this lingering, nagging inner conflict or turmoil you just can’t put a finger to.

We’ve just returned from 5800-kilometre adventure spent driving to, around and from the Maritimes. Next to lugging back a mound of dirty laundry and exquisite memories, seems I’ve also conjured up the ingredients necessary to create somewhat of a medium sized kettle of emotions that have been swirling around inside me pretty much during our vacation and most assuredly since we’ve returned last week. Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 6.00.29 AMNot that I’m complaining or at least I’m not trying to complain, but for some reason that perhaps only elements of the universe can explain, this trip was very reflective and somewhat of an emotional roller coaster at times for me.

2Much of this trip has been planned since we went out to Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia last summer and again in October. In fact, since that time we’ve pretty much come to the conclusion that Prince Edward Island is where we plan to retire to in the next few years.

If you read our trip reports from last year, each day was pretty much of a “peddle to the metal” trip comprised of long days, many adventures but little sleep. This trip east was supposed to much more relaxing and it was now that I’ve reflected back a bit.

But, back to this trip, it seems I’m struggling with “unpacking” what the time away meant.3

1Perhaps it’s the realization that our daughter for this chapter in her life, has chosen to stay in Halifax with her roommate and create a life for herself there. I think back to when I was her age, and there was no way I would have been mature enough to strike out on my own right after college graduation with no job and only an apartment found online and head across the country to a city she and her roommate knew little or nothing about.

But, she did it and has settled into the daily routine of work, relaxation, time out with friends, paying bills, doing laundry. They’ve found a new place which they will move into in September. It is only 3 or 4 minutes away from where they currently live, in fact, it’s on the same street. Nevertheless, I’ll miss the “Old Elmwood,” such a great structure with a rich history and tapestry of tenants all coming together as one in a wonderful location in downtown Halifax.

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“The Elmwood”
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“The New Place”

But, change and the components that comprise it are part of life and living and I’m slowing getting a grip on the idea that there isn’t much I can do about it and that I might as well embrace it and go along for the ride.

Isn’t life and our existence at times a precarious balancing act of driving towards our dreams and goals, but counter-set against the day to day trials, tribulations and successes of living.

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Lynn often tells me that I need to live “more in the moment” and not get so involved in planning everything down to within an “inch of its life.” Maybe, that is what I’m struggling with is that we spent the best part of seven or eight months thinking, dreaming and planning for this vacation and thoughts of moving to PEI, that there was no way the actual time out there could ever live up to the level of anticipation we forged in our chemistry lab of planning.

I’m starting to have the scale fall off my eyes to understand that just taking a step or two without knowing the full picture takes “a healthy set of nards” all mixed in with a decent dose of faith is perhaps the right and best thing for a person to live as they are supposed to live.

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We had the wonderful chance to stumble upon this sandwich shop in the village of St. Peter’s Bay. The owners originally from Ontario, exemplify the “healthy set of nards” principle in my opinion. After visiting the Island in the fall, they decided to change direction in their life. They signed a leased on the unit; went back to Ontario sold their house and quit their jobs; bought a place just down the road in the next village; completed renovations and are now open as a soup and sandwich restaurant. As one of them said, “I gave up my high-stress healthcare job to make sandwiches and homemade soup; gave up social media for the most part and now instead I sit and write my friends letters. It freaks them out, but I couldn’t be happier.”

Although planning in life is necessary to some extent, perhaps we go way too far and plan the “crap out of everything” that the concept of “carp diem” or seize the moment vanishes. The exhilaration of just making a decision and going for it, whether it be a decision that changes the direction of your life, or simply a decision to get in the car and go where the wind takes you.

5Although life can be fraught with stormy skies and swirling seas….8

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…life also has those times of peace, tranquillity and magnificent vistas.

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The reality is, perhaps the moment we’re in right now is all that we really have. Life moves along most times like a bubbling brook, other times like a raging torrent of water cascading through a rocky river gorge.

Overthinking things; over-analyzing life in essence just steals the spontaneity and exuberance of the moment. There are a time and place for those overthinking and over-analyzing endeavours, but just not on vacation, or the days after.

Carp Diem – seize the day.

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Thoughts From The Wilderness – New Beginnings

Last week, Lynn and I took the Tuesday of “my long weekend” and decided to do a day trip north to Algonquin Park. Having made a minimum of at least one trip to Algonquin for the past 40 years or so, we’re not big into the whole having to do the “May 24th weekend” experience anymore. That ship has long sailed out of the harbour. We much prefer the solitude experienced by going mid-week or during off-peak times.

We did the same thing last year, going up on the Tuesday following the long weekend. Except in 2017, as we all remember the bugs were relentless. This year, they certainly were buzzing about and being a nuisance at times, but the “After-Bite” gods must have been looking down on us because the “little darlings” weren’t biting.

Bringing our senior four-legged companion with us, I thought of the many things we could tackle and of which we did on this adventure, might be a hike along the Old Railway Bike Trail through the Mew Lake Campground and out into the Lake of Two Rivers Airfield. Flat and easy-going would be perfect for Katie. It was just right for her advanced age and short legs. But, after 12 hours of adventure, we had one tired puppy on the way home.

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Most of us who have visited Algonquin Park at one time or another have images or memories of the Park that are vibrant and full of life created over many trips and adventures.

The reality is that at least one part of Algonquin Park is this.

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In 2012, a prescribed and controlled burn was done within the Lake of Two Rivers Airfield. There was an information board along the trail describing how and why the burn was done by Ministry of Natural Resources. Unfortunately, we didn’t snap a picture of it.

The following I found from a 2012 local newspaper article

“Prescribed burning was also used on two plots of land in the Pembroke area, covering a total area of 6.2 hectares on the highway 60 corridor at the Lake of Two Rivers airfield. The objectives of the burn were to assist park staff with habitat manipulation of a grassland area for songbird research and to promote the development of fire management and ecosystem management techniques for the park’s interpretive program.”

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One can only imagine that after the burn was completed, things would have looked pretty bleak and desolate out in the airfield. We’ve all seen pictures and news reports of the devastation that wildfires leave in the wake of their path.

But, within the destruction that fire leaves, whether it be a controlled burn or an out of control wildfire, new life and beginnings many times finds a way and springs forth.

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Out there within the burned out area and although it happened several years ago, new and growth sprang forth from that wreckage. We found several patches of these tiny clusters of purple wildflowers pushing up through.

Throughout our lives, we all go through or will go through at some time, situations or experiences that can leave us feeling much like the aftermath or devastation of a wildfire. But, that doesn’t mean our existence from that point forward will resemble the blackened mess left after a fire passes through.

Much like the after-effects of the controlled burn above, there is now the opportunity for new and exciting things to start to grow and happen in our lives. Maybe the experiences we have during this or these trying times can create the environment that provides a more fertile ground for something new to grow; something exciting!

Metal has to go through a test of fire. Pounding, twisting and more fire before the end result is the product that it was meant to be. Maybe our lives are like that too. Perhaps we need to at times, go through a test of fire before we can come out the other end, being who and what we were meant to be.

Just a thought.