Monday, October 24, 2016

Heading South

Published in the Chronicle Herald (The Nova Scotian) - October 24, 2016
Many people of a certain age start thinking about heading south at this time of year. My husband and I decided to jump on the band wagon, but instead of going south to Florida or Arizona or some such place we decided to head south towards Yarmouth.

We had been planning a trip to south western Nova Scotia for quite some time. Our original plan was to take the fast route down highway 103 to Yarmouth, and then head back towards home along the Lighthouse Route on the coast. 

Its always good to add a bit of change to your routine, so we changed our route at the last minute and decided to drive a counter clockwise loop around the south western part of the province.

First we headed cross country on Highway 8, a great time of year to admire the changing colours in the trees. We turned off Highway 8 and headed a short distance along Highway 101 until we reached Weymouth, where we slowed down and took the scenic route along Highway 1. There are many interesting things to see along the way, but we decided our first stop would involve letting our dogs get a good run. We rarely daytrip without our dogs as our traveling companions, and that influences our activities.
Low tide at Mavillette Beach exposes the sand flats of the 1.5 kilometre beach and makes a great walk. Sand dunes with waving grasses and distant bluffs add to the picturesque setting.
We had visited Cape St. Marys before but had never walked the shores of Mavillette Beach Provincial Park, so decided on that as our destination. Luck is usually with us when we travel, and we arrived at low tide which exposed the sand flats of the 1.5 kilometre long sandy beach. A boardwalk took us over the dunes and into our version of heaven. When we arrived there was only one other person at the other end of the beach and we let our dogs loose to run and blow off some steam. Only dog lovers will appreciate this, but I love watching the joy on their faces when they get to run free. We marveled at the ripples in the sand which held patches of water left from the receding tide. High tide would make a much smaller beach, but time was on our side and it was a beautiful day for a beach walk.
only dog lovers can relate - but I love the joy I see on our dogs' faces when they get to run free
It was already two oclock and we hadnt yet stopped for lunch so we headed back to the car and back on the road. Our next planned destination was Cape Forchu but we stopped in Yarmouth for a bite to eat first. I wonder what it says about us that being adventurous meant we ordered lobster macaroni and cheese? The generous portion made me want to stay and relax, sit and gaze out the window at the boats on the waterfront. But it was getting late in the day, and we still had places to go and sight seeing to do.
Traveling with dogs is a bit more challenging, but there are many benches to rest on and informative signs along the Leif Erikson Trail at Cape Forchu.
We headed to visit the lighthouse on Cape Fourchu and walk the Leif Erikson Trail. Informative signs are a resource for tourists as well as Nova Scotians like us who have not grown up in a fishing environment. Walking along the well groomed paths, you can look out from the Southwestern shore of Nova Scotia to the waters where fishing boats have passed for over two hundred years. Information and photos about geological formations, tidal pools, nearby islands, and more is readily available on signage along the trail.
The unique lighthouse at Cape Forchu is called the “apple core light” because its shape is thought to resemble an apple core. Built in 1962, it replaced the original timber building from 1839.
A lighthouse has been at Cape Forchu since 1840, but the current "apple core" structure was built in 1962. The museum and gift shop are only open during tourist season, so we didnt get a chance to see inside the structure at the Lightstation. The good thing about traveling in off season is that there are fewer people around. The bad thing about off season is that a lot of restaurants and facilities are closed. But that doesnt hamper enjoyment for daytrippers like us.

On the road again, we headed back through Yarmouth. Our original plan for our daytrip was to explore the town but it was already five oclock, too late for many of the downtown stores, so we plan on doing that another day. Instead we took a little drive down to Pinkneys Point, a fishing community of approximately 300 people that we hadnt been to before. It is almost an island, but is connected by a road and breakwater that travels through the salt marshes. By this time the sun was very low in the sky. 
Pinkneys Point is almost an island, but is connected by a 2 kilometre stretch of road winding through large salt water marshes. The setting sun reflects beautifully off the patches of open water.
The hobby of photography is satisfying no matter what subject matter appeals to you, and no two photographers see things the same way. My husband is not a photographer, but that doesnt stop him from having opinions on what would make a good picture. He was surprised when I wanted to hop out of the car to capture an image of a wharf in disrepair, and astonished when I wasnt interested in waiting to take a photo of the marshes when the sun set. 

It was getting dark, and time to head back home from our trip south. There are many more places to see, roads to explore, and things to photograph. But that will be a focus for another day.

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