Monday, April 16, 2018

East Sooke Trail, April 15, 2018 - An Island Mountain Ramblers' Outing

10K; easy to do, right? I mean even at my more advanced age I could run it in less than an hour, albeit on a flat, smooth trail. So how long does it take to hike 10K? Six hours?! Well, that's how long it took us for the East Sooke Coast Hike yesterday. Granted we had a 40 min. stop for lunch and a few other breaks, but it was still five hours of hiking, up and down and around.

We drove to the trailhead at Aylard Farm, and then took taxis to the trailhead at Pike Road. For the first 2K the trail is flat through scenic second growth forest.

And then we came out to the shoreline, and for the first little while it was a nice walk in the park, and without the rain that had been forecast.

And then the trail became more rugged, with repeated ups and downs and round-abouts.

Some beautiful forest, though, as attested to by this big Douglas fir.

And the further along we went, the more flowers we saw.
This calypso orchid:

The stonecrop carpeting the south-facing rocks:

Some early Camus about to bloom:

And shooting stars, among others:

And there were also some great inlets along the rugged shore:

But, every time we came down to the shore, we had to climb back up,

and then down,

Finally, it levelled out, and after six hours we were back to our cars. No wonder this trail is rated as one of Canada's top day hikes!

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Nova Scotia and PEI--Spring, 2018

Susann and I went to the east coast around the Easter weekend to visit my son Jan and his family. And I found great photo ops in both Halifax and PEI.
We arrived late on the night of March 28, and what with the 4 hour time difference, I just couldn't get up early the next morning, one of the few mornings I wasn't out at dawn.

Good Friday morning, though, I was out a half hour before sunrise for the blue hour, and wasn't disappointed. The Halifax boardwalk stretches for 4 km along the waterfront, and is possibly the most interesting waterfront I've seen.

Some of the beautiful sculptures along the Halifax boardwalk. 
Later in the morning we went with Jan and his family to the Sugar Moon Farm, north of Truro. I was amazed at the number of people who'd driven up into the hills for breakfast. We had about an hour wait, and went for a walk in the maple forest.

The tubing to collect the maple syrup. 

A homey atmosphere!

That evening I went back down for a stroll along the boardwalk. No sunset, but nice blue light.

This impressive graffiti art was commissioned by the Marriot Hotel.

More graffiti.

On the Saturday morning I went out a little later. I took this photo of St. Mary's Cathedral Basilica (opened in 1899) through "The Old Burying Ground."

Colourful storefronts near the Citadel.

Easter Sunday I arose early to capture the setting moon. However, I forgot my glasses and didn't focus very well on the moon, and then shortly after I took this shot it went behind some clouds.

By the time I walked around to the other side of the Citadel, the sun was rising. The present citadel was completed in 1856.

Looking back up at the Citadel.

More colourful grafiti art.

We left Halifax Sunday morning for Charlottetown, and en route we stopped to witness the tidal bore near Truro. This natural phenomenon happens twice a day, where the tide sweeps in from the Bay of Fundy and forces the Salmon River to flow in the opposite direction - it's pretty cool!

Then, we drove on to Charlottetown, and I headed downtown at dusk. What a scenic place it is!

No, these are not aliens in the next photo. I was standing in the street with my tripod and my camera set for a 30 second exposure when a car started coming, so I moved my camera out of the way; hence, the light doodles.

This bronze statue across from St. Dunstan's Basilica Church on Great George Street is of two father's of confederation who had the same name - John Hamilton Gary - but were not related. The statue by artist Nathan Scott was unveiled in Sept., 2014 to commemorate the 1864 Charlottetown Conference, the first of three meetings that led to confederation.

From there, I walked down to the harbour and when I saw the chunks of ice my heart skipped a beat. Wow! I thought, how lucky can I get! I don't think I've ever been so excited taking photos.

Then I walked back up Queen street and captured Sir John A. lounging on a bench.

And then the city hall, which opened in 1888.

The next morning I was up early again and went down to the harbour, thinking I'd capture the ice chunks with a little more ambient light. However, they were gone! So I followed the fullish moon around the downtown.

The cathedral isn't the only beautiful church in the city. Here is St. James "Kirk."

Later that morning we drove out to the National Park, and although it was sunny a cold wind was blowing.

Then we headed back into the city for a late lunch at the Gahan House, and enjoyed a flight of beers. John Gahan was a prominent merchant in Charlottetown in the 19th century and in 1880 built the building that is now the brew pub.

I arose early again the next morning and beetled back out to the National Park for the sunrise, and I wasn't disappointed! (I checked it out on my "Photopills" app and knew that I'd be able to see the rising sun from there, and with a good forecast I was fired up.)

Frost in the sand created interesting patterns.

A crack in the ice heads out to sea.

And on my return I paused at one of the many cemeteries we saw on the island.

Later in the morning we drove out to North Rustico along the north shore.

And then on to the National Park near Cavendish.

That evening I went for a brisk walk around Victoria Park in Charlottetown, and since I didn't want oodles more of more photos to edit, I just took my iPhone. Aren't smart phones amazing devices?!

Some of the beautiful old houses in the city.

Our last morning I went out early, but didn't want to go driving so I walked down to Victoria Park again. Blockhouse Point Lighthouse is across the bay from Charlottetown.

Another one of the Cathedral. I bracketed this image - took three shots, and merged them. I was using a tripod, but there must've been camera shake. But I like the look of it - more "painterly" I think.

And then we drove back to Halifax and caught a plane the next morning. A great trip, but oh it's good to be home!