02 August 1999

Exploring PEI

I woke up around 7...this seems to be a bit of a pattern... I got up and made tea. K got up shortly after that and we made breakfast of peanut butter and honey sandwiches, more of those great little plums we bought, and tea/coffee.

We tidied camp a bit then headed out to do some hiking. Our first stop was Brackley Beach just to see what it looked like. From the parking lot, you take a trail through the big dunes that cut off the view of the water. On the water side of the dunes, there is a beach area, roped off for lifeguard coverage (when the guards are on duty). We didn't hang around.

The first hike was Bubbling Spring and Farmland trails. Not far from the trailhead is Stanhope cemetery. This cemetery was started by the original settlers. The oldest (readable) stone is for Elizabeth Boyver (or Bovyer...) who died in 1811. All of the stones that are still standing have broken off but generally, the top portion is lying right behind the bottom portion so that if it's still readable, it's all there. Most of the stones were either missing completely or unreadable though.
The spring trail winds through pine and birch forests, stopping occasionally at viewpoints overlooking ponds or bays. Eventually we came to the spring itself. There was a man with a couple dogs (which had been playing in the spring) that had muddied up the water but in a few moments the silt settled and you could actually see the water lifting the silt at various points along the bottom in tiny little water volcanoes.

The whole trail makes a big sort of figure-8 shape and when the trails cross they change. Since we started on the spring trail, when we crossed we were on the Farmland trail. This section of trail was mostly farmland that had belonged to the Acadian and Scottish settlers. Where the woods have reclaimed the fields, the trees are mostly white spruce instead of the birch/pine that we saw on the earlier trail.

The Rushes & Reeds trail is very short but includes a lookout tower over a pond and a boardwalk out onto a barachois pond. A barachois pond is a pond that was originally a salt-water bay but as it silts-in it becomes cut off from the salt water, eventually becoming fresh-water, and finally dying as it completely silts in. There were some fantastic reflections on the pond surface of the sky/clouds/trees. Awesome!

The drive through the park is very nice. It sort of splits the spit of land between the Gulf of St Lawrence (on the north) and various bays on the south. There are a lot of bikers and roller-bladers on the wide, paved shoulders along the roadway.
We left the far end of the national park and took the 10-minute drive into Charlottetown for supplies, to mail some postcards, for K to get some CA money, and eat lunch.

In Charlottetown, I called the kayak guy. Or tried to. I used the 888- number and it rang forever before someone answered. I think I woke them up... He groggily took a message. Angelo (kayak guy) got married yesterday and apparently it was quite a party...I'll call again when we get to Baddeck.
We stopped at an IGA to get K's 1st roll of film developed (1-hour). He had to make sure he had a good Bay of Fundy/tide picture for his travel journal.

We ate a sort of greasy-spoon cafe for lunch because it had a sign advertising "lobster roll special" and it sounded "Maritime-y". Turns out that lobster roll in this instance means "frozen, canned lobster with mayo on a hamburger bun." Bleah... I had the "Little John Club" sandwich instead and it was very good. I also bought a couple butter tarts on the way out for later.

We went back to the park via Cavendish to see what the other side of the park looks like. Mostly... a lot more people. I think we definitely picked the right side of the park to camp in. The campground here is much less treed and a lot more RVed.
We wanted to go back to the beach near our campground at low tide to get a picture of the "cobblestone jellies" but couldn't remember what time of day we were there. We thought it was around 6 but must have been much earlier because we got there at 6:30 or so and the tide had already come in.

We had a shower then supper. I made southwestern chicken soup. It was very good but, I thought, a little too salty. I don't remember it being that way when I've made it before...

We started breaking down camp to simplify things for our morning pack-out. Another short walk and then it was bedtime. 9:30.