With the ocean breezes blowing us along, we traveled from Kejimkujik Seaside heading along the shoreline route on our way to Digby Neck, NS. Since we had to board the ferry from Digby in a few days, we decided to camp on Digby Neck and explore a section of Nova Scotia we had never previously visited. Campground options near the ferry were a bit limited, so we had chosen Whale Cove Campground, about 40 minutes south of the town of Digby, and not too far from trails we wanted to hike, and islands we wanted to visit.
One of our targeted activities in Digby was Doing Laundry! We located a few options within the town, so planned to check them out after we had gotten set up at the campground.
Whale Cove was located in the perfect spot for us…it is a rather funky little campground, with some open sites, some with water view ( none available), and small sites with hedgerows providing privacy. Definitely not an upscale spot, but it served our needs as a base of operation for our explorations. We were thrilled to discover, upon our check-in at 4pm, that there is an on-site laundry room. But, unfortunately, we were told there was a planned power outage for the campground starting at 6pm. Since the laundry facilities were in use at that time, we said we could do laundry first thing in the morning, or up in Digby while were were getting dinner.
Sure enough, when we arrived in Digby at 5:30, we discovered that the town was also subject to the outage, so the restaurants were all closing, except for one, which has a generator. We did enjoy a fantastic dinner of famous Digby Scallops, and then a nice stroll around the harbor town.
We never did have a campfire at the campground…we really did not spend much time just sitting around our site, and the fire pits were…well, let’s just say “unique”. Each site had a lawnmower base, upon which was located a metal ring ( washing machine drum?). This is what folks use to have a campfire…apparently, the inherent mobility of such a fire ring is efficient when RVs, pup-up campers, and tents of various sizes use a site. We just found it less than attractive!
Do you want a delicate or heavy duty fire?
Our full day on Digby Neck was definitely a busy one…we took two ferries to get to Brier Island, a small ( 5 miles long) island at the southern tip of Digby Neck. Short quick ferry rides ( 7.00 CDN each RT ride) brought us to the village of Westport on Brier Island. One small “we carry everything” general store provided us with a lunch to go, a few groceries we needed, and some gas for the car. Then we drove a few miles to Seal Cove, where a network of trails is located right along the ocean. Beautiful! The dogs loved hiking the trails, the sea breeze was blowing, and we watched the numerous sea birds and Harbour Seals.
Rocky shores and endless views!
Of course, Brier Island has lighthouses, so we had to pay a quick visit to at least one…had to get the iconic lighthouse photos!
Our next stop was a wildlife preserve, designated as a protected birding site. We saw hawks, gulls, many small birds, herons, and even made a skeletal discovery. Gryphon stopped to sniff what looked like a skeletal arm with fingers…but the fingers had remnants of fur on them. Locating some additional skeletal parts resulted in our conclusion that this was a seal skeleton. Definitely a fascinating first!
In this area, we had a great chat with a few local residents who were collecting Rose Hips…we had seen these ocean side plants on all the seaside trails, and we were informed that they are collected to make Rose Hip jelly. Prior to boarding the ferry to return north, we managed to find a jar of home made Rose Hip Jelly in a little shop; bringing home a piece of Brier Island tradition!
On our way back to the campground, we stopped to hike to Balancing Rock. This geological curiosity is mentioned in all the tourist guides, and the hike is dog-friendly. Though the hike is only about 1.5 miles, it meanders through different types of environments, from sandy scrub, marshy areas, and wooded pines. There is a set of 235 steps that lead down through the woods to a viewing platform; amazing, overlooking the ocean, a basalt column 37 feet high, balanced on two points on a rocky ledge. Incredible to see, and so glad we hiked along this tourist trail. Once again, we received many complements on our dogs’ trail etiquette from other hikers.
Our long day finished, we made a quick-n-easy dinner at the campsite, and prepped for our morning bug-out before heading to the ferry dock. Early in the morning we heard rain pelting the roof of the GO…damn, we really hate to break camp in the rain. Thankfully, by 7am, the rain had dissipated to a light mist, and we were able to head out by 8am, remaining fairly dry. A stop at Tim Horton’s for breakfast, then off to wait in line for our placement in the ferry to St. John. The dogs made a final “pit stop”, and we bade farewell to Nova Scotia!
A rainy but uneventful ferry crossing brought us back to St.John, NB, and soon after, a return to the USA. This was a designated travel day, so the steady rain did not bother us, and we knew that this portion of the country had also suffered drought and needed the rain. We took some scenic options along the coast, on our way to the Schoodic Peninsula.
When we originally planned this trip, we discussed driving home via Umbagog State Park in northern NH, a beautiful paddling location. However, in 2018, the park was closed as of September 3 for renovations. This was actually not bad thing, as our 3 days at Schoodic were wonderful.
We have each been to Acadia National Park many times…it is one of the busiest national parks, and visitors to Mt. Desert Island face crowds, traffic tie-ups, and limited parking at popular sites. However, the Schoodic Woods portion of the park, about a hour north/east is much quieter and less crowded. The campground is in only its second full year of operation, and is designed for privacy, quiet, and in a way to preserve the dark sky location. We arrived at this modern, beautiful campground early evening, as the rain was stopping, and a foggy mist was settling in. As we set up, we encountered the first of curious onlookers, fascinated by our GO camper!
The campsites are arranged to provide maximum privacy and quiet. We noticed a path to an adjacent ( behind our site) campsite; cool, since that was the site that Martha and Steve, relatives who live nearby would be using for our second two nights.
We paddled two different lakes located in the general area of Schoodic, and also did a hike up to Schoodic Head, and also along the rocky coastline. Great campsites at night, in the huge circular fire pits, beautiful star-filled skies ( no external camper lights allowed in the campground), and critters and birds visiting our site. We spent hours around the campfire catching up with Martha and Steve. What a great few days to wind down as we neared the end of our vacation!
Schoodic Woods Campground, Acadia National Park
Paddling Donnell Pond and Jones Pond
Hiking, hot and muggy, but great views!
So our trip came to a close, 13 days after it began. Only 1700 miles this year, which I think the dog’s appreciated! Nova Scotia was fantastic, Schoodic was wonderful, the weather was outstanding, and we had no glitches in our travel plans. Our well-traveled adventure dogs are home, looking forward to canoe camping and cabin camping this fall.
Summer is over, and fall is upon us. Before we know it, we will be digging out the snowshoes and skis for cold weather adventures ( but not yet, still another month or so of paddling!)
Who knows where we will venture on our next big adventure!