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From biking to do you change gears?? Day 8- Cape Chignecto

Updated: Sep 9, 2020

  • Internet issues preventing photo uploads, will keep trying!!

Home for the night: Refugee Cove

Distance: 13 kms

Weather: clear, sunny, light breeze

B: Brussels' sprouts sauteed in smoked back bacon with scrambled eggs, yogurt, fresh fruit and coffee

L: seasoned tuna on wraps with shredded cabbage, trail mix, granola bars, dried fruit, chocolate

D: Lara's ridiculously tasty asparagus risotto with sauteed mixed vegetables. Candied nuts, tea and whiskey for dessert


And then there were four!

Jane, Leonie, Lara too

Plus me! Hearts, souls, minds.


We woke to a beautiful morning at our campsite up on the hill. A heavy dew and brilliant, hot sun made for swirling, rising steam in the shafts of light through the trees. With much finessing and fine tuning our personal and group gear ahead I dove right into making breakfast for us all. Jane had done my fresh food shopping for me and as she pulled thing after thing after thing that I had requested weeks ago when meal planning, my eyes just about bugged out of my head! I certainly had anticipated this being a meal I would be hungry for and I'm so glad I did. I pretty much hugged myself when I was reminded that I had put bacon on the list! I love myself :)

I warned the ladies that I was going to need some time as I was shifting gears in a pretty big way. Even though I've done heaps of backpacking, my brain had been completely geared for cycling for the last week (pun alert!). I was so grateful I had been as organized before the trip as I had chosen to be, putting all my hiking clothes, food and gear into my pack and even writing myself a note as to what I'd need to stock up on from my resupply bag in Jane's car. Even still, it's like moving houses and I had to rearrange all the little bits and bobs in a totally different way. One of the trickiest things of a multi-sport trip are the changeovers. Different stuff, different muscles, different people, different mindset. Thankfully with a whole bunch of these moments under my belt from the past I knew to expect the puzzling and bizarre experience of changing modes of transport.

Fully loaded, first hill, first day! L-R: Jane, Lara, Leonie...Australian filling between two Irish pieces of bread, and I, the American garnish on the side!

Off we went, on the trail for a cracking 11 am start, settling into the weight of our packs and the beautiful scenery. This would be the first time around The Cape for all three of my adventure buds and it was lovely watching them take in the view from the beach...and to watch them take every monster hill (both up and down) in cheery, good-natured stride. Well, mostly cheery. For anyone who's hiked this trail, you know exactly how much cheer is appropriate for the steep terrain. For those of you who haven't, it's really incredible to discover what the human body and mind are capable of doing when in synch.

My legs felt pretty tired, I won't lie. Two short night's sleeps following a week on my bike meant I was VERY grateful for my hiking poles. Thankfully, my simple little mind loves the monotony of trudging slowly up and down, up and down, identifying plants, cherishing the landscape and of course, reliving all of my memories of the many, many times I've traveled the trail before. Sometimes I experience my body stopping of its own accord by a tree, a pullover, a little special spot on the trail that after a moment my mind catches up to and a memory bursts to the surface.

The weather was amazing and our spirits were high as we chatted, laughed, cursed and meandered our way along the coast. Having all of these new voices and stories was such a treat! Travelling solo is wonderful and I wind up interacting with far more people than you'd think...but it's different to have the extended company of people you know to catch up with!

We made great time and enjoyed our descent into Refugee Cove discovering a scene reminiscent of a music festival or March break Cancun beach party. The cheery colours of tents everywhere along with folks basking in the sun and kayaks dragged up on shore was something special to say the least. We dropped our packs and found a sunny, warm rock face to lean on feeling victorious and grateful for a brilliant first day. Within a half hour the sun dropped low enough in the sky and a cold shadow fell into the cove sending all the little humans below scuttling for their down jackets, toques and dinner preparation.

All of the official hiking campsites are up in the woods, along the creek. Sleeping on the beach is meant for those accessing the cove by kayak. Although I have enjoyed some memorable nights on the beach despite this rule, my experience from two nights before was enough to not tempt fate. We were all very happy to have shelter and be in close proximity to fresh water for cooking and washing.

Our tent site was right next to an old metal relic of what looked to be a trailer of some sort. On a beautiful day in September on a long weekend jaunt it's pretty easy to forget the hardships and history that has given the cove its name. During the Grand D'erangement, when the British were forcibly and quite brutally at times expelling all French settlers from their homesteads, a group of Acadians overwintered in hiding at the cove. It wouldn't have been pleasant....there is often a cold breeze and the sun barely shines into the valley floor. Following the Acadian deportation, logging became the focus of the area and the metal artifacts laying about today are from the once booming industry, which has long passed.

The stars shone brightly through the tree canopy, a great horned owl hooted not far off and the sound of the babbling brooked lulled us all to sleep with full bellies of delicious food. It was so nice to be back on the trail.

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Thinking of those hills still makes me shiver. Glad you’re safe and having a good time.

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