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How do you feel after hiking for three days?? Day 10, Cape Chignecto

Home for the night: Driftwood Beach

Distance: 20.2 km hiking/1.8 km biking

Weather: misty in the morning, fog clearing early to a bright, sunny, warm day. Still no wind!

B: Advil, granola, coffee, apple slices and fried halloumi cheese!!!!!!!!

L: all of the snacks, all the time, no formal lunch stop today

D#1: bean/cheese wraps, granola bars, chips! Anything that would sit still long enough to grab, whiskey

D#2: potato curry soup, bean chips, chocolate, tea

 

Oh our aching feet!

Our bodies are amazing

Onwards we must go

 

The alarm went off way too early for our liking, given our late arrival into camp last night. First movements indicated a few angry muscles and definitely the presence of new aches and pains. Out of the tent and packed, we gratefully sipped tea and coffee while watching the forest wake up around us. With most people encamped on the beach we had the knoll mostly to ourwelves. We could hear gentle waves on the shore below and birds chirped happily overhead.


Our hope was to hit the trail by 8, but between many trips to the outhouse, blister care and the time it takes to get yourself together we were walking by 9. Still pretty damn good! For me, it's been interesting trying to force my brain into a higher gear to hustle for one day....my whole brain is geared towards a long term, endurance goal of moving for 30 days. I'm not the speediest of people in general as everyone who knows me is well aware, but it's definitely a different flavour for me who's now packing up for the 10th morning in a row, rather than the third. Things that I need to do that fall on day 10 that I wouldn't need to do for a three day hike still need doing, like swapping headlamp batteries, manage my period or cutting my fingernails....or patching a hole in the mesh of my tent.


The beautiful thing of traveling with wimyn, is that they get it. Self care is important for the greater good. I took my time to bandage Lara's feet well in the morning to save us time later on the trail and her potentially a lot more agony.


The super crew! L-R: Leonie, Lara, Jane and moi!

Why the rush in the first place? High tide was around 4:30 and we had 20 odd kms to hike before getting back to the beach we would need to cross to finish the trail. If we didn't get to the beach with a safe margin before high tide we would be in for another 3 kms and another monster hill on tired legs. Good motivation! Plus, I needed as much time as was possible, to transition back to my cycling gear, bearing in mind the three momma bears wanted to get home to their cubs for the last night before school starting. It was go time!!


We made great progress, the trail becomes less gruelling towards Eatonville, the northern end of the coastal section of trail. The inland part that would carry us back to our starting point is a beautiful and far more gentle 14 kms following the course of a stream and offering some incredible diversity of forest habitats. Not that there had been any breeze for three days, but the stillness of the inland forest compared to the coast is deeply tangible.


We came across a population of native impatiens, or jewel weed/touch me not. We had been searching for some on our first day to soothe the bee stings Lara and Leonie had received. The streams where they should have been were all dry, but we did find plantain and wild strawberry leaves in the end, which are very astringent and super useful for stings. The jewel weed is so soothing and feels much like aloe when you crush up the stems and leaves. I was so happy to show the ladies this useful and pretty plant. To my surprise, in amongst the orange-flowered jewel weed, was the second species native to this region... Similar in appearance but with pure yellow flowers! I've personally never seen it, and I gave my geekiness away in spades as I excitedly examined the differences between the plants. My phone was long gone with charge, so no photos of this one! Much like many beautiful vistas along the coast, I was grateful to just soak in the sight, revelling in not being able to capture it if I wanted to. Sometimes a photo isn't even worth 1,000 words....you just have to experience it for yourself.


We mindfully hustled through the forest admiring the beauty, making pit stops as required. I was feeling pretty confident we would be on the beach in time for the crossing and was grateful to see the final downhill appear ahead of me on the trail signalling we would make it!


We scrabbled across the beach, our bodies being very sure to let us know that it was time for all of the fun to end. I'm glad the whole trail isn't made out of sloping beach gravel....that would be awful! 1 km is enough! Safely across, with just a little access trail left to go back to the parking lot, we dumped our packs, ripped off our clothes and ran into the clear, refreshing water of The Bay! It was glorious. A perfect shock to they system and in my mind, a great therapeutic thing to do for our muscles! Ahhhh......


There was so much to be grateful for. Our ability and privilege to have this experience together. Safety. Strong bodies. Stronger minds. Heartfelt conversations, bonding and learning all the way around, for all of us. Leonie had successfully completed her first ever multi day trek!! She rocked it, and I would never have known it was her first go from her serene energy and ease of being in the woods. Lara was celebrating the fact that a year ago she couldn't have done this trip...her dedication to holistically healing from three births had paid off and she was a total force of practicality, time keeping, big picture thinking and HUMOUR! Jane was able to sink right into a technology detox, take time to herself away from a busy family life and process not only her life's journey, but those closest to her. Not only does she carry her pack well, she brings wisdom and the power of self reflection with her too. A conversational master!!


And I? I stepped out of my pack with a full heart and so much gratitude to these wimyn who showed up. Not only physically ready to go for an adventure....but with wide open hearts, unafraid of sharing their truths and with a beautiful trust in my experience on the trail before. They were the greatest, most uplifting presence on this trip of mine that recharged my batteries in ways I didn't realize needed some juice :) it was so nice to have others to lean on for a bit and to share the load of camp chores.


While they stretched in the grass and made food, I sorted through my stuff...once again VERY happy for the amount of organizational effort I had put into this part of my planning. They helped with tasks I could delegate and tossed food at me as I scrambled around creating what looked to be a yard sale. Finally finished, it was time for goodbye. A big, smelly group hug followed by individual embraces. I waved them off and was suddenly back on a cycling trip. Poof! Like magic.


I packed my stuff, relieved that I hadn't completely forgotten my system over the course of 3 days and made my way back to the beach I had slept on unsuccessfully a few nights previously. I had changed tents, the forecast was calm and the cabins that Harish and Monica manage were all full for the night. I lit a small fire, watched the stars twinkle overhead and with so much gratitude for this beautiful life I eventually crawled into my sleeping bag as content as I could ever be.


Thanks for reading, I'll hopefully get photos into all of these posts soon!


Xo

Adrien

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