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How do you get a pedicure in St. Martin's, NB? Day 27!

Home for the night: Not Your Average Hostel, St. Martins

Distance: negligible number of slow, beach-strolling kms

Weather: HURRICANE! crazy windy and wet all morning, eventually clearing late afternoon, sun coming out for a bit before calming down to a gray, peaceful evening.

B: local sourdough fig/feta/walnut bread with butter, coffee

L #1: more bread and butter

L #2: still more bread and butter, cheese, fruit

D: random leftovers from last night plus the rest of the sourdough. Local tomatoes with kale salad from the raised bed outside!!! Tea, a glass of red wine, chocolate

 

a bonus rest day

take the time to sit, relax

the last phase awaits

 

The storm raged on. I had slept deeply, but still awoke many times in the early morning to the sound of roaring wind and rattling things outdoors. What would biking off into the tail of the storm be like?? The weather was calling for it to clear out in the afternoon...and I could still cover some ground and stat on schedule. Wind. Rain. Stronger wind, heavier rain...the power was still out. Then, I thought to myself...schedule?! Adrien, what "schedule" do you even actually have?! There is no schedule other than to make it back to the Gaspereau Valley for the beginning of October! If I were to launch myself onto the road for no reason other than to keep moving because that was what I had originally planned for this day, commitment has shifted into blind stubbornness. The heck with that!!! I'd happily pay for another night's stay if my hosts were ok with it and start anew in the morning.


As if by telepathic summoning, within minutes of my decision to stay longer if it were possible there was a knock at the door. Joe had come by to check on me and tell me (not suggest) that I was in no way, shape or form getting on the road today. I would stay put, there was no one else booked in for the space and if I was worried about the money, they weren't going to let me pay for a second night's stay. I countered that I had already arrived at the same conclusion and that prudence/safety suggested waiting out the storm.....but I would pay, thank you very much. Joe wouldn't budge. I was stunned by such a show of generosity and graciously accepted his offer. He made sure I was ok without power (absolutely!! I've lived outside for almost a month now!) And left me to rest with a promise to come collect me later to take me to the art gallery/studio he had created in town.


I really must take a moment to explain how great the hostel itself is. Joe and his wife, Kaz opened the hostel three years ago and have been welcoming travellers of all kinds ever since. For anyone wanting to explore the region or any scummy backpackers heading to or from the Footpath, it is an amazing spot to sort out last minute packing or have a much needed shower. From a life of hostelling around the world, Kaz has truly set up the spaces to be traveller friendly and beyond well-appointed. It was spotlessly clean too! There are two buildings, one a house with separate bedrooms of varying sizes (one with a private bathroom too!) and full kitchen/living room/dining room space...and the other more your standard dorm style hostel. I was in the dorm and thought it was fantastic! I'm excited for Kaz and Joe to become well known in the area and offer affordable lodging for people wishing for a unique and fun experience. PLUS they are located right across the street from the genera store!!!! So convenient!


I went back to my cozy nook in the bedroom and wrote for two hours. Was it ever nice to not be out in the elements!!! I heard the microwave beep and the fridge fire up....the power was back on, just in time for me to make coffee!!!! Thank you universe!


I ate and drank and washed clothes, charged everything up and wrote and wrote and wrote. It also was time to look at this next/last leg of my adventure and do a bit of research as to where I was going to aim for tomorrow. Based on Tracy at the interpretive centre's recommendations I plotted a route along the coast from St. Martins, unsure of where I'd go from there. I had a week to play with, and I could have bee lined it for Saint John to return to Nova Scotia, but I wasn't quite ready. I started looking ahead to figuring out how I would explore the Kingston Peninsula outside of Saint John and where I would stay the night before getting on the ferry to Digby at 8 am on whatever day I chose to depart. The logistics of camping, packing up and hustling to make a boat are a bit daunting...and it had been a point of concern in my mind for awhile.


Google earth revealed an interesting plot of land next to a breakwater that ran out to a place called Partridge Island. Internet sleuthing led to the discovery that the island was off limits, covered in war time artifacts and supposedly a significant historical place for many reasons. One kayak guiding company had permission to legally take people there and acted as stewards of the land by picking up garbage or tending paths with each trip.


Hmmmm..... Completely unrelated to my ferry logistics, my brain started wondering if part of my next few days could be spent kayaking around the Saint John area!! I looked up River Bay Adventures and found a phone number to leave a long, rambling voicemail on about hypothetical adventures, my trip, curiosity about what could even be possible, etc. It must have sounded pretty crazy, but I'm in the game of turning over all the stones to see what naturally settles out. I went back to my email after hanging up and within five minutes Jim, the owner of the company called. He said he didn't even listen to the whole voicemail (which was probably a good thing as it would have taken at least 6 precious minutes of his life!) but had been so intrigued by my story that he wanted to see what we could do. He hadn't actually operated any tours this season due to the pandemic, but it could work out to just go for a personal paddle together in a few days. He said he'd ask around to his kayak guides and see if anyone was getting out on the weekend...I was blown away and emphasized I had no expectations and live life in a state of natural flow. If a paddle happened, awesome. If it didn't, awesome.


Jim had also mentioned a string of really beautiful lakes near the city called 1st, 2nd and 3rd lake...all in the Loch Lomond area. I looked it up and decided to route myself away from the coast, combining both Tracy and Jim's ideas to hopefully be able to camp beside some freshwater my first night out of St. Martins. It has been a salty existence and freshwater sounded divine.


All that settled, I decided to go for a gentle wander down the beach to get some fresh air and let my body stretch out from the efforts of the past few days. The beach was only a few steps away from the hostel and soon I was barefoot, wandering along the shore searching for sea glass. The water lapped the shore gently, a completely different creature than the raging beast of the past 24 hours. The Bay was docile, calm and even inviting! Herons flew overhead. A seal meandered along, feeding just offshore. I reveled in not wearing shoes, the sand massaging my amazing feet who have carried me so far and definitely took a beating with all of their hiking efforts. I had no idea the beach in St. Martins was so big, and despite walking for over an hour in one direction (although I was definitely slow!) I hardly even touched the full distance of the sandy span between the headlands. I can't wait to come back!


My stomach told me it was time to return home, so I made my way back to the hostel, happily feeling the sand scrunch around between my toes. I let Joe know my timing and sure enough, as soon as I finished my dinner he pulled into the driveway and we were off to the Not Your Average Art Gallery! Was it ever!! As Joe turned on the lights to the building that was once an automotive garage colorful pieces from many different artists came to life. Sculptures, paintings, cards, colour, colour, colour! I wandered around, Joe telling me stories of the pieces and how the space is used to create by him and the many folks attending his workshops. He emphasizes play and exploration into mixed media that I found truly fun and imaginative! He is even experimenting with something called fractaling (sp??) which involves microwave transformers and wood, which results in beautiful burnt patterns that reminded me of river systems or gorgonian sea fans in the Caribbean. What a treat to have a personalized gallery tour! Once again, I ruefully acknowledged how limited by space and weight I am on a bike. Even still, Joe gave me a small piece of his woodwork to take home with me, and I gratefully will bike that sucker up and down all my hills in the future!

Back at the hostel once again, I sorted through my stuff and had a very loud, personalized dance party because I realized I could listen to MUSIC!!! I had gotten so used to life on the road and saving phone battery that I was really beginning to miss playing and listening to music. One of the first things I'll be doing when I get home will be to tune up and gather some of my dear musician friends together for a jam.


Soon it was time to turn in and I truly felt ready for my next phase of this trip to begin. I had a loose enough plan to go off of, which at this stage in the game is invaluable. I have predictably begun to grow tired of packing every morning and launching myself into the great unknown of every day. I never know where I'll be sleeping or if finding fresh water will be difficult or straightforward. Not to mention all the trillion other little decisions and tasks that can only happen if I do them. It's a lot...and I'm tired. But tired in a way I've been dreaming of feeling again for years. I knew, that when I first started to pull this journey together that I would hit this moment...and it would only happen if I could be out for longer than a week or two or three. I had arrived at the place of fatigue born of constant effort, problem solving and truly not much down time at all. Even this unplanned rest day had movement and lots of chores in it...and the knowledge that I couldn't actually let down my guard yet. There was still a long way to go before I could, and I would start my journey home tomorrow.


Love you all, be well!


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