19 August 2012

Five stars for camping fun

had our first solo camping trip this weekend. a gorgeous and fun little excursion!

since we had so much fun running in the mud flats at chris and beckys cottage weeks ago, dave had looked around for other areas of nova scotia with mud flats. what he found was a hearty recommendation for the five islands provincial park. this is on the bay of fundy so the mud flats are long and expansive at low tide. from the pictures on the website i wasnt quite sure what all the fuss was about, but i was fine with getting out to see a new area. the predicted weather was iffy (rain/storms possible) but we decided to take the chance since weve had so much crummy weather lately, maybe it would avoid us this weekend...and for the most part, it did. we had a great time!

(driving route: A is halifax, B is economy, C is parrsboro, D is five islands park)

-had breakfast in the car

-stopped at that dutchmans farm in ecomony. what an unexpected little find (the b&b lady from our PEI/joggins trip told us about the place). their cheese shop was okay, but they also had an animal park/nature trail area, so we did that. it was beautiful and lush and the animals were friendly and had comfortable looking habitats. the pigs were a highlight, and X liked the attention the turkeys gave to her with their loud gobbles. dave got some special attention from a goat and his tongue. and the emus creeped us out with their throaty drum noise. never heard that in my life.

-next we needed lunch. we tried to eat at mos in five islands...but it was closing. so we drove on to parrsboro and chose bare bones bistro for lunch. they had a great location (overlooking the towns inlet), friendly/helpful service, and great food for a good price. yum. dave had the fish n chips and i had a chicken wrap with a tasty lime/ginger sauce.

-we couldnt neglect the nearby fundy geological museum. it was very kid-friendly for how small it was. their big focus was on paleontology so it wasnt really a dave haven, but it was a worthwhile activity.

-headed to the five island park and our campsite. as we set up the tent, we heard thunder. hmmm. after the tent was up, we still couldnt determine whether the storm was going to get us, so we went down to the mud beach (it was 2 hours before low tide time [8p]). we had a great time, though its hard to capture in pictures. the mud flats were vast and impressive and we made it all the way down to the water and then hurried back to camp because of the ominous thunder. however, the rain/storm never arrived so that was good.


-made a fire to cook our dinner of hot dogs and marshmallows. the whole idea of hanging out at the campsite seemed to make X bored and antsy. either our inactivity or the newness of the experience seemed to make her frenzied so that she couldnt make up her mind what she wanted to do. i assume things will get easier for her as we do this more, and i do hope to do it more. one thing i hate right now though, is not having near enough of the right equipment or organization...though we cant acheive that in halifax, we should be able to in finland, so that will be where we perfect the camping packing. until then, we make do.

-woke up to the sound of bees buzzing (humming is more precise) overhead and a squirrel bitching at them.

-ate oatmeal at our campsite and then it started to sprinkle. we packed up the tent and went to the main bathrooms to clean up a bit before leaving.

-back to mud beach because it was just barely past low tide. we had even lower water levels on the beach this time. it was quite lucky our trip happened to afford good low tide times so that we could muck around twice on such a short trip. this time, we made it all the way down to a shallow rivulet of a channel and waded in with some crabs the size of Xs hand. when we saw the water was starting to slow and maybe change direction (what a weird thing to actually be able to see) we mudded back to shore and indeed saw the water levels rising from a distance, not that we were in danger. we also saw people clam digging.

that mud was such a glorious living expanse. in one slopping mud walk you could reunite with feelings of being a child again. when you left the parking lot and climbed down the little hill to the beach area you had to traverse many rocks (this hurt if you were barefoot!). then you arrived on sandy mud, which slowly gave way to being actual firm mud. a layer of slick slime started to coat the mud and make steps very treacherous (we saw several people skating as the most efficient means of motion in this section), and then you were in the ankle deep stuff. ribbons of mud would curl up through your toes. it was lovely. and the closer you got to the faraway water channels, the deeper you would sink into the mud (up to about mid-calf on occasion). the channels the tides had dug were fascinating to stand in at low tide. such a cool place in the world. and the scenery around the mud flats wasnt bad either: red cliffs, coastal forests, and five islands of various sizes off in the distance. the pictures didnt do it justice.

-once rinsed off, we drove toward home and stopped at the masstown market thinking it was a farmers market, but it was just a fancy grocery store. :( bummer to end the weekend on a lame note, but it happens sometimes.

*the blueberry festival was going on in the region too, but there didnt seem to be tons of visibility so it was hard to know what was going on where/when. we missed any of the real activities.

**im really loving nova scotia. of course this would happen now that we are leaving soon. im still not in love with halifax, but i do see that when the regional parks open in the late spring and the rural communities come to life, the people really do milk every nice day of their summer/fall. there is so much local beauty for them to choose from i guess they get the maximum dosage of their surrounding nature when they can and then hibernate all winter (or take advantage of the cheap caribbean packages offered when the winter is depressing them too much). i cant blame them. im just now getting their damn rhythm though. the good news is that i think finland works in much the same way, so we will just have to go with the flow there as well.

***picasa link to full weekend trip album

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