A blog about my travels around the world, in search of wild parrots, great paddling opportunities and incredibly eclectic travel experiences, I try to make a difference by connecting people with nature, people with other cultures, and people with themselves by sharing my stories.
Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Solitude among the woods and waters of Nova Scotia
Morning mist on Mersey River.
There it was again. We had no idea what was making
the noise 30 metres from our campsite, and we were not entirely certain we
wanted to find out.
"It's probably a bear hunting for frogs," I said,
hunkering down deeper in my sleeping bag.
"Bears don't eat frogs!" my companion replied from
deep in her own sleeping bag.
"Do not! Might be a moose, though."
"This isn't moose habitat! It's probably a bear …
As it turned out, we were both right - sort of. Later research revealed that black bears do
indeed eat frogs. However, it was not a hungry bear on the prowl for the
delicacy of frogs' legs. It turned out to be a bird - probably an osprey -
diving for fish in Channel Lake's waters.
Channel Lake is part of a chain of waterways in the
northwest corner of Kejimkujik National Park. Located in south-central NovaScotia, "Keji" is the only national park in the Maritimes completely
surrounded by land, although there is a seaside adjunct apart from the park's
This 403-square kilometre island of wilderness is home to more than
100 species of birds; mammals such as deer, porcupine, moose - and yes, bear;
and a variety of tree species, including oak, maple, hemlock, spruce and pine.
Sunset on Channel Lake
One of the best ways to experience the park is by canoe, on
routes north or south of the large lake that gives the park its name. We paddled
north of Kejimkujik for five days - partially following the route paddled by Albert Bigelow Paine in his book, The Tent Dwellers - through Big Dam Lake, Frozen Ocean Lake and
Channel Lake before paddling back onto the main lake.
Because we paddled the park in early August - peak holiday
season - we were surprised that three days passed without sight of another
The first people we did see were two park rangers, performing routine
backcountry campsite maintenance.
That's not to say we were lonely.
Prickly Porky on the move
Porcupines, barred owls,
deer and chipmunks visited our campsites.
Paddling down the quiet waters of
Still Brook, LittleRiver and West River, we encountered herons, a painted
turtle, frogs, a mother loon and her baby, and a merganser family.
The unexpected solitude was a true gift.
On our last night
on the big lake, a lone loon swam past our Moose Island campsite, wailing her
trademark cry, as if to say,"Farewell!" from the wilderness,
eliciting a prayer of thanks from my own mouth.
(This story was originally published in the Summer 2001 edition of Ski Canada's Outdoor Guide.)
Post script: There's much more to the park than canoeing. It's also a national historic site, as this video shows.