Falling for Nova Scotia

Friday, June 04, 2010 Road Junkies 1 Comments

Truro, NS & Noel, NS
Heading out from Halifax this morning, our top priority task before we did any letterboxing or sightseeing was mailing a birthday card to our niece Whitney.  We were driving toward Truro, our first destination, when we saw a sign indicating that the town of Stewiacke has a special claim to fame.
Located at the 45th parallel north, Stewiacke is said to be halfway between the equator and the north pole.  Sounded pretty cool, so we stopped at the local post office and mailed the card with the special "45th" postmark.  Later we realized that there are also quite a few communities in the U.S. that share this distinction (as well as in the rest of the world, of course), but Stewiacke just made it seem really special.

At the head of the Cobequid Bay, Truro calls itself the hub city because of its central location in the province and the confluence of roads and rail lines that crisscross there.  Scattered through the downtown area are a collection of 36 unique sculptures depicting the figures important in the heritage of the town.  The sculptures were carved from diseased trees when Dutch Elm struck and many fine specimens had to be chopped.  They turned an environmental disaster into a tourist attraction!

The jewel of Truro has to be the 1,000-acre Victoria Park in the heart of the city.  The park was developed by the citizens of Truro in 1903 as a memorial to Susan Lynds who donated some 25 acres of land to the city including two waterfalls and valley below. Since then, the park has been enlarged by gift and purchase to nearly 1,000 acres.
Bisected by a dramatic gorge, the park is heavily wooded with old growth trees.  A network of challenging hiking and walking trails through the forest include extensive boardwalks and stairs to prevent visitors from falling down the steep hillsides and to protect the ravine from from pedestrian-induced erosion.
Leaving the park, we spotted a local mushing on his scooter.  When he saw me taking a photo, he told us that his dog, a Bouvier des Flandres, is just a pup.  The breed originated in France, where they were used as herding dogs and for general farm work, including pulling carts. 
This puppy currently weighs 100 pounds, which will increase to about 175 when he's fully grown.  We forgot to ask the man whether Fido has been fitted for a saddle.

Our last stop of the day was Burncoat Head Park in Noel, NS. Like its nearby neighbor Fundy, Cobequid Bay experiences extreme tide shifts. In fact Burncoat Head claims to have obtained the endorsement of the world record keepers at Guinness: "Burncoat Head in the Minas Basin, Nova Scotia has the greatest average tide at 47.5 feet and an extreme range of 53.6 feet."
At low tide, there's said to be great fossil-hunting along the rocky red cliffs. We arrived when the tide was high, so all we found was a letterbox near the Burncoat lighthouse.  As we arrived at the lighthouse, the official ambassador jumped down from his observation post atop a picnic table and came over to greet us.
Once he checked us out thoroughly, we were approved to enter the lighthouse, and he accompanied us inside.  The college student working as a summer intern at the park said that he is a "neighborhood" cat who hangs out at the lighthouse in the summer season.  Since the nearest houses were quite a distance away, he must be very dedicated to his work.

Today's Stats
Miles driven:  154
Letterboxes:  2
Working animals:  2
Waterfalls:  2
Gas:  $3.60/gallon