Hikes loaded with stunning sites
NOVA SCOTIA — When my wife and I told people we were going to Nova Scotia to hike, many seemed mystified. The province is not very big, and they envisioned a placid landscape on a peninsula better known for high tides than high hills. My own mental pictures came from a vibrant art exhibit by the Canadian cohort of painters known as the Group of Seven, whose works featured dramatic wilderness scenes in vivid colours. (I’d been there once when I was 4 but had no memories of it.) Nova Scotia turned out to offer us a a stunning variety of walks, featuring huge, sweeping views. These meanders came with an unexpected bonus — surprisingly personal conversations with complete strangers. Besides being beautiful, it seems, this was the kind of place where paying for strawberries could get you 20 minutes of other people’s family histories, favourite cheeses (homemade stinging-nettle gouda!) and personal habits. It was a brilliant, cloudless summer day when friends met us at the Halifax airport. We drove two hours towards the Bay of Fundy through the rural western stretch, a region quilted with fields of dense blueberry bushes and dappled with spikes of violet and rust-coloured grasses and green-grey spruces. The landscape undulated into the distance — no dramatic peaks but plenty of topographic swoops and potential panoramas. Arriving in the village of Fox River, we settled into our vacation rental, a converted old schoolhouse. (Our friends owned a share of the place.) The two-storey, 3,500-square-foot house had been renovated with large groups in mind. From the outside, it could pass for an 1890s-era church, but once inside you found, on the first floor, four bedrooms, two bathrooms and a shared lounge area. Upstairs, the chef-quality kitchen and living area formed a large, sunfilled great room perfect for making family meals, with huge windows in three directions. One wall of windows looked out over the low bushes of blueberry fields stretching to the bay. In the opposite direction, we had a panorama of where the lone road sliced through town and coniferous forest stood beyond. My wife and I quickly fell into a morning routine: wake up early (daylight glows about 5 a.m. in July and lasts past 10 p.m.), make coffee, take mug down the dirt road to the shore. Along the way, admire blueberry fields. When we reached the shore, we’d continue across the rounded stones to the water’s edge and dip our toes into the icy tide. Then, we’d walk
The Cape d’Or Lighthouse, which is located on the Bay of Fundy.
The skyline of Fox River village.