Monthly Archives: May 2012

Gorgeous Wee Hike in Lunenburg Nova Scotia

Apron Falls Lunenburg Nova Scotia

Shani sitting at the Apron Falls 'rapids'

So if you are thinking of heading to Nova Scotia, or if you live here but feel the urge to explore your province a bit, then you probably know that there is a plethora of tour companies out there. When Kiwi Kaboodle started, back in 2001, there were very few indeed. Now, though, the province is bursting at its seams with companies (licensed and un-licensed) all wanting to drive you here, there and everywhere. We, of course, offer all of those tours. Of course we do. We, however, offer more as well – here, there, everywhere, and someplace different. And not just van tours, but cycle tours. Hiking tours too. And that’s what I’m on about today – a hike I went on with my family last weekend.

We actually heard about this hike from a tourist who was trying desperately to find the trail which nobody around here seemed to have ever heard of. Apron Falls, it’s called, and it’s lovely. We drove for about 30 minutes out toward New Germany way. You’re supposed to park by a bridge .. we looked for a Bridge (capital B) and couldn’t find one. They really did mean bridge. It’s an overpass, really. A little small nothing-at-all with a dirt trail next to it leading down into the woods. Being me, I said “no, no, this can’t be it” and made Greg drive a bit further til we found someone to ask, who was able to confirm that yes that indeed was the place, so back we went. I hate being wrong.

When you finally park your car, there is this really well-worn, obvious trail to hike along, along which we immediately started hiking. We could hear the waterfall beyond the trees and the sound got louder & louder & louder .. and then, somehow, quieter & quieter & quieter. The inevitable arguments ensued where I said “This is the ONLY trail, so of course it’s right” and Greg said “But we can’t even hear the water anymore so it HAS to be wrong” and the kids said “Just keep moving there’s too many blackflies!!” … and eventually even I had to admit something was amiss (I think it was when the trail became impassable even by foot), and so we headed back. After a bit of scrounging around through the woods we saw yet another, albeit less clear, trail heading into the woods and in a more waterly direction. So off we went once again, amid plenty of grumbling and complaining from the kids (yeah, okay, me too – I just really hate being wrong, particularly when it means my husband was right). Well, after climbing some not-very-big-rocks, and crossing a not-very-rapid-nor-deep-stream we can rather quickly to the waterfalls! Very quick and easy hike – none of the kids needed any help … and neither did I! Small waterfalls – I guess these are actually the rapids. Beautiful though! Just gorgeous. The sound of waterfall is just so relaxing, don’t you think? It was perfect – and better yet, there was a bit of a breeze to keep away those pesky blackflies that were pestering us deeper in the woods. One of the kids had enough at that point, so I stopped there with her, and the other two forged ahead with Greg, all the way to the end of the trail where the water is falling from water-worn rocks – the water has sliced a hole right through the rock and the area is pristine and absolutely drop dead gorgeous. That magic I was talking about last day is here in force. They walked for perhaps another 15 minutes, climbing rocks at times, and wlaking through forest at other times, but the whole hike was an easy one I’m sure you could do. And you really should. There are so many off-the-beat-path things to see and do here in Nova Scotia, if you just take the time to look into it before you get here you’ll keep yourself busy for a year and a day. It takes some looking, though, because a lot of the mainstream people you ask for advice don’t actually know about all of these places and all of these things. VICs are awesome and we’d be lost without them, but don’t rely simply on them for your information … there is so much more out there for you to discover than they can possibly know.

We’ve gone on some other hiking trails, and plan to do more — all the ones worth visiting will show up here once they’ve been hiked by us. Actually, I guess the ones not-so-worth-it will as well, so you don’t waste your time on them. If you happen to be from here and know a trail we shouldn’t miss I’d be grateful to hear about it, because we’re always looking for places to see and things to do with the kids.

And if you aren’t from here and want to see them, you need to come to Nova Scotia – and make Lunenburg County your first port of call. www.hypersmash.com

Nova Scotia’s South Shore & Lighthouse Route

Gorgeous wee waterfall

Okay, so the plan had been to chat about Apron Falls, but that can come on another day. I was out on the weekend snapping shots of some of the amazing things that there are to be seen around this little corner of heaven, and it occured to me that some of my shots are bloody amazing (in my own humble opinion). I have a friend called Peter Zwicker, and his photos are .. well .. they are gobstopping. You look at his photo of a chilly day on the ocean, and despite the fact that it’s 30 degrees celsius outside you suddenly feel you need a sweater and a hot cuppa joe. It’s true: his photos are that .. imagination grabbing. He snaps it, you feel it.  So my photos aren’t remotely like that. But they are pretty darned cool, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing when it comes to taking a photo.

So it occured to me as I was browsing though my photographs: you know, it’s really hard to take a bad photograph of this area. It can be done, of course, but not without effort and for the most part all of the photos I’ve seen are lovely (not Peter lovely, but lovely nonetheless). And I’ve seen a LOT of photos by a LOT of different people – running a backpacker hostel, we are often shown the photos people take as they are out and about in the area. Whether it’s sunny, cloudy, foggy, snowy, windy, rainy, day, night, forest, ocean, buildings .. whatever the heck kinda weather there is, whatever the time of day, and whatever you can’t help yourself capturing on camera .. it turns out, well, pretty darned awesome.

Little House Boat

A view from Lunenburg's golf course

So I wondered a bit about why that was. Is it just that the ocean side is That Magical? I have a very special spot in my heart reserved for the ocean and all of its folklore (perhaps stemming from my Faroese heritage)… and the forest when it is lush and mossy it, too, seems to be hiding fairies under each leaf… I can easily get lost in my imagination while I’m walking through a quiet, green forest or strolling along a loud & crashing beach. So is it my love for the ocean and forest in general that make me thinks all these photos are brilliant?

No. No, I don’t think that’s the answer. Because I’ve been to other oceans and other forests in other cities and provinces and countries, and I’ve managed to take pretty darned ordinary photos there. I’ve been to some truly fantastic places where I’m practically drooling it’s so gorgeous, and yet my photos somehow make it look remarkably un-remarkable. So why are there so many fantastic photos of this part of Nova Scotia taken even by two-short-plank people like me?

Well, I think I’ve decided that it is because the area itself holds the magic. Not the ocean, not the forest — this very part of Nova Scotia. The history of this little niche is incredible! Pirates, werewolves, ghosts, witches … music, art, dance … and yes, ocean, forest, lakes & rivers. I think it’s the magic of this whole area, the magic in the air that we are ensconced in 24/7 that makes photos taken by the world’s worst photographer look good. Lunenburg, Mahone Bay, New Germany, Riverport, LaHave (that’s with a long A in ‘have’ … like the word haven, but you take off the n), BlueRocks, Aspotogan Peninsula .. oh my do I need to go on? Indian Falls, Gaff’s Point, Apron Falls, Green Bay, Indian Point .. it’s so beautiful here. It still takes my breath away every time I drive into Mahone Bay, and we’ve been living here now for 8 years …. I wonder if it will ever just get ordinary to me? I really can’t see that happening.

 

So really, you should come here. Come to Nova Scotia, and come to Mahone Bay and Lunenburg. Test my theory. Your scrapbook will make your friends and family jealous …okay, maybe not, but your photos will be awesome, and it will plant a seed in all of those people who see them. Once that seed takes root, they’ll be here too. Because this place is just too magical to keep away from.

Lunenburg’s Bluenose Academy

A piece of Lunenburg's History

The foyer in the new Bluenose Academy in Lunenburg

Over the past year things have been pretty darned busy around Lunenburg Nova Scotia. Why? Well, once upon a time there were four schools teaching the children of the Town of Lunenburg and surrounding areas: The very famous Lunenburg Academy (P-5), Riverport Elementary School (P-6), Centre Consolidated (P-9) and Lunenburg Junior Senior High School (6-12). Over the past couple of years these schools have amalgamated, and a brand new modern school was built in Lunenburg to house the P-9 kids. The cool thing about the school is that the kids were able to have some input into the whole project: the school’s name, the mosaic on the floor in the entranceway (which I helped to build .. how very, very cool it was to be included on that project – I enjoyed every minute of it!), each student in P-9 that was enrolled in the schools while the mosaic was being built also had an opportunity to lay some of the tiles as well. They picked the school colours, the school’s mascot .. they are currently designing Bluenose Academy anti-bullying t-shirts. So the kids have been very involved. Sadly, they didn’t get to pick its location – the one real bone of contention… well, the only bone of contention that nothing can be done about … the other bones that come with any huge big sweeping change like this are quickly composting, and will soon be sprouting fresh, new, happy life.

The school itself is unlike anything on the South Shore. Very modern, very green .. and by that I don’t mean the colour green, I mean enrivonmentally friendly. Lights that turn off automatically if there is no movement in a room for 15 minutes (or some similar amount of time); toilets that use recycled rainwater; green (and this time I DO mean the colour .. grassy) roofs … as well as all the modern computerised equipment you can imagine in each classroom. Even entering the building is a modern big city rigamarole, which we aren’t really used to around here, being quiet, lazy Lunenburg. But we parents are quickly adapting.

The playground is open even to kids who do not attend the school (after school hours anyway), which is very cool because the playground is very cool indeed. It looks quite skeletal – like the skeleton of a huge stegasaurus .. or so says a young expert around here that anyone who knows ME will also know.

The reason I want to write about the school is because everyone has this idea about Lunenburg: slow, sleepy Lunenburg, where pedestrians have the right-of-way and shops close early so everyone (EVERYONE) can enjoy the gorgeous evenings and entertainment, steeping themselves slowly in the folklore that is dripping from the buildings, the trees – the very air they’re breathing. But in the midst of this step-back-in-time is a truly modern, top notch facility which is educating our children at a level at par or better than many schools in the modern cities around the world.

Yes, Lunenburg’s got it all.

Wow – Is there anywhere nicer than Spring in Nova Scotia???

So it’s hard to believe, but we’re back into the full swing of things and a year has gone by along with a whole lot of non-blogs. The good thing is we have been travelling the province looking for new and unique things to write about that maybe not all of you have heard about a million times. Easy hikes so very close to where we live that I never knew about! All those hidden gems … I’ll be filling you in on all the details as the days and weeks go by, and we get closer and closer to another summer in paradise.

I had quite the shock last weekend when I drove into Mahone Bay and saw the crane there — it’s one of the signs of spring here in Mahone Bay. We’ve got spring peepers, waking bears, baby fawns, daffodils, robins, hummingbirds, and The Crane. The huge, graceful, long-necked beast who crawls slowly into the Mahone Bay wharf and situates itself just perfectly to start plucking the many boats, one by one, and laying them ever-so-gently into the water so the very excited owners can hop inside and go park up their boat for the summer. The Bay is full and with the coming of the crane comes the excited anticipation of another season with visitors from all around the world.

Not just Mahone Bay, of course, but Lunenburg too now has a full front harbour including a rather magnificent looking sailing boat which is parked up there at the moment. Sadly the Picton Castle has left us once again, and it was sad to see her leave. If you are headed this way you really need to keep an eye on the Bluenose — she’s being rebuilt (have you heard?) and she’s very nearly done. What happens once she’s done? The launching of course! An historic moment here in Lunenburg and you should be there, I know I will be.

So with spring bursting out all over I realise it’s time to sit down and fill you in on everything that’s happening here. A daunting task, as we really are a very busy little place, but I’m ready to take it on!

Come back soon. I think tomorrow I’ll touch quickly on the new Bluenose Academy, and then later this week I’ll show & tell our latest hike — to Apron Falls.