The summer solstice occurred last week and we’re very excited to start what will hopefully be another beautiful, long and warm Bay of Fundy summer. But, when the temperature rises, it is always nice to do hikes near cool coastal waters. In this article, Paul Gaudet – an avid hiker, snowshoer and vice president of the Outdoor Enthusiasts Club of Moncton – shares some of his suggestions on where to do some coastal hiking to find some relief from the heat and also from the bugs.
When you talk coastal hiking and relief from the heat you almost always come up with “by the Bay of Fundy” as it is well known when you listen to weather forecasts that the meteorologists are always saying at the end of their temperature predictions in the summer the words “a few degrees cooler near the Bay of Fundy”. It just so happens that there are many places to hike next to or along the bay both in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.
In this article I will focus on Nova Scotia and I will start with suggestions toward the south and move further north as the article progresses. The first place is Brier Island which is at the nautical beginning of the Bay of Fundy on the Nova Scotia side. You can get there quite easily by taking the Saint John to Digby ferry and then going out along the peninsula with St. Mary’s Bay on one side and “the” bay on the other. The long way without paying for a rather expensive ferry ride is to go through the Annapolis Valley and up to Digby. Going this way has many rewards (read 6 or 7 fabulous wineries to visit, including a new one from Pete Luckett). Brier Island itself has a few fabulous hiking trails with many wildflowers, birds and interesting geology, and yes it will probably be cooler.
The next stop might be around the Annapolis Royal area where you can head out along the Annapolis River, a tidal river, to find Port Royal, that famous habitat of Samuel Champlain and Pierre Du Monts. After that, just hiking in and around the town of Annapolis Royal is fascinating with its historic Fort Saint Anne, funky little theatre, cozy inns and B&B’s, tidal power dam and gravity fed water supply.
After moving further along the valley you will come to Wolfville, and only a short drive away Cape Blomidon and Cape Split, both on the Minas Basin. The hiking opportunities at these two places are not to be missed. They are building or refurbishing the trails in this area and the hike out to Cape Split (about 1.5 to 2 hours) will afford you views from high rocky, gull covered cliffs as this long narrow peninsula comes to an abrupt end smack in the middle of the Minas Channel where there is a 9 knot current going by. You can camp and hike at Cape Blomidon and the coastal hiking in the provincial park is well worth a night’s stay.
Getting around the bay a bit more will take us past Windsor and around to Walton and the truly amazing geology of Rainey Cove which has sedimentary rock that has buckled and folded in a most unusual and quite beautiful way. We are still beside the Minas Basin and the Cobequid Bay when we approach the Noel Shore and Burntcoat Head which has a lighthouse interpretive centre, and lovely grounds with shoreline to hike and explore. Oh! And one other minor thing, it is here where the highest tides in the world have been measured at 16 metres or 53 ft.