Tag Archives: hiking trails

PEI’s Confederation Trail

When railways were abandoned on Prince Edward Island in 1989, Islanders gravitated to the idea of using the routes for hiking and cycling. The main route extended from Elmira in the east to Tignish in the west—a distance of nearly three hundred kilometres. As well, branch trails extended out to other areas such as Charlottetown, Souris, and Montague adding over a hundred kilometres to the trail.

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Prince Edward Island National Park

This national park on the northern side of the island was established in 1937 to protect the beaches and sand dunes as well as the region’s wetlands and marshes. The twenty-seven square kilometre park faced the Gulf of St Lawrence and consisted of mostly access to its many sandy beaches. But there were some trails away from the dunes.

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Peggys Cove

Only forty-four kilometres from Halifax was a tiny fishing village famous for its rugged coastline and lighthouse. It was one of the most photographed sites in Canada. Although it was home to only forty permanent residents, some seven hundred thousand visitors came to Peggy’s Cove annually.

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Day two of Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Rocky Bluffs and shallow coves were typical on the park’s eastern side where winds off the Atlantic Ocean battered the coastline. Green Cove had warnings that large waves could crash against the headland at any time. Near the ocean, plant life was stunted due to thin soil and salt spray. Offshore, humpback whales travelled north from the Caribbean. Leatherback turtles were common and harp seals returned to the Gulf of St Lawrence for two months of the year. While on land, as well as an abundance of moose in the park, there were lynx, snowshoe hare, red squirrel, hermit thrush, American marten, boreal chickadee and gray jay. Twice I spotted moose the previous day, standing like statues in the middle of the road until I drove closer before they finally sauntered off into the forest. 

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Day one of Cape Breton Highlands National Park

From Boutouche I headed into Nova Scotia and arrived at St Anns, Cape Breton Island, to a perfect sunset over St Anns Harbour. The Cabot Trail was on my doorstep, but a few kilometres up the Trans-Canada Highway, a ferry crossed the harbour to a restaurant further north where I had breakfast next morning before tackling the national park.

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Kouchibouguae National Park

Between Bouctouche and Mirimichi on New Brunswick’s east coast was Kouchibouguae National Park. I arrived late in the afternoon after travelling from Hopewell Cape and touring Bouctouche first, so I only took two short hikes. A boardwalk stretched over Little Gully to sand dunes at Kellys Beach. This was home to shore birds such as the endangered piping plover, osprey, blue herons, and the common tern. From the midway point, a tern kept hovering above the water before it dived-bombed into the sea catching small fish. In fact, Canada’s largest tern colony nested within the national park. Birds like sandpipers and sanderlings combed the mudflats and beaches searching for food.

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Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park

Vancouver’s Queen Elizabeth Park was a tourist magnet with as many as six million visitors annually, but it was about time for another visit starting with the rose garden. The park was established back in the 1930s after a mountain had been quarried for rocks for road building. To cover the eye sore left from quarrying, two sunken gardens were established. 

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False Creek Hiking/Biking Trail

With several hours to kill between movies at the Vancouver International Film Festival, I took off along the False Creek Trail under a sunny fall sky. Heading for Grandville Island, a four-kilometre one way hike, I followed a paved route by shimmering water.

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Stanley Park

This is my daughter’s favourite park in the world. I get the attraction. It’s a huge 400 hectare site with nearly nine kilometres of walk/cycle/roller blade trails that skirt the park plus internal trails. The view of the sea and surrounding coastline is to die for and I’m impressed too. I hiked the ocean view trail and liked the two paths—one for walkers and a separate for the faster cycle users. For me, it’s an impressive park but far from my favourite. 

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Pacific Rim National Park

Near Tofino on the very west coast of Vancouver Island, I stayed at Esowista, a First Nation village, halfway between Tofino and Ecluelet right on the beach at the northern end of Long Beach. I hoped for surf, but it had been flat for about a week. I swam anyway but the water only came up to my waist. I slushed my way to a mini-island where cedars clawed their way between boulders to take root.

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