Thursday, July 24, 2014

The world is such a wonderful place

Yesterday I slept on a beach. And it was everything I thought it could be.

I'm grateful for the weather. It's been hot! For anyone who thinks a parka is necessary north of the border in July...

Good thing I snooped around in a local store and bought this.

Happy time?! Yeah, get that into my pits pronto. Even if it is roll on, which I haven't used since 1988. When the sweat starts to roll, I want it to smell like an orange factory up in here.

While there are many awesome factors to the western shore of Nova Scotia (hello, beautiful sunsets!), I feel antsy here. It's hot, I'm surrounded by water, but I can't go in and cool off. The mud thing, the snail-killing thing--all of that has me feeling limited. Plenty of people swim here, but it's not for me.

Knowing that yesterday would be so hot, I decided to make the trek back east. Martinique Beach is north of Halifax. Unchartered territory for me.

The anticipation of the boardwalk over the dunes...

Whoa Nelly! Perfection.

Hello, little sand dollar. What? You want to go home to New Hampshire with me? Well, okay.


Hello, icy Atlantic waters that keep the beach 20 degrees cooler than the rest of the province.

Hello, second disgusting gelatinous thing I've found on a beach here. You will raise reader questions not only about your identity, but also about my sanity for posting a picture on here among such pretty things.

Hello, little snail-y/hermit-y crab thing. You'll get there, little buddy. Keep going.

Hello, little half shell. Yeah, I've got nothing else to say to you.

Hello, little hermit crab hopefully helping another little hermit crab with a real estate situation.

Hello, little birds that hang together.

And then run away from the water together.

Hello, little mermaid. You were a sweet find on this beach.

I walked for hours, ate my little picnic, and promptly took a nap. It was the best afternoon ever.

Now, I grew up 20 miles from the beach. I still live close to the water. The ocean is no stranger. But for me, it's this about my experiences with Nova Scotia beaches: You don't have to fight for a parking space. You don't have to pay to see the ocean. You don't have to fight your way through a crowd on a humid day to get a spot of sand. You don't have to share in anyone else's miserable experience because they're sitting so close to you that you can hear everything happening on their blanket. Granted, I'm not here on a Saturday, but I suspect it's still not the same as back home.

Also, when you're driving away from the beaches in NH and MA, you don't stop on the side of the road because the seagulls out on the sandbar look awfully big BECAUSE THEY'RE BALD EAGLES. No, that has never happened to me at Hampton Beach.

When I pulled up to the beach, Band of Horses was singing, "The world is such a wonderful place..." and it is. Sometimes I just need to get far away, collect myself, and remember that. I need an open road and the time to seek a great perhaps. It puts everything back into perspective.

I leave this morning. It's a 12-hour drive. I'm not sure whether I can do it in one day, so this may or may not be the last post for this trip. But thanks for coming along. Writing this blog grounds me and keeps me out of my own head. It's healthy for me, even if it may sometimes be painful for you. :-) Sorry about the pig fucking and gelatinous beach monsters.

I'll miss cottage #10. And the sunsets.

And the reminders posted everywhere, each signed by both owners.

And the apparent nudity problem on this remote pier.

But I'll miss you most of all, crazy tides that leave boats stranded in mud.

 Now it's time to hit the road. xo


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

A very quiet, very relaxing birthday

If you've been to this blog before, you know I don't plan trips. With all the planning that is required at work each day, I just can't create an itinerary for a vacation. I research, I have points I want to hit. But there is something very freeing about playing it by ear.

My brother hates this. My mom, well she's quiet, but I think it worries her a little. And I get it. And I love them for it.

This year I thought I'd compromise by renting little cottages/apartments for a few days at a time with a few "free" days sprinkled in. This way I almost always have a home base, and most of them large enough and with kitchens to really spread out in case it rains or provide for myself instead of eating only at restaurants. Little brother's reaction:

Kind of. I just know where I'm landing most of the time. And that, I admit, has been grand. I've lucked out in choosing really beautiful spots. The kitchen table, however, has become command central as I figure out what to do each morning.

If Nova Scotia were cut in thirds, I am currently at the top of the first third. Does that make sense in any way? Let's pan in.

I'm chillin in the Minas Basin.
It's been very hazy here, unfortunately, so photography has been trying. I thought today would be clear. That was not the case. I drove around Cape Blomidon/Blomidon Peninsula hoping for sweeping vistas. Lots of pictures later, only a few are viable.

The Blomidon Peninsula is what I've been staring at for days, and it's in most of my water pictures. It's that big, jagged cliff-looking place across the water. I camped up there many years ago. We had the campground to ourselves, and when the fog rolled in from Fundy Bay, it was impossible to see anything. It was awesome.

Anyway, this is the view from Blomidon Peninsula back toward where I'm staying. Beautiful, hazy farmland.

From there I continued driving all the way out to Scots Bay, the opposite side of the peninsula.

The boardwalk leading up to each beach is exciting--what kind of beach will it be?

Crap. It's all rocks. ALL rocks. And it's hot out, so there was a guy sunbathing. On rocks.

When I was a teen, my friend Jenn and I would go up to North Conway, NH, and we could easily spent most of an afternoon standing in the rivers and picking out beautiful rocks and pebbles. Only to get them home, see them dry, and realize they were no different from the rocks in our driveways. I'm not a girl who always learns from experience, so I may have taken a few rocks from this beach. Look how pretty they are when they're wet! Said rocks are now in the car somewhere, undoubtedly dry and drab. I will not look until I get home. And then maybe I'll lacquer them. Because that's not strange, right?

In between all this foolish rock picking, I started to hear chirping. It took forever to find the source. And even after I found it, I kept losing it again among the rocks. I had to turn and point my feet at the sound so I could keep track of it.

I'm not a birder, but from Google, this looks like a semipalmated sandpiper.

This isn't so bad, but across a whole beach, this was hard to find.

Then this happened. Gross but fascinating.

A  close-up for good measure? Sure.

So this is Scots Bay from a distance. It's pretty remote and very quiet, but there are a dozen or so houses right around here.

On my way out of Scots Bay, I came across a field of goats and sheep. *car comes to quick halt*


Then I realized I was being watched.

By the cutest and goofiest dog I've seen in a long time. Here she throws the whole herd into panic as she runs after a crow that landed on a post across the field.

She was a happy working dog, and she raced me along the fence as I drove away. If I get a dog, I want one just like her.

Okay, back to the other side of the ridge. Blomidon Provincial Park...


And the day after vowing to never walk the ocean floor again, here I am. It's very tempting. And everyone else was doing it. A few people were swimming. No thanks. Not in mud.



For perspective, here is a shot of the little church at Grand Pre. I am staying way behind that, on the water. Blomidon is the behemoth across the bay in the background.

Ultimately, the thing about wanting a relaxing birthday is that it can end up uber relaxing and then it's not much fodder for the blog. No crazy encounters today, no mischief, no frustration. Just water and miles of road ahead of me and good thoughts--happy thoughts--about what I want the next year to be.

Cheers to you, cheers to Canada, cheers to the incredible opportunity life offers us.