Keji B

..or Kejimkujik Backcountry…or Boot Test #1…or Park Pass #1…or Today’s Costume: Intrepid Hiker

The stars are beginning to align. Earlier this winter I received my Canada 150 National Park pass in the mail and not so long ago I got my new deeply discounted Keen Logan (black and periwinkle) hiking boots via eBay. Last Sunday the weather cleared and it was time to put them both to the test so I drove up Route 8 to Keji. No admission charge, just a few survey questions answered got me past the booth and into the park. I had already decided to walk to back-country campsite #3 by taking a slight detour along the Hemlock Hardwoods trail, about 6.5 Km return from the Big Dam parking lot.  You can find it on this Keji map. There were three varieties of trail on which to test the boots:

Groomed gravel,


boardwalk to protect the roots in the old growth area,


and not so groomed, as in rooty and sometimes wet and muddy.

Regarding the boots: I didn’t even notice I was wearing them. No blisters or chafing. This is probably due to the fact that I was wearing fancy padded merino wool socks inside them. If you buy these boots, get them a half size too big to accommodate the slight swelling you can get when walking on hot days and to keep your toes from jamming forward when going downhill, and spring for the good socks. The boots passed muster and I will speak no more of them in this post. Regarding the hike: the walk through the Hemlock Hardwoods was beautiful. This stand of old growth forest has some of the oldest and tallest hemlock in the area.

The tree behind me is estimated to be around 400 years old. If I wrapped my arms around the trunk they would go halfway. 

It seems some of these trees are being forced right out of the ground. Or perhaps the ground is growing away from them. Have I been reading too much Tolkien when I wonder if these wise old trees could just slip their roots and walk away? I admire their tenacity.

These roots are braided like a Celtic knot.

There was scarce little flora but I did find a few blossoms trail-side

Painted trillium

and thankfully no fauna other than the two deer I say grazing in a bog on the drive through the park. I worry about coyotes. And bears. And wild bolognas ( you central Newfoundlanders will know of what I speak). I like to worry.

I discovered that back-country campsite #3 can be reached in about an hour. Despite being a pretty site right on the lake, if one is going to make the effort to carry one’s full outfit of camping gear, one might as well cover a little more ground and find a further campsite before suppertime. Next trip out I will try to make it to campsite #46. That doesn’t mean I pass 45 sites to get there, it is actually the next one past #3 on the trail; another hour and a half in in my estimation. I let you know later if that is correct.

Kejimkujik back-country campsite #3.

So the biggest excitement of the hike? I found where the Keji gnomes live:

Gnome home.

Don’t see it? Here’s a closer look:

Gnome door, about eight inches high. 

Maybe next visit I can get a glimpse of the inhabitants. What? Sure there are!!

© Judy Parsons 2017

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