Keji A

…or Kejimkujik Adjunct…or Boot Test #2…or Park Pass #2…or Today’s Costume: Even More Intrepid Hiker

Actually Park Pass #2 is a bit of a misnomer as no pass is required to visit Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct. It is more than an hour’s drive from the main park and it is for day use only. Beware, the dirt road leading into the parking lot is currently riddled with pot-holes. The hiking trail takes you to the sandy shoreline near Port Joli and the stompin’ grounds of the piping plover; one of the cutest little beachy birds you’ll ever clap eyes on,  or in a loop out around Port Joli Head and along a rocky shore and back cross the barrens. Today I didn’t see any plovers or even any sand because my goal was to hike only around the headland and along shore to Boyd’s Cove, an 8.7 km total back to the parking lot. Would it be an adventure? The signs were all there:

Notices left by conscientious hikers.

As always, given the warnings, I had to ask myself “Is it sensible to proceed?” (I shouldn’t have written that as an actual quote as my thought was more of a “Hngh?”) The little Angel on my right shoulder whispered in my ear: “Yes. You’re well dressed for ticks, there are no cars to worry about so you won’t get runned over, no recent reports of bear attacks on the news, there is cell service, and it would make a better story if you were eaten by bears.” The devil on my left shoulder whispered “You might get eaten by bears, not to mention being eaten alive by internet trolls who would publicly shame you for going into bear country without a musket” Wait, which one said what? Did the angel promote caution or adventure? Did the Devil wish me to have a bad day or to get eaten by bears? I digress. I heeded the warnings and started down the trail.

The trail over the coastal barrens on the way to the beaches is nicely groomed.

Once at the shoreline I paused only long enough to quench my thirst and then turned right towards Port Joli Head. This section of the trail becomes less and less groomed as you follow the shore and then pass through several patches of woods.

I am always amazed at how a heavy sea can throw rocks up over the landwash.

I didn’t pause to photograph the flora, except for these evergreen cones which caught my eye, because I wanted to maintain a steady pace. I am officially in training for a hilly hike of Cape Chignecto in August; I will  have to be able to keep up with my partner in climb who is much younger and more spry than I.

Do these qualify as flora? Is this a spruce or a fir? I looked it up and, Yes, and I don’t know.

The lichen on this old foundation was as pretty as any flower.

Long before I got to the foundation I began to see bear sign. At first I wasn’t convinced it was bear scat because it not did contain any  McDonald’s forks, bear bells, wedding rings or Rolexes. Also no berries!! What the heck are they living on? Seaweed and grass apparently. That would make for a darned hungry bear. Didn’t bode well. It made me kind of nervy and I wondered if this was an omen:

Was this abandoned balloon all that was left of a child that was eaten by bears?

Sheesh. I obviously have spent too much time reading The Gashleycrumb Tinies! (By Edward Gorey in which B is for Basil assaulted by bears). OMG!!! Is this one of those ropes that babysitters use to keep strings of daycare kids in line on field trips? Has a whole kindergarten class been devoured? Thankfully there were no signs of a struggle. I soldiered on .

What’s with this rope?

Walking along, enjoying the sound of the breaking surf, I would have been lulled into complacency were it not for the rough trail, my tired legs, and the regular appearance of fresh scat.

I love the regular rhythm of the breaking surf – makes up for the greyness of the day.

And then there was a bear. Not close, mind you, but definitely a bear. My mind went into overdrive with ‘what ifs’. Too late to turn back; would add another four km to the hike and I didn’t have that much reserve. Nothing to do but walk towards it. The bear was a little ways past where I had to turn off from the beach to walk overland to meet the main trail. Wait, that’s not one bear, it’s four! A mother and three cubs. Three! She must be extra hungry with all those mouths to feed. Sigh. Nothing more famous than a mother bear’s protective instinct vis-à-vis her cubs. There went my plan to have a snack at the beginning of the boardwalk – didn’t wish to be smelling too highly of peanuts – so I had a glutch or two of bottled water and tripled my pace. Once I had a little distance gained I slowed down long enough to take one snap.

Bears at the beach. The one black bear-like thing on your left is a boulder. At least I think it was a boulder, it didn’t move like the other four black splotches.

By the time I reached the parking lot I didn’t know whether to be relieved that I was spared dismembering, or offended that I was so unappetizing. I added my own note to the bear sighting page.

I really must look into finding a hiking companion; one whom I can easily outrun!! By the way, the boots performed well at all speeds.

© Judy Parsons 2017

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