Stories & Rants

Redemption… a nose.

On the weekend I set out to accomplish a couple of goals, and redeem myself with the Earth. I planned on doing a long hike, and not get lost and have to spend the night in the woods, and the next day to have a successful fishing trip. 50% is a pass in my books.

The hiking trail we decided on (well after noon) was Pennant Point trail, otherwise known as the Crystal Crescent trail. I had been on this trail before with my brother, nephew, and dogs. The trail I remember is a popular one with dog walkers and didn’t seem too challenging or exciting. The trail I remember turned out to be about 10% of the full trail. The actual trail is 12k and full of amazing scenery and landscapes. I added a few pictures to my all-time bests on the trip (still nothing beats the old one of a big wave crashing behind me as I stand on a rock pondering the ocean, taken with a kid’s disposable camera). The first part of the trail was boardwalks and bridges, typical beachfront trail; the remaining part is un-maintained and is a lot more fun. Anyone can think themselves a rock climbing adventurer on this trail. As I scaled large boulders and hopped nimbly from rock to rock I gloated each time I successfully did not break my ankle.

The scenery here is like Peggy’s Cove for miles upon miles. The scenery almost inspired me to break out a bottle of whiskey and start singing some Irish folk songs. I spotted a couple of seals and about 10 porcupines. The porcupines seem to love the area, and I’m surprised every pooch leaving the park didn’t have quills up its nose.

There is lots of sea debris to be seen here, from an extremely large buoy to DVD cases, shoes, books, and your standard oil cans and eco-friendly plastics. I did manage to snap an unexpectedly awesome picture of a washed-up lobster trap, next to an old tire.

After walking for a couple of hours, the boys and I sat on some rocks, made a fire, drank some beer and cooked hot dogs. This is what you are meant to do on this hike. There is no shortage of dry wood lying around, and it was a pleasant change from our last attempt at making a fire. We could have easily spent an hour relaxing there, but our previous experience told me to check my watch and get a move on. We set out again with a limited amount of sunlight left and a hefty part of the trail yet to go.

We walked for a few kilometers through some marshy areas, where my football training came in handy as I did the high knees drill through a good portion of it to avoid swamp foot. After only 2 soakers, we were through the swampy stuff and came upon the yellow sign we were looking for which directed us into the woods and eventually back to the parking lot. We weren’t sure how far it was, but I was playing it safe and assuming it was a lot further than we thought. The sun was setting and would be gone in another 15 minutes, and we were just now heading into the unknown.

I snapped a quick picture of the sunset (another one of my all-time best unexpected pics) and two of us started into a jog, leaving the others on their own to scold themselves for not accomplishing more on the treadmill. The trail was ideal for jogging, and as we came out of the woods we hit a field which seemed to stretch as far as we could see. The sun was now set as we reached the peak of a hill, where we were able to see that the parking lot was in the distance. We were in a good stride, the only thing keeping us from a sprint was our ankles reminding us to be cautious. A good 30-minute jog and we were now back at the car, extremely tired. The others would no doubt be a while, and the fact that it was now dark left us wondering if we were going to have to get suited up for a search and rescue mission. A few minutes later my cell phone rings, the boys have reached our booby trap (black electrical tape tied between two trees across the trail) and were now in a creek, which we never saw. They had obviously taken a wrong turn courtesy of the same guy who lost the map in the previous excursion, with an assist from the total darkness. Even though the trail was quite easy to follow, it seems they had strayed from it, and the two of us were too tired at this point to go trekking back in, so we told them to carry on. 15 minutes later I get another call. They are down walking along the main road….somehow. I’m not sure how they ended up all the way down there, but we were all glad that the excursion was over, and didn’t result in another overnight clinic on hypothermia.

All things considered, the trip was awesome. I would recommend leaving before 3 pm, bringing more beer than we did, packing some really good food and a beach towel. Bring your camera and take a lot of pictures, this place is like being paparazzi outside a nightclub in Hollywood, only you can’t sell your pics to TMZ, but you can enter them in’s photo of the month contest!

Greg Taylor
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