Exciting news!

Hello Ramble followers!

We have an exciting bit of news that we’d like to share with you all. Somewhere on the moody cliffs of Newfoundland, we ended one journey and began another: we’re engaged!

The camera was all set up to capture the event, so we thought it would be fun to share our photos with you!

 

You sure can’t beat the scenery! Dan thought we were all alone when he proposed, but we later realized we had this majestic fellow overseeing it all with a watchful eye:

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Our distinguished audience.

While getting engaged was, of course, exciting, it also made¬†the end of the trip less sad for us; it gave us something fun to look forward to in the future! We don’t have a date set yet since we¬†are just trying to get ourselves back to a normal life, let alone plan a wedding, but it’s nice to know that we have exciting things to both look back upon and forward to now.

We have a few more posts that we’d like to publish here to tie everything up, but there is a high chance that won’t happen until we move into our apartment in December. So if we don’t see you until then, enjoy the end of the fall weather and stay cozy!

Sarah & Dan

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Journal Entry – September 12 to September 16… and home!

Whew! We’ve managed to find an apartment and restore some semblance of¬†normalcy¬†to our lives. Thanks for your patience; here’s the last journal entry from our walk across the country!¬†

Monday, September 12 – First day in our 6th – and final! – time zone
“Awoke” at 5:30 feeling better than last night, but still not great. Any way you cut it though, I survived. The Night of Ham had finally come to an end.
Did a bit of cross stitch before making a shaky, but overall successful, attempt¬†to head downstairs for breakfast. Decided I’d better just close my eyes a bit more & so lied down on the bench & slept actually almost properly while Dan did our craft & ate. I woke up & ate a little bit of Cheerios (I was¬†starving at this point). I started to feel better as we got closer to land & the waters calmed a bit. We enjoyed the final hour of the ferry ride as we watched Newfoundland loom nearer and nearer.
Mercifully, we were finally allowed to get off the boat & were shuttled over to where our packs had been put. Headed into the terminal to repack everything & ended up taking an hour-long nap on the cushioned bench there- we were exhausted and overwhelmed at just being dumped on the shore of Newfoundland with no idea where to go or what was ahead.
Woke up around noon & decided there was nothing for it but to start walkin’.
Stopped at the information center, where they couldn’t really provide us with much information… it’s hard to believe it, but maybe we don’t ask the typical questions! We learned that I get sea sick and Dan gets sea legs. The road wobbled & weaved beneath his feet for the first few hours of today’s walk. Tried out the T’Railway for a bit (Newfoundland’s bit of Trans Canada Trail), which ran directly alongside the highway, but found it to be more of an ATV trail than a hiking trail. It was full of puddles & big holes & in the end abandoned it for the road.
Enjoyed the cooler weather & the wind & the scenery. We enjoyed the strangely familiar sight of old, rounded, rolling mountains made of granite & covered with small coniferous trees just hanging on in the stiff breeze from the water. Expected passing drivers to be very friendly a la Saskatchewan, given everything everyone had told us about Newfoundlanders, but found them to be rather uninterested or confused on the whole.
Walked along feeling decent all things considered until we reached the outskirts of Dunville, where we saw a house too friendly to pass up. Met Ray, who said we could put the tent in the yard, so away we went to put the tent up & make dinner. We are so spoiled when it comes to nice scenery that we eschewed the absolutely gorgeous view of the valley, mountains & water from the yard to sit facing directly into the garden shed because it was less windy that way.
During dinner we met Joan, Ray’s wife, who invited us to come sleep inside, which we jumped at the chance to do, considering the night we just had. Took the tent down immediately after getting it all set up, but it’s good to keep the skills sharp. Headed inside, but not before being given a jar of moose meat by the neighbour (YUM!).
Managed to make it through three innings of the Jays game with Joan & Ray before having showers. We were so exhausted by the time we crawled into bed that we don’t remember falling asleep.

Tuesday, September 13
Slept in until 8:00 (!!) & felt great. Eggs & bacon for breakfast. Joan & Ray offered for us to stay another night & they would show us around a bit. It sounded great to us, so we got to see the stunning lookout at the old fort of Castle Hill (it was never captured, and with its massive sheer cliffs & superior sight lines we could see why!), the purple, rocky shoreline of Placentia Bay itself, & the lovely winding roads in between. Came home & spent the rest of the day doing a journal entry on the blog before a tasty lemon chicken dinner & another Jays game (made it to the 7th inning tonight!). Learned about “bedlunch”: the Newfoundland name for a bedtime snack. Off to bed fairly late & up tomorrow for another day of walking.

Wednesday, September 14
Woke up ready to hit the road again. Packed up and enjoyed toast & cereal for breakfast. It’s funny what a treat things like cereal & sandwiches are; they’re such simple things but we seldom get them, so really enjoy it when we do.
Ended up taking a 10km scenic detour, trying to hook up with the T’Railway again, but found it was still rather impassable unless we wanted wet feet.
Walked on the trail for ~10 miutes, during which time we met an elementary school teacher taking her class for a nature walk along the trail. She was amazed by the trip & we ended up doing an impromptu video interview with her.
Reached a road crossing the trail & proceeded to take it back out of town & came out on the highway 2km from where we started this morning, several hours before, so that was nice…
Hoofed it down Highway 1, as there really was no better option. It actually wasn’t too bad & although it didn’t feel like it, we made decent time to just about the Hwy 70 junction, where we stopped to rest in some shade & ended up meeting David, a ~55 year old man who owned a cottage down the lane we were resting on. He gave us water & told us we could camp just down the lane way¬†at a picnic shelter, which we quickly accepted as it was going to get dark in ~2 hours at 19:45.
Set up the tent & then went to make dinner. We stewed our rice with the moose meat we were given & picked some of the plentiful blueberries & added those. Also got out the bread Joan had given us & we had a feast! During dinner we met another cottager, who was visiting from Alberta & then after that, a talkative Mr. Miller, who is a self-proclaimed “townie” from St. John’s who considers this (the cottage row off the highway) to be the bush! He gave us water & drank a beer with us & left just when we were worrying he never would; we had to still do our dishes, brush our teeth & put away our food & the sun was quickly setting!
People in Newfoundland seem to be terrified of driving at night & will greatly inconvenience themselves just to avoid it. We can’t say we blame them; it sounds like the moose really run the place!
We are ~3 days from St. John’s, & though I don’t want the trip to end & will miss it greatly, my body is definitely ready for a lifestyle that doesn’t require walking exorbitant distances with 50lbs on my back. We both love this lifestyle & don’t want to give it up, but we also will be very happy to have plumbing & a kitchen, & trying to find safe places to sleep in the tent is certainly not as simple as it was up North on the first half of the trip.
Replaced a foot on my walking pole today. I carried it from Ontario, so we might as well use it!

Thursday, September 15
Whew! Survived another big day. It was aggressively misting when we woke up, so we were happy to be under the picnic shelter. I hardly slept last night; for some reason I lay awake nearly all night, half-dozing. Dan got up before me & made breakfast – what a treat! He looks after me so well.
It stopped raining by the time we were on the road at 9 & we had a great day of cool weather & the occasional light rain- didn’t even need our shoe covers! We even got chilly at some points with the wind which, after the blistering hot summer, was actually really nice.
Made great time down highway 1 & then turned up highway 90 to Holyrood. Just before the intersection with Hwy 60, we stopped at a house to see if we could fill up our water there.
A kind old man answered the door & quickly filled our bottles & gave us cushions to sit on on the bench on the porch for a break. He also announced that he was cooking moose tongue… it smelled good! He¬†came out with 2 glasses & a carton of milk for us – what a treat! He soon also came out with a plate full of moose sausages he barbecued yesterday. He said it is from a moose he got just across the road from his house. The sausages were delicious; we ate all but 3 of them! We returned the plate to him & he packaged the sausages to take with us, throwing in a few more for good measure. He also sent us off with some cookies!
Continued on our way & enjoyed the scenic views of the mountains & the ocean around Holyrood. Decided to walk as much as possible today since the weather was great for it & got in a solid 40km. It took an hour to find somewhere to sleep tonight. Had 3 or 4 straight-up rejections- more in one night than we had in the rest of the country combined! Finally found a place to sleep in a lovely sheltered grove at the home of David & Arlene, the latter of which came to give us tea & a few snacks. Only 35km to go!!!

Friday, September 16¬†– Last day on the road! Ramble Canada reaches St. John’s!
Well, we made it to St. John’s……!!
Our hearts are far from ready for the trip to be over, but our bodies were ready about 3 months ago. We got a slow start to the hot day, but we just kept pressing on & didn’t even stop during the last 12 kms for a break… we were so excited to be so close!
When the trip started all the way back in Inuvik, every step felt like a drop in the ocean- so minuscule and insignificant. When we woke up this morning & started walking, each step felt like a giant leap towards the end, and we could hardly pay attention to our sore, swollen feet for just wanting to get there.
Spent the day on the T’Railway, which was vastly improved since Holyrood, which made for a nice walk into town. Made an operational improvement to our sock management strategy at km 11, 058 / 11, 100. Better late than never!
Looked like a couple of nuts dancing and jumping when we reached the “Welcome to St. John’s” sign, & proceeded to sprint through town & a ton of road construction (we got to walk past all the traffic through the operational side of the construction site!) to the Ramada where we planned on treating ourselves at. We plan on spending several days in the city to relax & enjoy it. They gave us a free night in a king room! We couldn’t believe we had made it & promptly took off all our gear & SAT DOWN!
Phoned our parents when we got upstairs to tell them we made it, then went to the hotel’s restaurant & proceeded to eat a HUGE dinner, compliments of the hotel! We were so tired that I actually almost fell asleep during dinner. What a relaxing end to a grueling day. We’re too tired to even process the emotions involved with finally reaching our end goal of the entire trip… WOW!!
It is weird to think that we don’t have to pick up our packs again in earnest (we used the bellhop dolly to get them upstairs from the lobby!). It’s sad to think that this incredible life that we’ve been living is over. Even Saskatchewan feels like a dream now, to say nothing of the Northwest Territories… they were only a few months ago, yet it really feels like a lifetime.
Maybe tomorrow we’ll have the mental aptitude to process all this, but right now, we can’t wait to just lie down and know we don’t have to stand on our poor feet until morning!

Endgame- St. John’s, Signal Hill, the Tablelands, and Gros Morne
This is a speedy recap of the highlights of our remaining few weeks after finishing the walk but before returning home.
We spent a lovely several days exploring St. John’s, enjoying pack-free strolls along the waterfront and a celebratory evening on George Street. The juxtaposition of our quiet start in the small town of Inuvik against our arrival in the hustle and bustle of the large city of St. John’s was a thought that kept striking me. Humourous as it was, it also seemed impossible, yet here we were!
We braved a blustery day and took the bus out to Signal Hill to hike along the trails there. We were treated to spectacular lookouts and moody views with the fog over the Narrows & St. John’s Harbour.

Because we we had to go home via the Port-aux-Basques ferry on the other side of the island (the Argentia ferry closes for the year mid-September), we decided we’d better check out Gros Morne National Park on the way. Since we were finished the walk, we got to take a leisurely bus ride across in just a few hours!
We spent the night in Deer Lake, where the highway splits and either goes down to Port-aux-Basques or up towards Gros Morne. We checked out the Salvation Army and picked up some blankets & warmer clothing to keep us warm during the chilly nights… we could load up since we didn’t have to carry it!
We rented a car to go up to Gros Morne because then we would actually be able to get to all the various hikes (it’s a very spread-out park) and could see a lot more during our time there. What a treat! We zipped up into the park & marveled at the ancient mountains & the beautiful fall colours that were beginning to blanket the mountainsides. We also enjoyed a foggy, but scenic hike along the Coastal Trail.

We went for several (pack-free!!) hikes & spent some time just relaxing in the park. It was a wonderful way to wind down from finishing the walk without having to rush back to Toronto.
The highlight of the park was definitely our very casual 45-minute hike up Gros Morne mountain (400m of elevation), taking only one 5-minute break to stop for water. We’d gotten pretty good at walking, it would appear. Once we reached the top, we were treated to views that rivaled that of the Tombstone mountain range in the Yukon. We saw lots of ptarmigan clucking around getting ready for the winter. There were also many beautiful waterfalls cutting their channels through the granite to reach ponds & rivers 400 meters below. On our way back down the mountain, we made a friend, Enric, who was just beginning his cross-Canada journey in a car. We invited him back to our campsite for dinner & then later got to meet up with him once we got home in Toronto & he was passing through!


On our second last day, we went with Enric to the Western Brook Pond boat tour through the fjord. We got to look down at the mountains from Gros Morne, and now we got to look up at them from the water! It was very chilly on the way back in the boat, but the three of us came prepared!


The last day in the park was a cold & rainy one, but that just meant we had the Tablelands all to ourselves!
The Tablelands are a region of Gros Morne National Park where the Earth’s mantle was actually pushed up to the surface by the force of two plates colliding around half a billion years ago. The rock, peridotite, is low in many nutrients, but high in iron, which accounts for its red colour. Peridotite also contains toxic amounts of heavy metals. Needless to say, the Tablelands make for a rather barren landscape. Pretty cool!!
Unfortunately, the fog was low, so we didn’t get to see the tops of them very much, but it was still an unforgettable experience. There was a striking difference between one side of the highway, with the lush, green mountainsides, and the other side of the highway, with the red, barren Tablelands.


We had only spent 4 days in Gros Morne and it was already time to head out; we were meeting my mom (and Moose!!) in North Sydney the next day, where she would drive us home. We were both very excited and very sad. We could have spent a lifetime in Gros Morne! On our way back through Deer Lake, we stopped at the Newfoundland Insectarium, where we saw all manner of insects, including a live bee colony! They had just recently lost their queen (she had just swarmed with about 10, 000 other bees from the colony), so it was fascinating to observe them going about trying to re-queen themselves. This is something I could get into on a Royal Tyrrell Museum magnitude, and will cut it short here to avoid doing just that.

 

The return home
We met my mom (and Moose!!) early on September 27 in North Sydney after an uneventful (thank you very much!) 6-hour ferry ride back to Nova Scotia. We had a lot of fun retracing in just a few days the paths that took us months to walk.
We made a stop to play in the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick. Canada has so many geological treasures to explore; we’re so spoiled! We were having such a blast that we accidentally stayed until after the park closed, but a nice staff member kindly saw us off. Unfortunately my camera battery died so we only got a few photos!

And then one night, after many many months, we were finally home. The trip was officially over and it was now time to try and put our lives back together and return to the real world. It was a strange feeling to know that we were now finished what will probably¬†be the coolest thing either one of us would ever do. We’re glad we kept all those journals, took all those photos, and wrote all those blog posts so we can look back on it in 10 years and remember it in detail!

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The glorious return to Toronto

Toronto was very overwhelming as we slowly made our way through the various traffic jams to home (thanks for driving, Mom!!), but slowly we are getting used to the hustle and bustle, the noise and lights, and the pace of life once more… and we thought St. John’s was big!
Although we were sad to be finished, we were very excited to take a shower & sleep in our own bed, and to know that we could do it again tomorrow! We were also really looking forward to a reunion with all our friends.

We threw a “Ramble Parents Appreciation Dinner” for our parents, where we cooked for them like we did every day on the road- oatmeal for the first course, trail mix for the second, and dehydrated lasagna for the third. They even sat outside on the ground with us, even though it was raining (we told them they were just getting the best value because of it- this was the true Ramble Canada experience! We let them eat inside once we had finished cooking on our stove). Usually we don’t get dessert on the road, but my mom had a surprise for us: a huge ice cream cake painted with the Canadian flag! Woo hoo!!

Although the trip is over, we had seen so much, met so many people, and learned so many things that will stay with us forever. We learned a lot about ourselves and where we want to go with our lives and what truly matters to us. We had inspired many people to go out and explore Canada in their own way, and that made us feel like the trip did some good not only for ourselves, but for other people as well.
There’s still so much out there left to see just in our own country, and whether it be on foot, bike, car, train, or something else, I know that one day in the future we will feel the itch to Ramble Canada once more!

Oh Canada!


There we have it! The conclusion to the journey of a lifetime. Thank you so much to all of you who followed us along the way on the blog and offered us your words of encouragement; there were definitely times along the road where we pushed ourselves beyond the point of breaking because we knew we had all of you behind us.
Stay tuned for a few more posts that will trickle in over the next several weeks as we get our final thoughts and feelings into words and post them here.

We did it!!!

After over 11, 000 kilometers and 11 months of walking- ¬†not to mention the year and a half off in between- we finally made it to St. John’s, Newfoundland!

It was an incredible journey and we can’t wait to update you all fully on our last leg of the adventure. Right now though, we are scrambling to get our lives back in order and get an apartment in Toronto again before we start working and living in the real world in less than two weeks. That means we might not have the time to give the full update for a few weeks yet, but rest assured there are lots of journal entries, tons of photos, and some very exciting news to be had!

Until then, we hope everyone is enjoying the fall. We got to enjoy it three times over this year because it had started in Newfoundland when we were there, and we got to watch it begin all through the Maritimes on our drive home, and it is just starting here now in Toronto! The colours were beautiful and we can’t wait to share the photos with you!

Your faithful (and only slightly sore!) Ramblers,
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Sarah & Dan

 

 

Journal Entry – August 22 to September 11

This will most likely be our second-last journal entry… what an overwhelming thought! We have a great opportunity today to update the blog so get ready for an entry that takes you all the way up to the ferry ride to *dun dun duuunnn!* NEWFOUNDLAND!

Also, we’re pretty sure we miss August 21 in these online journal entries; we mailed our last¬†journals home & our new ones start on the 22nd. We remember that we spent the day on the TCT in PEI & stopped for water at the home of a very Canadian guy. He was extremely helpful & nice & he had two nice dogs. Later on, another friendly man found us in his car & gave us a bag of food, which we ate for dinner that night. We spent a lovely night camped on the side of the trail reading Dragonlance.

Monday, August 22
Eugh. What a gross day! Literally the grossest, most humid day of the entire trip. It was very humid & so our sweat never really dried out & we became horrendously sticky. Our shorts are soaked with sweat, not to mention our shirts & packs. Just couldn’t dry out today!
A good day all the same; 31 km down the Trail with only a few mosquito hordes throughout. Enjoyed hiking along the empty trails & having a bit more solitude than has been common since Quebec. We became rather annoyed today with the trail markers. They had been counting up from 0 km at Charlottetown towards 62 km at the ferry junction, where we were headed. After km 32 the markers reset in the middle of the trail at 17 km with no explanation whatsoever.
Rained lightly on & off in the afternoon (somehow we managed to feel drier in the rain today than without it) & it looks like it will be a rainy night.
Had a dishearteningly slow first half of the day, which we think was caused by too small a dinner last night; my legs were simply tired & I lagged behind Dan all morning. Stopped for an early dinner on the trail (wagon wheel pastas!) & felt much peppier once the energy from that kicked in.
Knocked on the door of a kind man named Garfield to fill our water. He seemed a bit aloof at first, but warmed up as quickly as the leftovers on his stove, both of which he was keen to tell us about. Had quite a nice chat for about 10 minutes before heading back on our way.
Walked for another 3kms before finding a lovely rest site along the trail. Dragonflies are out in numbers tonight, which is both fun to watch & extremely nice as the mosquitoes were getting bad again as we were getting into camp. The dragonflies did such a good job however that we could actually stand around in our underwear while we made camp & tried in a last ditch effort to dry anything out. Hung a clothesline in the shelter to hang our sweat-soaked clothing on overnight in the hopes that it might be dry in the morning.
Just as we were getting in the tent, it started pouring. We were very happy to have everything all set up for the night so we are nice and dry. Hopefully this means tomorrow won’t be so humid!
Tomorrow we will get up early and make a bee-line for the 9:30 Wood Island ferry to Caribou, Nova Scotia!

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Tuesday, August 23
Made it to Nova Scotia!
Up at 4 & off before 5 to make sure we would catch the ferry [we had a several hour-long walk to get to the ferry]. Our clothes were still on the line & still damp, but we told ourselves it was from the rain, not our sweat, to make ourselves feel better about it.
Enjoyed a moonlit walk until we reached the ferry just after dawn. There is no wildlife to really be wary of on the Island – no bears, moose, cougars etc., so we didn’t have to worry about bumping into them in the wee hours of the morning. What an interesting feeling!
Got to the visitor’s center at 6:45 to learn it opens at 9 (not really a surprise). We really wanted to get our certificates for walking on PEI’s bit of the Trans Canada Trail, something they had advertised in their TCT pamphlet we picked up, but alas, we wouldn’t be able to catch the ferry in time as it is about a 45 minute walk to the ferry from the visitor center.
Read more of our Agatha Christie & had bacon & eggs at the ferry terminal for breakfast. The ferry was running an hour late, possibly due to the very high winds (we’re talking Manitoba winds here!) and the fact that one of the ferries is unexpectedly out of commission at the moment.
After boarding the ferry, we were soon on our way & shuttled across to Nova Scotia through the wind & the waves.
Made our way to Pictou for our package & our new Dragonlance novel (thanks, Mom!) & made a quick, uneventful walk to New Glasgow, where we treated ourselves to a hotel room and showers (!!!) & laundry (!!!) for the night.
Managed to reduce a lot of weight from my pack lid. I always carry the province map & whatever literature we have, which grows as we go & needs purging every so often. Also looked at our route ahead: we will take mainly highway 4, but will sometimes be spat out onto the Trans Canada Highway. We expect it to be a bit of a rough 7-10 days, but should be much better on Cape Breton Island.

Wednesday, August 24
So we got a bit distracted today. We are no longer on highway 4.
Had a great sleep & awoke to breakfast in bed, thanks to Dan! Watched the Jays highlights & headed downstairs for the rest of breakfast.
Windy & cloudy today, so¬†nice & cool¬†for walking. Started the day off up on Fraser’s Mountain Road which, as the name promised, was a big uphill slog. The view was beautiful though, so well worth it. Nova Scotia is, apparently, a rather hilly place. We spent the day on windy roads & in the trees. It reminded us a lot of the Northern Ontario roads.
Our plan to walk highway 4 lasted until about lunchtime when the woman whose shady lawn we were resting on sold us on the 245, the “Sunrise Trail” up to Cape George & down to Antigonish. It sounds like a great route! People call it the “mini Cabot Trail”.
We got onto the 245 sort of near the end of the day. On the last break of the day, a truck drove past us & asked if we were lost or looking for a place to sleep. We quickly accepted their offer to put our tent in their yard just down the road, eat ribs for dinner & have showers. Husband Ross was having his birthday, so there was even cake! We also met wife Charlene, their three kids & their affectionate dog & cat Gilbert & Urius. We learned it was a very busy time for their family, but despite everything going on they still somehow found the time to take in & host 2 wanderers & shower us with hospitality.
We enjoyed the company of them all very much all evening before we put in a call to Command Central (aka my Mom) to order the Port Hastings package, namely Dan’s Dempster boots, as his current shoes developed a hole in the left heel today.
My feet have been very painful lately with a few bumps on the bones & what we are worried might be the beginnings of bunions, which is worrisome. We really hope they will last the final few hundred kilometers.

Thursday, August 25
Woke up this morning still worried about my feet, & realized we should have also ordered my roomier Dempster boots to Port Hastings to alleviate the bunions, so put in an emergency call to Command Central to amend our order.
Ross fed us Cream Wheat, toast & jam, fruit & coffee for breakfast & sent us of with $20 for the road ahead! It still amazes us how nice people all over are & how much they want to help us, two complete strangers.
We also photographed my feet with Charlene’s phone & emailed the photos to Dr. Puri with a promise to phone him¬†next time we find a phone¬†to see what he advises.
A slow day on the road because we had to stop several times to try & phone my mom to make sure she got this morning’s phone message & to see if Dr. Puri thinks my feet are going to fall apart or not. Good news all around: Mom got the message & both our boots are already en route & Dr. Puri says this is normal for feet that have walked for over 10 000 kilometers in such a fashion & that as long as I don’t push too hard & rest them as much as I can I should be able to finish the trip without doing permanent damage. What a relief!
On the way to find a phone, we met a kindly old woman who called the paper about us & who also came by later to drop off food for lunch & the subsequent reporter who was dispatched to conduct another side-of-the-road interview & get the full Ramble scoop for “the Evening News”.
Stocked up at a store for the road to Antigonish & basically spent the rest of the day melting in the ~35¬įC weather. We both feel very creaky today. Dan’s back was bothering him a bit, and throughout the morning his knee had become sore. I have been changing my insoles between my old, softer¬†ones and new, more supportive¬†ones as we walk because it seems to help alleviate the pain in those bumps on my feet. Neither of us really wants the end of the trip to come, but both of our bodies definitely do!
The first house we knocked on to ask to camp looked very friendly with flowers and gardens and a “buzz on in” bee-themed lawn sign, but no one was home (nobody ever is at the first house for some reason, so it’s important to get it out of the way early!). We often think on this trip, “how different would our night / evening / experience be if we ended up at this house instead of that?”. Ended the day at the home of a nice couple, Gary & Marie, &¬†are¬†camped in their roomy backyard. Wagon wheel pastas for dinner & an early night for us!

Friday, August 26
Quite a big day today. The weather required a good bit of wizarding (good thing we are Expert level Weather Wizards now!)¬†to know we weren’t going to get rained on,¬† & we enjoyed a mostly cloudy sky & thusly cooler temperatures. Made good distance under the cloud cover – 28km today – & ended up taking a break in the shade of someone’s tree before walking the final 10km to Georgeville.


We asked the guy who answered the door if we could camp in his yard, but it turned out it was actually the guy’s parents’ house & they weren’t home so we said we would move on. Tried a door ~5km down the road & the people there told us there was a great spot down by the beach for camping, but it required a good bit of backtracking & our feet were sore by this point so we decided to test our luck & move on again. Continued on down the way for what felt like forever when we saw a car & trailer that we had recognized from earlier in the day pull into the next driveway ahead of us.
The driveway led to a bit of a run-down house which was clearly undergoing renovations. As we stood at the end of the driveway wondering if the men who had driven up the driveway were too busy for us to bother, we were hailed by one of the two men there, Rob, who asked if we needed a place to sleep. Rob is a retired teacher from BC with a passion for cedar & a house he was renovating almost entirely in the stuff. I’d never seen so much cedar used in so many different ways in my life and, as a carpenter myself, I have to say I was impressed by Rob’s creativity and enthusiasm.
We gratefully accepted Rob’s offer to pitch our tent in the yard & come in for showers & dinner, but first we helped install a lovely cedar fascia board on the house. Over dinner, we were treated to a brief lecture on the virtues of BC cedar as we sat on a great impromptu cedar bench Rob had made. It was definitely neat to see all the different samples of cedar Rob had; some of them were OLD!
Over a spaghetti dinner, Rob told us his girlfriend is teaching a cooking class in Antigonish & that we were enthusiastically invited. He then proceeded to serenade us on his guitar while we ate dinner. What a treat!
After dinner, we were bundled into his car, along with his violin he was going to play at the cooking class (apparently tonight’s theme is “Italian”) & we were off. Once we arrived at the building, we made our way inside & took the elevator up to the second floor with Rob (“Who is this Otis [the name of the elevator manufacturer]? He’s everywhere; I’d like to meet him.”) where the class was taking place. In the class, Rob soon pulled out his violin & played for everyone while the teacher (his girlfriend, Elena) did some preparations.¬†He was very good! We chatted with the other people in the class, who asked a ton of questions about the trip. It was¬†an enjoyable end to our evening & we¬†thoroughly appreciated our second dinner. It was a very late night (for us- probably about 9:30)¬†but well worth it. After class, we met Elena. She is a very bubbly & enthusiastic woman who said we are welcome to come stay at her place in Antigonish if & when we needed to.
Went back to Georgeville with Rob before passing out immediately for the night. What a day!

Saturday, August 27
Awoke to a breakfast of bacon & eggs thanks to Elena, who had come to Georgeville for the night. After breakfast, she said we were welcome to come to her place in Antigonish & use the internet, do laundry, & generally rest up for however many days we would like. The forecast for the next several days was poor & we were tired so we quickly accepted & packed up the tent post-haste.
Drove with Elena to Antigonish. She dropped us off at her place before heading off to a class she was taking. It’s a very nice, old house in a nice location for us- easy to get just about anywhere on foot. We settled in & got ourselves set up to watch the Jays game that afternoon. We also met the friendly chinchilla, Smokey.

Sunday, August 28
Another lazy day at Elena’s. It’s funny to be in Antigonish for a few rest days, only to head back to Georgeville & walk back to Antigonish in another few days. We’re super glad for the rest, though!

Monday, August 29
Another lazy day. Took a walk in between breaks in the rain & accidentally walked out of town. We guess when you walk as much as we do, it’s easy to go far without noticing it! Got rained on on the way home, but it was alright because we had a place with a roof and dry things to go back to!
Ate dinner with Rob & Elena in Antigonish before a quick photo op in the kitchen & then packing up & heading back out to Georgeville to begin walking again tomorrow morning.
Back at Rob’s, we got ourselves set up in the spare room upstairs. It was pouring rain with very strong winds, so we were happy to be inside, especially with Dan’s hole in his shoe.
All set upstairs, we went & brushed our teeth & found some Architectural Digest magazines from the late 80s-early 90s & had fun flipping through them to laugh at the advertisements. They were very big on watches, fountain pens, more watches & gold-gilt cutlery back then!
Off to bed at 8:00! The days are getting shorter again.

Tuesday, August 30
Woke up early & well-rested. Ate breakfast, packed up, said our goodbyes to Rob & headed off at 10 to 8.
Our bodies actually felt rested after so much time off. A great day for walking- windy cloudy & cool-, so we made great time & ended up getting 3/4 of the way to our destination of Lakevale before lunch. We don’t want to overshoot our goals in the next two days because it would put us too close to the big city of Antigonish, & we don’t like sleeping that close to large populations.
Stopped for lunch at a Ballentyne’s Cove lookout. Decided to rest for a while since we were close to the end of our day. A car pulled up & 4 people our age got out & started chatting with us. It was actually really nice to talk to people our own age (we realized it’s been a while!) & we fear we may have talked their ears off for it. They are all from the Hamilton, Ontario area, which was neat [this is close to where we live]. They gave us apples, grapes, & granola bars, as well as a few other treats! We hung out a little over an hour before we went our separate ways.
Walked just a few kilometers more before knocking on a door & meeting Stella, Tommy, & their 11 year-old dachshund, Sam. Sam was very cute & friendly, with a tail that never stopped wagging & little feet that danced a mile a minute. Stella & Tommy are very kindly folks who treated us to some barbeque for dinner! We sat & chatted for a few hours after dinner & then it was off to bed for us.

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We took a photo of the inside of our tent for some of our curious readers. You will notice Dragonlance all ready for reading right in the center and the lovely prints our little Moose the dog left on the back of the tent when she was on the Bruce with us! They are a nice momento for us, and kind of like wall art, to go with all the blood splatters from the mosquitoes.

Wednesday, August 31
What a great day! Started out by eating cereal, eggs & toast thanks to Stella & Tommy, packing up camp, much to the¬†fascination of Tommy¬†(we had moved our camp indoors as the tent had been attacked by a curious fox in the night, akin to Oskar’s terrifying morning on the Dempster Highway all that time ago), & receiving a care package of clementines, blueberry cake, a goody bag of chocolate & candies & $20 with a sweet note to stay safe! Thanked them profusely & headed off for a hot day of walking, aimed for Antigonish Landing, 3km shy of Antigonish itself.
Uneventful morning, then around noon, Murray pulled up in the road & asked where we were walking from. He gave us his business card & told us to call him when we get close to Antigonish & he would host us. Sounded good to us!
Continued on down the road with a pep in our step, sights now set on Antigonish proper since we now had a place to sleep in the city.
Later on in the afternoon, we tried asking a friendly-looking man if we could use his phone to call our new friend Murray. We have since learned that one does not simply ask a Canadian if you can use their phone.
Four apples, a bulb of¬†garlic, three tomatoes (all selected from their garden), a jar of lobster meat, a jar of strawberry jam, and a box of Ritz crackers later, we remembered we had actually come to use the phone & got a hold of Murray, who said we were all set to go and to meet him at Antigonish’s university when we got there later that day. After thanking the kind folks who had let us use their telephone and their garden, we worked very hard to turn down a ride into town & made our way the last 7kms into Antigonish.
On the way, we had a surprise appearance by Tommy, who was headed further afield and stopped to say hello, which was nice! We also met a young pair of guys who were blown away by the concept of the trip. They¬†were unable to provide us with an update on the Blue Jays (“Sorry guys, I… I just wear the shirt…”), but the cinnamon rolls they offered us were more than enough consolation.
Managed to find Murray’s office at the university where we met him & his other co-workers & then he took us to¬†the¬†on-campus accommodations of Kent, the university’s president, where we will be staying tonight! He then took us to Kent’s house for a barbeque dinner with one of the school’s rugby teams.
Had showers, ate burgers & chicken, Murray bought us trail mix (!) & then we were home & doing laundry & watching the Blue Jays before passing out in a big comfy bed! Tomorrow Murray will take us for breakfast at the meal hall & then we will do an interview with one of his co-workers.

 

Thursday, September 1
Had a great sleep & awoke at 10 to 6 feeling rested. Got packed & headed off for all-we-could-eat breakfast at the meal hall with Murray- French toast, grapefruit, eggs, even ice cream!
Had a bit of a misadventure trying to conduct an interview Murray & his marketing & communications guy tried to set up. Eventually managed to meet up back in the apartment with the reporter and did a bit of an interview before heading out for the day.
After a long day, we arrived in Port Hastings in the pouring rain & bummed around the visitor center after receiving our last shipment of the whole trip at the post office (thanks, Mom!)! The lady at the tourist center told us of a motel in town that was cheap but very nice & we headed there so we could dry our stuff out & spend the rest of the evening planning our route through Cape Breton Island.
The motel turned out to be great, & the lady who worked there very kindly shuttled us to Port Hawkesbury & back for groceries, which meant we could eat something great for dinner as our motel room even had a kitchenette with a stove!
Had a great night full of food & generally lazing around before settling down in bed for the night.

Friday, September 2
Had an unfortunately poor night due to the guy in the next room over snoring away, but Dan made breakfast while he let me sleep (he didn’t notice the guy snoring!), which was super nice! Bacon, eggs & potatoes!
Got ourselves in working order & mailed my shoes & our latest pair of journals home.
On the road under a lovely, cloudy sky. Saw a huge bit of bear scat with whole blueberries in it. What a silly bear! Quickly got ourselves off of the main highway & on to the Long Stretch Road. It was a bit of a throwback to the first half of the trip: it felt like it was remote, bush-lined, gravel surface, little traffic.
Stopped at a gypsum quarry for lunch & an old man stopped to chat & he gave us ice cream sandwiches!
Soon afterwards it started to rain pretty hard. Got caught unaware because we were busy writing a song & were in our own little world… hardly like Weather Wizards! Got our rain gear on & walked on until we reached a house & knocked on the door asking for water. Ended up being invited in, eating cheesecake & dinner at the home of Anne-Marie & her playful maltese pup, Lucy.
We will stay here tonight as the place we were planning on stopping at actually is just a dump & we had no desire to hang out with the dump bears tonight.

Saturday, September 3
A fairly uneventful day. After a blueberry pancake breakfast we got on the road nice & early. Made some easy distance under some merciful cloud cover before it heated up in the afternoon. Stopped about half way to Orangedale to fill up on water at the home of a very friendly couple.
Took a walk on a decommissioned railroad, which was tiring, but a nicer route. Stopped in Orangedale for the night & read several chapters of Dragonlance in the tent before retiring for an early night.

Sunday, September 4
Another good day today, though long & hot in the afternoon. The nights are starting to cool down again, which is a relief. The fireweed is finished & the goldenrod is beginning to wilt. Another season under our belts! We enjoy watching them change ever so slowly as we walk.
Took the tracks again today to get across the water, saving us about an hour on our 30km walk today. Got stopped in the afternoon a few times by people who had heard of us from Paula & Gary all the way back in PEI! How funny. Came in & rested at one of their houses briefly while we cooled down.
Arrived at our destination in Iona, the cottage of a friend of Dan’s mom’s (thanks, Michele!). Another one of Michele’s friends is also staying here currently, so we’ve got some company. We expect we will take advantage of being here to relax¬†& rest our feet for several days.

Monday, September 5 to Friday, September 9
Spent the week loafting big time & nursing our poor feet. The bumps on my feet have grown to¬†~0.5cm in diameter on both the top & side each. They are painful now, but the frequent rests we’ve been getting seem to help. My feet are beginning to resent the constant impact while I’m wearing my pack… we’re so close to St. John’s now though that I’m sure we’ll make it.
Michele’s friend Nureen took us for groceries so we could stock up for the week, which was awesome! Spent a few days hanging out with Nureen until she left on the 7th, so we’ve had the place to ourselves.
Did a bunch of puzzles of varying Canadian themes, which was a treat. Watched a few movies, caught a Jays game at the pub down the road, ate some baked goods an unknown benefactor had dropped off at the door for us,¬†had a game of catch & baked some pizza. Woke up before dawn on the 8th & went kayaking on Bras D’Or Lake. It was a ton of fun but now our harms hurt… they hardly get used at all on the walking trip!
We are spending our last day relaxing & will leave bright & early tomorrow to finish the last 50 km of Nova Scotia off & make the Sunday ferry to Newfoundland!

Saturday, September 10
What a great day! Set out from the cottage around 7:30 & headed out under a nice, cloudy sky. Happened upon the Christmas Island community fair, where we chatted for a bit with a very nice man who was very interested in the trip. He really wanted us to stay for the fair, & we wished we could have, but we had a ferry to catch!
Walked on for several more hours & had just sat down for lunch when a car pulled up & a woman got out with a bag of food for us! It turned out to be Murdell, who was also the person who dropped the baked goods for us at the cottage! It was very nice to meet our mysterious benefactor & we enjoyed chatting with her for quite a while.
Ended the day just a few km outside of North Sydney & ended up knocking on the door of Gwen & Art, a couple of grandparents who are just getting ready to move to Saskatchewan! We were very happy to hear about it as we have somehow developed a real soft spot for the prairie province.
Gwen is a lovely woman who is very kind & hard-working. Art is a wonderful man with a youthful twinkle in his eye. They invited us in for dinner & are going to make us fried lobster, eggs & bacon for breakfast tomorrow! They have a beautiful backyard full of mature hardwoods, a spruce grove & plenty of nooks & crannies full of wildflowers, all in the space of a suburban backyard.
In other news, my feet thanked me for the week of pampering by being excruciatingly painful today. They are so ready to be done the trip I think!

Sunday, September 11 – Ferry Day! or Night of Ham
Slept well, but were both tired this morning. Ate our delicious breakfast & walked into town. Art barely held back his tears as he said goodbye & they made us promise to come say hello on our way back home, which we most definitely will do. p1080943
Loitered around waiting for stores to open & then armed ourselves with food & entertainment for the 16-hour boat ride (this included a large, complex cross-stitch craft… don’t judge!).
Couldn’t exchange Dragonlance for a new book as the places to do this at were closed today, so we headed on over to the ferry with plenty of time to spare to get our tickets.
The ferry terminal had really cool doors that slid up & sideways apart from each other to let you into the passenger waiting area when you scanned your ticket. We felt like James Bond!
Packed our daypack with everything we would need during the trip & checked our packs. Then it was time to take the shuttle over to the ferry! Ready or not, we were on our way to Newfoundland! The ferry would leave North Sydney, NS at 17:30 & arrive in Argentia, NL at 10:00 the next day.
We apologize for not getting any photos on the ferry… we fully intended to, but ended up rather preoccupied by other events.
After getting on the ferry, our night quickly fell apart but the boat didn’t sink, so it was all okay in the end. First, we settled in to watch the Jays play a terrible game of ball, & also¬†realized we had already lost one of our two cross-stitch needles (thank goodness we bought a spare!). That part of the night was bad, but at least it wasn’t gross. Not like dinner time.

This is where we feel we should¬†put a disclaimer of some sort. The rest of the night was pretty gross, but also pretty hilarious. You don’t have to read it, but if you want a good laugh at my expense, I suggest you do. It’s pretty funny if you can get past the ham.

Then we went to dinner on the ferry, but the sea was rough that night & I was beginning to feel motion sick [I am prone to this, but we never thought to get Gravol or anything for it because I have been okay enough on all the other ferry rides… the middle of the ocean on a stormy night is much worse though, as we learned!]. The water was very rough & I felt worse as the night went on. I ended up eating very little for dinner, which was sad because we had paid $25 for it, but was also good because I promptly threw it up shortly thereafter. Luckily, we had already enlisted the help of a very motherly staff member who got me a barf bag (actually she got me six of them & it was literally just in time), a box of Kleenex (which came in handy for blowing the rest of the barf out of my nose – chunks of ham & beets, mostly – [“Oh, did it smell bad, Dan? Geez, I’m sorry. I couldn’t smell because my nose was full of ham.” -actual quote from Ramble Canada], lots of crackers, a bucket of ice to suck on, & 4 Gravol pills to take over the night, which I’m not sure worked for me, but I think you’re supposed to take them before you start upchucking your ham & beets. She was very nice & stayed with us until I was more okay¬†/ less bad, whichever way you want to look at it. She said a lot of people on the ferry were sick tonight, and we would believe it. Many people commented on the rough waters, but we doubted any had as many used barf bags to prove it!
We attempted to go down to the theatre deck, which the lady said should be a bit less rocky, but I threw up again on the way there while Dan rubbed my back (he didn’t need to hold my hair because I had my adventurer braid in!), which was nice. After throwing up for several minutes, during which I had a full, civil conversation with another concerned woman & had thoughts running through my head about how I wished I had chewed my dinner more thoroughly, we headed back upstairs to deposit my new barf bag in the garbage. Dan was impressed at the amount I threw up – two good, full bags of it – but if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it to the best of your ability, I say. He was also impressed at how little of a scene I made during all this. There are few things I do “like a proper lady”, but I suppose spewing ham out my nose is one of them.
Headed to the bathroom to use the toilets like a normal person & was a bit freaked out at how ghostly pale I looked when I saw myself in the mirrors, but chalked it up to the poor lighting. I also decided that my super drawn & saggy face was just a trick of the light as well. Meanwhile, outside the bathroom, Dan later informed me that he was keeping close watch on the time & wondering how long was too long before he sent someone in after me. But I surprised him with how well I was able to go into a washroom and come out in a reasonable amount of time without puking on anything!
Ended up finding recliner chairs in a dark, mostly empty theatre & Dan worked on the cross stitch while I sat kind of curled up under a blanket our kind crew member had given us & attempted to not throw up on the nice butterfly he was making. Somewhere in between that & falling sort-of asleep I managed to crawl to the bathroom to Рno! not throw up, thank you very much! Рbrush my teeth.
Settled in for a night of light, restless sleep, dreading the hours we’d have left on the boat once morning dawned.

NEWFOUNDLAND, HERE WE COME!

 

There we have it!¬†Providence saw it that I made my way off of the boat in the morning without any further incident, though there were a few close calls, & we have found ourselves in Dunville, Newfoundland! Here are a few teaser photos of the bit of scenery we’ve come across in our one day on the Island so far:

Journal Entry – July 29 to August 20

Hello from Charlottetown! We apologize for the long wait for a journal entry; we’ve had a good bit of trouble trying to get enough computer time to do a blog post. As a result, be prepared for a looong post. This Journal entry will take you all the way through New Brunswick and most of PEI!

Friday, July 29 РLast day in Québec
Was having a great sleep when we were awakened at 4:45 by the dumbest sound we’d ever heard. We were quite unimpressed when we realized it was a pair of cormorants who, by the sound of it, may or may not have been in the throes of death. We packed up & ate breakfast after going back to sleep until 7:00, then got our water refilled¬†(by the friendly people we had met across the street from the rest area where we were camped), & headed out.
Made it to the New Brunswick border at noon & here we sat, waiting out the hottest part of the day, eating our peanut butter wraps & some strawberry shortcake ice cream from the roadside shop.

After a triumphant walk into New Brunswick we stopped at a brightly adorned house to refill our water & ended up meeting who we affectionately call ‘Papi New Brunswick’. He invited us in & gave us some cold V-8 from the fridge (which, to our surprise & horror we loved… we must be officially old now!)¬†before showing us around his workshop, which was super cool. Papi builds & paints wooden lawn decorations like cowboys, windmills, etc. He was very good at it.
After leaving Papi’s, we walked for a bit longer before being waved at very enthusiastically by some folks across the street & ended up meeting Louise, Phillip, & Leo. Louise & Leo were over visiting Phillip, who was visiting from Banff, Alberta (Phillip has a summer home in New Brunswick). ¬†Louise immediately invited us in for beers, showers & laundry (!!!!!) & a big bowl of seafood chowder (!!)… we’ve been in New Brunswick for less than 6 hours & we’re already eating chowder. We will get to spend tonight inside. What a great welcome to a new province!

Saturday, July 30
Had a nice morning in Edmunston at the farmer’s market & the library. We have started seeing fireweed & huge berms of sweet clover again (which we haven’t really seen since the Yukon!), so the roadsides are bright and cheery.¬†After some thought, we have decided to try and get a ride¬†up to Dalhousie¬†so we can walk down the coast instead of through the interior. Walking from Dalhousie to Cape Jourimain (where we cross over to PEI)¬†will be a longer route than our original route from Edmunston to¬†¬†Cape Jourimain, but we think getting to see the coast will be worth it.
Before leaving town, we printed out a few photos we took to conduct an experiment. We are curious to know if we can use regular 4×6 photos we took as postcards. Will report back once we get the results.
Managed to catch a lift all the way to Dalhousie with a Qu√©bec woman & her dog, who were headed all the way to Trecadie-Sheila. Had a bit of a disorienting walk, trying to get our bearings, and eventually landed at the home of Francis, a very grandmotherly¬†woman who immediately asked us if we were lost & then invited us in for beers & a jigsaw puzzle. She offered us all the comforts of home all so rapidly we didn’t have time to accept one offer before she made the next. Francis is a very lively woman who just simply accepted us and the trip at face value. She¬†asked us a record-low of 1 question about the trip, and it was for planning purposes only. It was actually really refreshing not to have to explain ourselves like we so often do.
Ate some bacon & eggs for dinner (!), worked on the jigsaw puzzle (!), & then passed out in the guest room (!) for the night.

Sunday, July 31
Woke up & did some jigsaw while waiting for Francis to wake up. She offered for us to stay another night so she could take us to the parade going on in Dalhousie today. We thought the parade would be fun (& the extra day means we can finish the puzzle!), so we accepted. Francis drove us in to town a bit before the parade & said to call her when we wanted to come home. The parade was fun & we enjoyed seeing the town. The streets were all hung with colourful pennant banners & the floats were very festive. It was the ‘Bon Ami’ parade & was made up of floats from lots of neighbouring towns. Today was fun but we’re looking forward to being back on the road tomorrow.

Monday, August 1
Whoops, accidentally walked 38km today. We’re not sure how we didn’t notice! Left Francis’s house & headed out, shortly to be met by a detour sign. It said “local traffic only”, so we figured we could walk it. Once we were down the detour, a dog walker informed us that the bridge was out just up ahead & we wouldn’t be able to walk across. We sat down & pulled out the map to weight our options when the dog walker came back & offered us a ride back through the detour & to the other side of the bridge. We were very happy she did because the only way across was to retrace our steps & take the main highway for those 10km & the highway looked busy & hot.
Back on the road again, we continued under a hot, sunny sky until about noon when we asked to sit in someone’s yard to eat lunch & rest in the shade. The husband readily agreed to let us stay, & his wife came out shortly after with ice water & a bowl of strawberries. She asked us, “Well, are you staying then?” as if¬†obviously we were invited & it was just up to us to decide if we’d stay or not. We’ve been so spoiled lately that we actually turned the invitation down, but not before accepting the strawberries!
Continued walking for much of the day, taking a rest around 15:00 to get out of the heat. We came to a second detour late in the day, caused entirely by ourselves & a poorly-placed power plant.Our ill-thought out plan to get around it failed to work & resulted in many extra kms of walking. Dan got a piece of grit in his eye that persisted for several hours, despite our efforts to evict it. Luckily, it eventually worked its way out & all was well again. We finally made it to Belledune at around 19:00 & ended up knocking on the door of Suzanne. She took us down to her & her husband’s private seaside vacation trailer & we will sleep here tonight!

If you can’t taste the sea on the air, hear its gulls on the shoals, see its boats in the harbour, or feel its stiff breeze on your face, you can certainly smell it! I’d say it’s official; we’ve made it to the Atlantic!

Tuesday, August 2 – Day of kindness
Awoke after a very restful sleep. Got our affairs in order, left a thank you note for Suzanne & Daniel, & headed out for an arduous, long, entire 6¬†minutes before being implored by a one Jean-Guy to come to his house for a barbecue. It was still really early & we were looking forward to a full day of walking, but Jean-Guy was so earnest we didn’t have the heart (or the stomachs!) to turn him down. He said he & his wife Betty would have loved to have had us last night & it was too bad it was so early in the day & really¬†really wished we could come by & that it would be so special… how could we say no?! Fortunately, his house was down the road in the direction we were headed, & so we told him we would walk there & see him around lunch time._1080616
As promised, we made it to Jean-Guy’s house around noon, where we also met Betty. After a few entertaining stories from Jean-Guy’s exciting younger days, Betty offered us showers, which we jumped at the chance for. They fed us hot dogs (!) & Jean-Guy gifted us a pack of gum, which we regrettably (though not unpredictably) forgot. We had a photo op in the kitchen & then we were off, with a lovely offer from Jean-Guy & Betty to call them at the end of the day so they could pick us up & spend the night there tonight.
After leaving Jean-Guy’s, we walked for about 8 minutes, someone stopped on the side of the road in their car & yelled out the window, “Have you had lunch yet?”. It turned out to be Suzanne & Daniel! We replied to their question, “Only once so far!” & they proceeded to take us out for sushi. We got to chatting with them & —

Interruption here: As we write our journals under the shade of a tree, a woman in a truck pulled up & asked us if we’d like some cold water. We ended up in her backyard, bottles full, & eating as many¬†freezies as a Rambler’s heart could desire. We can’t even finish our journal entries about how nice people are because people keep interrupting us to be nice to us!

— heard about Daniel’s hitch-hiking days when he traveled all around Canada.¬†Daniel told us he was treated to a meal a few times while hitching & it made a big difference to him. We promised to pay it forward & look forward to the days when we are in a position to meet & help other travelers as much as we’ve been helped.¬†After lunch, we set out again. Found a payphone & called Mom to inquire about our package & couldn’t even manage to do that without a young man pulling up in his car & asking if we wanted to use his phone. After hanging up, we headed along uninterrupted for about 45 minutes until the Mr. Freeze incident noted above. Around late afternoon, we knocked on a door looking for water & got invited in for showers, which we quickly accepted¬†(it had been¬†really hot that day!)… two showers in one day! Ended up getting into town & ending the day in Bathurst. After a considerable struggle to find a pay phone, we got Jean-Guy on the phone and he & Betty dispatched themselves at once to come collect us. They fed us steak, rice & salad & put us directly to bed shortly after!
Today we were in a camper trailer, two houses, a restaurant, a pool shed, & took two showers… we’re not sure what to call it, but we’re sure it’s some sort of record.

Wednesday, August 3
Had a leisurely morning with Jean-Guy & Betty. Betty normally cooks, but Jean-Guy was so excited to have us over that he wanted to make breakfast himself. Eggs, toast & coffee before they took us back to Bathurst for groceries (mostly trail mix, which has been unreasonably hard to come by in Atlantic Canada!) before dropping us off again. It’s funny: in Ramble Canada Pt. 1, a town even smaller than Bathurst was a 2-day affair, restocking & resting up for the next leg ahead. Now we just cruise on by because we’ll find another in just a few days.
We walked for a while before stopping across from a house, to have lunch. We ended up being invited in by Luke & his wife to use the washroom and eat delicious tuna salad sandwiches prepared by his mother. It was awesome to be able to cool down… & we forgot how good a plain old tuna sandwich is!
After saying our good byes, we pressed on for several more kms before resting in the shade on someone’s lawn, where we were given some ice water. Near the end of the day, a man offered to put us up at a nearby campground. We politely turned down the uncooked meat pie he also offered us, but gratefully accepted his offer for the campground.

Thursday, August 4
Had a moderately good night – would have been a great night had it not been for the fact that we were camped between two men who snored like a pair of jackhammers. Ended up getting on the road later than we intended because of it, but didn’t worry because we intended to treat ourselves to a hotel when we arrived in Miramichi later that day.
Arrived with plenty of time to spare in the day & did a bit of research at the library (turns out that daddy long legs are more accurately called “harvestmen” & are classified as arachnids, but are not actually spiders!) & then headed out to do some chores (had to find a new book as we finished Dragonlance (Raistlin is actually Fistandandulus & wears the black robes!!) & ended up running into “Captain John”, an extremely friendly, giddy middle-aged man wearing a captain’s hat who¬†runs a used book store & could not have been less interested in selling us a book; upon meeting us, he launched into a lesson¬†about the “City of – Ville de – Miramichi” (“It’s the only town with a trilingual name in Canada!”), teaching taxidermy & photography development, military policies, glass versus plastic drinking vessels, women’s rights, & the difficulties of running a book store with a leaky roof. All this over water & cookies before getting us to sign his guest book & giving us an official City of – Ville de – Miramichi pin (!)¬†(we have been collecting town & province pins from across the country) before sending us off. It was a rather whirlwind of an experience, but we thoroughly enjoyed his company all the same.
Made it to the hotel & got a room (with a king bed!! [that’s bigger than our tent!]) just before it started pouring & the wind nearly started snapping the trees in half. Dan treated me to a dinner of mussels & salmon before we settled in to watch the Blue Jays. What a great day!

Friday, August 5
Lazed about over complimentary breakfast & enjoyed our late check out at noon. Got fuel (I am sad about this [I carry the fuel!]) & new pencils.¬†Did our hiking during the hottest part of the day. Crossed the river on the old bridge, now closed to cars but still used by pedestrians. It’s been a while since we’ve had the whole road to ourselves!
Stopped at a man’s house to see if we could rest in the shade. Ended up being invited in for showers & dinner, which was excellent. Dennis & his partner Linda are very kindly folks. I enjoyed listening to him talk about his carpentry work (he is apparently the person who introduced laminate flooring to Ontario from Europe). We also really enjoyed talking to Linda after dinner & showers. Soon after sundown, we were off to bed in the tent.
The book we picked up yesterday from the Salvation Army to replace Dragonlance is called The Dawn Riders. It is a terribly cheesy early 1800s wild west-style story written in the 1960s. Dan & I are, of course, loving it. In it, Sam Parker ploughs on ahead & really takes life’s trials & tribulations by the horns & unfalteringly comes out on top in a sort of Bear Grylls – meets – Sam Fisher mashup. There was an entire chapter dedicated to the play-by-play report of two hands of poker.

Satruday, August 6
A good, early start this morning after being treated to some peanut butter jam toast for breakfast. Got rained on pretty good for about an hour, but stayed dry (thanks in large part to our trusty shoe covers… & we actually managed to get a photo of them!) & had a mercifully cool walk for the morning.

A hot afternoon, but we had shade to rest in. Ended up meeting a lovely woman, Joanne, during one of our breaks & she offered the use of her pool, which we actually didn’t accept because the weather was not so bad today. Finished our break & moved on only for Joanne to pull up about 5 minutes later with a “care package” of PB&J sandwiches, peaches, & peppermint candies! It was awesome.
At the end of our 30km walk, we met Kurt in his front yard. Kurt is kindly & soft spoken. He let us pitch the tent in the yard & invited us in for dinner & some tea (King Cole is the kind to have in New Brunswick)! He also gave us a fresh loaf of bread to take on the road! He also had a computer we could use, so we checked our shipment on Canada Post & it turns out it has arrived already! We will make a bee line for Kouchibouguack National Park tomorrow & spend a day there before moving on to St. Louis-de-Kent to get the package.
Sam Parker is traveling by foot tens of miles a day through the Texas panhandle, living off of sheer will alone, after being “kicked for sixty seconds straight” the night before.
ALSO! Our test photo-post cards worked! We can print photos we take, put an address & stamp on the back, & then send them in the mail!

Sunday, August 7
Woke up bright & early & were on the road by 7. Ate breakfast on the road & then got ourselves to the park with great success. Had a spectacularly Canadian conversation with a nice couple traveling by car: “Oh, hey dere, boys, dere’s a moose up dere on de road wit some little ones, eh?” “Oh yeah? Tanks for lettin us know, eh.” “Oh sure. Have a good one dere, boys!” (We never ended up seeing the moose, but genuinely appreciated the warning).
Arrived around 10 or 10:30 & went about reserving a site at C√īte-√†-Fabien & spent the afternoon on a pleasant 12km hike to the campsite on the shores of Kouchibouguac Bay. Aired our gear out in camp, ate a very tasty pasta dinner, & wrote out the post cards we bought at the park office.
We are aiming to be at the St. Louis-de-Kent post office tomorrow to pick up our package & so we are racing through the 150-page saga of Sam Parker & the Dawn Riders before we get Anne of Green Gables in the mail (Dan hasn’t read it & we will be in PEI in about a week!). Wes Cogner has been shot dead, & so it’s probably time for Sam Parker to have a wicked shootout to set things right.
Picked up a hot tip today that a place called “Fred’s” in Cap-Pel√© is the place to get fried clams & that Shediac has the best lobster. We’ve put them on the route! Lobster season opens on Tuesday, so we’re pretty excited.

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We saw tons of lobster traps being trucked down the roads to the harbours, getting ready for opening day!

Monday, August 8
A good day, though I didn’t feel great & was very tired. Early in the morning, we reached St. Louis-de-Kent & reached the very friendly Canada Post office & received our parcel! It contained new insoles¬†(we often have a hard time finding the ones we want when we want them), lots of dehydrated sauce (thanks Ron & Darcy!), & lots of snacks, including some sweet blueberry cookies (thanks, Mom!). We also received Anne of Green Gables, so we had to finish the Dawn Riders. Several people, mostly folks on the bad team, got shot & Sam Parker is now in a relationship he may or may not be interested in. Never really any mention of any “Dawn Riders”, so we’re not really sure what that was supposed to be about, but we loved the book at any rate.
Did some grocery shopping, met some very friendly folks in town, including one man who said he was happy to see “people out living their lives & not just absorbed in their phones”, which is always encouraging. Also met a father-son team in a car. The dad looked like Doc from back-to-the-future, & the son looked like John Cena from WWE. They were super stoked to hear about the trip, and we really enjoyed chatting with them.
Set out for a short 12km walk. We sent the Katadyn & one fuel bottle home since we haven’t used them since Ontario, but my pack still felt really heavy. Ended up at a lawless municipal campground for the night, where site numbers are mere suggestions. We pitched the tent between 5 large, sturdy trees so that whoever drives onto our site next can’t possibly hit us. We will try & get a very early start on tomorrow because we have to do about 5km on big highway 11 to start, including a narrow bridge crossing.

Tuesday, August 9
A good day today. Woke up at 5, out of camp by 6. Found a shortcut onto the highway, which helped us save 2km on our highway stretch. Ate breakfast after getting off of 11. Had a good 25km walk, although our packs felt heavy.
Ended up ending earlier than we expected in Buctouche. Got told a few times to go eat at Pirate de la Mer, & on our way over, a man pulled up in a mini van & wanted to ask us about our walking poles for a presentation he is giving next month at his physiotherapy clinic.
At Pirate de la Mer, we had a lobster roll dinner (which is, as we learned, flaked lobster meat on a hot dog bun) & they gave us a free order of fried clams. It was great! Checked out the hotel in town & ended up getting the honeymoon suite for the lowest legal price provincially. ¬†Drank New Brunswick beer out of the champagne flutes¬†(we’re a fan of the blueberry stuff) while we soaked our sore bones in the¬†jacuzzi tub ¬†& watched the Jays game. Probably a first for the use of a honeymoon suite in such a manner, but it suited us just fine. Felt great to have showers & we are excited to sleep in a bed tonight & eat continental breakfast tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 10
A bad start today, but all’s well that ends well. Woke up tired & got a late start. Ended up derping around & got cornered onto highway 11 because of some very poor timing with a construction crew. We had to laugh despite the situation. Walked a not terrible 15km down the highway & ended up finding a nice side road off of the highway where we met a very Newfie Newfoundlander. Asked him for water & he was really excited to hear about our “wackin'” trip. Gave us lots of information on the road ahead & we took his side road back over to the secondary road we intended to be on today. Ended the day at the home of Simmone the painter & her husband, who never gave us his name. Put the tent in their backyard & then came in for showers, a bucketful of blueberries, & a couple of innings of baseball before settling in for a comfy night.

Thursday, August 11
Had a decently early start the day. Got into Shediac just before it started pouring & holed ourselves up at the visitor information center (they did not have a lot of information; the town library¬†across the road¬†is news to the guy working there) until the rain let off. Made our way over to the library for some visitor information & learned that the place to eat lobster was next door. Headed on over there & proceeded to dismantle a lobster with about as much tact & grace as we had with the rotisserie chicken at Craig & Rob’s in Kenora. It was a blast, the lobster was delicious, & we got souvenir bibs that we plan to send home!
Continued walking past Parlee Beach (regrettably) because of the weather & ended up knocking on the door of Danie & Emery, an active couple who have over the years had cyclists, illegal car campers, a family of 5 traveling the world in a horse & carriage (which sounded like a whole heap of trouble), & now us walkers all show up at their place, looking for a place to spend the night. We pitched the tent in the backyard & then they took us to Parlee Beach to go swimming (!!) as the weather had cleared up!
After swimming, we had showers (!), did laundry (!!), & got invited for dinner! The tale of Baxter was a hit. Off to bed nice & squeaky clean. Made a foolish mistake this afternoon. Set up the tent & as it had stopped raining, we set out our packs & all our stuff to dry out. We forgot about them until after dinner, by which time a heavy dew had settled on them. Emery was kind enough to let us re-dry them in the garage.
We are really happy we got to swim at Parlee Beach. The water is so warm there & it was great seeing all the hermit crabs scuttling around under the water. We certainly fit the part of a couple of non-seafaring folk.

Friday, August 12
After a good night, ate some delicious croissants thanks to Dani & then said our goodbyes. Set out walking, finally going East again, instead of South. Around 10 it started to rain & so we got out our gear to keep dry. The shoe covers have once again performed phenomenally; an entire day of drizzle with a few downpours & our feet are still dry at the end of the day. It makes all the difference.
Stopped under the shelter of a post office awning to plan out a route & keep dry when an old man in a truck pulled up & said he saw us a few kms down the road. He was really impressed with the walk & gave us $50! It was a great morale boost. Finally made it to Cap-Pel√© & found Fred’s. Stopped in for some fried clams (delicious) & a woman there who was also impressed by the walk gave us $10! Walked on only a few kms more before deciding to stop. We have another long stretch of highway 15 to do, & once we get out on it there will be no stopping so we decided to save it for tomorrow. It will be much more pleasant if the road dries out.
Ended up in the backyard of Neri & his wife, both very friendly. They are both retired teachers. Neri is very excited about us & has an intense need to be involved, and is actually quite helpful. He’s got us set up in his shed drying our stuff out & seated at a patio set we moved in here. once we were set up, he was off to Tim Horton’s to get us hot chocolates & timbits while his wife made us grilled cheese sandwiches. It is clearing up now & we are in a good position for tomorrow.

Saturday, August 13 – Last day in New Brunswick
Surprise! We are in Prince Edward Island!!
This was the first chilly night on this side of summer. After Neri made another Timmies run & after eating¬†egg salad sandwiches (a lifetime first, let alone a Ramble Canada first) for breakfast thanks to his wife, we were on our way with many well wishes. We made it through the highway stretch with minimal issues & were en route to Murray Beach Provincial Park. The mosquitoes have returned in full force, possibly due in part to the recent rain & cooler (~25¬ļ) temperatures, so breaks were short & infrequent but luckily our packs are pretty light these days.
We took a break where a dad & his 12-year-old son were working in the yard; as we approached, the son aged 30 years into a grown man & was actually a husband. We had a very pleasant chat with this man of eternal youth & enjoyed swapping tales about time spent in Northern Canada.
After break, we soon arrived at Murray Beach Provincial Park, where we had thought to possibly camp, but discovered that it was really a trailer campground, so we merely read a few chapters of Green Gables before moving on.
On another break, we were hailed by a friendly passer-by named Carly, and energetic & outgoing recent university grad. She & her boyfriend are preparing for the “Big Swim” tomorrow (a swimming event from Cape Jourimain, NB to Borden-Carleton, PE ¬†beneath the Confederation Bridge) where her boyfriend is going to be a support kayak.
We thought to camp in a yard before the big highway junction before the Bridge but we suppose we blinked & ended up only ~5 kms away & so decided to just go it & get ourselves to the Island! Although we only travel 6km/hr, we still manage to surprise ourselves sometimes! We’d been looking across the water at PEI’s shoreline & the Confederation¬†Bridge all afternoon so it was an exciting prospect that we would now reach it tonight.

We walked the 2kms to “Cape Jourimain”, a sort of tourist information center, & scheduled our bridge shuttle pickup because they would not allow pedestrians on the bridge. The shuttle is a pretty neat thing; it is on-call 24/7/365 & it was dispatched just for us. After the 10-minute shuttle, we were left in the “Gateway Village” of Borden-Carleton, where we did some info mining, ate some Subway, & got some photos at the PEI sign before heading off on the Confederation Trail.
We quickly made our way out of the Potato Quality Inspection sector (for those not familiar with Prince Edward Island, it is famous for its delicious, delicious potatoes!)¬†& into a residential area. Darkness was fast approaching so we started looking for a place to sleep. Got our first straight-up rejection for putting the tent in the yard at the first house we asked. It was a lovely-looking house with nice flowers around it, a welcome sign, & a friendly cat in the window. We guess our judgement was off because instead of the nice people we were expecting, we got a gruff-looking man who gave us a curt “nope”, though he did thank us all the same (you’re welcome?). We’re happy he turned us down because it meant we ended up knocking on the door of Shelley & Ted. We didn’t know it at the time, but Shelley & Ted were exactly who we needed!
Shelley & Ted were very amused by us (“Honey, you’d better come look at this…!”) & generously let us put the tent in the yard. They are both very laid-back & giving. Shelley is so kind & giving & procured a number of useful things for us (you’re welcome, Ramble Parents: Shelley’s the reason we’ve got SPOT batteries!). Ted is friendly & thoughtful and chuckles away at the idea of our ridiculous adventure.¬†We got to have showers (!) & Shelley fed us snacks (including cheese!) before bed. We expect rain tonight & have¬†set the tent accordingly.


Sunday, August 14
Lots of rain today & we realized we haven’t taken a rest day since Qu√©bec, so Shelley & Ted have let us stay another day & rest our feet. Shelley fed us a¬†great spread for breakfast: fruit, yogurt, English muffins, & about 30 blueberry muffins each. It was awesome! Dan & I settled in the tent for a morning of map gazing & route planning. PEI is hilariously small & we think we are going to have a great time here. The Confederation Trail (PEI’s contribution to the Trans Canada Trail)¬†runs along all the old railway beds & spans most of the province. We will take it whenever we can & enjoy it immensely.

Spent the afternoon nursing our poor feet (Dan popped a blister that’s been starting to bother him) & watching the Blue Jays game, which was a lot of fun & a great way to spend our rest day.
Shelley & Ted treated us to dinner from “Scopes”, a gourmet fast food take-out restaurant & it was delicious. Chatted a bunch over dinner & told some stories (Baxter was again a hit), which was really nice.
Before bed, Ted told us he was really happy we had stopped by. He said they went from slightly apprehensive to us making their weekend. Unlike our hosts, we don’t have anything material to give & we always feel good when the people we find along the way feel like they have gotten something from us too.
Off to bed shortly after dinner. We are looking forward to the Confederation Trail tomorrow!

Monday, August 15
Walked ~30 km along the Trail today after a massive breakfast thanks once again to Shelley. Fairly uneventful day. Trail was nice & soft underfoot with regular benches to take breaks on.
Ended the the day in Fredericton, near the highest point on the Island (153m) Stopped at a kindly-looking house & met Mike, a retired truck driver, who immediately invited us in & offered his lawn for us to pitch our tent on. We also met awesome neighbour John & furry pal Baxter- we mean Rocket (we have a tendency to call every golden retriever “Baxter” by accident now). John is a very nice man who insisted on bringing over some of his potatoes & cooking them for us, & Rocket is your typical slap-happy golden retriever who insisted on bringing over his teddy. We had showers, watched some baseball, & generally chatted before John took our photo in Mike’s kitchen, gave us some “PEI sea glass” (glass shards that have been worn smooth by the wave action of the ocean), & we went to bed. We will reach Cavendish tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 16
Awoke to heavy dew on the tent so we had breakfast in Mike’s kitchen before packing up. Headed over to John’s to say goodbye to him & Rocket, but they weren’t up yet.
Had an uneventful ¬†but pleasant 20km walk to the national park along some highways & “heritage roads”- nicely treed, old, red dirt roads that wound their way through the hilly central Island. My pinky toe blister made a formidable comeback, much to our chagrin.
Got to the park only to discover it was full, & was also $30 for a tent site¬†(very expensive for a park, but they seem to get more and more expensive as we go South and East). Tired and annoyed at how full & overpriced the park was, we phoned around a bit & found a “tourist room”, which we learned is basically just a bedroom & shared bathroom in the home of a nearby independent campground owner for only $10 more than the National Park. For an extra $10, we upgraded from a piece of dirt to a roof, plumbing, use of a kitchen, a bed, & the ability to catch the Jays game! Great value & a great ending to a stressful evening.

Wednesday, August 17
Torrential rain this morning, so we took our time making breakfast & packing up (I somehow managed to lose my hiking pants for several hours, which didn’t help) before donning our shoe covers – which performed spectacularly once again – & making our way down a nice path to the Green Gables house (we finished the book yesterday!). The rain meant that the house was much less busy; a staff member said today there had been less than 1000 people whereas usually there are 2000-3000 visitors a day! It was a great way to spend a poor-weather day & the rain even let up while we walked Lover’s Lane & the Haunted Woods.

Had a tough time deciding what to do with the rest of the day because we really wanted to hike a coastal trail through the National Park, but the weather was really poor & it would end us in a disadvantageous position for the night. Decided to head back head back to the tourist room. We are now cozy & warm, drying our stuff in the room, watching the afternoon Jays game. This will get us a good start tomorrow on the trail & are happy we will be able to take photos along it in the good weather tomorrow.

Thursday, August 18
A day of emotional ups & downs today. Woke up in the tourist home & put the room key in our pocket; this was not discovered until much later in the day. Got off on the wrong foot because Dan snored in my ear for much of the night. I was up from 4:00 because of it, & in unrelated news, Dan was also up from 4:00 because his ribs kept getting jabbed. Luckily, we are good at being tired without being upset with each other.
Walked along the North shore through the park & out to North Rustico. My pinky blister is not good, so something will have to be done about that. At the Green Gables site yesterday we saw a quote from L.M. Montgomery that Northern PEI is a land of “ruby, sapphire and emerald”, & it’s a very accurate description; the landscape is bursting with vivid reds, greens, & blues.

Throughout the day, we made our way through the various scenic Rusticos, including Rustico, North Rustico, Rusticoville & South Rustico, but not including Anglorustico through no fault of its own; we’re sure it’s still very rustic.
Attempted to eat mussles & oysters in North Rustico, but somehow didn’t manage to find any despite being told this was the place to eat them. Ended up eating fried hake, which we’d never had before, so at least we got to try something new. It was nice & flaky; very similar to cod.

Decided to push on past New Glasgow & over the Wheatley River, despite my blister being extremely painful. Donned my camp shoes to alleviate the pressure on it & was was considerably better off so away we went. It threatened to rain, but as we are Weather Wizard Adepts now, we could see that it was merely a bluff.
Soon happened across a used bookstore on the side of the highway & ducked inside to exchange our classic Frank Gruber & his Night Riders for Agatha Christie’s Hickory Dickory Dock. We’ve never read this one before & are looking forward to it because it started out very plainly (quite unlike many of her stories), so we’re curious to know what the catch is.
A few kms down the road, we saw two cyclists unlike any cyclists we’d ever seen before. They were on all-terrain bikes (as opposed to they typical road bikes of the other long-distance cyclists we’ve seen) & wore backpacking packs just like ours, except a good foot and a half wider. They were loaded down & top heavy & looked very uncomfortable. We wondered why they didn’t have pannier packs on their bikes, which, we think, would have made their journey much easier on them. We regretted not making them stop to talk to us (we¬†really wanted to know what the heck they were doing), but they were on an uphill & we just couldn’t bear the thought of making them stop their momentum. Usually we’re the ones who get the strange looks, so it was funny for us to be on the looking end of that for once!
Walked on for quite a while after that & ended up feeling good & making great time to a neighbourhood just on the outskirts of Charlottetown. Attempted to get a room at the Motel 8 we’d been planning to stay at since New Brunswick, as we’d had a good deal offered on a room. We thought it would be nice because we could check in, leave our gear there tomorrow, & then get all our chores done in Charlottetown tomorrow unencumbered. As our luck would have it, we’ve apparently arrived on the eve of one of the biggest event days in the city, & as a result, literally every accommodation was full up. It is the “Gold Cup & Saucer parade” as part of Charlottetown’s “Old Home Week” celebration. Ended up in quite a tight spot without a place to sleep & so headed off down a nearby residential street in search of aid.
After being turned down by a house we asked to put the tent in the yard of & being told “I don’t think anyone here will let you do that”, we were immediately taken in by Paula & Gary of 5 houses down. It seems a bit more difficult to find friendly people in large cities, but we still find more than enough wonderful folks without too much trouble.
Gary is a retired firefighter & Paula works at the hospital. They were very quick to welcome us & invite us in for showers. They also insisted we phone our mothers, which was nice, & we’re sure our mothers appreciated! Afterwards, we set up the tent & watched a BIG thunderstorm roll in. We jumped into the tent before the rain hit & settled in with our mysterious mystery novel. All set to have a comfy cozy night, listening to the storm hammering on the tent. Finally going to get a real blog post done at the library tomorrow!!

Friday, August 19
A¬†very frustrating day today. Woke up bright-eyed & bushy-tailed all ready for a big day at the library. Charlottetown’s library, however, must have heard we were in town because despite their posted hours stating they were indeed open all day, they were, of course, closed. So that took just about all the wind out of our sails right off the bat. We ended up meeting a journalist who was also trying to use the library today. She was interested in our story & interviewed us. We also saw a passer-by during the interview who also wanted to use the library. He became very upset when we told him it was closed & he told us that parades “make him hostile.”¬†So at least all that made our big trip to the library worthwhile & interesting.
Figured we’d head over to the Charlottetown visitor center so they could help us with all the town-related things we had wanted to research at the library. After locating their building, we¬†found a sign informing us they had moved. Once we found it, we also found that they were, of course, also closed.
Very frustrated at this point, we had a good success with Canada Post, where we managed to send a package home & mail the room key we wandered off with back to its rightful owner. The worker there also looked up some information we had wanted to ask the library and then the visitor center. Another solid performance by Canada Post! We have always found the folks that work there to be cheerful & helpful, which is especially nice on days like today.
Decided to head off to lunch after that & walked over to East Side Mario’s, where they informed us that the points we wanted to use for a free meal were, of course, invalid at that particular location. Trail mix for lunch, then. Managed to buy groceries from a place that both sells food & was open. Tried to fill up our water bottle at a store to no avail. We cannot express how frustrated we were by this point! We had had all these various tasks on our list since leaving Miramichi, and Charlottetown was letting us down big time.
Made our way to Sporting Intentions, where we found some people who were willing and able to take our business! Got some water tablets (for just in case since we sent the Katadyn home), Campsuds, & some pack ¬†rain cover re-proofer since mine has started leaking slightly (it has performed admirably since Inuvik). We also spotted some insoles, but since¬†we didn’t have my shoes (I wore my camp shoes to let my blister calm down a bit), we decided to come back tomorrow. Gary & Paula are letting us stay for another day & have a do-over tomorrow, thank goodness! Despite how difficult Charlottetown turned out to be, everything was only frustrating, instead of stressful, because we knew we had a safe place to sleep tonight. It makes a huge difference!
Spent a relaxing evening winding down eating lots of veggies¬†(we were craving them!) & watching the Blue Jays. They also had a frustrating day, but there’s always tomorrow!

Saturday, August 20
Gary gave us a lift downtown today & we had a nice, relaxing walk around town before everyone else was up. The library was open, but guest use was limited to an hour each, to our extreme disappointment. Managed to do the research we wanted to do & got about half the blog post done. Ran into some difficulty trying to buy lunch from a store downtown, but finally managed to find a store that both sold food¬†and had it in stock. We are sure Charlottetown is nice, but we are also sure we’ve caught it on a few very poor days. We’re ready to be on our way now.
Went to Sporting Intentions again & got new insoles with great arch support. Our feet feel great again! Spent some time working on the blog back at Gary & Paula’s house while we hung around in the backyard wearing our shoes. Now we are eating soup for dinner & finishing up this blog post. Laundry is on downstairs, we’ve got full bellies, our tent is safely tucked away in the backyard, & we’ve got a pair of dogs sleeping at our feet. Life is good!

Whew! It’s good to finally have all of this up. Sorry again for the length & the long wait. Hopefully we can give another good update while we’re in Nova Scotia before (dare we say it?!) reaching Newfoundland!

 

Ramble Canada marche au Qu√©bec!

Bonjour de Québec!

We have made it to Qu√©bec and the gorgeous shores of the fleuve Saint-Laurent. We have been loving the scenery and the friendly people here. We are a bit short on time, so this post will be brief, but we wanted to share with you the wonderful time we’ve been having here.

After getting a lift to put us back on track after the Bruce Trail (thanks, Kate & Andrew!), we were quickly across the border into Québec.

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We made it!

Before speeding our way through Montr√©al and Qu√©bec City, we did a bit of sight-seeing and a lot of Pok√©mon catching, thanks to Kate & Andrew’s wondrous Pok√©mon machines. It was a fun and interesting experience to have so much technology on our walk!
It was also a great way to see the¬†cities as it lead us on walks through all different parts. It’s been a great feeling to be in Qu√©bec, because we feel like we’re almost in the home stretch; Inuvik is now much further away than St. John’s!
Montr√©al was interesting because it felt very similar to Toronto (our home city), but was much cleaner and had a lot more culture in that there were pianos all over the streets that anyone could sit down at and play (amazingly they were all in tune, as well! Not an easy job, we’re sure!), and there were beautiful parks, sculptures and art everywhere. It was a lot of fun to explore, and we made sure to have a Montr√©al smoked meat sandwich at Schwartz!
In Qu√©bec City, we explored Old Qu√©bec and the “Citadelle” area, where we saw lots of cannons and got to walk along the ramparts, which was really cool and offered spectacular vistas of the city. We also saw a street performance of acrobats/magicians, which is a huge part of the culture in Qu√©bec, so it was quite a treat.

 

After leaving the hustle and bustle of the big cities, we were into the peaceful and scenic countryside along the St. Lawrence River. This has been one of our favourite parts of Québec so far. Walking along the Saint Lawrence has been a really awesome experience; we feel like we are walking through history. We can see the mist-shrouded silhouettes of the mountains across the seaway and the floodplains are lush and green, now that the river is low in the summer heat.

 

The people here have been wonderfully friendly, and are game to try and piece together what we’re trying to say with our rusty high school French. Along our travels, we had the fortune of running into Sebastian and Iris on a very rainy day. They scooped us up and treated us to a traditional Qu√©becois music performance by R√™ve du Diable, a very prolific¬†group in Qu√©bec, and “Christmas in July” dinner. It was such a treat! Over dinner Sebastian and Iris helped us out with some French and we gave them some tips in English (their English is much better than our French is!) and we found out we had some hobbies in common. After dinner, we had a great time listening to the band outside and everyone there braved the literal hordes of mosquitoes and torrential rain and danced well into the night. It has definitely been the highlight of Qu√©bec for us, and we feel very fortunate to have met such wonderful people as Sebastian and Iris!

 

For such a large province, we realized we are walking¬†only a small part of it, which we’re a bit sad about, but we have gotten to experience a lot here already, and we will of course be happy to reach Newfoundland before their winter really gets into full swing. Perhaps the next time you hear from us, we will already be well into New Brunswick, bellies full of lobster!

Au revoir!

Looking back on the Bruce Trail

We did it!

From the high bluffs of Tobermory

 

to the rolling vineyards of Niagara

 

and everything in between,

we have seen it all!

Since our last blog post, we spent a bit more time on Manitoulin Island and saw much of the Island (thanks, Sue!) including Meldrum Bay, Bridal Veil Falls, and the Cup and Saucer trail (all with our new four-legged friend Hershey!). We then caught¬†the Chi-Cheemaun ferry (Ojibway for “big canoe”) to Tobermory, the Northern terminus point of the Bruce Trail.

After a 75 minute ferry ride and a few hours checking out the town of Tobermory, it was time to head out on the Bruce! We also met up with Moose the Dog, who we missed very much (my parents were looking after her while we were gone). Mom and Dad drove to Tobermory to drop Moose off for us and spend some of the day hiking with us. It was the first time Ramble Canada ever had visitors on the trail!

The Peninsula section of the Bruce Trail follows the shore of Georgian Bay. This area had spectacular views of the turquoise waters and dramatic escarpment faces. We were treated on several occasions to gorgeous sunsets over the bays.

Several days after starting the Bruce, Dan’s family also came out and hiked with us for a short length (operational note- Dan finally got his hiking pole replacement!). We started to feel spoiled with all the company we were getting!

We took lots of side trails, where we saw many forest-related things. One of the neatest things we learned along the trail¬†was about the “potholes” – nearly perfectly circular holes worn into the soft limestone by hard pieces of granite deposited there during the last ice age. Most of the potholes were created around 12 000 years ago. We also got to hike through beautiful areas of mature hardwood forests and lush ferns and moss. Moose especially enjoyed looking down the massive fissures in the limestone escarpment!

At times the going was tough and we needed a hand…

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and at times it was hot and we were tired…

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but we stood strong and persevered!

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We were treated to some wonderful scenery and learned lots of history along the way.

But our favourite part was when our friends came to visit!

After a bit more than a month of hiking, we reached the Southern Terminus Cairn in Queenston! We’re very sad that we must once again say goodbye to Moose the Dog, but are very happy that my parents will take good care of her until we’re finished the trip. It sure was a treat to have¬†Moose on the Bruce!

We had a great time on the trails, but we’re still excited to get back to the roads and see what we find in Quebec and beyond! Ontario was a bit piece-meal, and very different from what we’re used to, but we didn’t get hit by a Mack truck on the highway, so we call it a win! After one final lift into Quebec we are excited to be back to our regularly scheduled, old-fashioned Ramble Canada programming.

Goodbye Ontario, bonjour Québec!