Halifax Area

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Canadians enjoying the beach in Nova Scotia. Look closely and you can see several surfers enjoying the surf. There is heavy fog so it is nearly impossible to see much. The non-surfers are fully clothed and the surfers are in wet suits.

Note to my personal trainer:  Please don’t read this post.

We are staying in a campground about 25 kilometers from Halifax.  We originally planned to go into the city but decided not to do that with the dog.  A local I met in Shediac recommended we visit Peggy’s Cove, so that’s what we did.

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Peggy’s Cove landscape. It is granite with very little soil so there are no trees.

We arrived in Peggy’s Cove along with every other tourist in the area.  It is a very small, cute little town that was overwhelmed by the tourists.  This is not what we like.  Instead, we drove up the road for about 10 or 15 minutes and stopped for lunch at the Finer Diner.  They had free WIFI access, so Regis took advantage of it to upload some video.  After we finished eating a delicious lunch, Regis said he needed more time for the upload.  So, he ordered a beer and I ordered a Coconut Cream pie.  It was the best Coconut Cream pie I have ever eaten.  I may never be able to eat this kind of pie again because it will not be possible for it to live up to the standards of this pie.  (My favorite personal trainer.  I told you not to read this.  Anyway, I wouldn’t have gotten desert but I love Coconut Cream pie.)

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Almost the entire town of Peggy’s Cove.

The next day, we went to the beach which is a few kilometers from our campsite.  The Atlantic View Trail runs along the beach and we thought we would hike a portion of it.  The fog was very thick at the beach.  There were many surfers and a few companies renting surf boards.  I can’t understand how people can surf when you can’t see a thing.  I saw more surfers within a few kilometers on this stretch of beach than I have seen in one location before.   The non-surfers on the beach were enjoying it fully clothed while sitting in the thick fog.  I much prefer Florida beaches!  I can’t even see the beach here.

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Lobster traps in Nova Scotia.
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Lobster traps in Nova Scotia.

We gave up on the hike after a short way because the fog was so thick we couldn’t see much.  But, back at our campground, it was nice.

This campground is having infrastructure issues.  The water pressure dropped so low the first day we were here that the water was inaccessible.  Regis was smart enough to realize there was a water pressure problem and put as much water in our tanks as he could before the water basically shut down.  It was eventually fixed but broke again the next day.  The electricity has gone out a few times also.

This campground is the most self-service we have seen.  If you arrive without a reservation, you must pay cash.  With a reservation, you can go straight to your campsite.  There are only 10 full hook-up sites here.  On our second day, our neighbors took off for the day leaving their trailer and belongings.  Apparently, they were supposed to leave that morning.  The campers who had paid and reserved the site for that night arrived.  There was no other site for them.  They waited several hours in hopes that our neighbors would return and vacate the spot, but the neighbors did not return until 10:30 that night.  The park personnel let the other campers park somewhere else in the park and use their generator.  I hope they got their money back.

I am not fond of this campground.  Add the weather issues to the mix and I am ready to move to our next location.

 

Cobscook Bay State Park

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Cobscook Bay State Park

We spent the last week camping in Cobscook Bay State Park and wanted to share some information about it since we love it so much.  This park is surrounded on three sides by Cobscook Bay.  The park has 106 campsites, many of which are situated on Whiting Bay which is a sheltered inlet from the larger bay.  The tides range 24 to 28 feet.  There are lots of tent campsites and most of them are spectacular.  Most of them have water views.  The campsites throughout the park are mostly private.  These are some of the nicest campsites we have seen.  There are no utilities but water spigots and primitive toilets are placed throughout the park.  There are showers and a dump station near the entrance.

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Tent campsite Cobscook Bay State Park
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Tent campsite Cobscook Bay State Park

We were not able to get a site with a water view.  There are only a few of them for mobile homes.  But, we still love our campsite and can always see the water from many locations.  There are lots of picnic tables that overlook the water.  If you don’t have a water view, you can spend time in the picnic area.  This park is sparsely attended so there are lots of available sites and no crowds.

There is a public boat ramp next to the park.  The nearest towns of any size are about 22 miles away in either direction.  I had to go 22 miles to a laundromat but it was a nice one.  The town of Whiting is about 4 miles from the campground and has a gas station with a convenience store.  The store also sells some groceries (e.g. meats, milk, etc.) and beer and wine.

We are not able to get cell phone service in the park and we use Verizon.  But, we can get access a few miles down the road.  We drive down the road to set up a hotspot to do the blog posts.

We finally managed to go kayaking.  Lovely.  Besides the beautiful scenery there were two cool wildlife events that happened.  There was a seal or multiple seals curious about us and kept popping up to check us out.  We never saw more than one at a time, so we don’t know if it was the same seal or not.  The seal(s) never got too close to us but close enough to see its eyes.

At one point, we heard a sound coming from behind us that sounded like a firecracker that had just been launched.  As the noise went by us we saw that it was a bird.  It was also a bird that was clearly targeting one of two other birds that had been flying over the shore.  We are certain that we witnessed a Peregrine Falcon hunting.  The other birds were onto him and took evasive maneuvers.  The Peregrine was not successful.  That was a once in a lifetime cool wildlife event for me.  The wind noise the bird made by flying so fast was as awesome as seeing it.

As we were launching our kayaks, we had to make sure we didn’t step on the sea stars.

 

Butterfly Rainforest

By Linda

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Paynes Prairie State Park

The campground in Paynes Prairie is located on a small lake.  We took the kayaks out on the lake and watched the bird life.  There were numerous swallows swooping and soaring above the lake.  We also saw an alligator.  At one point, Regis bumped his kayak into my kayak and I was afraid that it was an alligator that hit me.  When we were coming ashore to take our kayaks out, I requested that Regis go first so if there were any alligators they would get him and not me.  He said that he would go first to attract them so when I showed up they would be ready to pounce.  Fortunately, we both made it out of the water alive.

Paynes Prairie is by Gainesville, Florida and the University of Florida has a natural history museum and butterfly rainforest.  We visited the museum and the butterflies.  If you are a butterfly fan, I highly recommend going to the Butterfly Rainforest.  There are numerous benches placed throughout so that you can sit in one spot and watch the butterflies land on the flowers around you.  There are a few birds in there and some fish in the water feature.  It is a very peaceful place to be and there are a large variety of butterflies to see.  After you visit the Butterfly Rainforest, go into the museum to see them raising butterflies.  There are rows of chrysalises.

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Butterfly Rainforest at University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida
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Making more butterflies at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida. These are chrysalises.

The Natural History museum had lots of fossils that were found in Florida.  There were a couple mammoths.  I knew they were big, but didn’t realize they were that big.  There was also the fossil skeleton of a giant sloth.  That thing was huge.  The museum does an awesome job of displaying the fossils and telling the natural history of Florida.

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Giant sloth and Regis at the University of Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville, Florida.

We got up before sunrise on our last morning at Paynes Prairie so we could kayak on the lake as the sun came up.  It was beautiful.  Words cannot describe how peaceful it was to watch the birds around the lake wake up and start their day.   It was very cool in the morning, so I dressed warmly with my long underwear, shirt and jacket.  I stayed warm but it got toasty as the sun began to rise.  We headed to Silver Springs State Park for our next stop.

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Paynes Prairie State Park

Campground:  We stayed at Paynes Prairie Preserve State Park campground.  It was a lovely campground nestled in the trees.  We had electricity and water and dumped our tanks at the campground dump station on the way out.  It’s Florida, so the sites were level and there was adequate space between campsites.   I believe that all the sites here are back-in sites. We made our reservations through www.reserveamerica.com.

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Campsite at Paynes Prairie State Park campground in Florida.