What an Amazing Country!

Joe and I recently returned home from a trip across Canada. Our route:

  • fly from Whitehorse to Nova Scotia
  • fly from Nova Scotia to Toronto
  • take ‘The Canadian’ train from Toronto to Vancouver
  • fly from Vancouver to Whitehorse

I knew we lived in a huge, stunningly beautiful country before our trip. But certainly this holiday solidified that knowledge for me big time.

In Nova Scotia and Southern Ontario, it was the fall colours and the many produce markets that took my breath away; that, and spending time on the land and by the sea where I grew up. So healing.

In Northern Ontario, I fell in love once again with the ruggedness and remoteness of the land. I plan to revisit the work of the Group of Seven very soon, while my eye’s own images are still fresh.

The Prairies – I could never figure out why someone would find them boring! The expanses of land and sky, and the colour play between the two…amazing!

Alberta – well, what can I say about the Rockies? Wow!

And beautiful Vancouver…one of my favourite cities in Canada.

I would highly recommend the train trip between Toronto and Vancouver. Time was suspended during those three days and four nights. If anyone had asked me how long I had been travelling, I would have been hard pressed to give them an exact number of hours. In a way it felt I had always been there.

The meals were all very good, there was time to meet and chat with other travelers (no wifi meant people actually talked to one another!) and the rocking of the train lulled me to sleep in my bunk at night.

I am so lucky to have had the opportunity to take this trip, and luckier still to reconnect with my family, friends, and country.

Feeling patriotic,

Janet

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Overlooking the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia.
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The red sandstone in the ocean in the Bay of Fundy makes it appear rusty.
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Fall colours at McGee Lake, near our family farm.
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So many colourful fall markets in Nova Scotia and Ontario at this time of year. What bounty!
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Mothers, sisters, aunties, cousins, nieces: reconnecting with my Ontario family.
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No wonder this is the symbol of our beautiful country!
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Northern Ontario shows its more subtle fall colours.
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The train station in Winnipeg. Gorgeous!
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Arriving in Winnipeg just as the sun was coming up. The large building is the Canadian Museum of Human Rights. Very well done and definitely worth a visit.
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Earth and sky – the Prairies does it up right.
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The Rockies near Jasper. We really do have it all in Canada!
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A fitting end to our train journey in Vancouver.

Hiking the Cape Split Trail

I had wanted to do this hike for quite some time, and finally made the time for it on my most recent visit to Nova Scotia. It’s a 16-kilometre ancient trail near Canning in the Annapolis Valley. Cape Split has always had significance for the Mi’kmaq people, since they believe it was the home of Glooscap.

It was a gorgeous day for the hike…23 degrees and sunny, but with a breeze from the ocean.

The dirt trail is well worn and it is impossible to get lost. However just to make sure, yellow markers have been added all along the way.

There are some roots, and because it had rained recently some muddy spots, but overall the trail is in great shape. While there were hills,  I would say anyone in reasonable shape should have no trouble with this hike. We met several kids (ages 9-12 probably) along the trail.

After walking through woods for about an hour and a half, we came to the tip of the cape and were awarded with some beautiful views. There is a grassy area for a picnic, which we took full advantage of.

This is definitely worth a few hours of your time if you find yourself in the area.

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How I Came To Be Making Crab Cakes Today

It started innocently enough. I was doing a bit of research for my brother Roy, who has a new music project in the works. I was looking for contacts in the Nova Scotia Mi’qmaq community who have some legends to tell about Cape Split.

My search took me to a woman who works at Kejimkujik National Park, where she is a story teller and guide. So I spent the next 20 minutes reading about ancient petroglyphs in the park, like this one (photo credit http://www.muiniskw.org):

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From there I went searching at the Nova Scotia Natural History Museum, and eventually found myself learning about Charles MacDonald. He started a concrete factory in my home town close to 100 years ago. He apparently didn’t pay his employees, but instead had a company money pot. Staff took what they needed whenever they needed it. MacDonald also hired workers to build five cottages for him (this was during the 1930s when employment was scarce and so this was a bit of a ‘make work’ project). All the cottages were constructed of concrete of course. Four of them are still standing. They are known as the ‘Fairy Houses’ and are located at Huntington Point near Hall’s Harbour. (Photo credit for next three pictures http://www.valleyfamilyfun.ca)

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If you become a member of the Charles MacDonald Museum Society you can stay in the blue cottage for a donation of a few hundred dollars a week.

Then I fell down another rabbit hole…hikes in the Annapolis Valley. This led me to this beautiful waterfall, which is just a stone’s throw from where I grew up. Funny that I didn’t know of its existence before now.

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By this time it was getting close to lunch, and I was good and homesick. There was only thing one thing to do…make crab cakes. So while I didn’t get far with my brother’s project, I did learn a pocketful of other facts, and I had a tasty lunch to boot.

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On Aging, and Fighting Back

A couple of weeks ago a co-worker had a mild heart attack. She is my age. Someone else I am close to, a few years older than me, just found out he has arthritis.

As much as I hate to admit it, I have reached the age where I can no longer take good health for granted. Enter my new regime. I have never been a runner, even as a kid. Never liked it. But a couple of very supportive colleagues of mine have started me on a learn to run program…zero to 5 k over the course of several weeks. I am in Week 2, and in fact am quite enjoying it. Also enjoying my morning shakes…today it is cherry, mango, banana, chia seeds and flax meal with almond milk. Onward and upward.

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Aftermath of a Holiday

My plan had been to ply you with many tales and photos from my wonderful holiday in Turkey. However life has been absolutely crazy since my return. Until I have time to turn my attention to this, I am – temporarily – opening up my Facebook page so you can view the images I posted over the last few weeks. The header photo, by the way, is from a balloon ride we took in Cappadocia in the central part of the country.

Bird’s Eye View

Although totally exhausted, sleep escapes me as I lie in our little guest house in the old part of Istanbul. I will have photos of the city for you soon, but for now here are a few aerial shots of the flight across Europe.

Near London
Near London
Flying into Istanbul
Flying into Istanbul
Germany, with its crazy quilt of colours
Germany, with its crazy quilt of colours