The weather finally cleared up but I have been ill for the past week with some mysterious malady of undetermined origin. Feeling better, but still a little wobbly, I decided to take a scenic ride relatively close to home.
The Annapolis Valley region borders the Bay of Fundy on the opposite side of the Minas Basin from Five Islands. It is the “bread basket” of Nova Scotia ~ filled with farms and fruit orchards. Heading southwest out of Truro on Provincial Route 236, I bounced along on “roller coaster” dips and curves through lush green fields and farms. You know you are really in farm country when you pass more “cow crossing” signs than wildlife warnings. The fertile fields roll down to the water’s edge and the scenery was interspersed with glimpses of the bay as I drove along.
Turning right at Route 215, I continued down the coast, through the picturesque hamlet of Maitland with its Victorian homes and a commercial area that looks like time stood still in the early 1900s. My first planned stop was Burncoat Head ~ a provincial park on the coast that holds the record for the highest tide. I never saw a sign for it, though, so I continued on to my main objective ~ the Walton Lighthouse.
Like so many towns along the shore, shipbuilding and shipping thrived during the Golden Age of Sail (1830-1880). As shipping in and out of Walton Harbor increased, the need for a guiding light emerged and the lighthouse was built in 1872. It was once considered the brightest light on the Upper Bay of Fundy. Mining of gypsum and barite kept the harbor busy until the 1970s when the mines were flooded and subsequently shut down. The light was decommissioned when Walton Harbor ceased to be an active port.
Along the coast to the left of the lighthouse point I could see Cape Blomidon and Cape Split ~ the finger of land that extends far into the Minas Basin directly across from Parrsboro. Although it was clear and sunny at the lighthouse, there was a sea fog hanging over the Bay. A heavy fog cloud was draped over Cape Split like a blanket and the sunlight shimmering on the white cloud made it look like the point was encased in an icy glacier.
Hiking up the trail on the opposite side of the light I found myself in a forest of silver, black and red birch trees ~ the silver with their peeling bark, the curly black bark and the smooth red tree bark that looks like shantung silk. Arriving at the look-off, I found myself peering through the haze at the back side of the Five Islands and the little island off the coast of Economy that the RAF used for bombing practice during World War II.
It was a beautiful evening, so I had dinner on the outside deck at the only pub in Walton and tried my first donair. Donairs are a local standard made from ground beef that is mixed with a unique blend of spices, shaped around a spit to resemble a roast, then rotisseried and shaved into slices or chunks. The meat is served in sandwiches and wraps with a sweet sauce that has the consistency of mayonnaise but is made with condensed milk, sugar and lemon juice. Mine was pretty tasty, with just the right amount of “kick” from the spices.
As the sun began to set behind the clouds, I headed back down the road to the campground.