Posts Tagged ‘Annapolis Royale’

2014-06-05 09.55.28

Zander & “The Dube” on the bridge before Martin’s River



We spent five days at Ray Port Campground at Martin’s River; it’s the closest campground to Mahone.¬† The weather was variable, and Zander does not do well with lots of rain. In addition, Mahone is a fairly busy tourist destination, and we took advantage of it to do some training with Zander.



The Black Fly Menace

It’s black fly season, and it’s not as bad on the coast as inland. Although Zander seems to have developed a tolerance for them, I certainly have substantial reactions to them. I had forgotten about how pesky black flies are, and how reactive I am. So, out came the bug spray and benadryl, plus diving into the tent often. Still several bites needed treatment with polysporin. Given the descriptions of the black flies in small communities along the route overland, a ride to Annapolis Royale seemed the wiser choice.

Fresh Organic Asparagus

Just down the road from the campground is a small organic farm and landscaping business. The two women who own it are in their sixties and seventies and had great stories about the 63-year-old German woman who slept on the floor of their shed and the three elderly women who decided to hitchhike Newfoundland together. From the story, the women paid for few meals and never¬† for lodging. My heroes!! The organic farmers grow asparagus, grapes, and other vegetables. They have chickens and guinea fowl plus small plants for gardens. The asparagus was just coming up, so we stopped to get a bunch. It had been picked an hour before we arrived–sweet enough to eat raw. What a great addition to dinner! And yes, freshly picked asparagus tastes incredibly different from even the produce at a farmers market.

Random Encounters

The five days were also a window into the culture and community of RV campgrounds. Many of the families and couples have had a spot at Ray Port for over 20 years. Some of the folks live within an hour from the campground. The classic low decks, decorated yards (even planted and mowed grass), pink flamingos, and festive lights. The popular string of lights was shotgun shells brought back from Alberta!

The first evening I was there, the husband of the couple next to me stepped through a rotten board on their deck. He is in late stages of cancer with substantial edema. Since I heard the commotion and panic in her voice, I went over to see if I could help. It was tricky getting his foot out and him back on his feet–although that was all I could do at the time. Well, that little offer made the rounds in the campground. People would stop and say: “You’re the woman from Edmonton?”

But it allowed me to hear stories and see how the community had grown over the years. It’s fascinating to see the interconnections in a province so small–and even throughout the Maritimes. So, the young man who drove me across the island used to spend time at Ray Port because his girlfriend’s family had a spot here. One of the guys is a retired, but working part-time, Mountie who everyone was worried about the day of the Moncton shootings. The son of the campground owner was one of the sound technicians for the memorial service.

2014-06-07 09.59.43We are some of the early risers in the campground, so Zander and I take long walks along the backroads to see some grand old and new houses and the shoreline. Not far from the campground was a small flock of mallards who seemed unperturbed by our passing. They were mostly males with about four females. By the end of the stay, the females seemed to have finally paired with a male leaving a group of lonely males.

2014-06-09 09.30.51

Dynamite Trail Map

We have been following the Rails-to -Trails rather than the highway for the most part. Each district is responsible for their section. We are now on the Dynamite Trail. Thanks to a woman in Chester, I take a photo of the trail map as you enter each section. There are no other maps for many of the sections–and sometimes not even a posted map. It is a basic map with little details such as distance or what roads lead to the towns nearby. The assumption over and over again is that “you will just know” because the locals do! As I now know, the beauty of traveling on the highway are the local food stands and services, while the trail gives a nice quiet, “wilderness” feel for the most part.

The section between Martin’s River and Mahone is fairly well-maintained and passes by a couple of substantial lakes and watershed areas. The lakes also include boggy areas, standing water for vegetation, and shaded areas–all great for hatching various types of insects. The warden at Graves Island Provincial Park told me that the bat population has been hit by a mite or parasite; so, they are also low on predators of black flies and mosquitoes.

2014-06-08 13.35.48

Turtles at Common Lake


We did stop at Common Lake to watch several turtles out sunning on a rock. And in numerous places during the drive to Annapolis Royale, there were signs to protect turtles.



Mahone is a popular destination for both local and non-local visitors: arts and crafts stores, harbour for water sports and sailing, old restored bed and breakfast spots, Saturday flea market, and easy access to other areas along Mahone Bay.

Zander and I did a day trip to Mader’s Cove which is a little further down than Mahone. It’s a road that stays close to the shoreline and winds through some elegant homes. Zander got his first opportunity to put his feet in the ocean. He is not impressed with how cold the water is or the movement of the waves. However, a man, his young son in a transformer costume, and two dogs were able to engage Zander in some play on the sand. The lab cross finally got Zander to play with him including running through some of the surf!

Zander is certainly getting better at waiting for me, but people who approach him quickly scare him. And his bark is obnoxious. I explain to people what is happening and carefully plan where to leave him and how to quickly get shopping done. However, there is less understanding from most of the shopkeepers, and some shops have few places to tie him up except at the front door. The need for image and higher end customers changes the relationship dramatically–even at the Information Centres.

However, Zander is gaining more and more confidence as he is being left. I find as many opportunities as possible to train him while people are walking by. He still gets nervous when I pack up, but I think it is taking less time to understand that once the tent is up–it’s home.

We were shuttled across the island on the 10th of June. The road didn’t look all that challenging, but the services were at least 40 kilometres apart. And I am not sure I could have out-pedaled the black flies. So, I think it was a good call for both of our sakes.

We barely got the tent up at the Dunromin Campground in Annapolis Royal before the rain began. We had a quick supper in between rains. Bugs are less here, because we are close to salt rather than fresh water. The winds also help and keep it a little cooler even with the sun shining. We had planned on leaving today, but Zander was quite subdued last night, and I awoke feeling uneasy. So, we discovered that we get a free night if we stay two more nights. The town has some great walking trails, a Rails-to-Trails system on this side of the island, and a vet. Rain is predicted tonight and tomorrow; since Zander doesn’t really like walking in the rain, I won’t make him travel through it at this point. And the longer I stay and meet people, the more I hear about how to travel well along the shore of the Bay of Fundy.


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