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Insider Insights: Articles

Outdoor Report: Fossil Hunts and Cliff Hikes

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By Suzanne Leonard
Weather Broadcaster
Thursday, May 29, 2014, 5:59 PM

A visit to the Bay of Fundy is an absolute must when you visit the Maritimes – there are many great outdoor opportunities on or by the ocean.

OUTDOOR REPORT: Glaciers and Gardens

Watching the world’s biggest tides come and go is a huge attraction with many prime viewing spots along both the New Brunswick and Nova Scotia shores. The tides officially measure 50 feet in height, over 15 metres. Billions of tonnes of water flow in and out with the tides which regularly exposes new fossils in a number of spots along the coast, like Blue Beach, Nova Scotia. But perhaps the best place to search for fossils is at the Joggins Fossil Cliffs, a UNESCO World Heritage site. Fossils here are incredibly diverse with over 200 species of animals and plants identified. The fossils reveal clues about a period of history when the Nova Scotia climate was tropical, this was a time before the dinosaurs when reptiles evolved. In fact, the skeleton of the very first terrestrial reptile was discovered here – how cool is that? Sounds like the perfect place to visit on your family vacation this summer! Find out more about Joggins in this report:

Being out on the water in the Bay of Fundy is a highlight for many visitors. There are a number of places where you can rent kayaks or join a sea kayaking tour. On Fundy’s north coast Alma, New Brunswick has outfitters that will take you out on a sea adventure to ride the swells and explore the dramatic coastline. When the tide is out a walk around New Brunswick’s Hopewell Rocks provides some fantastic photo opportunities as you literally walk on the ocean floor. Take my tip, it’s best not to wear new or light coloured shoes – I found that “floor” was like walking on wet, sticky mud. Messy but memorable. Whale watching is another great way to connect with the beauty and diversity of this area. Most trips go out “rain or shine” but are still weather dependent, particularly in the event of storms or big winds. If you and your family are adventurous types I’d recommend a zodiac whale watching trip. Last time I was “down east” I took a zodiac tour out of Tiverton, Nova Scotia - being in a small boat and low to the water is a neat experience and we had some exciting whale sightings. Get your Tiverton forecast here.

For those that prefer to stay on land there are many wonderful provincial parks where you can camp and hike, like the easy to love - but hard to pronounce – Kejimkujik National Park. It’s the only Parks Canada site which is designated as both a National Park and a National Historic site. Explore the canoe routes and swimming at Kejimkujik Lake – and visit the second location, Kejimjukik Seaside, for great hikes that hug the shoreline where you can watch seals basking on the rocks. One of my favourite hikes is near Blomidon Provincial Park. The Cape Split Trail is considered to be one of Nova Scotia’s best. Easy to see why, with stunning views like this – looking out to the Bay of Fundy on the left with the Minas Basin on the right. The Cape Split trail is 16km long, about a 4-5 hour hike. It’s located at the eastern end of the Annapolis Valley just outside Canning, less than a two hour drive from Halifax. Check the weather before you head out and the bug report too, here’s the forecast for Blomidon Provincial Park.

Cape Split overlooking the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

Cape Split overlooking the Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia

Now you’ve got some fun ideas about things to do in the Maritimes let’s head back home and talk gardening.

In my garden: Forget-me-nots

In my garden: Forget-me-nots

It’s been a tough slog for Canadians waiting anxiously for spring warmth this year. Temperature roller coasters are normal in spring but there have been many prolonged cool or cold stretches this spring. Just this week there was frost in the Maritimes three nights in a row, record cold temperatures in Newfoundland, and snow in St. John's as well as the BC interior and the Alberta Rockies. But the upcoming weekend looks promising for almost all of Canada with plenty of seasonal temperatures near 20C, very comfortable for garden labour. Because as lovely as spring is, it is the busiest time of year for gardeners! There’s pruning and clean up to do, dividing and moving plants while they’re still a manageable size, removing the weeds that pop up daily and much more. Meanwhile, garden nurseries swell with vast arrays of gorgeous plants, tempting us away from our chores.

Let these Forget-me-not flowers remind you of something you shouldn't forget to do – mulch. Adding mulch is the perfect finishing touch for your garden. Here’s why:

  • There are many different types available but bark mulch remains a popular and economical option with various sizes and colours to choose from, and it doesn't compact or blow away.
  • Mulch looks great and gives the garden a neat but natural, finished look.
  • Bark mulch smells great, it gives off a woody smell especially after rain or watering.
  • All types of mulch are very beneficial for gardens because they help retain water and cut down on weeds.

It’s easy to mulch, empty a bag on your flower bed and spread it out about 2”/5cm deep - it will look great, instant gratification! Believe it or not I’ve used 46 of the big 60 litre bags this year. Some “large” projects can seem daunting until you get underway - if you’ve ever had that experience this week’s quote may make you smile. Find out more about mulch and spring gardening here.

“Never measure the height of a mountain until you have reached the top. Then you will see how low it was.”
Dag Hammarskjold

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