2014  HIKING, CYCLING,

& RV TRAVEL ADVENTURES

 

   
 
Runtrails' Web Journal
 
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   YEAR-END REVIEW, p. 2: CANADIAN MARITIMES 
TO KINGS BAY, GA + 2014 TRAVEL STATS

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31

 
 
(Continued from the previous page.)

FIRST TIME IN THE MARITIMES, EH?

We had fun visiting New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island (PEI) for almost a month in August and early September.

It was our first time to these Canadian Provinces. We enjoyed exploring the scenic countryside on wheels and foot, and found lots of friendly people everywhere we went. There is a lot of interesting Scottish and French Acadian cultural influence and history. We enjoyed listening to Celtic music and watching folks dance at a traditional Ceilidh (KAY-lee).


Patio seating in the historic district of Charlottetown, PEI   (8-28-14)


The indoor Halifax Farmers' Market is huge, very busy on Saturdays, and offers all sorts of products.
Most towns and cities in the Maritimes have weekly farmers' markets in the summer.  (8-16-14)

Camping options were plentiful and reasonably-priced in all three provinces. Canadians like to camp as much as those of us from the U.S. Our campground in PEI was as packed on Labor Day as the ones in the U.S. that holiday.

Life in the Maritimes is defined by water -- there are many, many miles of Atlantic Ocean coastline  plus rivers, lakes, marshes, and bays. Most of our best memories during this trip relate to the water:

  • Delicious freshly-caught lobster, scallops, and other seafood purchased from fishermen or served in restaurants;
  • Scenic bike paths along the Celtic Coast, "Chocolate" River, Salt Marsh Trail, and other gorgeous locations:


Bike path along the Petitcodiac AKA Chocolate River in Moncton, NB  (8-10-14)


View from the Salt Marsh Trail near Halifax, NS

  • Rocky headlands and sandy shores at Cape Breton NP, Fundy NP, and PEI National Park;
  • Colorful  and quaint seacoast fishing villages like Lunenberg and Peggy's Cove, NS:


One of the long wooden piers in Lunenberg, NS    (8-20-14)

Above and below:  Scenic Peggy's Cove, NS is a photographer's dream.
You can see the iconic lighthouse in the October 18 entry.  (8-20-14)

  • Awesome tidal variances at Hopewell Rocks on the Bay of Fundy;
  • Tall ships and sailboats in Halifax, NS, Charlottetown, PEI, and other harbors:


Cruising sailboat in Lunenberg Harbor; note the Canadian maple-leaf flag, 
flying from a nearby tall ship that's out of view on the right.  (8-20-14)


Visitors watch crew members working on a high mast of this tall ship in Halifax Harbor.  (8-16-14)

  • Whale and seabird cruise around Brier Island in the Bay of Fundy:


M/V Mega Nova, whale cruise boat we took with Brier Island Whale & Seabird Cruise Co.  (8-24-14)

We got very close to several humpback whales. Note the dripping water from the distinctive
 tail (above) as one goes back into the water.  One of the whales below is "blowing," or
exhaling. There is a very bad odor in the air when they do that!  (8-24-14)

Nova Scotia, particularly rugged Cape Breton, was my favorite, probably because it had the allure of both mountainous terrain and seacoast:

Above and below:  Along the Cabot Trail, a scenic drive around Cape Breton, NS  (8-12-14)

Gotta go back someday!

MAINE TO FLORIDA: FOLLOWING THE FALL LEAVES SOUTH

After admiring photos and videos of the brilliant autumn color in northern New England all of our lives we finally got to see several weeks of this phenomenon as we traveled back south before temperatures dropped below our comfort zone. We deliberately planned our "winter migration" to try to hit the leaves as close to peak as we possibly could.

We did a pretty good job of it, too, considering fall leaf color is a moving target in each location every year.

We started to see some yellow, orange, and red leaves in early September on PEI. After we left Canada we spent a week hiking, cycling, and driving through Acadia National Park in Maine and sailed on our first windjammer cruise out of Bar Harbor. The autumn leaves were just starting to turn color while we were there.


Sailing from Bar Harbor on the Margaret Todd 4-masted schooner
before the sails were raised by crew and passengers   (9-8-14)


Acadia National Park has miles and miles of rugged coastline
visible from seaside roads and trails.  (9-7-14)

The second and third weeks of September we went back to Twin Mountain, NH to relax and play some more in the northern White Mountains.

The leaves were about a week before their peak color when we left:


Pondicherry Wildlife Refuge  (9-23-14)


Zealand River along the trail to Sugarloaf Mountain  (9-23-14)

Next we decided to visit the Adirondack Mountains in New York for the first time. We drove from NH through northern VT, up and around the top of Lake Champlain (just a mile from the Canadian border), and down to Wilmington, NY, which is near Lake Placid.

We hit the leaf color at or near its peak in this area at the end of September. We enjoyed staying a week at the North Pole Resort, a very nice private campground that borders the scenic AuSable River:

 

Since we were in the shadow of Whiteface Mountain, location of some of the skiing events in the 1980 Winter Olympics at Lake Placid, I decided to hike to the summit. I found a gnarly four-mile trail up the north side of the peak and had the summit to myself on a weekday when the toll road wasn't open to traffic.

I enjoyed the incredible 360-degree views of the surrounding countryside so much that I talked Jim into driving up the toll road a couple days later so he could see it, too. There was too much traffic on the road on the weekend to interest him in cycling up or down, although we saw other folks on bikes.


View of Lake Placid from the summit of 4,867-foot Whiteface Mountain;
it looks like peak fall color in the valley.   (9-26-14)


Scenic lake on FR 72 in Adirondack Park near Wilmington, NY  (9'28-14)

While we were in this area Jim participated in the Stone Valley Gravel Grinder 50-mile bike race in Vermont near the NY state line. He had fun on the scenic route through the countryside.

After a week in the eastern Adirondacks we drove through the six million-acre park and camped farther west in upstate New York at Fort Drum in early October. The FamCamp has the largest full-service sites we've ever seen at a military installation, and lots of roads and trails to hike and ride.


More colorful leaves in the historic Quaker Cemetery on post at Fort Drum   (10-5-14)

We enjoyed exploring territory new to us near Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River, and the Thousand Islands area. While in upstate NY we also discovered some of the numerous wineries in the region. That was our first NY wine and the ones we tried were delicious. I love tasting regional wines that are new to me when we're traveling around the country.

By the second week of October it was getting chilly in northern NY so we made a beeline through PA to MD. We stayed at Andrews AFB again . . .


The oldest Smithsonian Institute building along The Mall in Washington, DC  (10-21-14)


Some pretty fall color at Andrews AFB golf course next to the FamCamp  (10-19-14)

. . . before continuing south through VA, NC, and SC to our lakeside site at Kings Bay, GA -- back where the year began for us.

Ironically we saw some of the most brilliant fall color when we got to southern Georgia. There are several of these trees (Bradford pears?) on the sub base:

 

It was unusual for us not to go somewhere out West this whole year but it was a nice change for us. Since we no longer have a house in the East we plan to spend most of 2015 farther west.

CAMPING STATS

Although we don't add up our fuel and other travel costs at the end of the year Jim does keep a spreadsheet re: campground fees and the number of nights in campgrounds so we can compare averages from year to year (just out of curiosity).

Number of nights in the camper:  236

Average campground cost per night:  $22.50  (That's pretty good, considering we had to pay more than we usually do for our sites in Canada; the rest of the time we usually stayed at military installations and/or got good weekly and monthly rates. We boon-docked for free only a few times this year.)

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

2015??  My goodness, where does the time go???

And where are we going in 2015? Our tentative plans include spending the summer in Alaska again. We loved it there in 2012 and have our fingers crossed for a warmer, dryer summer there this time. (I recently read that this November and December were warmer than average in Anchorage and Fairbanks.)


Denali AKA Mt. McKinley, North America's highest peak.  Must. Go. Back!!  (August, 2012)

Our plans before and after that are more amorphous, as usual.

Stay tuned to see where we go! Even if I don't keep up with new entries in a timely manner, I do list where we are currently located on each year's topics page.

Happy trails,

Sue
"Runtrails & Company" - Sue Norwood, Jim O'Neil, Cody the ultra Lab, and Casey-pup

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2014 Sue Norwood and Jim O'Neil

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