Nova Scotia Hiking Summit: June 21-22

banner4_24x96Hike Nova Scotia invites individuals and groups with an interest in hiking, walking and snowshoeing to the second annual Nova Scotia Hiking Summit. This event will take place on Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22, 2013 at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s on Cape Breton Island. The Summit is a celebration of Nova Scotia’s hiking culture, which includes sharing best practices, stories and networking opportunities. It will help us grow a hiking, walking and snowshoeing culture in the province.

Click here for a detailed agenda and to register. This event is co-hosted by Victoria County. Hike Nova Scotia acknowledges and thanks the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness for its ongoing support.

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NS Trail Books Go Electronic

On March 15, Goose Lane Editions, Canada’s oldest independent publisher, unveiled electronic versions of their bestselling hiking guides. Guides to  Cape Breton, New Brunswick, Halifax, Ottawa and  Mainland Nova Scotia offer photographs, maps, GPS coordinates, trail descriptions, hiking tips and historical tidbits. All books will be available for download as PDF eBooks for use on eReaders, tablets, smartphones or any other device with a PDF reader. As well, sections of each book (such as this sample from Hiking Trails of Mainland Nova Scotia) will be available for approximately $3.99 each.HikingTrailsofMainlandNS-Cover

In preparation for the launch, Goose Lane is striving to get the word out. It wants to make sure every outdoor enthusiast is aware and ready the moment it releases them. And to sweeten the deal, Goose Lane will be offering a 20% discount on all hiking books (electronic or physical) from March 15 through April 15 when ordered through its website.

Featured Trail: Franey

Trail Name: Franey

Location: Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Description: “You climb up and up and your reward is at the top! Large flat rocks give you a nice place to sit and enjoy the 360 degree views of the entire Clyburn Brook canyon and the Atlantic coastline from Cape Smokey to Ingonish. Gaze back at the mountains, the sheer rocky face of Franey Mountain, or the river winding through the valley, 425 metres below. Keep an eye out for wildlife – moose like this habitat too.” This is a 7.4 kilometre loop trail.

Map: Find a map and directions here.

Featured Trail: Fishing Cove

Trail Name: Fishing Cove

Location: Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Description: At 335 metres (1000 feet) above sea level, “hike from the top of the mountain about 8 kilometres down to a small ocean cove and grassy clearing – the only designated wilderness camp site in the park. This was once the site of a Scottish fishing community and these settlers traded with the French for supplies. Explore the beach, roam the hills or swim in fresh or salt water.” This trail is 15.7 kilometre return.

Map: Find a map and directions here.

Hiking Festival Steps Up to the Camera

By David Redwood

Lisa Dixon has hiked 200 kilometres since mid-July, much of it in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, and every step of the way she’s had her camera.

It’s for memories, but also to record unbelievable spots she might find herself in so she can share with friends later.

“You are just hoping you are going to come across that big male moose standing in front of you,” said Dixon, laughing as she explained why she shoots pictures on the trail.

Dixon is a guide at this year’s Hike the Highlands Festival, and her interest in photography is not unusual. Many of the hikers who attend the festival pack sophisticated cameras, and new activities are scheduled this year to satisfy shutterbugs.

A popular photo workshop by Wally Hayes has been expanded to two days (Sept. 13-14), and participants will be encouraged to snap images for a new slideshow at the festival’s opening ceremonies.

“We wanted to make sure that this year’s workshop was different than any other year,” said Tom Wilson, chair of Hike the Highlands Festival. He said Hayes’ sessions will feature photo shoots at Black Brook Beach and Still Brook Falls, and includes subject areas like image editing and file management.

Hikers are naturally drawn to photography, Wilson said.

“When you hike you are going for the views, and of course when you are a photographer and you want to take pictures you are going for the views as well. It’s a real nice mixture,” said Wilson.

Hayes, the veteran photographer leading the workshop, said he enjoys shooting pictures at the Festival’s guided walks. Even non-photographers on the hikes develop an interest in what camera owners are shooting.

“There is a curiosity factor,” said Hayes.

He said while seascapes and mountain views are always popular, many photographers are drawn to fauna at foot level. Other hikers? Not so much.

“Most people who are not into photography are walking on these things and trampling them into the ground without even realizing it. Then all of a sudden they see somebody taking a picture of this mushroom, as an example, or wildflower, or whatever the case may be, and all of a sudden they become aware of it, and they say, ‘Oh my god. That’s incredible. I‘ve never noticed those before.’”

Hayes said over the last ten years he’s noticed that even hikers who don’t set out with a burning interest in photography are finding themselves on the trail with cellphones or tablets that pack powerful cameras. And they are using them.

“They want to get as much out of (the device) as they can.”

Hayes says new smartphone applications like LightTrac, which creates maps overlayed with the direction the sun shines at certain times, make it even easier for hikers to capture powerful images of sunsets and sunrises.

Festival schedulers are running a 6 a.m. sunrise hike on Sept. 15 at Middle Head trail, and, later in the week, a Sept. 19 sunset hike on the national park’s Skyline trail. A photo contest will be held after the ten-day festival featuring pictures from most of the 20 featured hikes.

For more information on hiking, walking or snowshoeing in Nova Scotia contact Hike Nova Scotia through www.hikenovascotia.ca.

Hike the Highlands Festival: Sept. 14-23, 2012

The Hike the Highlands Festival, happening from September 14 to 23, features some of the best hiking you will find in Nova Scotia. There’s a wonderful selection of hikes to choose from and lots of evening events and activities too. This is a must do for anyone who loves Cape Breton, beautiful scenery, hiking and meeting a great bunch of people! Check it out at www.hikethehighlands.com. This is a photo of what you discover at the end of the beautiful Fishing Cove hike in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

Featured Trail: Coxheath Hills Wilderness Trail

Trail Name: Coxheath Hills Wilderness Trail

Location: Coxheath, Cape Breton Regional Municipality

Description: This 10-kilometre return trail includes a steady hike up the face of the mountain. At the first rest stop there is a cascading waterfall. The trail levels off at the top with a panoramic view of the surrounding communities, including Cape Smokey and the Mira Hills. Pittman’s Lodge is another stop with a cozy cabin with a deck for relaxation and viewing wildlife. From this point you can return the way you came or continue on the northern loop to experience old growth forest with large eastern hemlocks, yellow birch and sugar maples.

Map: Find a map and directions here.

Fall Guided Hike Series

Another slate of Fall Guided Hikes is available through Hike Nova Scotia and its partners across the province. The 15 hikes in September and October are led by local folks and participants qualify to win “trail prizes.” Click here for details on the following hikes:

  • Sept. 9: Annapolis Royal Seasonal Walk
  • Sept. 10: White Point to Burnt Head Trail, Cape Breton
  • Sept. 15: Fishing Cove Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Sept. 18: Cape George Trails, Antigonish County
  • Sept. 18: St. Mary’s River Walk, Waternish (Guysborough County)
  • Sept. 18: Windhorse Farm Trail, New Germany
  • Sept. 24: Greenwood Walk, Greenwood
  • Sept. 25: Card Lake Colors Hike, Card Lake Provincial Park (near Chester)
  • Oct. 2: Keji Trails, Kejimkujik National Park and Historic Site
  • Oct. 12: Acadian Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oct. 13: Branch Pond Look-Off, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oct. 14: Franey Trail, Cape Breton Highlands National Park
  • Oct. 14: Kingston Year Round Walk, Kingston
  • Oct. 22: Kentville Pumpkin Walk, Kentville
  • Oct. 23: Rogers Hill Trail, Durham (Pictou County)

Hike NS thanks its partners for organizing the hikes on the ground: Valley Trekkers Volkssport Club, Hike the Highlands Festival, Fresh Air Society, Nova Scotia Nature Trust, St. Mary’s River Association, Windhorse Farm, Chester Recreation and Parks, Annapolis County Recreation Services, Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Celtic Colours Festival, and Cape to Cape Committee of the Pictou County Trails Association.

Featured Trail: Baille Ard Trail

Trail Name: Baille Ard TrailBailleArdTrailPhoto

Location: Sydney

Description: The Baille Ard Nature Trail is located on Cottage Road, behind Sherwood Park Education Center, only three kilometers from downtown Sydney. It is a three-kilometre loop trail, ideal for walking, jogging, and bird-watching. It has two fresh water brooks, fourteen acres of mixed forest, and twelve points of interest along the way.

Map: Find a map and directions at http://www.acapcb.ns.ca/baille_ard_trail.

Cabot Shores Good Health Festival: July 8-10

From July 8-10th, Cabot Shores Wilderness Resort will be hosting a Good Health Festival to promote well-being and happy lifestyles. Join their team of expert guides and educators in a weekend of workshops, water events and races, and outdoor hikes through Cabot Trail favourites. For more information on the festival and accommodations, visit www.cabotshores.com, or email goodhealthfest@gmail.com. Profits from this event will go to support the Breast Cancer Action Nova Scotia Organization. All members of Hike NS will receive 20% off all accommodations and a $15 meal voucher.