The 1st Lennoxville Guide and Pathfinder Units travelled to Nova Scotia this summer. These are some excerpts from their trip report written by Esther (with input from everyone else).
Day 1 – Wednesday, July 5
The travelling members of the 1st Lennoxville Guide & Pathfinder Units, Natalya, Natania, Samantha, Esther & Vickie, took the train from Drummondville in the evening and slept on the train. This was a great way for us to get to Nova Scotia. The leaders weren’t exhausted from driving and the girls got to experience a new mode of transportation. As we were going to camp, we had a lot of gear to transport and the baggage allowance is very generous. On the downside, the seats were uncomfortable to sleep in and it was a very long ride.
“The view is awesome!” – Natania
“The bathrooms are wobbly and uncomfortable” – Samantha
“It’s really fun. And bring stuff to do.” – Natalya
Day 2 – Thursday, July 6
We arrived in Truro, claimed our luggage and called Discount to come pick us up. We had booked a minivan for 8 days of travel within Nova Scotia. They brought us “Goliatha:” a Ford Excursion with all the little luxuries and conveniences. Vickie and I were somewhat nervous about driving such an enormous vehicle, but she handled great!
“I like Goliatha.” – Vickie
“I liked how she’s big and there was room for souvenirs, even with all of our stuff.” – Natalya
After some grocery shopping, we set up camp at Cranberry Campground. The sites are large, right on the water and it’s very nice there. It was extremely windy, though!
“We almost got blown away!” – Esther
“Sunset and sunrise were beautiful.” – Natalya
Day 3 – Friday, July 7
We striked camp and headed to Anchors Above Zip lining. This was a new adventure for all three girls.
“Ziplining was amazing!” – Samantha
“Ziplining was so much fun!” – Natalya
Would you recommend it to others? “Yes! For sure!” – Natania
We wanted to attend the Antigonish Highland Games, but there wasn’t much to see on Friday afternoon. Instead, we spent the afternoon visiting the Antigonish Heritage Museum, home to mustache cups; attending the cultural fair that was in the same park as the games; and catching up with Sunny, a Guider who just finished at Bishop’s and moved to Antigonish.
This cultural fair was pretty amazing. We played old Acadian games, learnt some Gallic, sang a couple of wool working songs, learned about Miqmaw dream catchers, learn the basics of drumming and of Scottish dancing, and tasted oat cakes.
“The Cultural fair was hands on and awesome!” – Esther
“Homemade oat cakes were amazing!” – Samantha
“Delish!” – Natania
“I really liked the drumming and dancing.” – Vickie
We then drove a couple of hours, stopped for supper and drove a couple more to get to Cape Breton Highlands National Park: nice sites, free showers, nice beach, no cell service. It was a good thing we had practiced setting up our tents ahead of time: the first time was in crazy wind and this time was in the dark.
“Setting up in the dark was ok. I liked it.” – Natania
Day 4 – Saturday, July 8
We drove north to Oshan Whale Watch and headed out for three hours on the water. Whale watching turned into wave riding.
“Wave riding was awesome!” – Samantha
“The wave felt like the boat was going to dive right into the water.” – Natania
“Fun, but cold and rainy. The rocks were beautiful.” – Vickie
“Sad we didn’t see any whales.” – Natalya
Oshan Whale Watch has this guarantee where you get to go out again for free if you didn’t see any whales, so the girls decided that we should go again the next day.
We finished up this day with swimming at Ingonish Beach, a short walk from our campsite, and capped off the evening with a warm fire and s’mores.
Day 5 – Sunday, July 9
This day was nothing like we planned! We spent the whole morning back out on the boat and got to see some whales. The girls now understood what we meant by “it’s gonna be cold on the water” and dressed more warmly.
“The pilot whales were neat.” – Natalya
The afternoon was so short with all the driving we had to catch up on! We made it to the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site in time, but strongly recommend allowing more time at this museum.
“So much to see…” – Natania
“You need like three hours to see everything; we had, like, 30 minutes.” – Natalya
We spent the night at Camp Cairdeas, a Nova Scotia Girl Guide camp. It was perfectly set up for the girls to cook in the kitchen while we Guiders could catch up on some paperwork! This was also a day when we didn’t need to set up our tents, and when we could hang up all of our wet gear to dry.
“The stir fry was sooo goood!” – Natalya
“Awesome, especially the camper. We saw fireflies and they were awesome!” – Natania
“We saw two rabbits and they were so cute!” – Esther
Day 6 – Monday, July 10
We made our way to Sherbrooke Village Museum, which is a small village set in the mid-1800s, full of people to show us around. We liked the different treasure hunts to choose from, that took us to many cool places: a doctor’s house, jail, general store, weaver’s house, wood turner’s shop…
“The blacksmith’s shop was amazing. He shaped the metal and told us all about it.” – Samantha
“The photography studio was fascinating; I learned so much.” – Esther
We then hit the road toward Halifax, but stopped for a swim at Martinique Beach Provincial Park.
“It was freezing cold and awesome!” – Natania
“Run in, get soaked, have fun and run out.” – Natalya
“Don’t drink the water.” – Samantha
“Trekking through the sand… It was a long trek.” – Natania
Shubie Park Campground is where we stayed for the next three nights. The sites are very close together, but it is very convenient to head into the city and get back in time to cook supper and do some laundry. The beach is also very close and warmer than the ocean!
“I liked Shubie Park Campground.” – Natania
“Four-minute showers would have been perfect, instead of 3½ minutes.” – Esther
“Three and a half minutes went on forever.” – Vickie
Day 7 – Tuesday, July 11
We made the most of our Guiding connections and had a private behind the scenes tour at the Canadian Museum of Immigration, before going in to see the exhibits. The free guided tour helped us understand the different challenges immigrants faced when coming to Canada in the late 1800s. Lunch time came all too quickly because we could have easily spent another two hours looking at the exhibits.
“It was interesting. I would not have wanted to be an immigrant.” – Natania
“It was really interesting, but you need three hours to go through the whole thing.” – Natalya
“I thought it was huge and a maze, and the gift shop could have more things.” – Samantha
“Definitely suggest going!” – Natania, Natalya, Samantha.
Halifax Seaport Farmers’ Market was disappointing. We planned on having lunch there, expecting a wide selection of edibles. Alas! The selection was measly. Good-tasting, but measly.
“Not much of a variety. I would have expected more for tourist season.” – Vickie
Halifax Citadel National Historic Site was my ‘coup de coeur’. This fortress is teaming with staff in historic dress there to help us see what life would have been like inside the fortress. There was also a special exhibit recreating the trenches of World War I, and staff there to explain what life was like.
“The Citadel is really interesting. I would have liked to stay longer.” – Natalya
“I like the tailor shopwhere they explained what the different coats were for and what was a good fit and not. And you got to try it on!” – Samantha
“The trenches exhibit was fascinating, informative and insightful.” Esther, Vickie, Natania
Again, time was running away from us! Woozles, the oldest children’s bookstore in Canada, awaited us. All of the girls just happen to be avid readers, so this unplanned stop was quickly voted in!
“It was so fun and I definitely want to go again. I recommend it to everyone.” – Natania
“Leave your footprints in the oldest children’s bookstore in Canada.” – Natalya
Day 8 – Wednesday, July 12
We drove out to Peggy’s Cove and frolicked on the rocks around the lighthouse. This was a good place for gift shopping because the store has some of everything. On the way back into Halifax, we stopped for some fish n’ chips and ate on the waterfront.
“I loved climbing around on the rocks. The waves hit really hard and it looked beautiful.” – Natania
“Running around the rocks was really fun, and I wish I could have gone inside the lighthouse.” – Natalya
“I liked the rocks and the waves. I would have liked to know more about the history of Peggy’s Cove.” – Samantha
“I would have liked to visit the Swissair memorial, but there were no signs.” – Vickie
“Shaw’s Landing was delicious!” – Esther
Next stop for us was the Nova Scotia Girl Guide provincial office. We got a tour of the place and purchased the Nova Scotia Crest, which is pretty nice.
“Seeing the old uniforms and hats was awesome.” – Natalya
Back to the campsite with us and we spent a few hours hanging out, swimming at Shubie Park Beach and enjoying some down time.
“The supervised area was too shallow and there were too many people.” – Natalya, Natania
Unfortunately, we didn’t get to do the Ghost Walk Tour of Halifax because I made a mistake when transcribing the time. Instead, we went back to camp and made up a huge batch of travel mix. We spent some extra time relaxing, which was needed by this point.
Day 9 – Thursday, July 13
We left early to head over to Burntcoat Head Park where we had a guided tour of the ocean floor. This is the spot where the world record for the highest tides was recorded.
“Walking on the ocean floor, seeing sea creatures and getting muddy was really cool.” – Natania
“We wish we could have gone deeper into the mud.” Natalya, Natania
“The tour guide was very informative.” – Vickie
“It would not have been nearly as great without a guide.” – Esther
Between tides, we set up camp at Smiley’s Provincial Park.
“Putting up the tent in the rain was panicking.” – Samantha
“I forgot how to do it for a few seconds.” – Natania
After a quick supper, we headed back to Burntcoat Head park to see the site at high tide.
“High tide wasn’t as high as I expected.” – Natalya
“To think, the water is so deep that we could have had a blue whale above our heads!!” – Esther
Horseback riding at Evangeline Trail Rides was our last activity of the day.
“It was scary at first. I was much more comfortable by the end.” – Natania
“It was awesome how the horses moved and how healthy they are. And they told us how to hold the reins and how to make the horse move.” – Samantha
Day 10 – Friday, July 14
We packed up all our gear and headed for a picnic at Victoria Park, in Truro.
“We got to play like little kids. It was awesome!” Natania, Natalya
We then met with a Discount agent at the train station to return Goliatha; this was greatly appreciated! And back on the train for the ride home.
We used some of these long hours to evaluate our trip and to look back on some of the goals we had set out for ourselves and some challenges we faced.
Day 11 – Saturday, July 15
We arrived at Drummondville with all of our luggage, hugged and said our goodbyes.