Last year, Mr. Harper (yeah….him) deprived many Nova Scotians the thrill of exploring in the winter months our local treasure – Kejimkujik National Park, located smack dab in the middle of southern Nova Scotia. Thanksgiving Weekend was our last chance to get a go for a 3-day hike in the Park before it shut down for the year on Oct 31st.
**Note: Park staff did tell us that this winter 2013-14, barricades would not be installed at the park entrance, meaning several roads would be accessible at your own risk. No services would be available so day trips only for a x-country ski or snowshoe outing.
My friend and I set out on Saturday morning at 9:45AM from the parking lot at Eel Weir for the 17km trek to Site # 38. It has been awhile since I strapped on the fully-loaded backpack for a good long trek. The trail was fairly flat for the most part, just a few occasional rolling hills. After about 8 or 9km, your back starts to tighten up a bit and you hip muscles begin to scream. After all, your body is not really used to this sort of extra weight.
After a few rest and snack breaks, we arrive at our destination six hours later at 3:45PM. Tired and a bit sore, it feels really good to take off the pack for the last time today. We get busy setting up camp and then it is time for a hot beverage (with a hint of scotch 😉 and a little relaxation. A fire is a must as the temperature will be dropping to a cool 3 or 4 degrees this evening.
Our campsite was quite spectacular – one must cross a small bridge to get to it – like a drawbridge. It is located at Poison Ivy Falls (not to worry I didn’t see any poison ivy), between Peskowesk and Peskawa lakes. We did see several paddlers pass by
as they were making their way to site # 40 or 41 further up the lake.
I slept fairly well, a good test for my -7 degree sleeping bag. I am up first in the morning so I start the fire, knowing that soon we would be sipping steaming hot pressed coffee and enjoying a bowl of warm oatmeal. Once the fire was going, I had to grab my camera and capture the morning mist that hovered over the river and lake. It is moments like this that make the hiking all worthwhile.
By noon, we are packed up to start the hike back to our destination for night # 2 at the Peskowesk Yurt. Just knowing that today’s trek was only 12km seemed to make the pack feel a bit lighter.
After about four hours we reach the yurt and it is as awesome as I remember from two years ago. With a huge wood stove in the middle of the yurt and several built-in bunks, we are guaranteed warmth and comfort for tonights sleep.
Before dinner, we explore the river and falls just a few meters from the yurt. The river runs fast and furious and there are mini waterfalls to enjoy. We dine on noodles, pasta salad, chicken vindaloo and Apple Brown Betty for dessert.
It is a short 5 km jaunt the next day back to the car. We were blessed with sunshine all three days and the peace and quiet that only Keji can offer. Just to piss off Mr. Harper, I do plan a visit this winter to ski or walk or snowshoe or ‘pee on a tree’ and I hope everyone else does as well.