Saturday, January 15, 2011

Friday the 13th



it's friday morning, we woke up feeling amazing after a good rest. we took our time packing up, it's nice to not have to rush.. which is why i love to hit up a campground every once in a while. checkin the map, we're somewhere around Hilden Nova Scotia. our goal of course is Halifax, a mere hundred kilometers a way. that's not so far, we should be able to make it today..

or so we hoped. we're so excited to be so close to the city, i was hoping we could get there for the weekend. we picked up and started heading south. it was about an hour's walk from the campground to the next on-ramp for the bigger highway.

the day heated up quickly. it's not a good feeling to walk along a hot highway in the midday sun. today, posting up at the on ramp seemed like a good idea. there was a gas station right on the corner before the turn towards the highway, we stopped to grab some sandwiches and drinks from the cooler.

we shuffled off towards the highway. it wasn't far, it just seemed so in the heat. when we finally made it over to the ramp, a few clouds rolled through with a breeze to relieve us from the sun. we dropped down the packs and waited. and waited... not as much traffic as we had anticipated. hours passed. we were running out of patience not moving forward. we debated for another hour whether we should go back to the small highway and hoof it.. once the heat had passed we gave in.

and so we walked. and walked some more. with our thumbs out of course. no dice. we took a break somewhere around Alton. i busted out the day planner to make some notes, and that's when i noticed the date. it's the 13th of August. Friday, the 13th that is. apparently, not a good day to be a hitchhiker. my hope for getting a ride was sinking... and suddenly the whole day made sense.

not only was my hope sinking, but so then was the sun. we had to start thinking about how much further we were willing to walk, and where we may be able to find a patch to hide our tent. before we knew it, we were in Stewiacke. i felt a little dissapointed that we had only made it 15 kilometers of our hundred kilometer goal for the day. i was hoping to spend a weekend in Hali with the homies.

oh well.. i'm here! i'm somewhere... and i have everything i need and some good company. it seemed as soon as i relaxed about not getting a ride, someone pulled over. "i'm not going far" the man said, but he felt we'd have a better chance from Shubenacadie. at least he moved us through another town. we thanked him for being the only brave soul to pick us up today, as we mentioned the date. we all had a good laugh and we were on our way once again. now it was definitely time to seek a camp spot.

farmland and houses. i was starting to worry we wouldn't find a place to post camp out of the way. we were tiring too much to care. it's a good thing it was friday night, the only suitable place we could find was a field behind a highschool, bordered with a private patch of trees on one side, and farmland on the other. we figured by crossing the stream we were technically on the back end of the farmer's field, which seemed safer somehow than the school yard. my concern faded as the exhaustion took it's toll.

a man walking his dog through the field happened upon us, but he didn't seem to care that we were there. we figured if he did he'd notify the authorities, but nobody came. a peaceful night, and a prayer that we will make it to Hali tomorrow... we still have time to enjoy a weekend in the city.

Friday, December 10, 2010



[August 2o1o]

the last night had to be the coldest yet. cold enough to have us up just before sunrise.. there was a thick coat of dew on the tent, the sun broke above the horizon as i poked my head out the door with a smile.

because of our location, we felt that moving as soon as possible was best. we shook out our soggy tent once again, and packed our bags. being careful not to be seen coming from the lot, we waited for the lady walking her dog to pass, made sure there wasn't any cars coming and booked it down the hill for the road.

it was probably about 8am by the time we started walking, we weren't quite outside the town limits yet. we stuck our thumbs out by nine, and hitched our first ride almost straight away. it was a short chubby awkward looking man who was on his way to the main highway. we didn't want to go so far, so we had him drop us off just before Bible Hill, a small town close to Truro.

we didn't know it at the time, but that first ride ended up being our last for the day. a good start to the day though, 40 kilometers covered by car which would have been well over a day's walk. the cold night was contrasted by a hot and balmy afternoon. the higher the sun rose, the slower we shuffled along the highway.

we arrived in downtown Truro around noon.. just in time to find a Timmies to grab some drink and snack and enjoy a little air conditioning. we hit the info centre [which unfortunately, the kids working in it that day gave us very little info!] and then the library. it's time to find a campground, and a shower!

we googled campgrounds nearby, and even found one on google maps that didn't really exist. i knew we had already walked past the place the map said it would be, and further research told me that there was indeed no campground just north of Truro.

we found one, 10 kilometers south in Hilden. the day was so warm, it was a little slow getting out of town. we took a break walking through the industrial complex out front of a stinky old factory. we figured no one would mind the smell of our smoke against the factory smell, so we hid out in the shade of a small tree by the road.

almost at the edge of town, we ran into a man about our age walking the opposite direction. he stopped us and asked us where we were from. we told him where, and where we were going, and about our journey so far. he was happy to run into other travelers while stationed in his hometown. he gave us five bucks to hit up the Avery's fruit market store up the road. he said it was his favourite place in town to get food and that we wouldn't be disappointed. he wished us well and we carried on to Avery's to pick up some fruit!

he was right, the store was great! a huge selection of fresh produce, and a big ol stand of fruit juice to choose from. we loaded up with blueberries, apples, fresh muffins and juice.. then continued on down the highway. this calls for another break! another 20 minutes down the road, we parked our butts on someone's front lawn in the shade of a short pine and slammed back some fruit and juice.

the small rural areas didn't leave us much room for hitching, we tend not to stick out our thumbs as long as there's sidewalk. once we made it to the end of Millbrook we put our thumbs out once again, hoping someone would give us a lift to the campground. lots of RVs passed us, we knew we were getting close anyways. the last 5km had to be the longest 5 ever, sooo hot. no clouds to be found that day of course.

we passed the sign for Hilden. so close... finally a sign. "Scotia Pine Camp Ground 2km". yessss! suddenly our packs felt lighter, though our feet were throbbing we didn't care. showers, laundry and a place to stretch out weren't very far now. we stepped into the office around 6pm, and the lady gave us a nice private spot in the back corner of the lot, close to the showers and in the shade of a circle of trees.

it seemed like a good day to grab some firewood. we cleaned up and relaxed in the shade to enjoy some more fruit, and fresh baked muffins we picked up. getting settled in for the evening, a cyclist pulled up a spot right next to us. after he was finished setting up, he came over to see what we're up to. you know when you see somone at a campground without a vehicle, they're on some real adventure.

his name was Neil. he's from England, and he had just biked all the way from Vancouver, on the other side of the country. this was his final stretch, he'd make it to his end point in Halifax the next day. he was just as interested in our hitching as we were in his cycling. we invited him for a fire but he wanted to lay down before sunset, tomorrow would be a big day.

it was a relaxing evening, fire crackling and the sound of a babbling stream just behind us. the start came out, and we caught a glimpse of the meteor shower once again. exhausted from a full day of walking in the sun, we hit the hay early. what a sweet day.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

the Journey to Masstown



a good morning indeed. there's something wonderful about waking up on a tiny island. the sky is clear and sunny, it's gonna be a warm day. we head back down the partridge island path and return to the mainland. in order to get out of town we will have to walk all the way back to it, and then to the other side before we can stick out our thumbs.

this time we have to hit the grocery before we hit the road. there's no knowing how far or not we will make it, best to be safe and stocked rather than risk going hungry. not that we'd starve, there's wild berries everywhere, as far as the eye can sea.

we take turns going into shops so the other can wait out front with our packs. i came out of the grocery and shawn was surrounded by a small gaggle of nine year olds on their bikes. they were quizzing him about hitchhiking. i thought for a moment about all the times parents had stopped their children from talking to us to avoid such questions being asked.

now fully loaded with food snacks and water, we head for the end of town. it was a bittersweet goodbye, we always love to get moving, but some places are so hard to leave. we step slow and steady as the sun climbs high. the stretch of highway between Parrsboro and Moose River was long and lonely. sometimes 20 minutes would pass before we would even see a car.

by mid afternoon the sun was so intense, we had to seek shade to hide out in for a minute. the task wasn't so easy.. the land on either side of the highway is a steep rocky slope toward the road, with the only flat wide open parts being low lying wetland. we finally found a dwarf apple tree to pull over under on a mound of tall grass close by the road. close enough to drop the packs and stick out our thumbs, if ever someone were to pass us.

we sit and blaze in the shade, and wait for a while to cool off. not too long though, gotta keep moving before things begin to ache. spirits high we return to the road. two hours later, we arrive at the Moose River sign. we snap the 'Yeti tracks' crossing the highway, and a minute or two later, we finally score a ride.

yet another mother! the moms, they seem to love us. she gives us a lift to a tiny produce shop off the side of the highway, right outside of Five Islands Provincial Park. when we arrived at the store, her son was waiting in the parking lot to be picked up from work. he eyed us unhappily, and scolded his mother for picking up hitchhikers. she shook her head and smiled at us.

we went inside to grab some produce, and shawn's hope for coffee came true. it was cooling off now, the highway was snaking back towards the coastal breeze. the store clerk tossed us some oranges for free, and i busted one open as soon as we got to the road. i said to shawn, i bet if i open an orange right now, someone will stop to give us a ride. i barely had a moment to finish my sentence and sure enough, a woman in a brand new Escalade pulled over.

i stopped walking for a second, stunned in disbelief. is this woman really stopping for us?! that's one hell of a car to let some dirty hitchhikers into. the woman smiled, "get in get in!"..we told her what we were up to, and she shared her story with us too. the car was a rental, she'd just had her car break down, so they hooked her up the fancy truck.

as it turns out, her and i found each other strangely familiar. her eyes looked so familiar to me but i couldn't place it. she asked if i was ever a foster kid, apparently i reminded her of a little girl she had years ago. i was a foster kid, but not here in Nova Scotia. she told us of all the kids she had, and the wonderful life she gave them, many of them native kids who needed a better chance at life. she is wonderful, kind and very humble.

"the truth is, i couldn't pass you two without picking you up. i just found out my mother has several months to live rather than just a few days, it's a blessing from God. i had to pass the blessing along..." she had a tear in her eye, but she was smiling. she was losing her mother to cancer, and she was worried about crying in front of her children about the pain of losing a parent. "i want to buy you dinner, i insist, it's the least i could do".. she drove right past where she was going to meet her husband, gave us forty bucks and dropped us off at the next truck stop diner. she wished us luck, and i felt kinda sad to see her drive away.

she insisted to buy us dinner, so we went in and ordered the biggest meals we could fit in our stomachs. we were warm, full, and further along the highway than we thought we would make it. we walked right into Masstown, past the giant market we were told about. the sun was about to set so we had to push on past the crossroads to find a place to camp.

we followed the highway right into a rural neighbourhood, there were no places to hide out of sight. we were starting to get a little worried and considered asking someone to camp out in their yard. we passed a lumberyard and turned the bend to find a dirt road leading up the hill to nowhere, the only uncleared lot along the way. we looked around to make sure no one was watching, and darted up the hill and into the trees.

another beautiful blessed day out on the road has passed, and we're exhausted. the lot looks to be overrun with deer, but we're too tired to care. we pull up a spot on a red dirt hill. this night was the coldest yet, thank goodness we were too tired to notice. tomorrow will be an early morning, we have to hit the road before we're seen. sweet nova scotia dreams...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Partridge Island


[August 2o1o]

morning came in just about as soggy as the evening did, once again the tent is packed away wet. last night's sleep was amazing. finally a cozy flat spot covered in moss, and no hurry to pack our gear away to avoid being seen. while shawn reorganizes his pack, i mosey around the site zip lock baggy in hand, collecting super tasty ripe blueberries for our trek.

last night's feast scored us a filling left-over breakfast of potato skins and onion rings to eat with our fruits. we come across a perfect spot in the town center to re-feast. a man in suit and tie takes a moment from his morning to come and talk us up about our travels. he gives us pointers on where to camp for the evening, and reassures that no one will bother us.

what a friendly place. everyone we have met here so far in Parrsboro is so relaxed, so happy. everyone is eager to hear our story and share theirs, and so willing to help out a couple of perfect strangers. we feel perfectly at home.

we're still pretty stocked up for food, and now have blueberries to go with our gooseberries and oatmeal. we hit up the info center to grab a town map and some info on the tides, where we are further bombarded with friendliness and helpful people. our interest this evening lies in camping out on partridge island. we're warned not to climb down the slippery cliffs of course, and reminded of how quickly the tide turns around.

finally, the sun! the weather turns for the better and we finally get to dry out on our journey to the island. we follow the signs to the Ottawa house, the next stop before we set out to the trail head. about mid way on our walk we come across the rock and fossil museum/ gift shop. this store, the town and the entire area is like a dream come true to anyone who loves rocks and fossils and minerals. there's a little bit of just about everything to be found. the world's smallest in tact fossilized dinosaur footprint was found here not too long ago.

The Ottawa House, now a museum, is a goldmine of historical artifacts and information outlining the birth of our country. we find a photo on the wall of Conrad, the historian that gave us a lift into town. each room has a different collection, one for early technology like the telephone, a room that was made into a classroom, one for different tools you would use to build a ship, and so on. we pay our respects, leave a donation and move on.

between the Ottawa House and Partridge island is a long stretch of smooth pebble beach. we put our packs down on a rock close to the water, and follow the tide outward to the sea. the water is constantly flowing past us between the rocks as it quickly leaches out of the ground and back into the bay. every time the tide goes out, the beach is never the same. the placement of each tiny rock influences the water flow, we make a game out of channeling the flow in different directions, building tiny dams to watch the ocean's force slowly wear them away.

before long we turn around and realize we're almost a hundred feet away from where we put our packs down. the tide's retreat was gradual, yet quick enough for us to wander far from where we started. we stand in awe of the ocean's power, and burn a herbal session in the sun. what a beautiful day.

a smallish strip of gravel connects the island to the mainland, the ocean on one side, and salt water wetlands on the other. as we approach the trail head on the island, we notice the fog rolling off the land across the bay. it looks like a giant cloud waterfall that goes on forever along the horizon. beautiful, i can't get enough of the sight.
the sign at the trail head warns that the path is only for seasoned hikers, though short it is a challenging ascent. we're thrilled to have made it here well before sunset, we have plenty of time to enjoy the climb. just over half way up the hill is a 'second wind' bench and lookout. a clear break in the trees reveals a spectacular view of the bay, and the Ottawa House back down on the beach. it really puts into perspective how far we have come today on foot, and how far we make it very day.

the main trail skirts along the outside edge of the island, but we find that there are many paths to follow, some more challenging and overgrown than the others. our minds revert to video game mode, opening up all the areas on the map starting with paths on the left, and working our way around. lots of wild food, berries and even peas to be found, and more amazing views.

a wooden rail leads us out of the trees and to the lookout, we have arrived at the other side of the island. good timing too, we've worked up quite an appetite after a solid day of wandering. we bust out the camp stove, some uncle ben's rice mix and the snacks. behind the lookout is a picnic table, a nice concrete fire pit, and a pile of scrap wood. behind that is a flattened out spot in a patch of long grass, just big enough for one tent. we discover a classic outhouse adorned with the crescent moon... but we prefer the cat-hole method over the toilet turned spider nest.

wet wood. of course the wood is wet, everything is wet out here, all the time. hence the moss all over everything. persistence pays off, after stacking and smoking the soggy logs, we finally have enough dry wood for the best and warmest fire yet. so many stars... so peaceful and quiet. i could stay out here forever. after melting away a couple hours by the fire, it's time to settle into our nest in the cozy long grass. consciousness leaves us as soon as we lay our heads.

Monday, October 18, 2010



[August 2o1o]

what a relief. i didn't want to make shawn walk too much further with that massive blister on his foot. the man in the station wagon asks us where we're headed. we're trying to get to Parrsboro today, and as luck would have it, that's exactly where he was heading.

or maybe it's that super travel karma again? turns out the man who picked us up is Conrad Byers, the local historian in Parrsboro. he was on his way home from a run to town in Amherst, the closest actual city. i suppose someone like him would always choose the country roads over the big highways. just the type of folks we like to meet.

not only is the place beautiful, and covered in rolling hills of delicious blueberries, it's also very rich in history. Conrad has been on the government's ass to declare this road a historical route for decades, and it certainly deserves the title. this passageway originally carved out by a glacier was a main trade and travel route throughout native and canadian history.

as we roll slowly into Parrsboro, Conrad gives us the grand tour. not much room to get lost or anything, it's a lovely little shipping town filled with huge old captain's houses. half of them are cheaply on the market as the economy suffers for new life out here. Parrsboro was in history what Halifax is today, the main east coast port for freight ships coming in from the sea. the extreme difference in high and low tide was inefficent use of landing time, so as the country grew, all the main shipping traffic was redirected to Halifax.

the historical society is both a blessing and a curse to this place. the original history and beauty of the town is still visible, though all the rules from keeping houses the original colour to not letting bigger businesses in town is keeping the place at an economical standstill. i'd love to buy a big old place here and turn it into a backpacker's hostel. the history alone is well worth the visit.

he drives us right out onto the wharf and points out the Ottawa House across the water. we could walk up there from here in maybe an hour or two. he gave us his address and said if we need anything at all, including a place to stay we should come ring his doorbell. blessed we are, what a lovely place to be.

the beach looks like a nice place for now. we watch as the tide rolls out and roll a dub under the seaside shelter.

"Peanut! Peanut get on over here.." a raspy old man's voice calls from a little gold chrysler. peanut is most definately a sea dog. it's clear that his owner can't walk very far, so he lets the dog roam the beach while he rolls in neutral along the shore.

"you guys camping here?" well not riiiight here, but yeah we plan to stay the night.. he puts the car in park and opens the door. more history flows through the locals here than what i have ever learned from a text book. he told us more about the area, the family names that have been here forever, and how he came to make this place his home.

he hobbled over with a tupperware dish full of berries. he couldn't believe that we had never tried gooseberries before, he insisted that we try them and keep the rest for our hike. "well i better go home now, and... do... something" he says. we mentioned something about going in to town for dinner and he jumped at the chance to drive us around.

the sky is clouding over. he drives us all the way to the national park east of Parrsboro, then to the top of the hill to overlook the bay at the other end of town. peanut rode with me in the back seat on our tour. we checked out the Ottawa House and the sandbar to partridge island. i don't think we ever caught this fellows name, but he was incredibly kind. i don't doubt had we asked, he would have invited us to his home to stay the evening.. he knew our hearts were set on camping out. our tour ends at the Glooscap restaurant just before sundown.

i try some local seafood in the form of a fish filet on a bun.. can't go to the ocean and not have any seafood! shawn gets chicken and wedges covered in cheese and bacon bits, both plates of food are enormous. of course while we're enjoying our food it starts to rain. luckily this restaurant is at the edge of town, so there's some forest not far off we could camp in tonight.

we wait for the rain to slow down to step outside and check our options. across the street is a graveyard, right next door is a church. opting for the more socially acceptable choice, we decide to pull up a strip of forest behind the church. the rain starts to pick up again, we don't have much time to set up.

a mossy patch surrounded by trees looks like a cozy spot.. bonus! there's wild blueberries growing all over the patch. we find a spot just big enough to lay the tent without squishing any berries, with one of the shrubs fitting inside the front vestibule. perfect to reach out and snack on for the evening.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Hitchin' New Brunswick to the ScotiaLands


[August 2o1o]

oh man was my back ever sore that morning. the roots that formed a cradle beneath me did some nasty things to my neck while asleepish. it was hard to remain fully unconscious under the howling wind, trying to make sure it doesn't start pouring while we're fly-less.

quarter to 6 in the morning and i'm shaking shawn awake. it's starting to rain, and our options are tarp up and get stuck beside the highway for god knows how many hours, or we pack up and head back to the info center to keep dry. i force the latter.

waking a shawn without having coffee on hand can be a dangerous thing. luckily we only had to wait an hour for the coffee shop to open. by the time we've hit the java spot the rain turns to a light drizzle and we hit the road again.

the highway is lined with beautiful wetland reserves. nice to look at, but not a good idea to stop walking beside, if you don't feel like getting eaten alive by mosquitoes. the traffic heading in our direction is flowing straight out of PEI and we wonder if our luck will be any better here.

after an hour or so of early morning steppin the tummy is a rumblin. the little bits of snacks we had left wasn't cutting it for breakfast, so we braved the swarming mosquitoes just long enough to boil water for oatmeal. our cups warm and full, we head back to the highway with our breakfast to go.

another half hour of walking and a minivan pulls over in front of us. YES! the woman driving is your average east coast soccer mom, coming back off the island to pick up her kid and take him back out to camp. she tells us how she will get in shit if her kids found out she picked up hitchhikers, but old hitchers always feel the need to repay the favour from back in their days.

she gives us some tips on where to hit some eats and the best way to get into Nova Scotia. the truck stop up ahead is a good place to ask for a ride. after only one night and morning in New Brunswick, i feel i owe the place a better visit on the next trip.

there's a smoke shop, an info center and a truck stop restaurant all right on the NB/NS border. we hit up all 3 of course. some vanilla flavoured papes to liven up the walk, and some encouraging words from the info center lady, and we're ready to eat. the truck stop restaurant is packed. we give our orders, all day breakfast for the boy, and a big ol' plate of poutine for me.

before we even had a chance to dig in, a woman approached us to offer a ride straight to Truro. awesome! we didn't even have to try. she tells us to meet her out front after we all finish eating. while waiting for our meals we pull out the Nova Scotia map. i begin to wonder if we're moving too fast.. we were just at the PEI/NB crossing this morning and we were about to rocket forward towards our endpoint of Halifax.

the food is fantastic. makes up for getting eaten alive while trying to cook up some oatmeal. our lady ride comes back to let us know she cannot give us a ride after all, her daughter-in-law wasn't too keen on riding with strangers. wasn't meant to be. we finished up our meals and hit the on ramp aiming for Truro.

maybe a half hour passes before we get our first ride. a woman who usually 'doesn't do this sort of thing' picked us up and told us she could bring us two on ramps forward in Amherst. we would have a better chance there she thought, where more through traffic collects in the Nova.

the main highway is big and loud and kinda scary, so we stumble down the grassy embankment to the service road below. we usually make effort to avoid the bigger highways, so we check the map for our back country options. the highways tangle in every direction when avoiding that main stretch. we're about to rock-paper-scissors to decide our next route when a man who had passed us earlier had come back to pick us up. or so we thought.

he's not actually traveling anywhere, so he wasn't about to give us a ride.

"are you guys in any hurry to get to Halifax, or are you here to see what you can see?" we're in no hurry. in fact i was just worrying that we were moving too fast. go south he tells us, straight south to Parrsboro. we can follow the shoreline there instead of seeing nothing but highway and trees. a fantastic idea, just what we need. he gives us a lift to the start of the next highway, all the while telling us he works for tourism Nova Scotia. very cool.

how crazy is that? the woman who doesn't usually pick up hitchhikers dropped us in the right place at the right time to run into that tourism guy. and all because that other lady at the truck stop could no longer give us a ride! our fantastic travel karma continues.

more country highway, more walking. route 302 will take us to Southampton, where we could jump on the number 2 to Parrsboro. it's much warmer here. we had been spoiled by the constant sea breeze out on the island, the thought hadn't crossed our minds about the muggy humidity inland.

the scenery is nice, but once again stopping will make us a meal for the bugs. the country road is lined with huge irrigation ditches filled with bulrushes and wetland insects. it's hot but not worth stopping here to get eaten. we move forward slowly. our thumbs get somewhat of a rest down this stretch, there's not much in the way of traffic here. camp spots neither, let's hope we make it off this road before nightfall.

a couple hours later we're in Maccan, sitting on a grassy patch at the main intersect of the country back roads. there's a little more traffic here, we're hopeful we can stand and hitch from this spot as our feet could use a rest. shawn has a blister a couple inches across on the bottom of his foot from pivoting to check for traffic coming our way. i offer to walk behind to be the lookout this time.

we put our shoes back on and move forward a little, seeking a spot outside town limits where we can put our packs down and our thumbs out. we didn't even have a chance to throw our packs down before a green station wagon pulled over ahead of us on the road. we'd had a couple people pull over infront of us to stop which always fakes us out, but he didn't look to be stopping anywhere in particular but for us. YES! and we run for the car with huge smiles.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Hike Hitching PEI


[August 2o1o]

we left the campground with hopes of catching a ride to Borden, the town at the PEI end of the Confederation Bridge. and hopefully before sunset. we walked east from Cavendish to the number 13 highway, which seemed to be the route most traveled for heading south. a highway though it is, it's really just one big long rolling country road.

it was a beautiful day for walking, warm and sunny with the occasional cloud to relieve us from the intense rays. it was slightly after noon by the time we were outside the town limits, thumbs out and ready to make some distance.

first we tried the good ole standing beside our packs with our thumbs out method, for maybe a half hour or so before we got antsy waiting. since it was so nice out, we decided to hike and hitch, our favourite way to get around.

it didn't take long to get to Mayfield. an hour actually, and still no ride. no big deal, we were enjoying passing all the cows and horses. they aren't used to seeing people travelling down the road on foot, so they would all gather near the fence to watch us walk by. another hour passes and we hit New Glasgow. definitely time for a doobie break.

no ride offers yet, lots of stares and people going out of their way to drive all the way on the other side of the line to pass us. one bunch of twentysomething guys in a pick-up slowed down to flip us the bird. come on now PEI, that's not very hospitable for the east coast!

suppertime rolls around, and we're still on foot. and probably a good few shades darker from roasting all day in the sun. it's not easy to moderate your sun exposure when the cool breeze feels so nice. the PEI dirt visor i picked up in Charlottetown was probably the best 15 dollar investment i made the whole trip.

we've made it to hunter river. there wasn't much for food around so we hit up a Circle K store for some sandwiches, and some canadian made 'beaver buzz' energy drinks for a boost. it felt good to be walking, but all i could think about was making it back to the mainland. from where we are now, it would take us another full day of walking to hit the bridge. our first ride up to Cavendish, we are beginning to realize, was very, very lucky. i do remember someone telling me how difficult it is to hitch on the island, but i didn't think it would be THIS hard. acceptance sets in, we're definitely walking to the bridge.

a whole new set of arm muscles have made themselves evident from walking hours on end with our thumbs out for each passing car. sometimes 15 minutes would pass and no cars would drive by at all. i don't even remember seeing a single police car all day. not gonna give up though, we had our thumbs out for every car to pass, and our peace signs ready for all the bikers. bikers love us backpackers, always encouraging us along on our adventures.

the day was filled with rolling hills and long stretches of highway and potatoes. 2 kilometers up, 3 kilometers down. hills and valleys as far as the eye can see. actually, it was a crazy feeling to be standing on one hill top and see the next one in the distance thinking... wow that's a long way to go. and then make it to the next hill top and look back thinking... holy crap i can't believe we've walked so far. over and over again.

we start seeking a place to set our tent. it was still too early in the evening to pull over when we found an abandoned shack on a hill. it would have been a sweet stop for the night, but we were both too stubborn to quit steppin yet. we see a sign for hartsville soon enough, and have passed half a dozen sweet spots to stealth camp.

it's almost an hour until sundown, time to get serious about setting up camp for the night. okay, sweet looking camp spot found, mosquito infested like most of the others, good thing for the tent screen. who knows what could be over the hill though, we decide to walk to the top of the next 'up' to evaluate our uptions before settling in. if it looks no better than what we've found, we walk back. no harm done.

all the while, we still have our thumbs out, barely expecting that anyone will pull over. it's just a reflex at this point. you hear something coming and the thumbs go out instinctively before we even get a chance to turn around and look.

and then it happens. a ride. a man was on his way down to the bridge anyways to pick up his son in Borden, the very town we've been trying to get to all day. after walking for hours it's easy to appreciate rocketing forward at super speed- or at least thats what it feels like after our turtle pace. oh right, we had picked out a camp spot... now the sun is setting, we're heading towards the bridge and have absolutely no plan from here.

we make it in time for the shuttle, realizing the temperature drop now that we're right down by the water. four dollars each to take us back to the mainland. the information centre on the New Brunswick side is also the shuttle office, so the front door is open to passers through. that's just it though, you're welcome to pass through, but we were warned by a shuttle frequenter not to get caught spending the night or pitching a tent there, which is actually smack dab in the centre of the Cape Jourmain National Nature Reserve. one big-ass wetland.

the Confederation Bridge is simply massive. there's a lookout path under the bridge that you can follow along the shoreline. we hit it up in seek of a place for the tent with no avail. the vegetation in this area is super dense if not a marsh, and we turn back towards the highway for one last shot at finding a camp spot.

we end up settling right at the foot of the bridge, in a shrub covered grassy patch facing the sea. we heard the ocean waves rolling into the cliffs below, mistaking it for thunder at first. either way it's sound signals caution, another storm is rolling in. the bridge really does look amazing all lit up at night, like a highway into heaven.

it was windy as fuck. we chanced a night without the tarp this time because our tent spot was barely big enough without the tarp. we decided if it does start to pour, we'd simply throw the tarp over and tuck it under us to keep us from getting soaked. it's rough trying to sleep, but at least we made it back to the Brunswick.