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.