Biking in Sussex

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It was almost twenty degrees on Sunday.  With all the warm weather, we decided to check out the biking trails in Sussex.  The girls had a blast biking along the gentle trail that leads from 'downtown' Sussex and ends 3.3km later at Sussex Corner.  We were also scoping out the river after seeing some kayakers fly by on the fast spring waters.  Maybe we'll have to try a water adventure next time. 
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We stopped for our halfway point at Sullivan Park in Sussex Corner.  Rebecca played on the playground and Abby couldn't stop biking and preferred to bike in circles on the pavement.  At over 6kms, it was the longest ride the girls have done yet!

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Abby is biking!!

The latter part of the summer has been the breakthrough by Abby on the biking front. Up until the last month, Abby never really liked riding on bikes. So much so that she would rather run beside Rebecca when she was biking than do it herself. Then, after our cousins visit, she saw how her cousin Ocean was riding her bike and she knew she could do it too. Right after this photo, the training wheels were finally off today and she's biking on her own! IMG_4383

Rainy Day Biking People

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On the last weekend in June, Kris and I met in Sussex and headed to the Hammondvale area for a day of biking just south of Sussex, in the Fundy Foothills.  In the rainy weather, we planned to bike a distance to The Falls Brook and Hemlock Brook along the Dick's Lake Road.  Both brooks are tributaries of the Big Salmon River and lie north of the river hidden in the valleys leading to the Fundy shore.  We had been in the area prevously last year to Mary Pitcher Falls, though just east of where we were heading on this day.  The bike ride proved very enjoyable, although mostly uphill for the 18km ride to the valley.  We found a really nice downhill stretch near the end and cul-de-sac sort of trail.  At the very end of the road was a backcountry campsite (unofficial) with a few RVs set up haphazardly for weekend campers.

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At the end of the paths, we dumped our bikes and switched to our hiking boots and gear for the downward trek to the Falls Brook.  Once on the bottom, the green lushness of the valley was very IMGP1338 

impressive. A slight mist kept us at the perfect temperature.  First, we headed upriver toward Hell's Kitchen Falls.  The falls used to be a difficult spot for loggers, mostly due to the zig zag type rock canyon which houses the falls.  When we arrived at the falls area, we could hear the falls, but they were hidden behind a rock wall. 
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Kris headed up the slope to find a good vantage point.  I chose a more direct route.

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Once around the corner, you could see the falls.  The water was a bit cold, but a very deep pool lies below the lower section.  Another pool is up above, but hard to access from the lower level.  Some have taken photos of these falls from the eastern  side of the surrounding cliffs.

After a lunch and exercise, we headed downstream toward Hemlock Brook.  After only 20 minutes of hiking, we found Hemlock Brook and followed it upstream toward the larger drop of the few before us.  We found a high rock wall with a nice fall flowing down the middle.

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We also noticed there were also some giant frogs frolicking in the fresh ferns on the forest floor!

The ride back to the cars was exquisite, with some really long downhill sections.  Our final tally for the day was 44 kilometres, sending Kris' exercise-o-meter off the charts. 

Whole lot of photos goin on…

We're catching up on our photos again for this month.

Rebecca and Abigail had some Hallowe'en prep fun at school one day, then the next day came home with their butterfly witch outfits.  Rebecca wa really happy to have a skull wand (!).  The following three days were spent wearing these outfits.

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Rebecca is now a tree climber, can you spot her in the tree?  This is one of her favorite maples in our backwoods, their 'secret woods'.  She likes climbing, but doesn't want to go too high (yet).

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This past week saw us traveling to Kingston Peninsula to visit Nail Factory Falls.  While trying to find the falls, we found two big stone wheels in the woods near the river. 

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Rebecca finds a leaf to throw in soon enough…

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Last weekend, Sheena and I took a camping trip to Fundy National Park.  There's one campground open (headquarters) during this time of year.  Our campsite had a neat view of Alma and the wharf.  In the brisk morning, Sheena enjoyed a cup of oatmeal…

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…while I enjoyed a pan of fried eggs and oatmeal.  What an excellent combination!

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We spent two days hiking the wilderness of the Fundy highlands.  Most of the leaves had already fallen, but some were still hanging on.  This is a photo of the trail descending to Black Hole and the Little Salmon River.

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On the same trail on the way back, there were sections of only hardwood trees.  It made for a mesmorizing view of the forest.

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After our hikes, we took walks through the nearby village of Alma.  Here we see the boats in Alma's harbour resting on the bottom during low tide.  Alma is a dry dock, as the Bay of Fundy tides leave the wharf area completely during low water.  I was trying to figure out how the little wooden stilts go so perfectly into place.

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On Thursday, I took Willow back to the Mary Pitcher Falls area, near Hammondvale.  Kris and I visited in August during an epic 32 kilometre trip of hiking and biking in the hot sun.  We had spent some time trying to find the falls and missed out on the bigger one that was in the same area.  This time, I wanted to get to the final and biggest waterfall and had a bit of different weather with frost and chilly temperatures.  These upper falls are the second largest on the Mary Pitcher stream. 

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Getting to the largest of the Mary Pitcher falls (below) was fairly straightforward, except for the very end.  There was a sheer cliff at the end of the trail — and in order to see the falls as pictured below, you have to go around the cliff, descend an old rockslide and wade a cold (and somewhat too fast) flowing Big Salmon River.  Needless to say, there was a bit of work involved to get this photo!

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After soaking myself to get the photo, the below is a distanced shot of skivvy biking the return trip of 13 kilometres to my car.  Willow didn't seem to mind, but it was a bit awkward once I got closer to the well-travelled deer hunting grounds.  (And yes, that is a hunting vest on — preventative as I was wearing a brown fleece!).

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Abby’s Birthday weekend

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Abby was riding her new bike right away during her birthday party.

 

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Abby and Grammy find a toad.  Abby put this toad in her bucket and carried it around for the day.

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We all went apple picking at Mckay's Orchard in Kingston.  It is a beautiful upick orchard.  Abby must have eaten about 6 apples while we were picking.

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Afterward, we had met with some friends at the Corner Market for some photos and great ice cream.

 
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Birthday cake ice cream!

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Later that afternoon, we took the kids for a bike ride.  Abby was saying, 'Mommy this is fun!' It was her first bike ride and she did awesome.  A natural!

Bears and Biking

On Sunday and Thursday last week, Willow and I went for bike rides on some of the woods and ATV trails around East Scotch Settlement.  Sunday's ride was in the evening and a little later than I usually go (especially after a not-so-fun incident earlier in the year where I promptly got lost for about half an hour in the woods about 30 minutes from home.)  So, on Sunday, I turned from Annidale Siding Rd onto the marked ATV trail (830), biked around a corner and saw a large black bear trotting about 20 feet in front of us.  The bear was heading in the same direction and Willow first saw it, ran closer and barked once.  Once she saw the size of the bear, Willow took off in the opposite direction, leaving me in her dust.  I yelled out and startled the bear enough that it too took off into the woods. Because the bear had took off in another direction, we continued biking along the trail.  For the rest of the short ride, Willow jumped at every snap of a stick or odd sound from the woods beside us.  She came back panting and took a couple of hours to settle down. It was quite the sight! I've always had a personal rule to make lots of noise in the woods — and using that rule of thumb, I've never had any close run-ins with bears until this time when we were a bit more silent beforehand than perhaps we should have been.  To not see a bear means you're doing your job!

On Thursday, we went out again unphased for the most part, this time in the rain and with some more music from my bike bell.  We did see some more bear scat along the way on most of the trails we've taken, but I've yet to see what kind of bikes they're riding!  Here's a photo of Annidale Rd.

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Here's a huge blueberry field just off the 830 trail leading to Salmon Creek Rd.

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They had already harvested for the year, but there was still some trail mix available.

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An old cemetary in the old community of Boydsdale off Annidale Rd.

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A photo from last year's trip with Kris around the same area.  We found a great paw print from Mr. Bear. There's some good weight displacement there!

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Enjoying the last bits of summer

Here's some photos updating everyone on some more recent things going on with us.  We've been trying to get out and enjoy the nice weather before winter comes! 

Kris came up a couple of weekends ago (a day before we had our 3 day big power outage, thank you TS Irene!).  Kris and I had a classic bike and hike trip — traveling 32 kilometres round trip to the Big Salmon River area of the Fundy highlands.  Willow came with us as well and was the star or the show, running along beside us while we bicycled the hot dirt roads and bushwacked our way down river toward Mary Pitcher Falls.  The picture below is Upper Mary Pitcher falls, one of 13 along the same stream.  A larger set of falls lies below these pictured ones — but we saved those for another time due to the length of time it took to get to the upper ones.  More details of the falls are on our waterfalls site.

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Rebecca and Abigail have been growing fast.  Rebecca is now fairly comfortable on a bike with training wheels.  For a couple of days last week, we took Rebecca on little bike rides down our road.  The road is quiet enough that she can ride, but still learn about traffic and such. We expect Abigail will be riding outside soon.  We've brought her flyer tricycle inside and daily she's seen ripping around the house with her fireman hat and/or dress on.  It's good to see she's well rounded!

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This past weekend was the ever popular Balloon Fiesta in Sussex.  We made a couple of trips to see the hot air balloons and fair this year — but due to fog and wind (thanks TS Katia), the balloons weren't able to take off while we were there.  They did some 'cold inflation' for the crowds though, which was nice.  The different designs were neat to see.

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Abigail looks through her balloon book trying to find all the balloons pictured in it.

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'Cold inflation' at work.

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Busy Season

DSC00392DSC00419 Since the end of September, we've had lots going on.  First, on October 2nd, Abigail celebrated her 2nd birthday with friends and family.  We had visitors from both families, Gramma and Grampa MacDonald, DSC00397DSC00429Nana and Papa Deroche and other friends and their kids.  Sheena had the novel idea of having little gifts for everyone, which made for quite a fun and all inclusive party!  

DSC00456The Cape Breton MacDonalds also visited for the weekend of Abigail's birthday.   Besides the party, we had a couple of walks through the woods and on the trails nearby our house.DSC00492 DSC00496The leaves had just started turning colours at the time and the girls loved to explore the fall colours and different shades of fall.  

Last weekend, Kris and I met in the Memramcook area of southeastern New Brunswick for a little Thanksgiving weekend bike riding.  Specifically, we biked around the peninsula of the Beaumont area, which is surrounded by the Petticodiac and Memramcook Rivers.  We had a whole mix of riding during our 22 DSC00505DSC00506DSC00502kilometre day, from gravel road to technical up and downhill trails.  It was an interesting place to bike as one moment you were in the forest, the next you are a steep embankment away from fast flowing rivers into the Bay of Fundy.  It was our first time taking a trail from a book on mountain biking in Atlantic Canada

  This week, I took a vacation and Sheena and I spent the last three days DSC00512 painting up a storm (literally) in our house.  We finally had the chance after some long needed new house renos to put paint on our walls.  We have half the house done so far and half to go!  Wish us luck. (The wall colours in this photo had to be redone due to, well, the fact that they caused blindness!). 

Spring Bike Riding

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DSC09923 Rebecca, Abigail, Willow, Sheena and I went outside a blustery changeable weather day for  some bike riding.  Rebecca recently tried a bike with training wheels and loved every minute of it.   Abigail is now trying the tricycle too.  (We'll probably make some sort of invention to push both kids and saving our backs at the same time.)DSC09920

Biking to Scramble Mt. Fullerton

On Tuesday this week, I headed out to the Kananaskis area to scramble Mt. Fullerton.  Mt.Bike_path
Fullerton is located to the northwest of Nihahi Ridge, in the Elbow Valley area of Kananaskis.  After reading another scrambler’s post on the trip, I decided to try biking to the mountain, in the hope of shortening the trip a bit.  I ended up biking about 95% of the way and experienced some of the best biking that I’ve done in Kananaskis.  To get there, I followed the Nihahi Creek trail off the Elbow Loop — which is about an hour and a half ride.  The trail was excellent and mostly single track with a few rooted sections through the wooded area immediately after turning north from the Elbow Loop trail.  Once you descend from the woods, I really enjoyed the travel along the creekDsc04379
bed (especially on the slight downhill grade on the return trip).  I found that if sticking to the east side of the creek closest to Nihahi Ridge, there’s a distinguishable track for great biking. 

I arrived at the mountain, dumped my biking gear and decided to head up the drainage toward the ridge ascent.  The drainage was interesting, mostly clambering up rocks — at least until I encountered the snow.  I noticed that a recent weekend-long rainfall in Calgary had accumulated a significant amount of snow in this area of theDsc04384
mountains.  While heading up the drainage, I kept to the forest slope as much of the snow was knee deep.  And stupidly, I forgot my gaiters at home, so I was eager to keep my feet dry as much as I could.  This was eventually a futile effort 🙂 . Attaining the ridge was fairly straight forward, however on the ridge is where I encountered a bit more difficulty. 

Naturally, the higher I went, the more the snow had accumulated among the rocks that lined the  ridge ascent.  I kept to the drainage side of the ridge, hoping to escape the real deep snow andDsc04395
holes among the rocks, but it was a slippy affair in the ankle to knee deep melting snow.  Eventually and with alot of kick stepping, I reached the top of the ridge and managed to scramble to about 25m before the summit block.  I stopped here as the snow was waist deep and the summit looked too treacherous for my liking with all the snow.  I probably would have had a good challenge without snow, but it was a bit out of reach at the moment.  So, after eating my lunch and taking a few panorama pictures
of the summit (great view of Calgary and the foothills from there), I made the slow and slippy descent back to my bike.  This time I took the woods, whichDsc04439
was fairly steep, but sparse with snow and trees.  The final section is mossy and thick woods, but a few game trails allow for easy passage.  Given the snow conditions, I was glad I took the relatively straight forward drainage ascent.

Arriving at my bike, well, I was surprised a bit.  I found that most of my biking stuff was still there, but I was missing my biking gloves!  I looked around for them, but noticed that my shoes had been disturbed by someone or something.  I figured some squirrel or magpie had taken the gloves for bedding — as I just couldn’t see someone biking 6-8kms on a not so well traveled trail from Elbow Loop to take my gloves.  So after a few good laughs and reciting some favorite arguments and rants along the way, I headed back to the car glove-less! 

It was about an 8k trip to the mountain, with a round trip time of 6 hrs. I posted a few more photos on flickr.