Rocks, Fossils and more tides
Woke to the predicted rainy start to the day. An excellent breakfast with a lovely family from New York. They loved that the house was Victorian and said that they were very into historic houses; they currently have a house from the 1920's that they are renovating and this is their second old house. They suggested our place may be older, so I said – a bit. We were discussing renovation problems when they asked about the age of our place and were amazed that it was over 300 years old and fascinated when I explained about the timber frame and brick infill.
Having dragged ourselves away from the table and loaded our car we drove to Ottawa House, formerly the residence of Sir Charles Tupper a former member of the legislative assembly of Nova Scotia and one of the fathers of the confederation, ultimately becoming Prime Minister of Canada briefly. The house has had a chequered history since then, serving as an hotel for a while before falling into disrepair before being saved by the community as a museum. It is interesting in its own right as a house with e.g. the original electric wiring. It has also been used to house items from various eras and exhibits on Shipbuilding and rum running which took place here.
From here it was a difficult decision about which route to take to Joggins. As it was raining with quite a mist we decided against the coastal route which would take us past Cap d'Or (apparently a very pretty route with some fabulous views over the swirls and eddies of the fundy tides). We needed to be at Hopewell Rocks for the high tide at 4: to do this we needed to be at our B&B to collect the entry coupons at 3. This meant leaving Joggins by 1 according to our calculations.
Fossil on beach
We were looking to do a tour of the rocks there and they run every hour on the hour so needed to be there for 12. The coastal route would have thrown everything out of kilter so we chose to do the quickest route. To our surprise, TomTom came up with a quicker route than using the motorway. What we didn't know until we hit it was that 13 miles of the route were over a gravel road, some of which was not in prime condition so caution had to be exercised. We only met one car on this route. At one point we had to cross a rickety rackety single track bridge with a wooden plank base that had seen better days. I half expected to see a troll emerge and challenge us but was rather busy concentrating on the couple of planks that looked decidedly dubious; I was glad of the large wheels on the Dodge. We arrived at Joggins in good time, as promised by TomTom but with the car looking as though it had been travelling on the Dakar rally in a monsoon.
Tree trunk fossil
Our tour was an interesting, if very short introduction to fossils on the cliff faces of the area, now designated a UNESCO World Heritage Centre as the best place in the world to see carboniferous period fossils. The Centre on top of the cliffs built in 2008 houses excellent displays to allow you to make the most of your time there.
With the clock ticking we grabbed a quick lunch in the cafe and then hit the road. We rolled in to Innisfree the B&B just after 3 and were shown to our room then given a quick briefing by Elaine on how to make the best of the time we had at the Rocks. The tickets she gave us gave us a discounted entry to the Hopewell Rocks Centre with a 2 day entry so that we could go back and see everything at low tide.
View from Lookout at high tide cf C
We followed Elaine's suggestion of going to the main lookout and taking a photo of a high tide for reference. All we could see was sea up to the base of the cliffs. A little further down we were able to see the sea swirling around some tall rocks just away from the main cliff. These rocks with flat tops and trees growing there are the 'Flower pots'.
View from look out high tide
The average tidal range at this point of the bay is about 12 metres (!) so when we go back for low tide, there will be a lot more visible. At the lowest point of the centre, you are on a level with the beach itself and apparently when the tide is out, it can be 3.5km out – rather like Weston s mare and when it comes in it comes very quickly.
Shoreline lower beach high tide cf B
We were lucky enough to be able to see a small group of semipalmated sandpipers flock and swirl each time they thought they detected a threat. It looked a bit like starlings as they prepare to roost for the night. Just as we were about to leave, a ranger pointed out to us a bald eagle flying over some trees in the middle distance – a lovely moment.
Back to the interpretive centre, there were some excellent displays on how the rocks all came about; when you look at the vast timescale over which that is, the emergence of humans is incredibly recent.
Off to Broadleaf Guest Ranch about 12 km down the road from Innisfree at the recommendation of Elaine. Not easy to find - we had a couple of goes at it. There was a sign saying the place was just ahead – several hundred yards further on there was no sign of it so we turned round, convinced it must be just after the sign and when we got to the place turned in only to find it was the cemetery! No probability of food there then. Back again to the amusement of a couple of locals standing on their porch watching the world go by. Finally some way later, just when we were beginning to give up hope, there was a sign to Broadleaf Ranch and we turned in. No sign of much other than ranch hands so carried on up the drive past a large barn to discover a low building behind with the word RESTAURANT on its roof. It was not very prepossessing and had we not been recommended probably wouldn't have taken it further. Inside though it was very nicely laid out and we were made very welcome. The menu looked good; Sue opted for Atlantic Salmon with maple and chef's spice recipe and a green salad washed down with a blueberry ale. I went for a lobster and breadcrumb crusted haddock with fries and green vegetables washed down with a Moosehead Red. The meals were both absolutely fabulous. Which goes to prove you can't always judge by external appearances.
Back to Innisfree and a very welcome bed!
on August 6, 2012
from the travel blog:
Go West then go East
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Sounds a LOT more picturesque than W-S-M!!! xx
written by Zoe on August 8, 2012
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