Duncans Cove Full Moon Hike 2000

According to Mike Haynes, Duncans Cove falls under the heading of a "traditional" hike. Leave it up to a bunch of Gonzos to make it untraditional by doing it at night time, when the full moon is concealed by a gargantuan cloud cover.

In his book, Hiking trails of Nova Scotia, Mike goes on to explain, "Duncans Cove is a harsh, rugged hike that climbs on narrow, unmaintained footpaths up and down steep, barren hillsides." Yup that pretty much sounds like where we went for our March Full Moon Hike.

We gathered at the Bayers Lake/#3 Highway Tim's for 7:00pm. There were eleven of us in total - Bruce Duffy, Greg Vail, Wayne Banks, Norm Stein, Ian Blair, Betty and Chris Hollebone, their friend Frans Aeyelts and yours truly. We were joined by two of Mark Stein's friends who approached us, in a state of bewilderment. They were there at the invitation of Mark, who forgot to tell them that he had changed his mind and decided to invite his parents over for supper instead of spending an evening with said friends.....I mean former friends. Mark invited Norm for supper as well, but Norm opted for the opportunity to gnaw on half-burned/half-raw sooty, and chemically laced, hotdogs hanging off the end of a dirty stick rather than dining at his brother's table. (I wonder what Holly thought of that?)

Gordie Warnica was conspicuous by his absence. In the old days "Government Gordie" would never have missed a Full Moon Hike. Alas, after 15 years of R & R (a.k.a. a Government job), Gordie has found himself in a position where he's now working for a living. Word spread that he was just too tired to join us.

Meanwhile, at Tim's we all sat gawking at each other, not knowing what to do. Gordie wasn't there to pull the plug and rush out the door at exactly 7:00pm. We were without guidance. It was at least 7:15 before any of us figured out how to get the hike started.

We arrived at the trail head in Duncans Cove at 7:30, joined by our two canine units. But, what happened to the moon? It was there when we left Tim's. Not so at Duncans Cove.

The air was crisp but the trail wasn't icy. In fact it was punctuated with wet spots all along the way. The advantage of having dogs on the hike is that they don't give a shit. The just plow through anything, wet or dry. Attentive listening gives you the advantage of being able to navigate around all oncoming wet spots.

We moved southwestward along the coast........"a distinct track through the brush heads down the other side of the hill to a tiny dam. Once at water level, the path meanders along the hillside past Duncans Reef and Duck Reef". (Thanks Mike.)

We passed a few significant historical locations, as pointed out by those who had been on this trail previously. The first site was where Ross once slipped on the rocks and damn near ended up in the ocean. The next was an ancient ruin where a lost tribe stumbled among the rocks near the water's edge. They say the leader was a brave warrior (wearing a Elmer Fudd hat) who led his bevy of concubines to the shoreline where a fire was built and a sacrifice was contemplated......but the womenfolk decided to spare his life though he had caused them to become hopelessly lost and miss out on the main portion of the night hike. That particular site dates back to December of 1999, I believe (see the December write-up for the details).

The third, and final, historical site was the location of the official December Full Moon hike bonfire. Of course Norm wanted to argue that Bruce had miscalculated the general location. Norm only mildly backed away from the argument when Bruce pointed out that he (Norm) wasn't even present for the official December bonfire (again, I refer you to the December write- up for details).

It was now time for the March bonfire. Since we were situated at the top of a cliff, and the wind was fairly strong, it was decided that we should retrace our steps to the first available cove where the wind would be more favourable. "The steep cliffs by the water's edge were formed in an early geological age, buried later by softer sedimentary cover, and exposed again when the layer eroded away. The cliffs retain their harsh steepness, which might otherwise have been worn away by wind and rain."

We found a lovely spot. The next problem was how to get a fire going without Gordie's and/or Bernie's expertise. It's always been an amazing sight, watching the two former Scouters laying on their bellies in the dirt, constructing the foundation for the fire, stick by stick - the small pieces in the center, surrounded by the larger ones, in the form of a small teepee. No paper. And, one match does the trick. It's simply beautiful.

We opted to dump our wood and paper in a heap while Bruce doused it with a generous splash of his secret family blend of fire water. Throw in a lit match and.....whoof!!!! - bring on the wieners. Of course, those of us in the front row suffered the complete loss of eyebrow and nose hairs.

I must add that, while the firewood was being prepared, Wayne attempted to light Greg's pant leg on fire thinking, in the darkness, Greg's cuff was the edge of a piece of newspaper. All of us, except Greg, thought it was pretty funny.

It may have been windy and cold, but it was pleasant. We had the usual supply of hot dogs, marshmallows and a few other odds and ends. We talked a bit and laughed a lot. Then it was time to go.

"So-called rogue waves, unpredictable and more powerful than normal breakers, can reach far onto the rocks, and almost every year someone is lost in the ocean." (Cute, Mike.)

We followed the coast, arriving back at out vehicles at approximately 10:00. It was a bit of a disappointment that the moon was under cloud cover for the entire hike, but it was still a most pleasant experience. It's always a pleasant experience and I'm looking forward to the next one.