Monroe Day Hike 2000

It was dark, really, really dark at 6am on Friday Feb 4. Frank Cameron and MJ blasted over the radio, promising a day fit for a hike - sunny with cloudy periods with winds of 20-30kms. I dragged mysel f from my warm bed, cursing the gang who greet each day with enthusiasm even before the sun gets up. However, I had promised myself that I would go on this hike if the weather was good. I trusted Frank, I got dressed. Viking, Sun God, Helga, Chelsea, Printer and Louis the Licker arrived at Timmy's shortly after 7am. There waiting, hands clasped around a steaming cup of java was Elemer - Elmer Fudd to be exact - looking somewhat lost at the table all alone. Then they began to come - Dipper, one K to go ##@! off and John Doe. But where in the heck was Greg Vail? Was he a..a no show?

Spurred on by our morning fix, we set out in two cars. Viking leading and Joh Doe tailgaiting. The hour+ drive thorough lobotamy land (Musquodoboit Harbour) and down the old #7 brought Helga to a new realization - that red glow in the morning filtering through the sky, just on the horizon, did not mean bad, it was ...the SUN coming up! What a beautiful sight.

The road into Taylor's Head Park/Beach was reached just as Chelsea stopped hyperventilating. From here we had to walk to the trailhead as the park was closed. Louis took the lead and the rest of the crew followed along, chattering among themselves, wondering where Greg could be. (Unfortunately, it takes just under an hour to reach the trail - and it is a boring hour.) We stopped for the post coffee elimination/watering and regulation photo op. Bruce set up his trusty camera, ran to join the gang as Louis ran around, the flash went off and so did we. The trail was wonderful. With the ocean on our right, the wind at our back. Louis forged ahead, ridding the area of its rodents, CheLsea stayed at Helga's heels, Printer jocked for position among the gang consisting of Sun God, Dipper, Elmer Fudd, John Doe one K to go and Viking. Has anyone seen Greg Vail?

The first section of the hike was through a woodsy area, terrain unlevel but nothing noteworthy to mention. Every once and awhile we glimsped the ocean in all its splendour. The water was very, very aquamarineish in colour - sometimes it looked like the Carribean - if you disregarded the ice on the rocks. We settled down for our morning snack of sundry goodies in a sheltered spot. The sunlight poured down upon this cheery group as we shared pepperoni, cookies, fruit cake, tea, etc etc. Now we were really concerned about Greg, so satisfying our need to test the cell phone in this remote area, who better to try to contact but our missing hiker. His secretary informed us that he was taking a vacation day - doing some hike - and he was, obiviously not in the office. She also added that he was going to some event Saturday night -something about rum runners and pot luck. Like, this woman sure knew his itinerary! Now we were really worried about our lost hiker...however, no one offered to go back and for him. This uncaring group set off again.

For the next hour we enjoyed a very pleasant walk along the oceanside. We were now coming to the point, Taylor's Head and the view was wonderful. The sun was very warm and although the wind cool, not enough so to make the journey uncomfortable. There was a fair amount of walking over loose rocks which Louis obiviously loved, skipping over and around, sniffing under and generally making the rest of us look like uncoordinated mortals. Printer, the oldest hound, gingerly made his away over the tricky terrain and Chelsea, the spoiled litle lady that she is, settled her little, fluffy body into the crook of Helga's arm. Sun God, most effectively maneourved his walking poles throughout the entire hike, John Doe was totally in his element, one K to go hardly tripped at all Elmer Fud, his feet nestled in hia ladies boots, set quite the pace, Dipper was thanking Munroe for his contribution to Dal and hence the holiday, and Viking continued to silently count down the days, hours, minutes and seconds til his retirement. Still, no sign of Greg.

At lunch , Dipper laid a cozy fire for the full of fat, dripping with juices hot dogs provided by Sun God. One k to go successfully managed to break a 7-8 foot piece of driftwood up into sections without castrating himself as he fashioned a kind of fulcrum with the branch and a rather large rock. Really was very impressed with the grace and balance that he presented on this day.

After lunch the walk continued along the water, the landscape very similar to the Duncan's Cove hike. We could now see the mainland ahead of us, the ocean on our left and land to our right. Once we left the water and turned inland, it was a shortish juant through woods again and back to the trailhead and Taylor's Head beach. We tooked o short walk down the beach, availed ourselves of the facilities (the was even toilet paper), and watched the grey jays. Louis has bonked and Sun God is leading! The trip to the #7 seemed long now as we were tired.

We met a local on the way out. I don't think he had seen people since back in the 70's seeminly perfectly happy to chew the fat with us for the rest of the afternoon. We did learn of a short cut into the park and also an alternative route which could add to the already lovely hike.

Alas, we spied the cars, packed our tired bodies into the seats and headed home. Louis cuddled in the back between Sun God and Elmer Fudd, never lifting his head for the entire trip. Chelsea and Printer actually seemed somewhat more spirited than the young pup, but did have a much more settled ride home.

This hike was really a lovely walk. I highly recommend it. Once the park opens for the season, and you can drive in the trailhead, eliminating the hour walk in and out which really does not add to the hike in any way. This ia a very doable hike for most folks. It is not difficult and the scenery is worth the walk. We spied many birds so bring your birding books and binoculars. Unfortunately there were no seals playing in the water - perhaps it's not the best time of the year but I understand they were spotted last year. The landscape is changeable - from woods, to water, to woods again and back to water. Over boardwalks beside marshes which hold the promise of many birds yet to return for the summer. A really lovely piece of NS. Mark thisdate in your book for next year - 1st Friday in Feb - it's worth it!

And - has anyone seen GREG?