Cape Split Moon Hike 1999

After spending the last two days, in a training course at Head Office, Montreal on our new computer software for Y2K, it was with great relief,that I was able to rendezvous in time, with the best friends anyone could ask for, at Tim's in Lower Sackville, to proceed to the Valley, for the Cape Split night hike. After having your brain over saturated with new computer programs the last couple of days, a simple walk in the woods would cure all that.

What makes a person travel an hour & half from the city to the Valley, to hike another hour & half on a Friday night? When it would be so much easier to pick up something to eat after work and spend the evening resting on the chesterfield with the remote. Do we do it just to explore places we've never been before? Or to get to know the earth better, and along the way celebrate life's greatest moments. You could say that's what led 14 people to the Cape Split full moon hike on the last day of April 99.

Cape Split dangles out into the Bay of Fundy like a dinosaur's tail. It takes approximately an hour an half to hike to the split. You begin by hiking through evergreens, then it breaks into hardwoods right on tothe point. We were only altogether for about 5 minutes, which included Gordon & Nancy W, Ron & Claudia B, Collette C, Ron J, Bruce M & his friends Sarah & Shaun, Bernie Levy, his son Ben & girlfriend. Notably absent was Norman Stein and along with him his streak of showing up for every night hike since it's beginning, (Cal Ripken can breath easy now.)

Twelve of us left the trailhead at 6:15pm., and within a few minutes everyone set their own pace and scattered out along the trail. Just less than a week ago I was jockeying it out for position with some of these same guys at the Greenwood 10K. But now all that competitiveness was gone and all that mattered was that everyone was comfortable and content with the pace they set. The first part of the trail was wet & muddy, so we had to pick our way around the trail in spots. I hiked the majority of the way with Bruce Duffy. Soon the Bay of Fundy shot into view. The trail followed along the Fundy coast for a long way. Hiking Cape Split this time of year gives you a clear view of the Bay, because there are no leaves to obstruct your view.

The air was as still as a statue, birds sang, squirrels rustled leaves, and in the far distance a fishing boat's engine revved as it chugged up the Bay. Finally Duffy and I reached our destination, to find the first group already gathering firewood. We surveyed the point carefully from end to end. A peaceful group of sea gulls were nesting quietly on the two land pillars that jot off from the point. While the rest of us stood back and watched, Ron J bravely went down over the bank about halfway, before the bottom end dropped off to the beach below.

Gordon began his nightly task of building a fire, and soon an assortment of hot dogs & marshmallows were roasting on sticks. At 8:17pm right on schedule we all watched the sun slowly sink behind the horizon right over the Chignecto Trail. Nancy W & Collette C emerged from thewoods with a sparkling birthday cake for Bruce Murphy to celebrate his 45th. Just as we were finishing off the cake, and dousing the fire with our remaining water Ben L & his girlfriend joined us.

The first group headed off for the parking lot around 9:30pm. Gordon & I left next, to be followed by the two Bruce's and Bernie. Ben & his girlfriend were going to remain there for awhile before heading back. On the way out the moon shining directly in our faces obstructed our sight. It hindered you from making secure and prominent steps. Three times Gordon & I walked right off the trail, only to be hit in the face by a low hanging branch. About half way we caught and passed Sara & Shaun. The last half would be more difficult. I tripped over roots, stumbled on rocks, ran my ankle over in holes, and all I could hear up ahead was Gordon saying, "Wayne pick up your feet". After all of that we still had the wet area to cover. The muck was so bad that on different occasions I had to pull my hiking stick out with both hands. By 10:55pm we finally made it to the cars.

The first group was waiting for Gordon to show up, so they all piled in ready to blast off for the city. Nancy & Collette asked me if I would be all right there alone, and I replied, sure, my passengers would be out shortly, "boy that was an under statement". Standing there alone I decided to blow my car horn three times in a row to see if Bruce D would reply with his whistle, he carried along. I got no answer back, but soon Sarah & Shaun appeared out. I asked them if they had heard the two Bruce's behind them. They didn't think so, and soon I was standing alone again. I decided to blow the horn again, and again no reply. Then to my surprise out come Ben & his girlfriend, now I knew something was wrong, Ben had left the point some 10 to 15 minutes behind his father and the two Bruce's.

It's now 11:35pm and Ben & I decided to wait until 12 o'clock, before we would head back in to search for them. I blew the car horn again three more times. Now, I don't know if the people living in the house directly across from the parking area appreciated me blowing a car horn for the last half hour on a Friday night, but no outside light came on, so I guess they hadn't gone to bed yet. This time the boys heard the horn. Realized they had gone way too far beyond the cars, they turned and walked out to the paved road, and back to the parking area. So at about 11:50pm we were on our way home. A quick stop at MacDonald's in Windsor for a drink, then on to Lr. Sackville to where Bruce M's car was parked. However Bruce M and I engaged into some North Face equipment conversation and drove right past the Lr Sackville exit. When we were almost into Bedford, Duffy came to in the back seat and asked where in hell we were going. So I had to make a U-turn on the 101 and drive back to Lr Sackville.

At 1:50am I turned off my bedroom light and jumped into bed, and thought to myself, "Bruce Murphy is still out there driving home.


Wayne Banks