Wednesday, September 29, 2010

We Love RVing ~ Autumn Colors ~ Across the Country

Fall Colors in Canada from British Columbia to New Brunswick and Maine, USA

For those of us who live where we have four seasons, we likely have favorites for a variety of reasons.  There is most definitely something beautiful about snow covered mountains, spring blossoms brightening our yards up after winter, warm summer days at the lake but then we have autumn.
Autumn is one the most beautiful seasons with the colors of the changing leaves.  It varies from one area to another depending on the kind of trees there are and we have seen that difference during our RVing travels.  Do you wonder how this beauty happen?  I put this answer at the bottom of the page.

Cayoosh Creek, Lillooet, BC

While we were RVing in Lillooet, BC during the fall season, we drove Hwy 99 called Duffy Lake
Road in this area.  The road follows Coyoosh Creek for parts of the trip and it was near Lillooet that we saw this beautiful scene.   Click here for more pictures of this area.
Coquihalla Highway near Hope, BC
Our view as we drive over the Coquihalla Highway #5 is mainly mountains covered in coniferous forests which can consist of spruce, pine and fir trees.  Coniferous means ‘coming from the cone’ and they don’t shed their needles over the winter.  But there are sprinkles of deciduous trees amidst those and they have a chance to show their glory when fall arrives.
Peace River, Hudson's Hope, BC, Canada
I believe one of the most spectacular sights that I happened to see was on Highway 29, the drive between Hudson Hope and Fort St. John, BC as it follows the Peace River. 

Peace River near Fort St. John, BC, Canada
I was not expecting to see so much color, it was gorgeous on that sunny day.  I had to make a second trip to see it all again, it was so beautiful.  Some of the most common deciduous trees, which shed their leaves annually, are birch, aspen and cottonwood trees and these are among the trees that follow the Peace River, one of Canada’s longest river systems. 

Bridge over Peace River, Hudson's Hope, BC, Canada
I took a zillion pictures and that was before digital!  It was a painful wait to get all those film developed but it was worth it.  Although pictures didn’t do justice to the sights I was seeing, they did come close.  There was more to see from the viewpoint at Fort St. John, clik here for more.

Okanagan Valley at Oyama, BC, Canada
On a drive through the Okanagan Valley on Highway 97 in BC, we stopped to take a picture of the colors as we look across to Oyama, BC.  It is known for serenity and sunshine and displays that with wonderful colors on this day, nestled between Wood Lake and Kalamalka Lake.

Herepis River Marsh, NB, Canada
Our Cross Canada trip of 2009 was planned so that we could see the autumn colors back east.  This had been a very important part of the planning because of the maple trees and their red leaves, which we don’t see in our neighborhoods.  The time of fall colors is a short one, there are only two weeks between beginning and end of those colors, so this should happen while we are in eastern Canada.
Hwy 7, Saint John to Fredericton, NB, Canada
Timing is crucial and we were on the hunt for the maple trees whose leaves turn red due to the glucose in them.  We would have seen more had we been in Ontario and Quebec for that time but as it was we found some beautiful colors in the Maritimes before we left there.

Wassamki Springs RV park, Portland, Maine

Autumn leaves were showing up as we made our way south. We were following major highways and the opportunity to take pictures wasn’t easy but we did have some on our stay at this RV park in Maine. We love rv’ing and enjoy all the sights on our travels, but there is no doubt that autumn is a very pretty season all over this beautiful country of ours.

The answer is:
Deciduous trees, which is from a latin word meaning ‘to fall’, show green leaves during the growing season but when the season ends, they will show yellows and oranges which are actually always there but only appear as the green fades. This happens when the days shorten into the autumn season.  It is caused by an altered sun position, a lack of water, which is a major contributing factor plus other more scientific reason I won’t detail here :).

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halifax Harbour ~ Halifax Public Gardens ~ Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

We love rv’ing and the opportunities that it gives us to see this incredible country of ours but no matter how much time we have, we just cannot see all that we’d like to see. So with that in mind, our visit to Halifax, NS was far too brief but we decided that the time we had to be there would be spent on the Halifax Harbor Boardwalk.
Piers at Halifax Harbour Boardwalk, NS
The boardwalk, said to be the world’s longest, winds through parks and open air plazas past several piers with boats and ships of all sizes. We were there on a sunny autumn day, perfect for wandering along the boardwalk and many piers to enjoy the shopping, restaurants and historic buildings.

George's Island, Halifax Harbour, NS
George’s Island can be seen in the harbor with the lighthouse standing as it has for many years.  This island played a key role in the harbor’s defense system for almost 200 years.  It isn’t open for the public now but has been named a National Historic Site and the federal heritage department is restoring it, so it will hopefully be available for viewing in the future.

View of sailboat in Halifax Harbour, NS, Canada
The boardwalk is a big attraction for pedestrian as well as marine traffic, the downtown waterfront is on the world’s second largest natural harbor.  It was exciting to see the variety of ships in that harbor.  There were tall ships, small ships, sailboats, working boats and pleasure boats, there were all kinds of boats !
Tall Ship Silva in Halifax Harbour, NS
Halifax hosted the Tall Ship Festival 2009 which saw 40 vessels arrive from 13 countries.  That would have been a wonderful sight to see.  The Tall Ship Silva is a permanent resident at the harbor and offers harbor tours and private charters.  The music carried across the water and sounded like a great time was being had by all.

HMCS Sackville, Halifax Harbour, NS

The HMCS Sackville is the last survivor of the 269 corvettes that fought the Battle of the Atlantic in 1935-1945.  This ship, preserved as Canada’s Naval Memorial, is berthed at the pier and open to the public all summer.  It is then returned to the naval dockyard for it’s annual maintenance.
Pirate Ship in Halifax Harbour, Nova Scotia
There are many opportunities to see the harbor from a ship, boat or ferry.  The pirate ship seen here offers tours and that includes the shooting of the cannons, which adds to the fun of the experience.   I am sure there were real pirate ships in the harbor’s history when you realize that this was Canada’s first British town in 1749.
Halifax, NS, on the boardwalk
The Maritime Museum of the Atlantic is on the boardwalk and is the oldest and largest marine museum in Canada, celebrating their 62 anniversary this year.  It is the place to visit if you wish to learn more and immerse yourself in the rich maritime history of Nova Scotia.  Clik here for more information on this beautiful museum.

Halifax Public Gardens, Halifax, NS

We did make a short stop at the Halifax Public Garden which is a Victorian garden with many typical Victorian features.  Officially opened in 1867, it is open every day 8am to dusk from Spring to the Fall.  The Friends of the Public Gardens was formed to help preserve and protect this unique National treasure and to read more about that, clik here.

Victorian Gazebo at Halifax Public Gardens, Halifax, NS

As a very true Victorian garden, there are several statues in the gardens and no Victorian garden should be without a gazebo. This beautiful one stands near the center of the garden and has seen many wedding parties gathered here over the years. We saw two wedding parties taking pictures during our visit there.

Halifax is steeped with wonderful Maritime history including the Halifax Citadel which is a National Historic Park. There are tours for the park and city available that will take you back in time, that tell stories that have made this city what it has become over the past hundreds of years.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Hopewell Rocks ~ New Brunswick ~ Canada

We were spending some time in Moncton, New Brunswick and we did have a short list of must-sees.  On that list was Hopewell Rocks, what was not on the list was a day of rain !  and then more rain !  We tried to wait it out but that didn’t seem to be possible and we were aware that we needed to be there before high tide came in.
Pathway to Hopewell Rocks, NB
We headed out to the Bay of Fundy’s famous Hopewell Rocks also called the Flowerpot Rocks with our rain gear.  There were few visitors in this rain, can’t understand that (: and we trudge through the gates and down the empty path to see the famous rocks.

Treeroots on path to Hopewell Rocks, NB

I started to believe we were in a Jurassic Park setting when I spotted the unusual growth of the roots at the base of the trees.  It looked like a prehistoric bird’s foot !   There just  might be more in this park than what we expect.

Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick
It isn’t too far a walk to the first viewpoint of the Hopewell Rocks.  Even in the rain, this was a great sight to see.  There are story boards to explain some of the phenomenon of the highest tides in the world as well as park guides who are eager to tell you all about it.

Huge formations at Hopewell Rocks, NB

We didn’t have a lot of time as the tide was coming in and once it gets to a certain point, the park guides are quick to tell you to leave the beach.  The tide moves very quickly and it isn’t worth taking chances getting caught down there so we were very limited in our beach walk.  There is a long staircase that takes you down to the beach.

Seaweed covered formations at Hopewell Rocks, NB

These rocks are huge and until you get down there, you do not realize how huge they really are. Wait a minute, is that the foot of a prehistoric mammoth? Maybe we really are in Jurassic Park! This is actually a rock formation covered in seaweed.

Lovers Arch at Hopewell Rocks, New Brunswick
These rocks are millions of years old and the shapes are caused by the tidal erosion.  This erosion causes the base to weaken and parts will slide off yearly.  There are ongoing changes due to the freezing and thawing in the spring, and this causes the cracks to widen.  There is no way of knowing how long but they say it could take hundreds or even thousands of years to be gone, depending on how unbalanced they become.

Unique rock formations at Hopewell Rocks, NB
They do get the world’s highest tide here at 14m (46 ft) and higher.  We know that the sun and moon’s gravitational forces affect the tides but the shape of the Bay of Fundy plays a big role in this as well.  Hopewell Rocks are at the head of the bay which is shaped like a funnel so gets the full effect of the high tides with that combination.

Flowerpot rock formations at Hopewell Rocks, NB

They say there is one hundred billion ton of water moving in and out of the bay twice every 25 hours. Yes, that really is a ‘billion’ and not a typo, and that is a lot of water.
Be sure to check the website for the tide tables before you go, so that you have time to see and enjoy all of the Hopewell Rocks beach and park. And don’t wait for the rain to stop to get a visit there, even in the rain it is worth a visit to the Hopewell Rocks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bluenose 2 ~ Lunenburg, NS, Canada

There are so many things to see on a Cross Canada RV trip that it is almost impossible to make out a list ! It isn’t possible to see it all but there are so many things we should not miss. One thing that had not entered my mind was seeing the Bluenose. You know, the schooner ship that has been on our Canadian dime since 1937?  I didn’t even know where it was, but let me share that experience with you.
During our stay in Nova Scotia, we were spending time on the Bluenose Coast, which stretches more than 320 km (200 mi). That means there is a lot to see and where shall we begin? We’re staying in an RV park near Mahone Bay, NS so we just get on the road and set out to do some sightseeing.

Lunenburg, NS docks
We arrived in the seaside town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia which it turns out, is a designated UNESCO World Heritage site. Who knew? We make our way through the old world charm of this seafaring village and arrive at the waterside docks.

Bluenose 2
The Fisheries Museum of the Atlantic is a large red building that sits on the docks and sitting there in the water is Bluenose 11.  Now, I will admit that the women didn’t get as excited as the men, but we do appreciate the history of the ship sitting in the harbor. That changed when we realized that we could actually take a tour of the Lunenburg harbor on the Bluenose.

Lunenburg, NS
We did have to wait another day to get that cruise but we were very lucky to be able to purchase tickets and sail on the last day that she would be in that harbor for the season.
The Bluenose has since been brought into Lunenburg Shipyard and is being totally restored and not available for sailing in 2010 or 2011 but will return to the water in 2012.
                                                            Passengers on Bluenose 2
 It was a cold day for sailing but we were not discouraged by the weather.  The crew of six officers and 15 deckhands worked hard to give us a great sailing and they kept busy doing their job amidst the many curious passengers on the ship.

Anchor on Bluenose 2
The original Bluenose was built in Lunenburg and launched in March of 1921 and worked as a fishing and racing schooner.  The first race was won after one fishing season and went undefeated for 17 years, becoming a provincial icon for Nova Scotia as well as an important Canadian symbol in the 1930’s.  She also remained a working fishing vessel during that time.

Bluenose 2 sails, ropes and masts
Fishing schooners became obsolete after World War 2 and despite efforts to avoid it, the Bluenose was sold to the West Indies to work as a freighter, where she sunk in 1946.

A replica was built in Lunenburg in 1963, using the original plans. She was built by a brewery for promotional reasons but was later acquired by the Province of Nova Scotia and used as a sailing ambassador.

The world's largest sail

It is impossible to show the massive size of the ship or these sails from on the ship but it was pretty impressive watching the crew do their job in getting up the largest sail in the world at 386 m2 (4150 sq. ft.). The height of the mainmast is 38 m (124’8”) and the ship is 49 m (160’9”) long. 

The Bluenose Flag flies
Many honors have been bestowed on the Bluenose over the years and they’re well deserved. It was easy to see the pride in the officers and crew as they gave us a look back at the 80 years since the original schooner was built.
Even though we weren’t planning on taking a cruise, there was excitement in sailing the Bluenose out into the Lunenburg Harbour on a windy September afternoon. You just never know what you might find and do when you take a sightseeing drive in the Maritimes.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Peggys Point Lighthouse ~ Peggys Cove, NS, Canada

We were in Nova Scotia and the Maritime Provinces have some of the most beautiful lighthouses. I’d not seen the same on the west coast and was looking forward to getting pictures of as many of them as I could. Number one on that list was Peggys Cove.
We followed the Lighthouse Trail scenic drive from where we were staying in Mahone Bay to Peggys Cove, one of the most photographed structures in the Atlantic provinces. Legend has one story that it was named after a young girl named Margaret which Peggy is a nickname for, who was the sole survivor of a schooner that ran aground in 1800.

Peggys Point Lighthouse
The lighthouse, officially known as Peggys Point Lighthouse is now operated by the Canadian Coast Guard. It once also housed the post office but that is no longer. The current structure was built in 1914, is 15 M (50 ft) high and the color of the light has changed over the years but now conforms to the world standards and became a red light in 2007.

Lady with accordian playing at the Lighthouse at Peggys Cove, NS
Peggys Cove, earlier called Peggy’s Cove, sits of the shore of St. Margarets Bay, which is 43 km (25 mi) southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. It is a small fishing village, with a population of 46 in 2009, originally founded in 1811 when the Province of Nova Scotia issued a land grant of 800 acres to six families.

Granite rock at Peggys Cove, NS
The lighthouse sits on a granite outcropping that offers great exploring opportunities while wandering on the massive rocks.  This is to be done with caution as many people have been swept off the rocks by waves.  I came close to doing that in Portugal but that is a whole other story !

A fishboat from the past at Peggys Cove, NS

Tourism became the primary draw over fishing following World War 2 but lobster is still being fished in the area and the village does maintains the rustic look of those days.  There were some buildings destroyed from Hurricane Juan in 2003 and Hurricane Bill in 2009 which washed away one of the characteristic wooden fish sheds.

Colorful bouys at Peggys Cove, NS
Peggys Cove once boasted a population of 300 people in the early 1900’s when it supported a schoolhouse, church, general store, lobster cannery and boats of all sizes. Today you will see hundreds of visitors a day, enjoying the village that has had very few changes over the years.

Bagpiper on the rocks at Peggys Cove, NS
For those of us that enjoy listening to the bagpipes being played, we had a treat when a student raising college funds began to play.  The wind carried the sound over the rocks and was music to our ears as we cautiously trekked across the granite, no dancing on this ground. (:

Village at Peggys Cove, NS
This area was declared a preservation area in 1962 when Peggys Cove Commission Act was passed.  Regional and provincial governments have placed strict land use restrictions to prevent most property developments and they have also placed limitations that restrict property inflation values for year round residents.

We enjoyed a wonderful morning wandering about Peggys Cove and although it is a small village, it has had a very large impact on the tourism of the Maritime Provinces. This is one of many special places that we visited on our cross Canada RV trip and we were off to see more.  Have you ever been to  Prince Edward Island?  Clik here and join us on our visit to that beautiful little island.  


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