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Walks in Nova Scotia
by Danielle Wharton
The Utkubok Trail (third of a four part series)
How do I get there?
The Utkubok Trail is located in the small village of Arcadia, Yarmouth County on Route 3 just 10 minutes southwest of the town of Yarmouth. The head of the trial can be found on the grounds of Arcadia Consolidated School, at the rear.
This little hiking trail has alot to offer visitors. The 1 kilometre trail is well maintained with gravel and boardwalk throughout. While there are no picnic tables or washrooms on site, there are benches, garbage bins, interpretative panels and fitness stations.
It rained most of the day (Sunday, October 6th) and I was skeptical about the chance of a walk. However, in the early evening the sun broke through briefly, just long enough to explore the trail before dark.
The interpretative panels along the trail were interesting and informative although the content emphasis was on fitness. There were 6 to 8 fitness stations along the route each with suggestions for fitness activities or exercises.
The trail was built in 1990 through the guidance of the Arcadia Home and School Association and was funded by various agencies. The name "Utkubok" is the Mi'kmaq word for "spring of water", which was the name given to the region encompassing the villages of Arcadia and Chebogue.
From the parking lot area the boardwalk trail began with an early "successional forest" (grown up field) which was lined with numerous blackberry bushes. The Arcadia Brook Boardwalk eventually led to a salt marsh, the largest salt marsh in Nova Scotia. A platform provided a spectacular panoramic view of the 2000 acre marshland.
The trail continued into the trees where there was plenty of witherod and Canada Holly berries. There was also signs of an old farmstead with stone walls and apple trees as remnants. A set of steps climbed a large drumlin (hill) where there were two look-offs. The trail then descended, returning me to my lonely car in the parking lot.
I looked briefly at my notes. I had seen a fair bit of wildlife on this little walk - a rabbit, a greater yellowlegs (shore bird) and I had frightened a beautiful male pheasant.
The trail is open all year around.
A wonderful trail for seniors or families with young children. It is fairly short (10-15 minutes) and there are alternate routes or shortcuts around boardwalks and steep stairs. The fitness enthusiast may want to walk the trail more than once.
An Outdoor Nova Scotia recommended destination - a "light" walk (good exercise, for those times you're on the run).
The Old Annapolis Road Pocket Wilderness (last of a four part series)
How Do I Get There?
This hiking trail is located approximately 25 kilometres west of Halifax off Highway #103 between Exists #5 and #6. Specifically, the gravel road on the right after the water reservoir and the towers at the Head of St. Margaret's Bay Road. Visitors must travel about 6 kilometres on the dirt road to reach the the trail parking lot.
This little park features a large parking area, outhouses and a well-maintained trail. There is an interpretative map which is inadequate and there no picnic tables or garbage bins.
This is the second Pocket Wilderness trail to be featured in our four-part series and is owned by the Bowater Mersey Paper Company Ltd., Brooklyn, Nova Scotia. The trail itself lies partially on an old roadway that once led to Annapolis, in the Annapolis Valley.
There are two loops of 2 kilometres each; one circling Island Lake; the other Rafter Lake. When hiking from the parking area, visitors are to turn left just before the lake to travel clockwise around the lake, or left just after the lake to travel the loop counter-clockwise. There are small arrows to direct visitors, however, they can be easily missed.
The trail is graveled with large stones and rocks, this may prove precarious for older people or children. The first section featured a bounty of cranberries. The trail circled the lake through a heavily wooded forest where pileated woodpeckers seek refuge on an old deadfall. The pileated woodpecker is the largest of Nova Scotia woodpeckers, about the size of a crow with black feathers and a red head.
Small bogs along the way have pitcher plants and sundew plants growing in some areas. These plants are carnivorous - trapping and digesting insects to supplement the poor soil in which they grow.
Several viewing venues of the lake provide an opportunity to see loons in a popular nesting area. There are signs advising visitors not to disturb the birds. Signs of beaver are also evident (watch for small deciduous trees, especially poplar, gnawed off close to the ground).
This trail gives visitors an opportunity to see forest that has never been cut, as well as areas which have been managed by the Bowater Mersey Paper Co. Ltd.
Visitation to this trail is sometimes restricted when the fire hazard index is high such as it was this past summer; or when it is an operating woods district. It generally is open, however, from May through October in the evenings and on the weekends, and during the winter months as part of Bowater Mersey's winter recreation area.
Because of the location of the trail on a lengthy dirt road, this pocket wilderness may not be accessible to all, especially in poor weather. Finding the trail was rather confusing and directional signs were not clear. The trail is picturesque and enjoyable. It should take about a half hour to complete.
An Outdoor Nova Scotia recommended destination - a "light" walk ( great Sunday afternoon recreation).
Danielle Wharton lives in Port Joli, Nova Scotia. Danielle is a seasonal employee at the Thomas Raddall Provincial Park and operates her own adventure tour company, Coastal Trails Hiking Tours. Ms. Wharton is a regular contributor to Outdoor Nova Scotia.
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Wilderness Walks in Nova Scotia, first published September, 1997. Designed & maintained by Outdoor Nova Scotia, Liverpool, N.S. BOT 1KO. Material protected by copyright. Last revised: June 27, 2004