Friday, July 30, 2010

EP Bike Trip #1: Crystal Crescent Beach

Welcome to a new feature on Ea-Pea Dave's Terra Nova: the EP Bike Trip.

As I may or may not have been clear about in my FAQ section, I do not own a vehicle and so I ride one of my two bicycles to nearly every single one of the Points of Interest, Monuments and Festivals/Events that you read about on my website. However, Nova Scotia is not just Halifax (believe it or not), and so at some point I knew I would have to venture out to bring you more great historic sites, interesting places and/or festivals. While there will definitely be situations in which renting a car will be most appropriate, for a good portion of these places I hope to be able to make a solo trip using, you guessed it, my bicycle (I may yet attempt to move a mattress or transport a Christmas tree using my bicycle just to prove it can be done).

Since I have been on and plan to go on many more long bicycle rides, for the purposes of this section an EP Bike Trip will be classified as any trip in which the total distance travelled is over 50 km, and there is a specific purpose for taking the trip (i.e., to visit a certain place or attend a certain festival).

With that introduction, let there be no more further ado. EP Dave is pleased to present to you his first ever EP Dave Bike Trip to Crystal Crescent Beach (be sure to have your Google Maps ready so that you can follow along).

My journey started, as all my journeys do, at my house in the centre of Halifax. I travelled south, around the North West Arm, via the Armdale Rotary, and then up Herring Cove Road to Spryfield. Just past the Canadian Tire, I turned right onto Sussex Street and continued on Old Sambro Raod, through Long Lake Provincial Park, until I came to Doyle's Lake (between Harrietsfield and Williamswood).

Doyle's Lake is really not much more than a large swamp, but all the green plants growing in it made some unique patterns in the dark blue water. It also provided an opportunity for me to squat on the shoulder of the highway, refill my water bottle, and eat some blueberries I had packed for myself. Unlike Alberta highways though, the Nova Scotia highways I've seen so far don't really have shoulders. As a result, I was never more than two metres away from any of the whizzing vehicles that passed by me while I ate and rested.

By this time I had been travelling for nearly an hour, and about fifteen minutes later I was starting to feel fatigued. I had no idea where I was at this time, but when I came to Grand Lake (above) I could sense that I must be getting close.

A few minutes later I reached Old Sambro, where I turned right onto West Pennant Road, followed by a left onto East Pennant Road, and then another quick left onto Sambro Creek Drive. I followed Sambro Creek Drive along until I came to the gravel road at the end which led to the parking lot of Crystal Crescent Beach (Coote Cove, if you're looking on your maps right now).

As you can see from the pictures above, the sky could not have been more clear, which apparently is rare for this part of Nova Scotia. Not having brought a towel along though, I found a nice large rock on which to sit down and ate my lunch.

After not waiting the requisite 30 minutes, I went for a "swim" in the lake. However, upon touching my toe to the water my body immediately went "staticy" and then clenched up in right angles. I then dropped over dead from my cramps (just like in the cartoons!) After I had recovered, I waded out to about armpit height before quickly returning. It may have been hot on the beach, but it was ice cold in the water. Nonetheless, I could say I had swam in the Atlantic Ocean.

I climbed back onto my rock seat where I sunned my pasty white torso until I had dried off sufficiently to put back on my socks and shirt. I then headed back out on the road for the rest of the return loop, which would actually be ten kilometres longer than the trip to the beach.

I knew I would fatigue quickly on the trip back home, having already travelled some 25 km and still having 35 km to go, so I stopped in at the Kwik Way convenience store at the corner of West Pennant Road and Ketch Harbour Road (Mr. Mishoo's Take Out on your map), to stock up on a single Snickers bar and to treat myself to a scoop of blue berries and cream Farmer's ice cream. I also made sure to stop at the beautiful Little Cairn Cove, alongside West Pennant Road, again for some more pictures (below).

After 15 km of scenic cycling along Ketch Harbour Road I came to Herring Cove (below), where I stopped to refuel on my aforementioned Snickers bar.

After a fifteen minute rest it was back on the bike to tackle the hilly Purcell's Cove Road, past the picturesque Purcell's Cove, with its equally lovely Spectacle Island, and then on to Halifax.

After passing York Redoubt National Historic Site (about which I will soon be posting), I finally limped in to Melville Cove, where I dismounted and enjoyed a waterfront stroll along the Northwest Arm, before finishing the last few kilometres to my home.

Total Distance: Roughly 60 km.


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