It was a drizzly morning and admittedly the kids had probably exceeded their limit of Saturday morning TV. Like a pot left to boil over, they were spilling with more energy than they knew what to do with. So what better way to spend that energy than to drive their parents crazy!
My wife was feeling a little under the weather too so I knew I needed to switch things up a bit and get the kids out of the house. The rain had seemed to stop so I decided to take them for a hike at MacElmon's Pond Provincial Park.
MacElmon's Pond is just a five minute drive from our house, but oddly enough we'd never taken the opportunity to explore it. The park is a wildlife sanctuary featuring a large pond (looked more like a small lake to me) that seemed like a great place to take a canoe or kayak for a brief jaunt. Apparently the rich water of the pond supports a small population of American widgeon and is an important staging area for migratory waterfowl. In our short visit we saw what we thought were ducks (but indeed they may have been widgeons) and heard the cry of a bald eagle as well!
I armed the kids with a granola bar and a juice pack and we were on the move. I was a little concerned about black flies as we entered the wooded path. Being late spring on a damp day near a "pond-lake" seemed like a recipe for disaster, but incredibly they weren't bad at all.
According to the trail map posted on the sign the trail at MacElmon's Pond is about 1.6km long. It was the perfect length for my 8 and 6 year old. It was long enough to burn the energy needed, but short enough that we could be out before supper. In fact I think we finished the trail in record time as the kids ran about 50% of the way leaving their poor old dad lagging behind.
The park is located just off the Trans Canada Highway in Debert. Given its location so close to the highway, and the fact that it is a relatively small park, I anticipated a pretty typical trek through the woods. I must say I was pleasantly surprised by the diversity along the trail and really enjoyed every bend along the way. I am typically more of a "fauna" than a "flora" kind of guy but I found myself looking at every tree, flower and fern along the way. It was the perfect time of year because many of the plants were still in full bloom, adding more color than might exist on any other given day.
The kids really liked the planked boardwalks that bridged the mucky spots. There must have been a rule "no walking on the boardwalk" because the kids ran full tilt across all but one, where instead they chose to strut across like they were on fashion show runway - too funny!
Most of the trail was inland but it ended with a pleasant stroll along the water. The park had definitely exceeded my expectations and I would definitely recommend it for anyone looking for a brief family outing to stretch the legs. I knew it had the seal of approval from my kids when the first thing out of my daughter Lienna's mouth on the drive home was "That was fun!"
I realized that it was nearing supper time and that it was my night to cook. My wife will tell you that I don't mind taking my turn preparing supper, but my repertoire of meals is pretty basic. Because I didn't have the forethought to take anything out of the freezer that morning I decided that it was going to be a pan fried haddock and fries night! So on my way home I stopped at the Masstown Market's Catch of the Bay Fish Market and Lighthouse (recently awarded Central Nova Tourism Association's attraction of the year) to pick up some fresh fish.
Jaden and Lienna love climbing to the top of the lighthouse for the panoramic view from the top. The Lighthouse has a lot of great information on places to visit along the Bay of Fundy and we even discovered a new photo booth that we couldn't pass up. The kids put on a couple of hats, grabbed the stuffed lobster and puffin props and smiled for the camera. Then we were able to email the photo to ourselves to check-out when we got home. - Pretty cool!
I must say, great times are sometimes had when you least expect it. When cooped up kids give you lemons - make them some lemonade (and pan fried haddock).
Although we didn't have time this day, some other places to check out while in the Debert area include: the Debert Military Museum (featuring some amazing stories and artifacts relating to the cold war and the Debert Bunker), the Mi'kmawey Debert Interpretive Trail (beautifully illustrated panels share the story of archaeological evidence dating back 11,000 years ago); Debert Beach (catch a glimpse of the Bay with a drive down Debert Beach road); and if you're looking for a bite to eat I give two thumbs up to Double C Truck Stop's club and fries and my favorite pizza spot Angelina's!