A Tale of Two Visits
Wednesday, July 16
Today it was time to say goodbye to scenic Prince Edward Island, but not before a two bits of unfinished business. One bit was a visit to our good friend Bob's parents, and, as luck would have it, Bob's parents were about 7km down the road from the cottages we were staying at! Bob had insisted that we pay a visit if we were nearby, and we certainly were.
Beautiful PEI morning
Jenn had arranged a morning visit, so under another beautiful sunny day, we headed out, but not immediately to his parents house. The other bit of unfinished business was concerning a certain nondescript bit of high farmland..... and the destination to help solve that business was an internet cafe. The nearest logical spot to find one was the nearby quaint town of Kensington.
For couples only...
We took our time on the drive to Kensington, soaking in the unique gentle scenic-ness of PEI. The province is, in my opinion, quite distinct from the other two maritime provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia: It has a more rural, undeveloped feel to it. It seems tidier. The landscape is almost always rolling, lending it a more '3D' appearance, giving it more depth. There's the everpresent unique red soil and a beach or rocky coastline is never more than 20 minutes drive from wherever you are. Well-kept old homes and churches and small piers are everywhere. It just comes across as 'pleasant'.
Malpeque United Church Cemetery
Arriving in Kensington, we got to work. The previous day's unfulfilling PEI highpoint summit experience had left my inner voice nagging. I remembered something about a marker or sign that specifically was for the high point, and I wanted to do a little further research before we left PEI. If I could get some hard extra information, we certainly had the time to go back and give it another shot. And sure enough, after a bit of searching at the free internet access point at an old converted train station in Kensington, I located it -- a family's trip report where they walked along a fraint, overgrown old road to a point where some surveyor's tape guided them off to the right. Hmm... we had been on an old overgrown road but had not gone that far down it. Could we have been a stone's throw away and not known it? The highpointer in my would not be satisfied unless we investigated, I knew. We had to go back.
Bucolic Island Scenery
Armed with our bit of extra highpointer information, we headed off -- but to Bob's parent's place first, as we had an appointment to visit with them this morning! And, after another most scenic drive to the hamlet of French River, we pulled into the driveway of a modest bungalow not far from PEI's north shore.
Visiting the Kowalskis
The visit with Bob's parents was delightful. We got a tour of the house, seeing where the shed had burned last winter during a nasty snowstorm, and the little pond constructed for the previous year's pet ducks. Bob's mom served us some excellent strawberry shortcake (and I'm not one who generally likes strawberry), and in general chatted for several hours. Wonderful people, and I quite liked their take on philosophy and history. Very enlightened!
Before leaving, it was suggested to us to visit the lighthouse and shoreline not far from the back of the house. Very scenic, they said, and with that we said goodbye and headed down a dusty gravel track to a wonderful green field overlooking some high red cliffs and the endless ocean beyond. And indeed there was a little white lighthouse, perched not too far from the edge. Something that probably appears in many a PEI postcard, no doubt!
Sandstone Slabs near French River
Lighthouse near French River, PEI
PEI Lighthouse near French River
After exploring here for a bit, we headed a bit further east to Prince Edward Island National Park (Cavendish section) for a bit more coastal exploring. PEI National Park is multi-segmented and covers a good stretch of PEI's north shore. We spent some time walking along the beach (Cavendish beach is a very popular beach) and along some of the nearby walking paths.
Sampling the summer waters
Red Stone Beach at Cavendish
One more task remained for us in PEI: another shot at the highpoint. We returned to the leafy little red road and parked the car at a pullout, this time aiming to fully explore the faint old overgrown road. We headed down it, very carefully looking for some sort of indicator or flagging that was a 'couple of tenths of a mile' along. With a bit of careful looking, we did indeed spot some flagging tape, and quickly saw some additional flagging leading off to the west.
It wasn't long after that we arrived at the elusive gold mailbox. Mounted on a steel pole, the little mailbox was ringed with a few faded bits of flagging, and inside, a bagged PEI highpointers log! Pretty definitive, and I was glad we had come back. In fact, even if this wasn't the actual highpoint, we definitely had reached it somewhere along the line. Over the previous day and today, we had pretty much scoured the whole square kilometre of terrain and visited all of the points indicated by all of the different reports about visiting PEI's highpoint (i.e. the field, the survey marker, and the highpoint mailbox).
For a more detailed account of the visit to the PEI highpoint, please visit the in-depth report
, with many more pictures and detailed hike maps and graphs.
After leaving an entry in the logbook, we headed back to the car and headed towards the Confederation Bridge and New Brunswick. This was the first time I had used the bridge, seeing as the last time I was on PEI was before they had built it. Quite a remarkable structure!
Driving the Confederation Bridge
Once in New Brunswick, we headed for the Moncton area. Usually we would have headed to my home town of Bathurst, but my parents were in Moncton for a medical procedure for which my mother was scheduled. We found a motel in downtown Moncton, then went out and treated ourselves to a movie.
Interactive Trackmap & Photo Points - Click map to expand