Destination: PEI National Park, Prince Edward Island
Revised: Charlottetown Wal-Mart
We woke up in Fundy National Park and did some talking. We decided to head to Prince Edward Island before doing our backpacking in Kejimkajik National Park. It was our only 2-night backpacking trip and we wanted to make sure the timing was perfect.
As we began the drive for the day, I pulled out a little tightly in front of a van and he wailed on the horn and continued to do so for like 100 metres. When we went to turn left and he pulled up beside us – looking furious as hell, I smiled brightly at him and waved as if we were long lost pals. I loved seeing the anger on his face shift to confusion. Still, the situation got my heart going and I had to pull over after driving a bit more to make sure he was long gone.
I got to drive across the massive PEI bridge! It was a lot of fun – at one point the bridge angles up and you feel like you’re driving into the sky. It takes a looong time to cross.
There’s an entire little village when you first enter the province, and we spent a lot of time there. Christine bought a ring, and I bought some souvenirs and a PEI beachbag that was on sale. We also got bumper stickers! The village was adorable. We really wanted to eat there but it was too expensive so we decided to end our shopping there.
From there, we drove into the Prince Edward Island National Park, Stanhope campground. The staff were awesome and let us use the WiFi, but when we went to check out the site, it wasn’t very private and was tightly packed with RVs on either side. We returned to the Info centre to ask some questions and then decided to do our hikes.
The first hike was a 2.2k, easy terrain called The Bubbling Springs. The hike was nice and wide, mostly flat, but the springs were not bubbling! We were loving the red soil, something so unique to PEI.
As we drove to the next stop, we made sure to pull over plenty of gorgeous sites. The ocean was constantly at our side, and there were plenty of lighthouses that Christine loved to photograph. I’m not one for human-made sights – I prefer nature and humans. But Christine likes things like lighthouses, and animals of course.
PEI National Park is divided into segments, so the second section of the park was actually quite a ways – we were betting on the hope that it would suit us better than Stanhope Campground. The second part was home of Lucy Maude Montgomery, the creator of the Anne of Green Gables series. This is a very big deal in Canada and even bigger in PEI!
We were there after the official park closed where you could tour her home, but the hikes were still open so we ventured there. As a writer, I really enjoyed travelling the woods that she would have travelled as a young woman. I, too, had acres of property to explore when I was a girl, always running away with a backpack full of book, climbing up rock faces and spending hours alone in the woods with my little notebooks. Christine had also done plenty of exploring – lots with me, and I think less alone. After all, she had friends and at that age, I hadn’t really. When I was older, I removed myself from nature and, in fact, practically boarded myself up in my Toronto apartment because my anxiety and depression had such a hold on me. When I moved back to Muskoka in my mid-twenties, I couldn’t believe how much I’d missed nature, and how much damage I’d done to my psyche by withdrawing from it for so long. Not only is nature healing, but it fosters a creative spark that can truly dwindle without access to it. That’s my truth anyway.
The first little hike was the Haunted Woods. It really was lovely, with huge, gnarly trees, and plenty of interpretive signs to explain what the woods meant in the context of LM Montgomery as a youth as well as the presence of them in her writing.
The second little hike was Balsam Hollow. They were both around a kilometre and were all the more lovely for it being dusk. We figured out that we couldn’t camp in this section, so our only night in PEI would be spent in a wal-mart parking lot! You can tell as much about an area from their wal-mart as you can from their campground, so I was fine with this.
It also freed up some of our budget for dinner, which was a good thing! We spent a lot of time doing research on where to eat. Some of the places we’d wanted to go were closed, so we decided on a restaurant called the Row House. When we arrived in downtown Charlottetown, we discovered the place was actually quite fancy! It was situated on a pedestrian section of the downtown core, which was awesome. Downtown Charlottetown looked like a really positive, cool place. We both wished we had the money and energy to explore further, but at that moment we were just ravenous!
Christie ordered the seafood diavolo, and I got the lobster poutine. We started with shortribs to spare, which were only 1.5 ribs each. When you are used to eating cheap, you’re used to getting a lot more food. Isn’t that such a funny dichotomy? When you pay more, you get less. Yes, it often tastes better, uses better ingredients, etc, but when you don’t really know the difference, it’s easy to just say ‘I wish there was more!’ However, my lobster poutine was absolutely to die for. I also ordered a local IPA, which I really enjoyed, and my sister got a Caesar, which I tasted and was very good.
We had a little bit of trouble with the GPS – not my fault, this time! But eventually we made our way to the Charlottetown wal-mart and began to settle in for the night. It was a busy and really fun day, but we were glad that the parking lot was quiet so we could get in a good night’s rest.