Matthews Head Hike
We had to change campgrounds today — had to be out of one by 11:00, couldn’t check into the other until 2:00 — so we decided to hike the nearly three mile loop to Matthews Head. This hike had been described as “his favorite” by an interpreter at the visitors’ center.
Before parking at the trailhead which is off Herring Cove Road, we drove down to Herring Cove Beach. Low tide, so lots of rocks and gravel. Very foggy today, nothing like the views yesterday. Interesting interpretive signs telling about the Matthews family who had settled in this area in 1850 and had a very prosperous farm. They farmed here until 1927 and their land was purchased in 1948 to become part of the National Park.
Our hike was a nice one through a dense spruce forest with lots of moss, ferns, bunch berries and some birch, but a bit challenging because of all the roots in the path. We have never seen roots quite like these — looks like a beautiful net, but they make it hard to stride along the path. The trail headed down for the first mile which ended at Matthews Head. From there we had nice views along the coast in both directions — all the way to Alma, a coastal town to the north-east. Two different banks of fog could be seen towards Nova Scotia.
We now could return to the car park by the route we had come, or walk along the coast and loop back to the van. We chose the latter, which was very nice except for some steep downs again. There were various places to look out, but the fog seemed to have moved closer to shore so there was little to see. Finally we had a very steep climb and then a pleasant walk through an open meadow to return to our van.
Once back at the car we drove briefly to Alma just to see what was there. The answer: lots of restaurants. We stopped at the general store which sells typical camp food and bought a few bananas. We were hoping for a bit of local corn, having had some from St John that was very good, but no such luck.
We returned to the park and located our site (42) in the Headquarters Campground. Nice big, shaded site. Probably not a popular one as it is next to the bathroom, but these are flush toilets so it is no big deal. Site has a picnic table, but no fire ring as fires are not permitted in this campground.
Our next door neighbors are interesting. When we arrived, there were about 15 identical backpacks lined up on the ground. Then a long trailer arrived that has about twenty bikes loaded on it. Not sure where there is enough space for tents for all of them. Looks like it may be a scout group.
-- Janet (text) and David (photos)