Well yesterday we were at Greenwich National Park on the Atlantic side (North side) of the Island at Havre Saint Pierre known to the english as St-Peter’s Bay. A spectacular park, rich in fauna and very quiet where the only noise is the birds and small animals in the forest and the surf just beyond the giant sand dunes.
Greenwich was established as a National Park on PEI, one of many, in 1970 with the purchase of the Sanderson Family Farm. The Sandersons sold their land as the sand dunes were moving and encroaching unto their farm land, it was unstoppable and this also created other changes to the farm land they owned.
In this picture you can clearly see the land mass surrounded by sea water, the dunes forming a high barrier with a beach and the interior is more sand with Marran grass and fresh water pond, spruce and birch forests on sandy soil. Lots of wild flowers and small mammals, like red squirrels, voles, meadow mice, minks, foxes, Northern Harriers, Eagles, snowshoe Hare, Sparrows, warblers, American red start, short tailed weasels. Many beautiful flowers growing in large numbers everywhere.
The most fascinating part is the floating walkway across the Bowley Pond. This year the water level was low due to the very dry summer we had, only 30 cm of water when you can easily have upwards of 1 meter.
Finally after a 4 km walk you arrive at the foot of the sand dunes and a built wooden staircase take you up and over to the beach. It is strictly forbidden to walk on the dunes. Vast swath of Lichen and Marram grass stabilizes the dunes.
This photo is taken from the top of the dunes looking down to the beach and the sea.
Clean and quiet, so pleasant.
Going back to the park area this is the view of the serpentine floating dock.
To think that this beautiful park and beach is just 35 minutes from our home in Charlottetown.
We also met during our visit a Mik Maq elder, his people have inhabited the area for 10,000 years. He was very interesting to talk to. His name Junior Peter-Paul. The Mik Maq live all over the Maritime Provinces and were closely allied and inter-married with the French Acadians until 1755 when the deportation (ethnic cleansing) took place.
He and Michael Sark a fellow Mik Maq had built using traditional knowledge a Birch Bark Wigwam and explained how it was done and all the symbolism that goes into such a construction. The 7 internal rings to give it rigidity are made of birch, cherry, maple saplings and symbolize the 7 sacred teachings on Respect, Courage, Humility, Love, Truth, Wisdom and Honesty. Spruce roots are use to tie it all together. The birch bark is cut in a specific manner and dried also following a specific custom. Upon inspection it looked like leather skins. The door always faces East for the rising Sun. I had never thought much about it and so it was interesting to hear about the techniques used from an Elder who had the knowledge.
Here in Charlottetown a new Mik Maq cultural centre is opening a stone throw from our house, an impressive building on the water’s edge.
After our walk we decided to go to Cardigan a small settlement in the vicinity of Georgetown and Montague. The restaurant Clam Diggers offers a very good menu of fish and fresh seafood. The portions are good and the seafood come directly from the wharf off the boats. Can’t ask for better really. The good thing is that Clam Diggers will remain open this Winter. As their name indicates Clams the big ones are featured on several dishes.
Today was another adventure, our Nicky went to the Dentist for his annual teeth cleaning. The appointment was at 8 o’clock, he had no breakfast and no water since the night before. We went out for our walk and then directly to the car. He gave me a funny look like, What? Where is my breakfast? When we got to the Vet he was not happy and could sense it was not a good thing, other dogs looked nervous and Nicky gave me the look, don’t leave me here. It all went well and I picked him up at 2:30pm. Next week it’s Nora’s turn. Our Vet is very good and has a nice gentle touch with them.