Gaff Point hiking trail

We had an uncommonly warm day on Thursday – warm for October anyways – it was 20 degrees outside (70ish for my American friends). We decided that since it was warmer, it was time for us to finally venture out to the ocean. We have been so busy working around the house that we haven’t been able to get out for many hikes. We opted for a 7 km hike on a trail called Gaff Point that starts from Hirtle’s Beach.

First I have to say that the website is misleading – in that you need to move awfully fast to do this hike in 1h20m. We also ended up hiking more like 7.5km, and it took us just shy of 3 hours – however, we did stop a lot to take pictures.

Starting off on the beach, I was fascinated by the ocean roaring on one side of me and a still pond on the other. I’m guessing that this is one of the places our friend Cate goes to ice skate in the winter. I cannot wait to try that out – ice skating with the roar of the ocean in the background!

You can see the ocean surf on one side of the trail, and a calm pond on the other side.

The first km of the hike involves walking along the beach. Unfortunately, we arrived at high tide, which meant a lot of our beach walk was a scramble on rocks that were about the size of a softball. These were not the easiest things to walk on. My ankles got a good workout.

The round granite rocks are about the size of grapefruit, with the smaller round ones the size of golf balls.

Prior to our hike, Scott was on a conference call. This call continued as we hiked. If you look closely you can see him in the distance behind me. I cannot imagine what the folks on the other side of his call where thinking about the roaring surf in the background.

Scott in the distance on his conference call. Sure beats doing a conference call from his desk at home!

We followed along the edge of a cliff, and then came to this spot where the trees just fascinated me – trees in the middle of the beach rocks.

Trees coming out of the beach rocks.

It was at about this point that I first heard the rumble of the rocks as the water rushed back out to sea. The best way to describe it is to have you watch this video clip.

I love the sound of the rocks when the water heads back to sea.

Once we made is across the beach, the trail brought us into an enchanted forest – at least that is what it felt like.

Moss covered forest floor, with the sound of the surf in the background.

As the path worked its way up (not that much of a climb), the rocks slowly changed to roots.

Tree roots are exposed on the trail.

I noticed in several places that trees had fallen near the trail, with their roots exposed. I wondered if they fell during one of the recent hurricanes – their root systems weakened by the trail.

A tree that was unrooted at some point. The ferns in the background are all red – I assume because of the fall.

As we reached the point, the forest gave way to a sea side trail. The rock formations along the sea shore were quite different here than on the beach. It felt like we were in a completely different place.

Scott modelling with the rocky shingle like sea shore.
Rocks piled up on the shale like shore.

We walked a little further and over to the other side of the point, the waves calmed right down and things got quieter.

Much quieter in the lee of the point.

After leaving the shoreline, the trail changed yet again.

The trail became cobble stoned.

We came out of the woods one more time.

A well worn path on the top of the ocean side cliff.

When we re-entered the forest, it was boggy, and the nice trail keepers built a wooden path. The logs that were wet were very slippery. At one point I slipped and made a very elegant recovery – amazed that I didn’t fall!

On the way back, rather than following the shore the entire way, we opted for a path that went above the beach. The nice owners allow people on their property as long as the horses aren’t out on that pasture. It made the return a lot easier, and also gave us a great view of Hirtle’s Beach.

View of Hirtle's Beach from the horse pasture.
View of Hirtle’s Beach from the horse pasture.

Overall, we had a delightful hike. The variety in this trail will have us returning over and over again.

Have I said lately how much I love Nova Scotia?

3 thoughts on “Gaff Point hiking trail”

  1. That reminds me of how it used to be at Chilmark Pond on Martha’s Vineyard before the ocean broke through. My uncle had a house on Chilmark Pond and we could row, canoe or even swim across the warm, calm pond to the other side, walk over the dune, and ride waves in the ocean.

  2. What a wonderful capture of the variant south shore of Nova Scotia. The singing pebbles you recorded are a feature of many beaches and I just don’t tire of it. it is those rounded granite rocks rolling on each other, so musical. Thanks Becky for such a great blog.

  3. Ice skating outdoors next to the ocean? Sounds like heaven!
    John and I went for a walk along the shoreline at Hirtle’s Beach at this spot a couple of summers ago. Absolutely gorgeous. I recall reading a sign saying that local residents had banded together to keep it open for public access.

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