This past Summer I talked to people about collecting local minerals to add to my collection, and several people mentionned Amethyst Cove.
Amethyst Cove is a section of Blomidon Provincial Park, near Canning, Nova Scotia. This location is quite difficult to get at as the options to get there are slim. You can access Amethyst Cove either by boat (preferably from Parrsboro at high tide), by walking around Cape Split or from White Water (which could take half a day or more, making it quite fucking impossible), or by repelling down a cliff 300 to 400 feet high, by shaky ropes.
I talked to Matt about going to Amethyst Cove someday and didn't think that I would have made it this year. Matt offered to take me there. He was very familiar with the area as he has gone there several time. We picked September 24th to go down.
I left Moncton at around 6:30AM and made my way to Halifax to pick up Matt and his buddy Chris. From there we proceeded to drive North towards Wolfville on the 101.
(1) Blue Beach (Avonport/Hansport)
(2) Amethyst Cove (Blomidon Provincial Park, Canning)
First stop on our journey was Blue Beach, located between Hansport and Avonport (indicated by '1' on the map above). Blue Beach is one of the top locations that I wanted to visit in Nova Scotia. Blue Beach's rich fossil deposits is one of the best areas to visit. Later in the afternoon we would then drive up to Blomidon Provincial Park (indicated by '2' on the map above).
Blue Beach is beautiful. The trip itself to reach this location is worth it in itself. The beach, Horton Bluff, is easily accessible. Before you head down the beach, its a good idea to visit the Blue Beach Museum. We didn't have time as we wanted to maximize on our stay and head out for Amethyst Cove. That will be a plan for next Summer.
The cliffs are incredible to look at. The fossil record indicates that Horton Bluff is around the Carboniferous Period. Walking around the beach you come up to pieces of sandstone containing fish scales, plants, animal burrows, tracks, bore holes made my worms, teeth, and bones. Pretty anything you look at contains something. The evidence that this area was teeming with life is undeniable.
Tide going down
Tree stumps (round cavities in sandstone)
Bones in sandstone slab
Matt (center, tiny speck in the background)
Watching falling debris hit the water
Parrsboro in the background, across the bay
After about an hour inspecting Horton Bluff, we got in the car and headed towards Amethyst Cove.
One thing I didn't really factor in is, it was raining. We got all our gear together and started up the trail. We had to follow a trail that went uphill for a few hundred meters. As my legs were burning by the time we made it up the hill in the forest, we reached the cables.
My heart sank when I saw the setup. I developed a fear of heights on the spot. The ground was wet and slippery, the cables were wet, and I dreaded the climb down. My friends reassured me that the climb down would be worthwhile so that gave me a bit of courage to make it down.
I am not ashamed to say that I was scared, and I was scared like nothing else I ever did in my life. I know that hundreds of people made their way up and down these cables, but my brain didn't want to register that fact. It took me a while to finally make it down the beach. I'd leave the worrying of getting back up after when it would be time to go back up.
This is an amazing place. There are minerals everywhere you look at. I've been wanting to come here to check for agate and natrolite, among other things. The basalt cliffs are extremely high. You can spot the different veins of minerals along the rock face. We found all sorts of minerals, including some that Matt couldn't identify at that time. The beach was littered with all sorts of worn minerals.
I didn't bring a whole lot with me as I had realized when I was walking down the beach that I would be carrying all that extra weight with me up that cliff. We went up the cables and my body was aching like there was no tomorrow. All those years behind a desk didn't the situation. Matt and Chris were very kind to help me and my gear up. I apologized for the predicament that I had put them to but they reassured me that it was alright.
By the time we made it up the ropes, the Sun had set and it was almost pitch dark. Even though we could make out the trail due to the Moon, they had taken out their flashlights. After a few minutes we made it to the car, where I kissed it for reassurance that I was still alive. We put our gear in the car and drove in the fog to Wolfwille so we could grab a bite to eat at a place called Joe's. We ate, watching university football on the tele. If I recall, Acadia University (located in this town) was beating St Francis Xavier University to a pulp.
By the time I dropped my buddies in Halifax, it was 11:30PM. The fog was very thick, and the road tricky to drive. On our way to Halifax from Wolfville we saw an accident, a reminder to be extremely careful in this type of weather. Departing from Halifax, the drive wasn't as bad as I thought it could be. The nervousness of driving in the fog kept me very alert. The fog had lifted at a few places along the way but held for most of my trip, even as I reached Moncton by 2 o'clock in the morning.
This was a fun and rewarding trip. I always wanted to visit the area and can't believe we did it during this type of weather. Next trip to Amethyst Cove could very well be in the safety of a boat, instead of hanging like a limp noodle on dangling ropes down a cliff, but that will be for another day.
In the meantime, cheers!
P.S. Matt, I don't hate you after this. I need better gloves and no more gut! =P