My Bounty is as Boundless as the Sea (Taylor Head, NS)

Nature is poetry. It is music. It is art. It is the greatest masterpiece, painted on an earthy canvas. The love sonnet of a million years, the aria that stills the heart and that you must close your eyes to absorb deep into your soul. Where it finds its home and resonates. Bringing tears or gladness.

People go to concerts and galleries to find this emotional connection with creation. I go to Taylor Head.

Taylor Head Provincial Park is a finger-like outcropping of land reaching out into the Atlantic on Nova Scotia's Eastern Shore. The drive from Halifax to Spry Bay is a bit over 1.5 hours, but nearly every mile of this coast is worth it. A dirt road brings you from the #7 highway into the park, and on a busy Summer day the parking lot will be quite full.

From the lot, follow the signs to the trail head. The trail is a figure eight of two loops, together totaling 8K. For a shorter adventure you can just take the Spry Bay at 4K, or add the Headlands Loop. Taylor Head point is the tip of the Headlands though, so if you can manage the distance it's well worth it. Watch for the signs (and colour change of markers) to begin the Headlands Loop. It's well marked but I've talked to hikers who have missed it. The long wooden boardwalk across a wide marsh is your first sign that you have begun the second loop.

Both loops are exclusively coastal, although you will have some inland sections to enjoy the lusher greens and take a break from the water. Taking Spry clockwise, you begin the tour through the gallery of some of the most beautiful views the entire trail has to offer. Beaches, reflecting coves and lapping waves. This is one trail where you want to be sure to look around you. Don't be afraid to stop, take some time, and soak it in.

Significant sections of the trail take you over the beach itself, and there are times when you will wonder if you've lost the trail. Generally speaking I've found the entry and exits points from inland trail to beach to be easy to spot, although there's one that has eluded me on the return leg twice now and I end up having to climb a small sand hill to get back.

You will know you have reached Taylor Head when you see the solitary picnic table seemingly dropped from the sky in a great wide open space. If you're lucky it will be free, and you can sit here and enjoy views of the Atlantic over lunch. The temperature drops a few degrees here as well -- you will feel it instantly -- be prepared to add a layer on a breezy day.

Varying landscapes bring you back to the trail head, from crashing surf and boulders to sprawling waves of low-lying vegetation that has found a way to thrive in the cold, salt air. Go in early to mid-June when the wildflowers are blooming and the bright green fiddleheads are beginning to unfurl. While you pay the price with some muddy sections in the last kilometer or so, it will be well spent.

Throw your hikers in the car and grab your sandals to spend some time cooling off at the popular beach just at the end of the boardwalk. You earned it.

More information:

Friends of Taylor Head Provincial Park

How to get there:


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