I love the barrens around the Peggy’s Cove area. Unique, with a rugged beauty, it’s like being on another planet. A huge boulder may be propped in place by what seem to be not much more than pebbles, or may look like it is balancing on top of another rock. Click the image below to hike a multi-node virtual hike of Polly’s Cove. It’s up to you to find all 6 scenes, just follow the instructions on the image below to enjoy your virtual hike. Click on the SEAGULLS to navigate.
The geological history here goes back more than 400 million years ago! Molten lava bubbled up to the surface to form the Devonian granite, named for the Devonian Period during which the plate tectonics caused and allowed the rock formation. A glacier moved through the area about 20,000 years ago, ploughing through the vegetation and topsoil as it migrated, lifting, moving and depositing huge rocks as it went through, then melted. The vegetation that now lives here is hardy, able to live without the nutrient-rich soil found elsewhere. It’s amazing to see life growing from mere cracks in granite! Some plants, such as picture plants and sundews, compensate for the lack of nutrients by living on more than earth and sunlight — these are carnivorous plants, feeding on insects! Trees growing here are twisted, stunted, and as rugged as their surroundings. At first glance, one might not be aware of the diversity of life here, but look closer! Various lichens cover granite, and a variety of vegetations, including delicate-looking plants and flowers live here.
And the fragrance! Breezes and winds from the Atlantic Ocean sweep over the rugged terrain, mingling with juniper, black spruce, peat, blueberries, wild roses!
Peggy’s Cove is spectacular and deserves the attention from photographers and folk enjoying the scenery, shopping, restaurant looking out at the lighthouse. One can climb and wander the rocks, walk around the village, and savour the very picturesque setting. However, if you’d like a less crowded experience, there is another stop just before Peggy’s Cove (coming from Halifax). Polly’s Cove is not as well known, but for those who want to enjoy a day hiking or just admiring the view, it’s a wonderful place to spend time.
If you’d like a quick hike with a view at the end, just follow the path straight from the small parking lot to the edge of the rocky cliff. Continuing from there towards West Dover, you can walk all the way to Burns Bay; choose the path that branches off to the right as you head towards the ocean, you’ll find a view of Polly’s Cove and a unique perspective on the much busier Peggy’s Cove.
You’ll need to keep your eyes peeled to find the stop for Polly’s Cove. It’s not marked. Shortly before Peggy’s Cove, coming from Halifax direction, you’ll see a small parking lot on the ocean side of the road. There is some safe parking along the side of the road, and if you are willing to walk a short distance, there is another, larger, parking lot, around the turn ahead, closer to Peggy’s Cove, on the non-ocean side of the road.
Try to stick to visible trails, to keep damage to the plant life to a minimum. It’s hardy enough to live in this challenging environment, but easily damaged by tromping feet.
Never pick plants!
Please don’t be the jerk who turns a 3-4 spot lot into a single or double parking spot. Just because you arrive to find no one else there does not mean that no one else will arrive while you are wandering around.
There is more on the local geology here: https://natureinfocus.blog/tag/peggys-cove-geology/
The virtual tour identifies features that I learned here: https://mapcarta.com/24230178