Western Light and the Coastal Trail, Brier Island Nature Preserve
On the opposite side of the island is Western Light(house), an octagonal tower marking the official entrance to the Bay of Fundy. Located four miles out of town and on a dirt road, the lighthouse was incredibly secluded and a perfect place to camp. Before I set up however I explored the shore a bit, walking around to look at the bay and the basalt. The views were fantastic as was the backdrop of the lighthouse. As I was making dinner a couple cars showed up to watch the sunset but by dusk I was left alone. I spent the rest of the night before falling asleep laying and looking at the stars which were impossibly bright despite the sky being lit up every ten seconds or so by the lighthouse. It was utterly peaceful.
In the morning I took a short walk before breakfast and then did some yoga before spending the rest of the morning writing while enjoying the view. By midday the temperatures climbed into the upper-70s for the second day in a row and I decided to start the 5-ish mile hike I had planned on this section of the Coastal Trail, located within the Brier Island Nature Preserve. This whole section of the island is owned by The Nature Conservancy as a key stopover for migrating birds and a protected area for endangered plants such as the Eastern Mountain Avens. The latter are found only on Brier Island and a small section of Digby Neck in Canada; the only other place in the world they still exist are the Presidential Mountains in the White Mountains of New Hampshire.
By networking the trails and dirt roads of the island it’s possible to hike the entire 16 mile perimeter, but I had decided to only do certain bits on recommendation from guides on the whale watching cruise. Plus, by starting out after lunch, I only had time to do a section anyway.
The first mile or so of the trail was exceptionally boggy as it crossed low-lying areas but the meadow stretches were gorgeous, populated with pale purple, yellow, and white wildflowers. The drier meadows dominated for the middle stretch of the trail and the slight elevation gain provides fantastic views of the mouth of the Bay of Fundy and – ahem – more columnar basalt along the shore. After passing Whipple Point the meadows then gave way to stretches of pebbled beaches that passes between sea and marsh and then, finally, views of Big Cove.