Lost in Paradise

Thirty minutes is all it takes to hike into the untouched plunge pool. At first, you are surrounded by birches, hemlocks, maples, pine and ash trees. Shortly into the walk, a meandering stream and a series of small falls appears. Everything from the quartz veins to the sweet smell of peat makes this journey second to none. You cannot help but experience a silent wonderment as you walk through one of our precious, yet sadly, few remaining late successional forests in Nova Scotia.

If it’s your first trip of the season, there will still be snow tucked away from the sun’s warmth. The contrast of white against the emerald green moss is a beautiful sight. There is no sign of man and no sound but that of the falls. After gingerly climbing down a mossy ledge, you see the main waterfall. You set down your rod and breath in the ethereal beauty of this secret place. You have arrived.

My Fiancé, Derek, was eager to take me to these falls and when he first told me about them he shared that he had not visited them in over twenty years. So naturally, on a cold winter’s day, we decided to search for them together. I don’t know what we were thinking! We wouldn’t be able to fish but we could scout this childhood destination for the upcoming season. At this time, I was new to angling and it seemed like a very odd way to spend a freezing cold day but we bundled up and off we went.

On our wintery walk, stories were told of his family of four walking in with picnic lunches to fly fish or swim. In contrast, on this day, there was four feet of snow on the ground. The afternoon passed and we were no closer to the falls. Although we were having a great time, the trek was quickly becoming more difficult for the dogs and us. Deep snow and steep, icy banks were the first obstacles encountered. The temperature was dropping fast and following our map was not working out as planned. Cell service was spotty at best and the cold caused our phones to die. By dark we were lost. Well, I say we were lost. Our flashlight had fallen off someone’s belt hours before, so we fought our way through waist deep snow and choppings in the dark. Each carrying a backpack and a dog we struggled through the mess. I was exhausted so we stopped on the top of a hill and Derek began tearing pages from a notebook. The dogs were spent and we were all freezing. It seemed as though we would be hunkering down there for the night. I stood up to look for anything dry we could use for the fire and as I looked around and saw nothing, a feeling of panic washed over me. Just then, lights through the trees. A car had driven by. Thank god! After another hour of trudging through the snow, crossing a brook and coaxing the pups to follow, we made it to the road.

Wet, cold and happy, our little family of four walked along the road to the truck. Back at the camp, by the fire, we made plans to set out to find these special falls again but this time in the spring. I was told that beautiful, wild brook trout reside there and to dupe those jewel-toned beauties, stealth and a single handed switch cast would be needed.

Luckily, we found the falls together on a warm, spring day and coaxed a few fishes out from the depths of the pretty pool. The casting was challenging but so rewarding as we each hooked and released wild brookies on flies we had tied that winter before. We all have our secret fishing spots and this one will always be a favourite of mine.

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