September 11, 2006 PEI Bicycle Touring Trip

The following provides an account of a bicycle touring trip on Prince Edward Island on roads and some portions of the Confederation Trail from September 11 to 15, 2006. We spent some additional time on the island for a total time from September 8 to 17 from which I will include a few additional photos.

The Confederation Trail is a conversion of the island railway beds, abandoned in 1989, to bicycle/hiking trails. The overall experience was amazing, and we’d go back more often if the distance wasn’t so far.

Exploring Charlottetown (Sept. 9, 2006)

After arriving later afternoon on Friday, September 8, we spent two days exploring Charlottetown and area. This included walking around Charlottetown where we made an unplanned visit to the Farmer’s Market, wandered downtown marveling at old buildings and cemeteries (with dates back to 1700’s, a novelty for those born on the Canadian prairies where gravestones rarely date prior to 1910’s). We also visited our friends pottery painting shop “Fired Up!”.

We decided this vacation was to be self-propelled, so only walking and biking. There is plenty to see and no need for a car. Plus one gets much more feel of a place with slower transportation modes.

Exploring the Coastline (Sept. 10, 2006)

Large Spider (Sept. 10, 2006)

After two days of relaxing we were eager to start the bicycle trip. We borrowed our friends bicycles and gear for the trip.

We followed the Confederation Trail north out of Charlottetown. This was my first time cycling a rail trail. The experience was amazing. The luxury of cycling on a designated bicycle path in a rural setting was truly unique, considering bicycle infrastructure is typically an after-thought (or non-existant) on the Canadian Prairies. The trail quality was excellent, the surface was hard and smooth. At this time of year, we essentially had the trail to ourselves.

Even cycling through a light industrial area at the north side of Charlottetown was  scenic. Trees frequently lined the path when passing through both developed and undeveloped areas.

We delightfully discovered many feral apple trees lining the path, and supplemented our snack food with frequent stops.

Confederation Trail just north of Charlottetown (Sept. 11, 2006)

Snacking from Feral Apple Trees

We also enjoyed eating from wild (feral?) blackberries and raspberry bushes along the trail edge.

Confederation Trail, North of Charlottetown

We followed the rail-trail  north of Charlottetown, turned east at the trail junction, then turned northwest on Highway 15 toward Prince Edward Island National Park.  We stopped at a small burger stand for some supper. The cook told us we were travelling at the best time of year as the seasonal shops (like this one) and campgrounds are still open, but the summer crowds have dispersed.

We stopped at the beach across from the campground in the National Park (along Gulf Shore Parkway). The weather and view out to the ocean was amazing. There were some people attempting to surf on the ocean. There was a strong north wind and white caps on the ocean. The ocean temperature was rated at 16 C. We didn’t go in the water, as it was cool enough with the wind.

PEI National Park, Looking West

The campground, just across the road from the beach, was mostly empty. We had the tenting area all to ourselves. We found an inviting campsite that resembled a sort of cavern in the trees. We travelled an estimated 25 km this day.

Campsite at PEI National Park

That evening after supper we lay on the beach star gazing (until it got too cold). I noticed a small distant orange glow on the horizon out on the ocean. I thought it may be a ship, an exciting sight for a prairie dweller. The orange light grew larger, and initially appeared to be somewhat triangular. I thought it might be a sailboat, with an orange light shining on its sail. The size grew more rapidly than expected, and I  was much confused. A few minutes later, the confusion gave way to laughter. It was the point of a crescent moon rising on the horizon, turned orange from the thickened atmosphere.

[click on post and go to top of page for link to next leg of trip]

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2 Responses to “September 11, 2006 PEI Bicycle Touring Trip”

  1. adventure! Says:

    Cool! PEI looks beautiful. I’m bummed that we didn’t make it out to Atlantic Canada on this trip, but we’ll be getting up there at some point. That camping site looks lovely too.

    Rail-trail touring is great. My first tour used about 100 miles (160 km) of interconnected rail-trails in Wisconsin. It was a great experience.

  2. prairievoyageur Says:

    Hey Shawn, if you ever make it out to PEI, be sure to budget lots of time. There’s lots to explore and the island gave us a laid back feeling where we just savoured soaking in small moments (napping in shady, grassy historic church yards, etc.We hardly saw a fraction of it, and would love to go back some time.

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