ARCHWAY TO THE GULF (Arches Provincial Park)

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Seaside Visits

Dipping one's foot in the ocean seems to be the achievement to brag about when travelling to the coast. I've never stuck my tootsies in the vast expanse; however, they've previously experienced its spirit in several small saltwater bays. Tessi's only paw-dipping in seawater occurred in the Bay of Fundy in New Brunswick and at Rose Blanche in Newfoundland. A couple of days after those dips, Helen, Missy, Tessi and I were travelling northbound on the Viking Trail following the western coast of the island, in the company of the Gulf of St. Lawrence. I was looking forward to submerging my feet in the gulf at the Arches Provincial Park. The Arches We slightly passed the sign indicating the turn for the day-use-only park, almost missing it. From the highway, a short drive led us to the parking lot. The uniqueness of the arches and the warm, sunny day had attracted many visitors, who were spread all over. Cutting into the shoreline in front of us, stood the large limestone structure, which has been pummeled by wind and water over the millennia to fashion its three openings. Its gray-brown surface was spotted with the bright colours of assorted clothing of people climbing. A climb would have been fun, but I didn't want to risk a broken leg so far from home. Not Drinkable, but Soothing Passing by a picnic area, we walked towards the arches, then kept moving farther down the shoreline away from people, so I could let Tessi loose, though we were in a provincial park, meaning she should stay leashed. She had trouble negotiating the cobblestone-size rocks making up the shoreline. Eventually, finding her bearings, she moved towards the water, likely in hopes of a drink. Disappointment showed on her face when she realized another abundant offering was undrinkable. She'd have to stick to our bottled source in the car. I also stumbled across the uneven terrain to sit on one of the small boulders littered about in the water. When I slipped my feet in, I immediately realized how the saltwater unexpectedly, but wonderfully soothed them. They weren't aching or tired - a problem I'm often plagued with from my job. Maybe my feet held enough memory of painful discomfort to appreciate nature's magic mix. Not Such a Clever Idea Deciding what feels refreshing on my feet should feel great on my hips, which bother me more and more as I grow older. While Tessi voluntarily stayed back - she had no interest in getting more than her paws wet - I precariously struggled farther into the water on slippery rocks to reach a small boulder with waves washing over it. The water felt much colder on my lower body than it had on my feet. I yelped from the tension as each wave plunged over me. Since I stiffened each time, the salt aspect in no way soothed me. After the short attempt, I stood up dripping from my waist down. With Tessi once again tethered, we wandered around the arches for a bit - they weren't quite as crowded. I received a few strange looks at my wet attire. Before leaving, I made my way back to the car for dry clothes. Between a plot of skeletal tuckamores, I found a path and a small sign indicating the direction to the restrooms. The room I used only held a pit toilet, but there was enough space to change. Salty Endings I was driving when my backside and legs grew more and more itchy. I hadn't really thought about rinsing the salt off my skin; however, I hadn't noticed any freshwater to use anyway. Though I suffered for it, I could boast that my tootsies had once again touched seawater. For More Info

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