78.7 km – Brookfield to Bridgeville
I do not feel like biking this morning. My legs feel incredibly sore and I’d like to stay in bed for another couple of hours at least. But I don’t. I get up and wrap myself in my puffy jacket and sit at the picnic table and boil water for coffee. I eat my oatmeal and eventually get myself on my feet. As I move around the campsite getting ready for the day, my legs start to warm up and feel much better. By the time we’re ready to ride out of camp, I’m feeling okay again.
The day is beautiful and the riding is fairly smooth and easy. The fresh air whipping past my face continues to lift my mood. We ride through more idyllic countryside, forests and farm fields. We stop in a small grocery store in the village of Upper Stewiacke, where we fill our food bag with freshly baked biscuits and a block of cheese. We stuff cans of orange soda into our jersey pockets.
We eat lunch in a churchyard filled with wildflowers. Gummies naps in the tall grass and I wander into to the woods to dig the first cat hole of the whole trip. We get out out speaker when we leave our lunch break and play a Maritimes-themed playlist curated by Gummies. The road snakes along beside the wide and rocky expanse of the Stewiacke River. After a while we stop seeing much in the way of signs of civilization. Farm fields make way for walls of tall conifers lining the road. There are so few cars we are able to ride side by side much of the time.
Before long, we are turning onto a dirt road for the last stint of the day. As far as dirt roads go, this one is pretty smooth and it doesn’t slow us down much. The terrain also stays mercifully gentle. We come across a lake and decide to take our first swim of the trip. It is wonderfully refreshing, but when we emerge back onto dry land we discover that our swim spot was apparently a hot bed of leeches. The rest of the break is spent hunting down and removing countless creepy crawlies from our feet and legs.
Back on the road, we are soon turning up the drive to our Airbnb for the night. We are staying in an old farmhouse on a horse farm, and it is absolutely gorgeous. We shower and rinse our dirty clothes, which we then lay to dry in the sun. We sit on the back deck to boil up our pots of macaroni, and as we eat the resident dog and cat vie for our attentions. The bathroom may be my favourite Airbnb bathroom of the all time. There is a massive bathtub, which I fill with hot water lightly scented with peppermint essential oil. I soak my weary muscles and gaze out the window as the sun sets on the grassy hill where the horses graze. It is totally and completely glorious.
The bed is amazingly comfortable as well, and it is where we spend most of the rest of our evening, taking advantage of the strong wifi signal. But even after our relatively short day, I am utterly exhausted, and can’t keep my eyes open for long. I let myself drift into a deep sleep, feeling refreshed from this most pleasant and peaceful day.