Spring seems to be taking its own sweet time arriving this year; the early signs, like crocuses, appear then suddenly disappear under a drift of snow. Warm weather creeps in, the sun makes its presence known, then an icy breeze whips through the trees and we're back in what feels like the dead of winter. Last weekend, though, was one of those brief, enticing tastes of spring and the open road called. In this case it was a very seldom-used road, one that was constructed to serve a Yarmouth County tin mine in the mid 1980s. The mine, when operating, was the largest primary tin mine in North America; the paved surface of the access road is deeply rutted from the weight of the ore-laden trucks that travelled it regularly, and the countryside is typical southwestern Nova Scotia: mixed hardwood and softwood, with occasional barrens and numerous rocky streams.
At the western end of this road, near Yarmouth, NS, the road crosses a tributary of the Tusket River, flowing through dense Acadian mixed forest. The water flows slowly, forming deep, still pools where trout tempt the angler -- the spring season has just opened and there are plenty of fishermen trying their luck.
A little farther west, near where Nova Scotia Route 203 intersects with Route 340, lies the town of Kempville, the site of one of many small-scale maple sugar operations. Early spring sees sap buckets hanging from maple trees all over the region; although Nova Scotia's principal maple production is found well to the north of here, these operators manage to produce a small quantity of syrup each year, much sought-after locally. The buckets are a sure sign that elusive as it might be, spring is definitely on the way!