Mill Falls at Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia, Canada.

We were driving from Lunenburg to Annapolis Royal in the tail end of a tropical storm when we thought we would pull over for a break in the Kejimkujik National Park. It was still pouring with rain as we went for a short walk to Mill Falls but it did not stop the mosquitoes (which the Lonely Planet Guide says are as big as humming birds) – and it did not stop me taking photographs, even though it nearly wrote off the camera with the soaking it received.

It was simply so beautiful.

We were in a watery world where late spring foliage was still a fresh and vibrant green, and the river ran like dark tea. Tall stands of eastern hemlock and pine shaded hummocks of soft saturated mosses dotting the boggy ground below. Only the occasional white flower or single red berry favoured the acid water – though ferns unfurled by paths and on the waters’ edge. Gnarled roots of trees grasped rocky outcrops on the needle-covered river banks while ancient slate tripped up the river, creating powerful cascades, and trout were fighting their way upstream through the foam.

Less lyrically, more prosaically, the place has an interesting history. Mill Falls gets its name from the time when Mr Zwicker used a portable mill to harness the energy of the waterfall in the 19th century. There is still a Zwicker company in Lunenberg operating from the waterfront. The Mi’kmaw people have been connected with the area for thousands of years. Kejimkujik is the first National Park of Canada to be officially designated as a National Historic Site because it is a cultural landscape of the Mi-kmaw nation. Over the centuries, these people have engraved over 500 petroglyphs (pictures and script carved in stone) in the glacially polished slate outcrops along the lake shores.

However, the oldest history of all belongs to the rocks themselves.  They are meta-sedimentary and belong to the Halifax Formation [see the earlier post Rip-rap and rusty rocks in Halifax, N.S.]. They started out as fine silts being deposited on the continental shelf offshore of the coast of Africa 500 million years ago. This was when Africa was part of Gondwanaland and located around the South Pole. As the North American continent drifted towards and collided with Gondwanaland to form Pangea, 380 million years ago, the heat and pressures of the collision converted the silts to slate.

Then, when the North American continent separated once more, along with all the other continents that we recognise today, it drifted to its current location north of the Equator. In doing so, the slate was ripped apart, so that North America carried with it a portion of that African slate which now can be found here in Nova Scotia, leaving the rest of the formation on the coast of Africa.

Ferns by the path at Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia

Stream running through the forest at Kejimkujik National Park

Moss at Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada.

River Mersey flowing through the forest at Kejimkujik National Park in Nova Scotia.

Solitary red-berried plant among the pine needles at Kejimkujik National Park

Riverside trees reflected in water at Kejimkujik National Park

Leaf-like green lichens growing on a tree trunk in Kejimkujik National Park

Cascades over slate outcrops in a river at Kejimkujik National Park

Bracket fungi on a tree trunk in Kejimkujik National Park

Tree canopy in the forest at Kejimkujik National Park

Cascade in the river where the water falls over slate rocks in Kejimkujik National Park

Mill Falls in Kejimkujik National Park

Sparse vegetation and mossy hummocks in boogy ground benath the trees in Kejimkujik National Park

Halifax Formation slate forming a natural dam across the River Mersey in Kejimkujik National Park

White flower with raindrops amongst the moss in Kejimkujik National Park

Tannin-stained water or "Mersey Tea" cascading over a natural dam of ancient slate in Kejimkujik National Parkslate

Rain-drop covered lichen trailing from a tree in Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada.

Clear line of upstanding Halifax Formation slate strata extending from the bank and across the River Mersey at Kejimkujik National Park

Moss at Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia, Canada.


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10 Replies to “Kejimkujik National Park”

  1. Thank you, Don. I thought my camera would not recover but it responded well to a rest and treatment with a hairdryer. I have since bought myself an additional totally waterproof camera that I can use when it rains, or even underwater.


  2. Photography ultimately depends on placing the camera in the right place and time. As you say, even underwater. Please continue to share what your camera sees.


  3. Questions:
    1) in photo 8, are those oak leaves growing directly out of the trunk of the tree? I like the parallel between these leaves and the shelf fungus in photo 10.

    2) The flowering plant in photo 16 reminds me of a lily of the valley. Perhaps this is a relative?

    3) In photo 19, the roots seem to turn into the parallel lines of what might be slate?

    4) What is that light green fuzzy stuff in photo 18?

    Your photos tranquilize, especially # 7 with the mirror image on the surface of the still pond.

    Thanks for sharing! I’m reblogging. This is a KEEPER!!!!!


  4. All of the photographs in Jessica’s Nature Blog have a description attached. If you click a picture to enlarge it, you can see a caption below the image.

    I try where possible to put a name, a scientific name as well, if I can identify the organisms. In Kejimkujik National Park, I was on entirely unfamiliar territory without any regional botany books, and I have not had time to locate the relevant texts since I returned home to the UK. I often revisit my blogs to update the text when I find out more about what each thing is. I need to get hold of some botanical texts for Atlantic Canada.

    However, in photograph 8, I believe the structures that superficially look like oak leaves on the tree trunk are lichens, not leaves. Lichens can be green …. but I had not seen anything like this before. I think these must be lung lichens, Lungwort (Lobaria pulmonaria).

    The flowering plant with the white petals in photo 16 is definitely not lily of the valley, and I do not think it is related, it has a very different structure. I think it might be a Bunchberry, Cornus canadensis. These often grow as continuous mats but when I took the picture, it was the only type of flower that I saw, each plant had just a single flower, and the plants were well scattered.

    In photo 19, the parallel grey lines at right angles to the river bank in the foreground of the picture are in fact upstanding slate strata around which you can see a few tree roots entwine. The photograph demonstrates how this ridge of slate extends from river bank to river bank, creating a natural dam and waterfall in the river.

    Photo 18 shows another, more common type of lichen, which I believe is called locally “old man’s beard” and is one of the group of lichens called beard lichens, Usnea spp.

    I hope this answers your questions, at least in part. I will try and confirm what the plants are – or perhaps you know someone who knows the answers and who would be willing to help me?



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