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Pictou County man walks the walk

Alasdair Veitch at the Green Hill look-off.
Alasdair Veitch at the Green Hill look-off. - Kevin Adshade

GREEN HILL – Once he reached the Green Hill look-off, Alasdair Veitch took off his backpack, planted his hiking pole in the ground and declared himself done.

“You’ve gotta have good boots, man,” said the 58-year-old New Glasgow resident.

“You can scrimp on everything else but you but the best boots money can buy. If you’re feet aren’t happy on a long hike, you’re not going to have a good time.”

He should know – he had just spent two nights and three days on a hike, starting at Rogart Mountain near Earltown, and east through the Cobequid trails network – the Gully Lake area, Glen Road, and then hitting the Dalhousie Mountain and Six-Mile Brook networks.

He made it over Fitzpatrick Mountain, Millside and Scotsburn before ending his 71-kilometre jaunt in Green Hill.

Veitch said he was surprised at the lack of wildlife he encountered during his traveling; no bear or coyote tracks, no sign of foxes, just a few squirrels and chipmunks.

Plenty of birds, though. “In the morning, they are my alarm clock,” he said. “As soon as the first light hits the sky, the birds start up.”

Originally from Newfoundland & Labrador, Veitch is a retired wildlife biologist who once went on a 54-day hike through Scotland.

He doesn’t mind the solitude and in fact, he might prefer hiking alone. He carries oatmeal and minute rice, and instead of starting a campfire, Veitch uses a Coleman stove for heat and eats lots of dehydrated meals.

“I like singing little songs to myself, I tell myself stories, I’m constantly looking for signs of wildlife, listening to the birds,” he said.

Eric Wilson was among a few friends that greeted Veitch when he arrived at the look-off.

“It’s the outdoors – exercise, fitness and just nature,” said Wilson, whose mother was heavily involved with the Cape-to-Cape group. He also is a hiking enthusiast.

Still in development, those involved in Cape-to-Cape would love to someday see a trail system extending from Cape Chignecto, Cumberland County all the way through Cape George, in the County of Antigonish.

Last week, Veitch carried a bug jacket to wear if the black flies and mosquitos were to get too thick, but they weren’t a problem for him during his hike.
“I was ready to do battle,” he laughed. “I had three bottles of bug dope with me but I only used half a bottle.”

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