Knights of the Stone Table:

A Crystal Crescent Adventure

2 hr 30 min 3.4 km return Moderate

Trail Info:

This is a magnificent seaside trail traversing small beaches and headlands. This trail is part of a longer (10 km) trail that you may want to explore as it continues along the coastline. This area is part of Pennant Point Provincial Park.

Directions:

Crystal Crescent Trailhead
View in Google Maps

From the Armdale Rotary, take Herring Cove Road (Route 349) to Sambro. Drive through Sambro and turn right at a stop sign. Go 0.2 km and turn left at a convenience store. Go 1.4 km and turn left. Go 0.2 km and again take a left. Turn right after 0.7 km onto a gravel road and stay left, heading up the hill and park in the parking lot ahead overlooking the ocean.

Trail Tools

  • Scope (instructions)
  • Rubbish bag (plastic bag)
  • Rainbow chips (instructions)
  • Stew pot (2-litre plastic bucket)
  • Knight’s satchel (stuff sack/bag, tied to belt)
  • Vision blocker (bandana/cloth for a blindfold)
  • Adventure Journal

Become Thee a Knight

Start on the viewing platform below the parking lot with stairs that lead to the beach.

Become a Knight of the Stone Table. Prove thy skills, worthiness and loyalty to the Queen of Crystal Crescent. Seek the kingdom’s lost treasures. Come to know Crystal Crescent’s common folk and challenge the villains who are harming the kingdom.

Stand on the ramparts. Kneel down on one knee and repeat the Knight’s Code of Honour as it is read out loud:

“This I promise:

To love the creatures of the shore

To defend and champion the weak and those without a voice

To be courteous and generous to all.”

1. Begin Thy Adventure

Go down to the water’s edge.

Search for thy knight’s pennant (a flag). It is the longest piece of seaweed thou can find with a root handle and a leaf flag. Perform the Loyalty Ceremony to the Queen before setting off on thy adventure:

  1. Spin in a circle, whipping thy pennant around.
  2. Write the letters “CRYSTAL” with thy pennant in the air.
  3. Find four kinds of ancient plants (seaweed) and leave them in a special pattern for the Queen.

Place a small piece of seaweed in thy satchel (sack). Take out thy scope and scan the waters for Selkies (seals). They are mystical creatures that sometimes help noble knights. Can thou see any?

Do You Know – Selkie

In Celtic folklore, the selkie was a fairy creature. This creature took the form of a seal but could assume a human shape. They were either fallen angels, humans who had committed some crime or the souls of those who had drowned. They lived far out in the sea on a small rock island.

If thou find a feather, place it behind thy ear as thy knight’s plume.

Knights must be fast too. Take off thy shoes and challenge the waves by chasing them and daring them to touch thy feet. Race down the beach and back.

Search the sand for footprints and draw them in thy Adventure Journal. Knights must be able to track creatures.

Thou hast discovered two of the lost treasures: the sand and sea. The sand hides life beneath it and the sea gives life to all. Place a pinch of wet sand in thy satchel.

Now walk along the beach to the right, then continue across the rocks to the next beach. As thou go, use thy keen eyes to search for:

  • neat rocks
  • shells
  • feathers
  • bird bones

Creatures of Crystal Crescent

Crystal Crescent is home to all sorts of creatures. Among the cranberries, shrubs and white spruce trees are deer, porcupines and many types of birds. Off the coast are humpback whales, porpoises, sun sharks and seals. Even endangered leatherback turtles visit these waters.

2. Do Some Stone Walking

Walk along to the second beach. Return to the main trail at the ramp. Turn left and walk across the boardwalk behind the second beach, take the grassy path to the left. Walk on the rocks behind a smaller extension to the second beach.

Search for Crystal Crescent’s small folk on the rocks as thou perfect thy skill of stone walking.

  1. Hop from rock to rock.
  2. After four hops, look down and search for creatures.
  3. Go four hops more, look, and move on.

What creatures did thou find? Find a tiny piece of a shell and place it in thy satchel.


Netukulimk

The Mi’kmaq relied on the sea for much of their diet. Depending on the time of year, the coast offered a variety of food, from oysters and lobster to seal and walrus. In the early months of the year, they speared flounder at low tide in the shallow mudflats.They used weirs to trap salmon, mackerel and gaspereau entering the rivers to spawn.The Mi’kmaq also hunted for sea birds and foraged for eggs.Today, Mi’kmaw communities still fish to provide food and for ceremonial use.

Learn about Netukulimk

3. Watch for a Winged Helper

Keep on the path next to the water. The path follows along the edge of the beach. Partway, the path crosses the rocks, then continues as a grassy path. After about 180 m, stop next to a huge, square boulder standing by itself on a flat rock to the left. Be careful of rogue waves and high surf under stormy conditions.

Shorebirds, especially seagulls, are the Queen’s guards who help knights keep watch over Crystal Crescent. Take out thy scope and scan for shorebirds. If they move suddenly, it may signal that intruders (villains?) are nearby.

Legends say that the Queen placed this boulder here with a special symbol on it, though no one knows why. Look for a small gray circle in the boulder.

Walk along the huge crack on the flat rock where the boulder sits. Some say that this crack is evidence of where the earth opened up and swallowed one of the Queen’s enemies long ago.

Do You Know – Herring Gull

The herring gull is the most common gull on this coast. It is a scavenger that searches out dead creatures and cleans them up. Their numbers have grown in recent years due to increasing amounts of garbage available from human activities and litter. Herring gulls also prey upon the eggs and young of other shorebirds, reducing their numbers.

4. Reveal the Rainbow

From the last stop, do this activity along the flat rocks near the water for 75 m and then continue for 75 m on the path, stopping at the collection of big boulders lying in the grass on the left of the path.

Knights of the Stone Table must appreciate all the colours that Crystal Crescent offers. The Queen hast hidden a rainbow of colours. Search for it along the rocks and then back on the path:

  1. Give a few rainbow chips to each person.
  2. Search for each colour on the rocks and plants.
  3. Collect a small sample of each colour.
  4. Be very careful with any living thing thou find.

When everyone has their colour samples, go to the group of large boulders. Place thy samples on a boulder and arrange them in an arch. Thou hast found another of the lost treasures of Crystal Crescent: the beautiful colours of the rainbow! Place thy colour samples in thy satchel.

Are there signs of the villains here?

Do You Know?

Crystal Crescent, within Pennant Point Provincial Park, is rich in history. Look out across the water to Sambro Island. Its lighthouse, built in 1758, is the oldest working lighthouse in North America. Near the first two beaches is the site of an archeological dig. The Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History and students of J.L. Ilsley High School have uncovered artifacts of a Mi’kmaq settlement over 1000 years old and a European settlement from the 1700’s.

5. Venture to the Granite Gathering Place

Go down among the collection of large boulders to the left.

This ancient Gathering Place is where knights learn to trust nature and each other. Thou must dull one of thy senses in order to improve another.

  1. Get into pairs. One person is the introducer and the other is the greeter.
  2. The greeter puts on the vision blocker.
  3. The introducer secretly chooses one of the boulders.
  4. The introducer very carefully leads the greeter to the boulder.
  5. The greeter takes time to feel and get to know its shape.
  6. The introducer leads the greeter back to where they started.
  7. The greeter takes off the vision blocker and tries to find the boulder again.
  8. Partners change places and meet a different boulder.

Were thou able to find thy boulder? Did thou trust thy introducer?

The rocks are lost treasures that protect the lands from the wind and weather. They slowly break down to create soil. Place a small beautiful rock in thy satchel.

Earthworks

Although the great boulders of Crystal Crescent are strong, they are no match for the slow but constant weathering of wind and water. Wind carries small bits of sand that grind down the rocks. Rain and waves batter and wear their surfaces down. Only hardy plants that need little soil grow here. While it takes a very long time for wind and water to affect the rocks, the beaches shift almost daily. Wind and waves carry away or leave behind piles of sand. Because of all this erosion, Pennant Point is in constant

Learn about the Earthworks

6. Make Some Smelly Stew

Walk for about 350 m until the tiny path meets up with the wider main path at the final large beach. This beach may have nude swimmers on a warm summer day.

Enjoy a knight’s delicacy. Smelly Stew gives strength and appreciation to the Queen’s knights through smelling rather than tasting it. Find the ingredients for thy stew in the nearby bed of seaweed. Here’s how to make it:

Smelly Stew

  1. Find at least four different types of seaweed.
  2. Put a handful of each type in thy stew pot (bucket).
  3. Fill thy pot with salty broth and add two pinches of sand.
  4. Stir well.
  5. Stick it under thy nose and take a deep breath.
  6. Take turns trading and smelling each other’s stews.

When thou have finished, empty thy stew pots onto the bed of seaweed for other creatures to enjoy. Take thy stew pot with thee.

Walk to a boardwalk on the path behind the beach. There are signs of villains here who have gone off the main path and trampled some of the delicate dune grass. Dune grass keeps the sand from blowing away and gives cover to small creatures. How can this be stopped?

Boardwalk behind beach

Do You Know – Erosion

Pennant Point Provincial Park and Crystal Crescent are threatened by the impact of its visitors. People, and vehicles such as ATVs, trample dune grasses and delicate plants when they do not stick to established trails. All of this causes erosion in places where it takes a very long time for sand, soil and plants to recover.

7. Find the Enchanted Forest

The path forks at the base of a rocky hill at the end of the beach. Take the right path up the hill. Walk about 70 m crossing the rocks, keeping close to the forest. Stop at the small path into the forest.

Look to the sea and watch the patterns and foam of the waves splashing against the shore. Some say that the Queen creates symbols and pictures with the foam. Can thou see any?

Now, venture into the Enchanted Forest and stop at the circle of stones.

Circle of stones

Legends say that magical creatures like elves, fairies, and gnomes, who assist the Knights, meet here at night to tell stories. Gather the following items and leave them as gifts in the stone circle for them.

  • a tiny pebble
  • a green needle
  • a tiny leaf
  • a stick as big as thy finger

All of these gifts break down to make another lost treasure of Crystal Crescent: life-giving soil. Pick up a pinch of soil and place it in thy satchel.

Look at the gnarly old trees around the circle of stones. They hold many secrets and may also be the Queen’s guardians. Find thy favourite guard tree and whisper a secret to it.

8. Serve at the Stone Table

Go back onto the rocks and continue along the shore about 75 m. Stop at two lone boulders sitting on a green carpet on a large section of rock.

Thy last test is to prove that thou work well with other knights.

  1. Gather around the Stone Table (the large boulder).
  2. Try to get everyone standing on the table at the same time.
  3. Be very careful and hold on tight.

Teamwork is the final knightly skill. Thou hast succeeded in thy quest to find the lost treasures of Crystal Crescent symbolized by the contents of thy satchel. These treasures give life, strength and beauty to Crystal Crescent. But hast thou found the villains?

Earth Steps

Here are things to do everyday to help protect coastal environments like Pennant Point Provincial Park:

  • Find out how to help endangered creatures in ocean and coastal areas. Check out World Wildlife Fund Canada.
  • Pick up litter that spoils nature for creatures and other people.
  • Get involved with local community groups such as the Coastal and Water Issues team at Ecology Action Centre.

9. Be Thee a Knight!

At the stone table.

The villain is in each of us when we do things that harm the earth. Thou can fight the villain inside thee by doing Earth Steps. Thou are ready for thy dubbing, the official ceremony for becoming a knight.

  1. Dump out thy satchel of lost treasures on the Stone Table.
  2. Get into pairs with one knight down on one knee with a bowed head.
  3. The other taps the knight lightly on both shoulders with an arm and says:

“I dub thee a Knight of the Stone Table

To obey the Knight’s Code of Honour

To defend the small creatures

To serve the Queen of Crystal Crescent

All for one and one for all!”

  1. Switch roles.

As a knight, thou art the official protector of Crystal Crescent and places like it. Give yourself a gallant knightly title and name. Who is the Queen of Crystal Crescent? Mother Nature!

The trail continues along the coast. A bit further ahead is a spectacular standing forest of dead trees, “the Petrified Forest,” which was left behind by a forest fire. For more details on the full trail, see Trails of Halifax Regional Municipality 2nd Edition (Fredericton, NB: Goose Lane Editions, 2010).

One last challenge remains. As thou return, use thy rubbish bag to pick up litter. Take a beautiful picture along the way and upload it if you choose. Once you return, just below the parking lot, search the wooden ramparts closely to find the hidden plaque and mystery creature. Use the side of thy pencil or crayon to make a rubbing of it in your Adventure Journal. Congratulations!

The plaque symbol is:

R

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Tap share and then "Add to Homescreen".