Ascent of White Hill on 1994-09-19

Climber: Greg Slayden

Other People:Solo Ascent
Only Party on Mountain
Date:Monday, September 19, 1994
Ascent Type:Successful Summit Attained
    Motorized Transport to Trailhead:Car
Peak:White Hill
    Location:Canada-Nova Scotia
    Elevation:1749 ft / 533 m

Ascent Trip Report

This day I covered more miles entirely by foot than on any other day in my entire life--almost 28 miles. I could claim I "did a marathon", but since I didn't run a single step that is a pretty silly claim.

I left the Lake of the Islands trailhead at 7:00 AM and hiked the wide and easy trail as it first went uphill on a gentle grade and then travelled a total of 8 miles to a spot before its namesake lake. This trail was well maintained and made for fast travel.

At a junction I turned left on an unsigned fire road, before reaching the Lake of the Islands (unseen ahead) . This "road" was often overgrown and boggy but still provided relatively easy going. There was a warden cabin on the left, overlooking swampy Tipover Lake, at about 2.8 km after leaving the Lake of the Islands trail. The road got progressively more muddy and overgrown as it continued southwest, and two brook crossings were thick with vegetation and difficult to plow through.

I reached a 4-way junction of fire roads at about 6.3 km from the Lake of the Island Trail (19 km from the trailhead). Here I turned right, heading NNW and then west, the terrain now mostly open moorland with low bushes on a good, dry fire road. At a point north of the summit of White Hill I headed south on only extended bushwhacking of the trip. The bushes were dry and sparse in the fall, and about chest-to-head high, so overall it wasn't too bad--it got better the further from the road I got. After about 1 km of pretty gentle uphill I found the summit area, the high point of Nova Scotia.

There was a tall red-and-white steel lattice tower that had fallen down into the bushes, a small blue sign, and a benchmark set in a concrete pillar, but not a whole lot else at the summit. It was a lonely, windswept place, and the only views were of endless scrubby barrens under partly cloudy skies--overall pretty neat, really. I had some lunch and left after a short rest and some photos, since I had a long haul back.

I then retraced my outbound steps, and it was a long slog back. The worst parts where the brook crossings on the fire road, where the two sections of dense riparian plants and mudholes were short but nasty. I was very tired on the Lake of the Islands trail, but the nice views of the ocean ahead of me on the final downslope were quite nice. About ten minutes before I reached the car it started raining, so I lucked out with the weather.

I was back at 6:15 PM for a 11 hour, 15 minute day. With about 30 minutes total of rest breaks, that works out to about 2.6 mph while walking--a good clip but certainly not jogging. I was trying to move fast with my long stride, but most fit outdoorspeople could also make a day hike of this.

I saw not a single other person on the entire hike.

Note that this trip occurred many, many years ago and I believe that the Lake of the Islands trail might now be closed. Others have reported shorter trips to White Hill since this trip but they involved rough drives to the trailhead and/or more bushwhacking. Please check with Cape Breton National Park rangers and do some serious research before attempting this hike.

A remote bump covered with low scrub, White Hill is the highest land in Nova Scotia (1994-09-19).
Summary Total Data
    Total Elevation Gain:1737 ft / 528 m
    Extra Gain:164 ft / 49 m
    Round-Trip Distance:28 mi / 45 km
    Trailhead:Lake of the Islands TH  340 ft / 103 m
    Quality:7 (on a subjective 1-10 scale)
    Route Conditions:
Maintained Trail, Unmaintained Trail, Bushwhack, Mud/Swamp
    Weather:Cool, Windy, Partly Cloudy
Ascent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 45 Minutes
Descent Statistics
    Time:5 Hours 0 Minutes
GPS Data for Ascent/Trip

 GPS Waypoints - Hover or click to see name and lat/long
Peaks:  climbed and  unclimbed by Greg Slayden
Click Here for a Full Screen Map
Note: GPS Tracks may not be accurate, and may not show the best route. Do not follow this route blindly. Conditions change frequently. Use of a GPS unit in the outdoors, even with a pre-loaded track, is no substitute for experience and good judgment. accepts NO responsibility or liability from use of this data.

Download this GPS track as a GPX file

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