Icelandic Memorial Society of Nova Scotia
Welcome - Verid velkomin

International Trails Day

Markland Walk
04 June, 2005

On Saturday, June 4th 2005, 28 members and friends of the Icelandic Society of Nova Scotia gathered at the Icelandic Memorial Cairn at Markland to participate in the annual International Trails Day hike. The hike has been an annual event since 2003 and this year we had our largest turnout.

Before beginning the hike we had a dedication and tree planting ceremony for Dave Dwyer. Dave passed away in January of this past year. He was one of the founding members of our Society and was instrumental in obtaining our millennium grant for the Year 2000 ceremonies. Dave never missed a meeting. He was extremely supportive and enthusiastic with all of our projects. Dave was a forester all of his life with a passion for the woods. Our Society thought it very fitting to plant a Red Spruce tree in Dave's memory at the site of the cairn. This was his favourite tree and he was with the Department of Natural Resources when it was selected as the Provincial tree.

We all remember Dave in a very special way and several people spoke in his honour. Harley Redden spoke about working with Dave and about his strong commitment to the Forest Industry. Marshall Burgess spoke about Dave's interest in our Society and how we couldn't have proceeded without him. Dave's son in law, Eric Kittilsen (Kay Dwyer) was present and he spoke about his father in law, his work and hobbies.

Dolly Belmore, chair of the Society, read a poem before the planting called "As I Age".

As I age
in the world it will rise and spread,
and be for this place horizon
and orison, the voice of its winds.
I have made myself a dream to dream
of its rising, that has gentled my nights.
Let me desire and wish well the life
these trees may live when I
no longer rise in the mornings
to be pleased with the green of them
shining, and their shadows on the ground,
and the sound of the wind in them.
Wendell Berry, Planting Trees.

After the tree planting ceremony we began the 7-km hike into Harley and Bev Redden's camp, which is at Site #23, the old homestead of Olafur Thornsteinsson. It was a beautiful morning with a light breeze, which kept the black flies and mosquitoes at bay. We marveled at the newly leafed trees and all their shades of green and talked about the Icelanders and how they must have welcomed spring with all of the splendor and wonder of the forest that surrounded their cabins.

The new wooden signs marking each family lot are erected. Wayne Scott made these signs this winter. They make the journey very interesting and help us to be more appreciative of the distance between the lots and how far these families had to travel to visit their neighbours.

Upon arrival at Harley and Bev's cabin we were welcomed by the smell of the outdoor fire, food, refreshments and music, which continued well into the afternoon.

This is one of our favourite events as it gives us a chance to experience the beauty of Markland, talk with members and friends along the way and put ourselves back in time for just a few hours. We welcome more members to join us for the hike next year.

Glenda Burrows


The Icelandic Memorial Society of Nova Scotia was incorporated on July 29, 1998 to educate the public about Nova Scotia's Icelandic past. By sharing the history of the Icelandic settlers in Nova Scotia during the late 1800s, we hope to assist and encourage their descendents and others to preserve this part of Nova Scotia's heritage.