Friday, October 10, 2008

2008 October Trip Day 10

Our morning started early, the sky overcast, and the wind blowing very strongly. No rain though. Our plan was to take the Cabot Trail around the northern end of the island. This road is 185miles long and we expected it to be a whole day’s journey. We were hoping the dreary, blustery day would not prevent us from seeing the beautiful sights the trip would offer.

The first part of the trek was through the mountainous Highlands that form most of the northern part of the island. Once over the mountains we descended towards the coast and it became evident that we were in for a wonderful day of eye candy. This is an area where the mountains come down to the ocean. Amazing.

Our first stop was in St. Joseph du Moine for coffee and a roll. The store was a small co-op grocery store and the owner had just made a fresh pot. Most everyone was speaking French, but the clerk switched to perfect English (with a Scottish accent) when we checked out. Nova Scotia (New Scotland) was re-settled by the Scots after England took over the rule of this part of Canada in 1713. To this day, most native Nova Scotians speak with a Scottish accent. In addition, their Scot heritage is evident throughout the province. All road signs are in English and Gaelic. Many Celtic heritage events are held throughout the year. The majority of the surnames are typically Scottish. Was like being there, almost.

Once we had our strong coffee fix, we entered the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We were not able to go fast, nor did we want to, for around every turn was another awesome sight and photo opportunity. There were so many places to stop and explore we had to judge our time very carefully for we wanted to be back on the main road to camp before sundown.

We saw many eagles, deer and other small wildlife, but we did not see any bear or moose. We had been looking for both of them since we started the trip. No luck. We did see signs of moose at one of our stops, though. About half way around the trail the road climbs up onto the Highland Plateau. This area is high, flat, windswept, foggy (you are in the clouds) and wet (meaning bogs). The bogs are the main feature of the inland Highlands. For more information on the bogs, click here. The one bog we stopped at had an interpretive boardwalk though it. Pitcher plants were all over the place. On each side of the boardwalk were moose prints. Also, there were areas were the moose made their beds at night. No moose sighted though.

Continuing on the trail we came back down to seashore level and found many small fishing villages where the boats were moored right at the owners homes. Besides fishing, the lobster industry also thrives.

Once on the northeastern shore, the sights dwindled. We had one more climb up the mountains to get back to our camp. This part of the trail is quite uneventful except for the many tourist shops along the way. Most were closed for the season.

As we made were about to make our descent down to the valley road and back to camp, we came across some an area that was mining for something. Many 18-wheel gravel haulers were racing back and forth on this narrow, two-lane road. And did I forget to mention that the Canadian drivers are AWEFUL!!! Multiply that by 4 fold with regards to the truck drivers. To make matters worse, the road down the mountain was long, very winding and under construction. Most areas did not have a guardrail to prevent one from careening off the mountainside to the valley some 500 feet below. This was insane!!!! We were so glad to get past this area.

This day really took its toll on our strength. By the time we got close to camp we pulled into a restaurant for a beer. We then decided to have a Fish-and-Chip dinner that was very reasonable. No need to cook tonight. Yay!

Over dinner we discussed our plan for the next day. When we had decided early on in our trip planning to travel into Canada, we did not realize the prices on EVERYTHING was so high. Even taking into account the differences in the Canadian dollar and the US dollar (92 cents US for one Canadian dollar at the time of our trip) the prices were extraordinary. A gallon of milk=4.50 US dollars, a dozen eggs=3.75 US dollars, a gallon gasoline=5.10 US dollars, a fifteen pack of beer=25 US dollars-----that is outrageous!!!!!!! But, they are taxed on everything. That being the case and the fact we were drained from the trip thus far, we decided to call it a trip and head home. Tomorrow we would get an early start and beat feet back to Maryland.

See Day 10 Album: Click here

No comments: