Exploring Cape Breton Highlands National Park

We joined three other couples for breakfast, squeezing in between two groups (four people had travelled from Winnipeg together). There was that initial awkward conversation so we didn’t sit there like lumps, but after that we swapped stories and discussed what everyone was going to do with the rest of their day. Glen usually doesn’t enjoy these social situations, especially not before coffee, but it’s often not long before he’s found something to talk about with someone.

The manager gave us some pointers on which trails to do in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park. We needed to get to Bay St Lawrence by 1:30 for a whale watching tour, so that meant we couldn’t dally. We checked out at about 9, then drove into the national park. Soon after entering, we saw a small coyote on the road. It ran off shortly after we saw it but it was a nice sight for the start of the day.

Into the National Park

We pulled into French Lake again to look for moose, but again no luck. We drove on to the Bog, a 15 minute walk around a boardwalk. It’s supposed to be a favourite spot for moose, and I’m sure we saw a couple of moose trails as well as a spot where one likely had a bit of a lie down. One of the interesting things we saw were pitcher plants (insect-eating plants). I also found out that a flower I’d seen in Newfoundland and was fascinated by was actually the flower of these pitcher plants.

From the Bog we drove to Macintosh Brook, a beautiful short 45 minute walk along a brook to a waterfall. It was a clear bright day so the forest we walked through was just magical with the sun dappled light, the babbling brook (it actually babbled), and then a clear waterfall. Glen got a bit annoyed with me that I was walking so fast so he made us slow down. It turned out to be a good move as we were able to enjoy it all a bit better.

The next stop was Lone Shieling, a 15 minute loop that goes through a grove of 350 year old maple trees. There’s also a replica Scottish cottage there to commemorate the people who were expelled from Isle of Skye and settled in Cape Breton.


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@Jamalt on a #swing. #visitnovascotia #capebreton

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Attempted whale watching

We drove up to Bay St Lawrence, getting there at about 12. The whale watching tour wasn’t starting until 1:30 so we drove up to Meat Cove, had a quick lunch, then an even quicker look around to get back by 1:30. After all that though we decided against going on the tour because the water was pretty choppy and they hadn’t seen any whales in the earlier tour. It was a shame but it’s not like we can’t go see whales another time.

From Bay St Lawrence we drove along the coast, stopping at a number of places to take more photos. The drive is very distracting because there are so many beautiful vistas. The mountains were covered in yellow, and then the colours turned darker the further down the coast we went. Just stunning the whole way down that filled me with such a sense of calm and wonder.

We took a detour at Ingonish to have a late lunch at Keltic Lodge. As I’d been driving for most of the past six hours, I was glad for a bit of a break. After we’d replenished, we visited a pottery shop that Glen had seen an advert for. He bought a seal and some magnets.

Our accommodation for the night was Cabot Shore’s Wilderness Reserve where I’d booked us into a yurt. We arrived at about 6 and checked in. The yurt overlooks the water and we’ve been promised more moose. We shall see. We drove back up to North Shore to have dinner at the Clucking Hen, then back to the yurt.

It’s a little bit spooky outside as you have to walk outside to go to the toilet, and when I was walking back from the shower, something hooted. I really hoped I didn’t have to go to the loo in the middle of the night.

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