Today: A rather belated wrap-up to my now-four-months-old trip to Cape Breton Island. (You can catch the first and second instalments of this three-part sort-of-series here and here, respectively). Now, enough with the hyphenation and explanation; on with the trip!
The road around the northeastern tip of Cape Breton dips in and out of the national park, allowing you to sample life on the island as it's lived by both its human and wilder inhabitants. And sample we did: we stopped for styrofoam cups of coffee and wharf walks in little towns like South Harbour and Neil's Harbour, and for strolls through dense forests in the national park.
Heavy clouds and a fear of full campground, conditioned by a lifetime of camping in the always-busy Rockies, led us to cut our adventuring short and head for Broad Cove. Necessary? Not at all: the kitted-out campground was nearly empty, and the rain held off long enough for us to pitch our tent and get a fire going, the dense canopy above our site serving to keep our dinner almost dry. As an added bonus, we didn't get eaten by bears (a common theme on my recent camping trips, much to my surprise).
Lingering rain clouds thwarted our attempt to see the sun come up over the ocean the next morning, but our early rise paid off nonetheless: We made it to our final hiking destination – the stunning Middle Head – before the crowds arrived and the fog cleared, the ceaseless drizzle our only constant companion.
As we made our way down the final stretch of trail, the rain picked up, and so ended our hiking. We hopped in the car and made a beeline for the southern town of Baddeck, where we took shelter in the Alexander Graham Bell National Historic Site and spent a dry (but not dull) afternoon among model hydrofoils and old phones.
To close it out, we spent one last night on the island – a hastily-pitched tent, a quick dinner, an unreasonable amount of time worrying that the blackfly bites on my ankles were ticks (not so) – and then we were back on the ferry as the sun rose, a fast but full five days later, leaving the now-loved Cape Breton behind for Prince Edward Island. Speaking of, sometime in the near future I'll be sharing a few more photos and stories from PEI. But first, I think I'll travel even further back in time, to another set of national parks a little further south and a lot further west. Stay tuned!