Last month, I shared a few stories and photos from a late-summer trip to Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. Today, I'm picking up where we left off: at the entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park, leaving behind colourful wood-sided houses and gentle countryside for quiet campgrounds and giant, densely-forested hills that seem to roll right into the ocean.
We spent just two nights in the park, but its relatively small size (just under 1,000 km² – for comparison, Jasper National Park is over ten times as big) and its plethora of hiking trails mean that you can cover a lot of ground, both on foot and by car, in a short amount of time. And so we did!
We took in the impossibly scenic Skyline trail, spotting eagles, coyotes, and fishing boats in the distance, and garter snakes and grouse at our feet. We stopped in at the plainly named Bog to see inky ponds and waxy bug-eating pitcher plants. We escaped hoards of falafel-hungry wasps by strolling along a creek (our reward, aside from a bug-free lunch: a waterfall all to ourselves!).
Our first day in the park ended with us pitching a tent beside a beach as the sun set over the ocean, eating dinner – more falafel, I think – by headlamp and starlight (the former of the two the more useful in this case). And though neither of us are particularly early risers, the promise of another day of adventure had us up and packed, ready to hit the winding roads, before the sun rose.
More on our last day in the park next time!