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I think that it would be impossible to visit Cape Breton without traveling the Cabot Trail… If not impossible, then certainly a mistake, especially for someone who’s never been there before. For years I’ve heard about how nice it is there, and how I have to see it some time. I’ve seen pictures, but they definitely do not do it any justice!
Imagine a road that winds around the island, with highlands on one side, and the ocean on the other. There are so many places to stop and take pictures that we would still be there if we had stopped at them all. But it would have been worth it! The scenery is just majestic (there’s a word that you don’t hear enough of, but it’s true). There are spots where the hills just seem to go on forever.
One thing that the Cabot Trail doesn’t have a lot of is gas stations! Or restaurants. Sure, you can pull over and enjoy a breathtaking view every couple of minutes… but good luck if your gas light comes on, or you’re in need of a bathroom. And when you are lucky enough to stumble onto one of these rarities, don’t make the mistake of thinking that you don’t like the look of that one, and that you’ll just go to the next one. Not gonna happen! And forget about cell coverage.
We took our time on the Cabot Trail, deciding to break it down into two days. It would have been possible to have just pushed through, but that really wasn’t why we were there. So we drove for a few hours the first day, and stopped at a camp ground in Pleasant Bay for the night.
I’ve never seen a “self serve” camp ground before. We pulled into Pleasant Bay and tried to figure out how to register and who to pay. Eventually I stumbled onto a sign that had some instructions. Take an envelope, fill out the information, put money in the envelope, and drop into the big metal box. Then there was a pointed reminder that it was illegal to stay at the camp ground without paying. Umm… ok…
You can see the difference in the weather from one day to the next. The first day was beautiful. It was sunny, and warm. The second day was cloudy, and started to drizzle. But hey, if you’re gonna have a day of bad weather, it might as well be your travel day!
All in all, the Cape Breton mini-vacation was a huge success. I hope to go back sometime, but there are still many more places that I would like to see. Last year was PEI. This summer was Cape Breton. I would very much like to see Niagara Falls, so maybe that will be next summer. Then again, Newfoundland is also on the list. British Columbia has been a dream of mine since high school. Part of me longs to return to Kingston, a place that was almost like a second home for a few summers. I’d love to take the kids to Ottawa. I’ve been to Saskatchewan, but it was so long ago and part of a school trip. I’d love to go out west again. And yes, there is even a part of me that is curious about the north. I’ve seen pictures, and it looks like it can be quite beautiful there. People who have been there say the same thing. I know that I wouldn’t rush to put it ahead of some of my other planned trips, but I do hope to make a visit north before not too long. Part of my Steve 2.0 plan is actually to visit each province and territory at least once. This is a huge country, and so often people focus on getting away to the typical vacation destinations down south, when there are still so many things to see and do within our own borders.
So who knows where the next “Travel” category of blog posts will come from?
I’ve been saying for a few years that I really wanted to visit Cape Breton sometime. Well that time was a few days ago! I’ve been holding off on writing anything until I had all the pictures from the trip, as well as trying to overcome a little writer’s block along the way.
So what is it about Cape Breton that was holding my attention? The obvious answer is the Cabot Trail. I had been told that the drive is amazing, and I wanted to see for myself. There’s also a little bit of overlap with my working life… part of my day job is dealing with technicians in Nova Scotia and PEI, and I’ve never had a real appreciation for what it means when I ask one of them to drive to a specific location. Last summer I finally got to PEI for the first time. This summer was Cape Breton. So the next time I have to wake someone up in the middle of the night in Chéticamp, and ask them to drive to Inverness in a snowstorm, I’ll understand why they hang up on me! 🙂
To go through the entire trip in one blog post would not do it justice. I think that it would be too long, lack focus, and probably lose readers’ interest. So rather than write a huge post, I think that I’ll break it down into several mini-posts and spread them out over the next couple of days. You can always click on the “Cape Breton” tag to get the entire list of posts, after they have been published.
I will say this about the trip as a whole… I had a fantastic time! The Cabot Trail is everything that people said it was, and more. The weather was perfect (other than our travel days, which was just fine with me).
I would go back in a heart beat.