Since I failed to get a ferry reservation from PEI to NS for my oversize rig, I retraced miles back to Confederation Bridge, heading south thru a short piece of New Brunswick then into Nova Scotia. Not a big deal; it was a wash in terms of time and a few bucks less than taking the ferry. Plus, I got to see more of NB and NS, as the interstate highway flowed across several rolling ridges of heavily forested and enjoyable mountains. Eventually, I crossed the causeway onto Cape Breton Island. Wow.
About 45 minutes into the island I saw a sign for Big Spruce Brewery and made a quick hard left onto an uphill road where I finagled the trailer into a precarious spot so I could check out the unexpected brewery’s goods. Like they say, good things come in unexpected packages. Or something like that. I do know that Big Spruce is may favoritist brewery of all times, all places. Seriously. I know you’ve heard that before but I’m totally real serious this time. I just might move here. Yup.
The village of Baddeck is so cool, too. I’m only here one night and have reservations in the national park up north and then for the 7-hour ferry ride to Newfoundland already booked. But I’ll return here whenever I come back from NF. Seems the further I go into the Maritime Provinces, the more I like them in all aspects: geography, history, people. Cannot wait to see what the north cape of Nova Scotia has to offer!
Well, the north cape of the island—largely Cape Breton Highlands National Park—offers up much, Lots of much! I hope God has used some of this incredibly beautiful country as the blueprint for heaven. The Cabot Trail covers much of the highlands of this end of Nova Scotia. It’s a wonderful road (and in short sections, it’s a wretched road; more on that later). I’ve had the blessing of driving many wonderful roads the past few months. Can’t really believe it sometimes. Truly blessed! Thank you, God!
Cabot Trail leaves the community of Braddeck and quickly climbs, with concerning roadbed deterioration into the highlands of the island. Just a couple miles in I was sure every cabinet door was thrown open, spewing its contents into a sea of confusion on the trailer floor (Amy, sorry for any disturbing images of open cabinetry!). But in a few miles the pavement settled down and the drive became quite nice. I now understand how tough winters are on roads and why the two primary seasons up north are winter and construction.
The seaside community of Chéticamp just south of the national park is so cool. Very picturesque; could spend a couple days just looking at the Saint Lawrence Gulf, enjoying the smells of the water. Within a couple kilometers of entering the park there was a small black bear foraging alongside the road. Also so cool. As I continued along the coastal route, I pulled into a few overlooks, talked with a few people, just enjoying the day. Beautiful day.
Skyline Trail is a highlight of the park that crosses a huge headland bluff. I took the 5+ mile loop trail that wound through wind-scoured forests and highland mesas. Didn’t see any moose, though there were plenty of signs they were in the area; it was a great walk in the park!
Hike done, I headed eastward toward my campsite. Cabot Trail continued to delight with its incredible views, and it continued to confound with its sometimes steep and twisty sections—sometimes very steep and very twisty sections! I was thankful for the heft of my F250, especially on the downhills. Man, some of them were intimidating. When I arrived at the KOA in Sydney the rep in the office remarked about hauling a 35′ foot trailer around the Cabot Trail… was impressed. I never felt in danger but there were many sections where I drove the centerline of the roadway because the shoulders were essentially craters. The road definitely required diligence.
Cabot Trail is another of the world’s great coastal routes and despite the tough driving at times, I enjoyed the three days circling northeast Nova Scotia. On to Newfoundland for a week before returning to lower Nova Scotia!