July 21, 2018 – Fun near Halifax
Guy, Brenden and I arrived at Hope for Wildlife a little earlier than Caroline and Alex so we had a quick tail gate lunch and then ventured onto the shores of the Atlantic across the street. Guy was able to add some Atlantic water to the Tim Hortons bottle that was 1/2 full of Pacific Ocean water. He left it ¼ empty for the Atlantic water that he will get at Cape Spear near St. John’s. Cape Spear is the most easternmost point in Canada so it was important to get that water!!
We spent a couple of hours at Hope for Wildlife, a rescue centre for all variety of animals. Caroline is a fan of the TV show , as is my mom I recently found out, and Brenden and Guy and I too love animals. We saw all varieties of animals there and got to touch a few of them. The workers were extremely knowledgeable and informative and super kind to the animals that they take care of. It was a lovely couple of hours. My favorites were the snowy owl and the seal pup.
After Hope for Wildlife, we went into Halifax to get more canvasses for Guy. Then we hiked up Citadel Hill and explored it for an hour or so before it closed. Citadel Hill is a fortress that was erected in 1749 to protect Halifax during the warring and building of Canada. It was never attacked but was always an important part of Halifax harbor’s defense operations.
July 22, 2018 – Dartmouoth, NS to Cape Breton Island, NS
We left Schubie campground in Dartmouth early in the morning and drove the Trans Canada through the fog and rain. Our first stop enroute was Antigonish where I went to school 12 years ago. We visited Saint Francis Xavier University (STFX) and took some photos. I loved my few weeks at STFX and wanted to visit the beautiful grounds of the university again.
We also visited a drug store where we got a new epi pin. Guy was stung at the campsite the evening before and I wanted to be armed with a nice fresh epi kit in case we needed it. We didn’t.
We met the rest of the gang at Antigonish and then convoyed out together to Cape Breton Island over the Canso Causeway. This piece of road connecting the main part of Nova Scotia to the Island of Cape Breton was built in the 1950’s. Before that, people got to the island by ferry.
We stopped for a late lunch at a cute farmhouse café and then went to the Alexander Graham Bell museum in Baddeck. That was a fascinating stop. After Bell invented the telephone and became quite famous in the States, he desired a refuge, a place where he could go away from the hurly burly of city life. He chose Baddeck and bought a huge acreage, the tip of peninsula really. Much of his creativity was inspired by the landscape and quiet of the area. It was interesting to learn about the man who was Alexander Graham Bell. He was prolific in his inventions, and loved children, the land and nature and his wife Mabel Gardiner Hubbard who was a deaf person.
Afterward, we found our campsite at Mira River Provincial Campground. We set up camp and then Guy and Brenden went for a swim while I got dinner together. Those two love swimming together. They wrestle and have handstand competitions. It’s wonderful to watch and listen to them having a great time in the water.
July 23, 2018 – Cape Breton Island, NS
We got up and it was so hot already. Brenden was cooking in his tent. The three of us went for an early swim and it was glorious, It was just us, the lake, and the ducks.
Then we went back to the campsite, had breakfast, and made our way to meet the rest of the clan at Fort Louisberg. We had a great few hours there. What a historical gem. Fort Louisburg was a French Fortress that was ultimately lost to the British in 1756. 1/5 of the Fort was rebuilt 20 years ago by unemployed miners who were retrained in construction skills and then involved in the rebuilding of the fort. Wow, you would swear you were walking into a town in the 1700’s. It was so well done. The workers in costume were all so friendly and informative. Visiting Fort Louisburg was truly a highlight for us.
When you are in downtown Louisberg away from the Fort full of tourists, you can see the old fort off in the distance and can imagine what the whole area looked like back in the 1700’s.
After the Fort, we took a drive to Sydney to the Miner’s Museum. The museum gave us a look at the mining in Nova Scotia through the years. Guy, Brenden, Alex and Phil went on a tour underground.
Caroline and I went around the museum and saw a good little film about Cape Breton mining history. All I can say is, those men who went underground were tough and courageous and self sacrificing. Imagine living most of your life underground. But this was a main form of employment on the island, next to fishing.
After our visit to the miner’s museum, we all had dinner together in Sydney. Lobster was at the top of the menu for a few at our table.
July 24, 2018 – The Cabot Trail, Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia
We were on the road by about 7:30 am to meet the rest of the gang in Sydney at their B and B. We left in convoy by 8:30am. Our goal this day was to get around the entire Cabot Trail. It is a very scenic coastal route around Cape Breton Island. If you are doing the Cabot Trail, it is best to have a few days for it, that way you can stop along the way at all the viewpoints and campsites in the most gorgeous spots on the ocean and do some of the many hiking trails available. But we only had the day so we made the most of it. We travelled the trail counter clockwise, which is advised by most books, the idea being that this direction puts you on the cliff side and offers better views. It is likely written by a person not scared to death of heights. The road is very hilly, incredibly steep in spots but yes, with some really spectacular views.
At the top end of the Island on the east side in the Highlands, we picnicked at Pleasant Bay on a beautiful sandy beach. Brenden and Phil were able to get in an epic swim in some wild Gulf of St. Lawrence water. The rest of us beachcombed and enjoy some time out of our vehicles.
The best part of the Cabot Trail was the West Coast. Any commercials or adds you see about the Cabot Trail are likely taken or inspired by this side of the island. We took advantage of the photo opportunities here too.
We were back at the campsite about 6pm. We went for a swim and were in bed early. The next day, we were going to see the Bluenose II that had just sailed in to Louisburg Harbor. Then we were off to get the ferry to PEI.