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I had heard that you might (might!!!) see wildlife on Cape Breton. There were some eagles we saw near our hostel . Still, I generally was taking advisories that we might see wildlife with some caution.
We had just gotten into the Cape Breton Highlands Park, literally the first turn up the hill, and guide alerts us that she had seen a moose on one side and told us where to look. It was a bit far away, but a few of us got some pictures it. The guide, Kathy, must have chuckled to herself about her band of city slickers.
Finally, we got on the Skyline Trail after making sure everyone was prepared and had used the facilities etc. A few of us were walking ahead. Anyway, I turn a corner and the moose was practically right in front of me!!!! Naturally I reached for my camera at what seemed like lightning speed. It was a young animal and didn't appear to be very shy around humans. It let me take a bunch of pictures until its mommy came and must have said its time to go.
As with all wildlife, be careful, they are wild animals. Give them room. Savor the experience!
Written May 13, 2013
This was the highlight of my stay in Nova Scotia! If you are coming to Nova Scotia in autumn the one place you cannot and should not miss is Cape Breton Island. The tour I was on was mainly geared towards backpackers and hikers. We did relatively few of the usual tourist stops. We had a bunch of hikes at several places around the island, some were really tough, some were easy, all were colorful.
Make sure to see the Cabot Trail, one of the most scenic drives in North America, hike in the Highlands Park, see the Acadian villages, the Gaelic speaking villages. You will have a chance to come fairly close to wildlife, both land based and sea based. Make sure your camera is ready, there are beautiful landscapes, dramatic scenes and we had great light in late autumn. With a bit of chill in the air and the trees in bloom, and the pristine wilderness, Cape Breton is hard to beat.
You will want to see the towns of Cheticamp and Baddeck. Ingonish is also a popular place to stay. Besides the great hiking trails, you will want to go sea kayaking, and whale watching.
Please do visit my Cape Breton pages here
Updated Mar 17, 2013
We did a really nice two hour hike on the afternoon of my arrival in Nova Scotia. It's called the Barrens, its about 10 minutes from Peggy's Cove but it's like a world apart. It was not a difficult hike, most of it was pretty easy, and the scenes, the formations of rocks, the effects of erosion were fascinating especially when you see the shapes it has created. There was the barrenness of the scenery, punctuated with small patches of lichen covered rocks and the relentless sound of the ocean.
This is somewhat isolated, you might want to make sure you don't go alone, just in case.
To get to the Barrens you need to take the St Margaret’s Bay Rd (#333, turns into Prospect Rd) and turn left onto Prospect Bay Rd (towards Upper Prospect) until you almost reach the end, and then turn right on to Indian Point Rd. It's a tiny rd so keep a close eye out for it. Go to the end of that road and park and follow the trail.
Updated Mar 17, 2013
This seemed to me the major tourist attraction in the Halifax area.
Peggy's Cove is a small fishing village on the Chebucto Peninsula, about 43 km southwest of Halifax. The story is told that the name came from a shipwreck survivor. Nobody can tell you for sure that Peggy was her name, there are lots of stories about that. She ended up marrying someone from the cove, and the name sort of stuck, Peggy of the Cove, Peggy's Cove.
The big attraction at Peggy's Cove is the red and white lighthouse, which is located on a group of large granite rocks. It looks super, especially with a great cloud formation or sunset behind it.
If you happen to be hungry, you are in luck! The little restaurant/gift shop by the lighthouse serves some of the best clam chowder I have ever had!!
The legend of Peggy of the Cove-http://www.peggyofthecove.com/
Updated Mar 17, 2013
If you came in by air your journey will most likely start at Halifax. The most important city in the Canadian Atlantic provinces, Halifax is still a major maritime and naval center. For a bigger city (relatively speaking) Halifax has a delightfully unhurried nature. With several universities in town you will find a youthful vibe to the city. Lots of great cafes and restaurants along Spring Garden.
Remember that Halifax now refers to the Halifax Regional Municipality, a step taken by the Nova Scotia government in 1996 that folded several smaller administrative units into one bigger unit.
You will want to walk around Old Halifax and see the stately buildings downtown. Drop into the pier 21 museum, telling you of Halifax's role as the center for immigration into the country. Make sure to see the Citadel up on the hill. There is a laid back feel to the city. I found the locals to be happy to help and very friendly.
One thing I did not see in Halifax was much in the way of souvenir shops. Most seemed concentrated around the harbor and they were relatively few in number.
You can use Halifax as a base for seeing the main Island. You will have easy access to the metropolitan area and the great areas around Peggy's Cove. Spend a day or two here.
Please visit my Halifax pages here
Updated Mar 17, 2013
Nova Scotia has more lighthouses than any other province in Canada. The total number is 160. Most visitors will probably get a chance to see the famous Peggy's Cove Lighthouse, which is only about an hour from Halifax. Another famous one, and the oldest one in North America, is the Cape Forchu Lighthouse near Yarmouth. That was easier to visit because the ferry from Maine landed there until a few years ago.
If you want to center your visit around the lighthouses this is a good place to do it. Concentrate on the islands' South Shore. Make sure to take your camera, the views are usually wonderful
Written Feb 9, 2013
The chosen speed in Nova Scotia seems to be a bit slower than other places. Take time to slow down and savor the simple pleasures Nova Scotia has to offer.
I was surprised by the intensity of the colors at sunset particularly this late in the year.
Make sure to take your camera and take lots of pictures..the sunsets are gorgeous!
Written Dec 27, 2012
Thursday September 13, 2012
I loooooved everything about CHETICAMP - its location - The atmosphere - the Acadian Culture - the beautiful sunny day we were there.
Cheticamp is a thriving fishing village on the west coast of Cape Breton Island and the western entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The downtown area overlooks a large Bay.
The population of nearly 4,000 is made up mostly of people of Acadian descent and Cheticamp is the largest Francophone enclave on Cape Breton Island.
Things to do in Cheticamp includes visiting "Les Trois Pignons" and Jean's Gift Shop, both of which display beautiful hooked rugs of which Cheticamp is the Center and well known for.
The locals have a "joie de vivre" - Joy in Living, as the community hosts many concerts, dances and musical events throughout the summer months.
This is why their town motto is "Toujours Chantante" - Always Singing!
Written Oct 2, 2012
Address: Cheticamp - Cape Breton Island
September 12 & 13, 2012
Hans and I entered CAPE BRETON HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK at the Eastern Entrance at Ingonish. The Western Entrance is near Cheticamp. Entry Fee for Seniors was $6.80 or $13.60 for the two of us. The Permit is valid for a 24 hour period and the Expiration time is clearly marked on your receipt. You must keep this receipt handy in case it is asked for.
The Park has so much to offer including scenic lookouts such as Lakies Head, Sunrise and Green Cove on the Eastern Side and Veterans Monument, Cap Rouge (my favorite) and Grand Falaise on the western side.
The Park also offers 25 Hiking & Walking Trails, Beaches and Picnic Areas with clean washrooms and camping with 6 campgrounds.
One third of the Cabot Trail runs through the Park.
Written Oct 1, 2012
Wednesday, September 12 & Thursday September 13, 2012
An Island on the Atlantic Coast, CAPE BRETON ISLAND is part of the Province of Nova Scotia. The 3,981 square mile island accounts for 18.7 % of the total area of Nova Scotia. Although physically separated from the Nova Scotia Peninsula by the Strait of Canso, it is connected to the mainland by the 1,385 metre (4,544 feet) long rock-filled Canso Causeway,
The Northern portion of Cape Breton Island is dominated by the Cape Breton Highlands. In 1936 the Federal Government established the National Park across the northern third of the Highlands,
The Cabot Trail scenic highway encircles the coastal perimeter.
Highlights of our visit to Cape Breton Island are : Visiting the Town of Baddeck, Ingonish area, the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, driving along the Cabot Trail, staying overnight in Pleasant Bay and visiting the lovely town of Cheticamp, famous for its rug hooking art.
Written Oct 1, 2012
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