Cape Breton & the Cabot Trail
So where were we? Right! On the way to Cape Breton island and to be more specific, Baddeck. When we entered Cape Breton we stopped at the visitor center to get some information. The lady there was really helpful and provided us with lots of valuable information. Initially we thought about visiting Bras' d'Or lake but she said it's not really worth seeing (from the far side).
Then we thought about visiting the whisky distillery (we'll talk about it later) but she offered us a 3rd option. Get some sandwich in Whycocomagh and go to eat somewhere in Iona, a small town which requires a 1 minute ferry. In addition we paid the entrance fee (7.80 CAD per person for 2 days) and we got some ideas on how to spend our next days on the island.
Tip: When entering a visitor information center, try to switch between personnel if you feel you didn't get what you need. Sometimes a different person can provide very valuable information.
So that's what we did. We drove through a beautiful road to Whycocomagh and entered the Farmer's Daughter market grocery store where you can order sandwiches. We got a turkey sandwich and some special tasting chips and continued. At some point the road became smaller and the driving was fun.
Then we reached the "ferry" at "Little Narrows", I wouldn't even call it a ferry since it practically takes less than a minute to cross this part of the lake … Eventually we stopped near the Highland Village museum and just sat down to enjoy the silence. We saw school end and the school bus taking the kids home. At this point the place was silent!
From there we continued to Baddeck (which is not pronounced in the regular American way) and checked in at the Telegraph House motel which was really lovely. It was afternoon so we went for a short town exploring walk 🙂 . You know these places where you just feel good? So for me this was one of these places. I just got to town a had a good vibe about it … Anyways, we reached the Baddeck Yacht Club and grabbed a light beer. Someone was playing live music which also added to the atmosphere. The place is obviously located on the lake shore so you see many boats and yachts and even a small lighthouse!
We went to eat at Baddeck Lobster Suppers but due to the fact we arrived one minute before they closed (at 8pm!!), they let us in but mentioned they didn't have any lobsters left 🙁 , so we had to do with crabs. Poor us. Then we went to a pub which I can't remember its name, that was hidden inside a hotel. Some guy was playing there nice music with a guitar and harmonica and it was a good place to call it a night.
Tip: Especially in Cape Breton island, restaurants and such close pretty early, so be aware!
It was a Saturday morning and I woke up before my friend so decided to take a short walk to the lake, to check how things look in the morning. It was a beautiful sunny day and the town was quiet, I could only hear the birds … I bought a muffin from the cafe across the street and just walked to the harbor to take some photos in different light conditions.
Then we started our way north on the Cabot trail towards Ingonish. Check this out – from time to time there are signs of "Welcome to the park" and "You're leaving the park" when from my end, all of the time I felt inside a park – go figure. The road from Baddeck to Ingonish is filled with small artisan shops so we stopped at some of them and eventually even bought some souvenirs.
When we stopped to fuel I saw a strange sign saying "Deer registration station" so I had to find out what it meant. Turns out shooting deer in this area is legal but whenever a deer is hunted, the hunter needs to register it and provide details such at the time and place, the rifle, the ammunition and so on.
The road was beautiful and it had its highlight moment when there were some curves going down. Immediately after that we started a steep climb and then, when you turn your head backwards you see this jaw-dropping view of colorful trees right along the ocean! You're breathless and you must stop to take some photos. Luckily enough there's a small lookout place for that. I'll say it again – even though I've already seen so many trees, the colors are still stunning! And I even identified colors that I haven't seen before.
Hiking in Cape Breton
The first trail we did today was "Middle head" (classified as moderate). The trail head is located right beside the Keltic Lodge and one of the many golf courses I saw on this trip 🙂 . The trail passes through trees (of course) and provides incredible views of the ocean both south and north! It was the perfect trail, quite easy, interesting, and with fantastic views. We stopped at the end for a beer and snack to enjoy the views.
From there we went to Ingonish beach and felt a little bit like home but the water were freezing. From there we continued to "Green cove" which is just a parking lot with a nice view and to "Jack pine" (classified as easy) trail which is a unique forest, that also provided fabulous views. Another thing to note about the road signs is that for some reason they decided the word "trails" instead of the name of the trail – go figure #2.
We went all the way up to Neil's Harbour where we saw a small lighthouse and took the scenic drive to White Point which you can guess, was beautiful. It's amazing when you think you've seen the biggest "end of the world" place, there comes another one 🙂 . First Cape Split, then Iona, now this one, etc.
We spent the night in a cabin in Ingonish and had dinner at a busy restaurant. As for the plans for the next days, what we had in mind was to do the "Skyline trail", the most famous walk along the Cabot Trail but when we checked the weather forecast it said that it's going to rain which kind of ruins the plans so we'll see …