Cape Breton Highlands National Park

About 225 miles from Halifax on the northern tip of Nova Scotia lies this magnificent National Park. We’ve spent four nights here – ambit of sunshine, some clouds, a spot of warmth, and some very cool nights.

I’m tired of my voice, so just enjoy these photos….

We took a hike one day, and were treated to some of the most intense autumn color I’ve ever experienced. About seven miles of splendid color, much of which was supplied by low-lying blueberry plants, whose dark scarlet leaves dominated the scene.

Along the way, there was an old survival cabin, equipped with two wooden bunks, a woodstove, two old sleeping bags, and a lantern.

What was really fun was the notebook with a stub of a pencil for inhabitants to leave notes for those yet to come. Lots of people commented about moose sightings (oh, sure…) and weather conditions. But this one made me laugh.

Tomorrow, we move on. This has been a great stop.

❤️ing Nova Scotia

When a post starts out with a photo like this, you know there’s not going to be too many negative things I have to say. Our trip to Canada just keeps on getting better and better. Nova Scotia was a huge surprise.

Our first few days in Nova Scotia were spent near Halifax. Before getting to the City itself, there were two remote locations that we were eager to explore. So, breaking our ‘no driving once we get to camp’ rule, we set off for the fishing village of Lunenberg, about 45 miles away. Lunenburg was established in 1753, by a proclamation signed by the King (George? I don’t remember). Today, Lunenburg is still a fishing city, with some of the fleet owned by people with names that were present in the area well over 100 years ago. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which means it has been selected by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization as having cultural, historical, scientific or other significance. It is judged to be important to the collectives of humanity, and it protected by international treaties (Wikipedia).

The photo above is Lunenburg. The pristine harbor was beautiful, even on the rainy, windy day we visited. Every corner, every turn brought something that I wanted to photograph. I probably took 80 photos, but have culled it to just a few to post.

Perhaps wrongly, we neglected to visit the Maritime Museum, which includes tours of a couple of old fishing schooners which are part of the Museum. We just didn’t have time.

The Fisherman’s Memorial there dedicated to all the fisherman who have lost their lives pursuing their dangerous vocation. It really moved me. Going back 100 years, it listed the ships lost, and the names of their crew. Each time, there were four or five men with the same last name – entire generations of families were often wiped out in one mishap. It’s a sobering testiment to a dangerous occupation. I was unable to get a photo, due to poor lighting conditions, so check this out.

From Lunenburg, we blew through the village of Mahone. In October, the who town becomes home to scarecrows of every kind. Sure, it’s kitschy, but there was a lot of fun stuff there. Lots of bride/groom pairs, including this one with an oddball guest.

My other two favorites were the kilt-wearing shepherd, protected by a plastic bag, and a quintet of musical genuises.

On to Peggy’s Cove. This rugged stretch of coastline is what I pictured all of Nova Scotia to look like. It is fantastically beautiful. As we approached, we passed no fewer than six tour buses returning to Halifax, probably bearing passengers from the cruise ships which dock there. I can see why they all want to see this. Here are a few of my favorite sights.

Peggy’s Cove is also the site of the Swissair Flight 111 Memorial. This flight crashed in 1996, resulting in the deaths of all on board, over 220 crew and passengers.

Its a beautiful, desolate spot. Apparently nearly 2 million pieces of crash debris were eventually recovered.

One reason we selected the campground we did was that it gave us the ability to ride our bikes about seven miles to catch a ferry into downtown Halifax. We really dislike wandering around strange cities, searching for parking in our big red truck. Not only could we cycle in, we rode the entire way along pieces and parts of The Great Trail, a maze of 24,000 miles of connected trails covering Canada. Pretty amazing. But we do wonder how we would get along without Google Maps for navigation. Whether on foot, bike, or in the car, this is the tool we use. It’s a marriage-saver.

Our first stop was the Fairview Lawn Cemetery, where there are about 200 graves of victims of the sinking of the Titanic in 1912. This is a site we really wanted to visit, and we walked forever to get there. Perhaps we should have signed up for a tour – there were many groups with animated guides, telling stories of bravery of many of the victims. Without the benefit of that input, the site was a bit of a letdown.

Perhaps we didn’t find the soul of Halifax. There was a big port area filled with restaurants, shops, and other tourist gigs. It was teeming with cruise ship passengers. We wandered a bit, but really didn’t find much to capture our interest. Maybe we have tourist fatigue. Here’s one shot of a row of houses that caught my eye, and a guard at the Citadel (which we viewed from he outside). We’ve seen many forts and military museums, and decided not to partake of another.

So, we left the city, and headed back to the great outdoors. That’s a whole separate post.