For the final leg of my Nova Scotia tour I decided to drive around Cape Breton on the famous Cabot Trail, which runs along the west and east coasts of the island, and features a massive national park spanning the two sides. I was told by Liam Griffin and Scott Doucette that I couldn’t visit Nova Scotia without touring the trail, so I took their recommendation, after all, they ARE locals to this area, born and raised!
I disembarked the PEI ferry at Caribou around 17:00, took the 104 east, crossed over the causeway at Port Hastings and began the journey north via the Highway 19. My plan was catching afternoon light and sunset somewhere on the road north, which I managed after setting up camp in Inverness. The few hours before and during sunset were my first taste of the Nova Scotia epicness along the Cabot Trail, I was not disappointed!
The next morning I packed up the tenting gear at my campsite and continued north, passing along endless amounts of stunning coastline and small villages, eventually arriving at the Highlands National Park entrance gate. Taking a moment to gather information about the park and hiking trails from the gracious staff, it was back in the car and into the park to explore this amazing region.
Departing the Cheticamp Visitor Center you’re immediately greeted by the sheer size and strength of this mountainous region, this place is big! One might not think of giant mountains in this part of the world but I was happily proved wrong right out of the gate. The Cabot Trail hangs onto the side of the mountain much of the way, placed above huge cliffs that drop into the sea below; we’re talking beautiful roadway people! Holding myself back from stopping every half-kilometer to take in the beauty and snap a pic, I made decent time to the Bay St Lawrence Road, which would bring me to Meat Cove, the northern-most point of Cape Breton. If I was touring this part of NS, I might as well take it to the tippy top of the island, which I managed and wasn’t surprised at all by the sheer beauty of the landscape.
Peeling myself out of the Gulf of St Lawrence waters I began the journey east to take in the other side of the Cabot Trail, which certainly did not disappoint as I moved across the top of Highlands National Park leading into a southerly direction at Neil’s Harbour.
As the sun was starting to set I made moves to catch a night’s rest at Broad Cove Campground, a gorgeous plot of land within the national park sitting on water’s edge. Squeaking into one of four remaining campsites, I set up my Durable Goods tent in a hurry, and then hopped on the bicycle for a tour of the area, eventually settling down on the beach to watch the sun disappear beyond the horizon.
Waking up the next morning refreshed and energized I took my time in packing up and getting back on the road as I knew journey’s end was in sight, so it was important to take in as much of Cape Breton as possible. I did so with two cups of joe, a bike ride around the area, a beach chill followed by a quick hike, not a bad morning! Back on the road I meandered along the coast, but who wouldn’t, this place is amazing, had to see any and everything I could before eventually finding my way to Highway 104 and back to the Halifax area.
The Nova Scotia tour was officially completed, twelve days of exploration, road tripping, bike riding, skateboarding, hanging with friends, picture taking, camping, you name it, I attempted to do it! Put Nova Scotia on your radar, it’s an absolutely wonderful part of the world, magnificent people, great sight seeing, outdoor opportunities and beyond. Thanks to the Doucette and Griffin family for the knowledge, guidance and hosting, you made my trip that much better! Blotto
All images by Blotto @deanblottogray/blottophotto2017