SEPTEMBER 23, 2018
We awoke to a sunny morning but it was a bit chilly. I made up some breakfast, flapjacks and Canadian bacon. Carol had purchased somewhere a flapjack mix. It seems to be wholewheat flour with rolled oats in it. I am going to figure out recipe and duplicate this mix somehow, it is delicious. I have altered the stove so the griddle can be used without melting down the stove. Cleaning the griddle from using it on the fire was interesting, it will never be the same but it works just fine. Breakfast was awesome, flapjacks and Canadian bacon is a proper breakfast. We wrapped up camp and were underway in good time and had a day of hikes planned.
Carol is a good navigator and with a lap full of maps we headed out. The road around Cape Breton is known as theCabot Trail and is a winding, twisting and turning up and down kind of road. Oh, and it is all on the edge between mountain and sea. It is beautiful, spectacularly beautiful. I have learned to use the ‘manual’ transmission in the Outback. Subaru makes what is accepted as the best CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission) and we are towing a trailer up and down some of the steepest hills I have ever encountered. So on the hills, especially coming down, you don’t want to overheat your brakes, or you soon won’t have any. Our Outback also has a ‘manual’ transmission with paddle shifters located on the steering wheel. They work fantastically. I try to see even RPM’s when going up and down, not always possible but I try. The first big climb we came to was about three miles long, and steep. No problem for the Subaru.
We made our first stop at a trail head for a trail called The Bog - the trail turned out to be a boardwalk through the bog and only a little over a half mile long. Another awesome walk. We saw a really cool little red plant called a Picture Plant, which is a meat eater, a carnivorous little bugger. We had seen one on the Skyline trail but the bog was full of them. So cool. We also spotted another moose. I made a beeline back to the car, again I had the wrong lens on my camera, and by the time I returned the moose had moved on. Carol got a couple of shots on her phone - I’m keeping my telephoto on the camera from now on, damn.
During the walk at the Bog we met a couple from Concord, MA, Jeff and Katie and their dog Wyatt. They have a big Winnebago Class A (bus) and are making the same loop as we are. They said they were heading to Broad Cove Campground, as we are. After leaving the Bog we headed to Macintosh Falls, which headed to a waterfall. We met the couple from Concord here too, they pulled in right behind us. We hike the trail up to the falls where we had a bite to eat on a bench. I sat up my tripod and took some shots, which as I am writing this I have not seen yet, so don’t know how successful I was. We moved on and stopped at several scenic ‘Look Offs’ as they are called here. The scenery is unparalleled - amazing.
We came to an area where they are replacing the road, which also happened to be the steepest downward incline of the entire trail. I would guess four to five miles of steep switchbacks. The manual shifting really came in handy here. I kept it is first and second gear all the way down. A car ahead of us, it appeared to be two ladies in a Honda, were on the brakes all the way down. After a few miles I pulled off to just to get away from the odor of their burning brakes. I hope the had some brakes left when they got to the bottom. I think I only tapped the brakes a few times on that descent, the ‘manual’ shifting helps. Far too much brake smell on that road.
We stopped in a small town of Neils Harbor for lunch. We found a place along the side of the road against a seawall to set up and make lunch. Carol made sandwiches and we sat in the lee of the trailer eating and have a great time. After lunch we hiked the harbor and up to the light house, taking lots and lots of photos. As we ate our lunch, the big Winnebago with Jeff and Kate parked nearby. . . who is following who?
Our next hike was the best, the Jack Pine and Coastal Trail. Here we met a friendly group from Rhode Island (Warwick and Cranston) who were exploring the Cabot Trail in a Subaru Crosstrek and also hiking the Jack Pine trail. This trail was really amazing with huge rocky bluffs overlooking the sea. This trail is a must do if you are in the area, not a real difficult hike but enough to keep you on your toes. And the views and the sea are just a treat to behold.
From here we made our way along the Cabot Trail to Broad Cove Campground. The campground here was basically a large parking area, not the most scenic but it will do just fine, and our site was close to the showers so it was a good place to stay the night. We were both a bit too tired to cook so we made our way into the town of Ingonish to find food. This is genuinely a small town. We found a small take away place. I got a burger and poutine and Carol got clam strips and fries..my burger was a solid average and the poutine really wasn’t very well made, ugh. Carol had better luck and enjoyed her clams and fries. We should have cooked. That evening after supper we walked over to visit with the couple in the Winnebago, Jeff and Kate, who ended up in the same campground. We sat and chatted well into the evening, it was a good end to the day.