The Cabot Trail Moose

Considering it has been close to six months since my visit to Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, I won't try remembering any specific details about Cape Breton Highlands National Park or the Cabot Trail.  Instead, I will present to you some of the amazing scenery you can find along this magnificent stretch of road.  It is no wonder that it is consistently ranks as one of the nicest drives in North America.

The photos don't do it justice but here's my attempt...
And so it begins...
Just a little warning of the dangers lying just off the hiking trail.
The sign points me in the right direction.

That's a nice spot for a house.
Yet another ignored warning sign...
though I must admit some waves were a bit rogue
despite the relatively calm conditions.
Where freshwater meets the Atlantic Ocean.
Yes, that's snow in May! 
Some snowdrifts were higher than me (and I'm taller than the car).

Based on the moose droppings seen everywhere along the hiking trails, there had to be a tonne of moose nearby. After not seeing even one of these Canadian icons all day long, they came out of the forest in droves as dusk approached.
These two just stood on the road until the trucker behind me had enough.

And again, the next morning...
Moose don't look that big until you're right next to them!
Unfortunately, I couldn't stay on Cape Breton Island any longer as I had to head back to Halifax to catch my flight but nevertheless my brief journey out East provided a great sampling of the splendours of Nova Scotia.  I'll definitely be going back for more!

Windy Cape Breton Island

After checking in at the hostel, I spent the rest of the day driving about Cape Breton Island.

Since it was a cool, dreary day, there was little point of checking out the sights along the Cabot Trail so I headed towards the Gulf of St. Lawrence where the breeze really picked up and watched the waves crash into the eroding shoreline.

I could have watched the waves all day but it was freezing!  My thin Goretex windbreaker wasn't cutting it today... I should have brought a toque and gloves along for the trip because the windchill numbed my fingers in just a few minutes. So there I was, driving along the coast, stopping once in while to take a few photos, and then quickly scurrying back to my warm car before I turned into ice.  I was a typical tourist and from the looks of things, the only tourist on the Island!  In fact, I saw so few people that at times I felt like I had missed a hurricane evacuation notice and was the only person left on the Island.

The weather made the scenery even more surreal and presented a healthy dose of the type of wild conditions Cape Bretoners have to face throughout the year.  The afternoon was soon coming to a close and my stomach was begging for some delicious Acadian seafood so the hunt for dinner got underway.  Now one of the things you soon realize about the Island is that they rely a lot on tourists so when the tourists aren't around (like in early May), most restaurants, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and attractions are simply closed for the winter season, and to my surprise, some don't even bothering opening until late June.  So here I was, a hungry tourist looking to shell out some decent cash for a meal, but without many open places to spend it.  After quite a bit of driving, I finally found an empty restaurant in a small Acadian town to appease my hunger.

After that, I found my way back to the hostel, where I had the whole place to myself.

The sky was starting the clear.  Tomorrow morning was shaping up to be a very nice day.  It was time to start prepping for my excursions along the Cabot Trail.

Bear on the Lake HI Hostel Review

After spending a few nights in a king-sized bed at a nice Halifax hotel and then bunking one night at a so-so Halifax hostel, it was time to head to check out the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton Island.  It was early May and almost all accommodations on the Island were still closed for the winter season.  Nevertheless, I came across the Bear on the Lake Guesthouse online and booked a night at the hostel.  My hostel experiences in Canada were nothing too spectacular to date, but this all changed at Bear on the Lake, where I was warmly welcomed by super friendly Kat, who made the place a home away from home.

From the outside, the hostel looks pretty ordinary.

But after taking off your shoes off at the door, you'll quickly notice the spectacular view of the Bras d'Or Lakes from the dining room.

And here are the rest of the common areas...

A big kitchen

The patio..

The nice, roomy washroom...

 And finally, the bunkbed bedrooms...

  • the great view of Bras D'or Lake from the large patio, lounge area, and dining room
  • large kitchen
  • homey, private washroom
  • free wireless Internet access
  • easy access to Cabot Trail
  • you can hang your laundry outside if you want.
  • Bed could be a bit firmer
  • The bedroom ceiling fan on max was loud and seemingly out of control

So if you're looking for a great and inexpensive place to sleep and relax near the Cabot Trail, I would have no problems recommending a stay at the Bear because I for one, will definitely be going back the next time I visit the Cabot Trail.

If you found this unbiased review helpful, please click on one of the interesting Google advertising links on this blog to help me out. Thanks.

Porter Mountain

After conquering the Adirondack's Cascade Mountain, it was off to tackle Porter Mountain.  But before starting the ascent, the trail headed downhill through muddy, slippery, and rocky terrain.  It was definitely a bit challenging

but after making our way through the mud,

we eventually started hiking uphill again and found ourselves at the peak where we were greeted once again by an amazing view of the fall colors in the Adirondacks.

Here's a 360 degree view from Porter Mountain...

So there it is, Porter Mountain, the second Adirondack High Peak of the day. Now it was time to head back to our Lake Placid lodge and relax!

Cascade Mountain

After passing the car inspection at the Canada-USA border the day before, we woke up fairly early Saturday morning to get a head start on the expected masses hiking up Cascade Mountain in Adirondack Park in New York State.

The area was hit with heavy rains earlier in the week but luckily for us, the rain stopped and sunshine was in the forecast.  Still early and misty, we started our trek up the mountain.

 It was quite the view when we reached the chilly and windy peak

But the clouds quickly lifted...

and the view was spectacular!

After taking in the view atop my first Adirondack High Peak, it was time to head back down from the bald peak and make our way to Porter Mountain.

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