Canada 150: An Eastern Canada National Parks Tour — Stop 4. Cape Breton

In celebration of Canada’s 150th, Mountain Life Publisher and Photo Editor Glen Harris and his clan are on a on three-month Eastern Canada National Parks tour.

 

Skyline Trail provides the therapy needed.

This week they explored Cape Breton Highlands National Park, in Nova Scotia. Keep a lookout for our photo essay series in the coming months. For daily updates you can follow Glen on Insta @glenedwardharris.

In usual form we arrived at the Cape late, rushed, a little lost, stressed and hungry.

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Luckily our media itinerary had us making the climb in our car along the Cabot Trail straight up to the top of the Skyline Trail for a sunset walk to join an interpretive chat on the Park and its Mik’Maq heritage.

A final meltdown in the parking lot by me trying to dig out shoes, bug dope, and snacks out of our two maxed-out Thule boxes wasn’t helping at all. Items may have been thrown onto the parking lot tarmac a little harder than necessary during the search.

My family gets it together and meets the small group plus local guide Michelle and they’re off. I catch up and tail along.

It’s a 45-minute walk towards the Skyline with views of tight coniferous trees. Our guide filled us in along the way on the Park’s flora and fauna, and we read interpretive plaques. The trail opens up as the light warms and the sun works its way slowly out of the clouds and into the ‘set’ formation.

The family huddles together in quiet. Light continues to impress as sea birds and ocean swell provide the acoustics. The sun continues to do its thing, finally dropping behind the horizon only to light up the clouds.

We arrive at the main event: a multi-level boardwalk with steps and platforms overlooking a massive view. Cameras start clicking. I fade back for some wide shots and end up just sitting there as the family ventures on.

The sun hits my face and the next hour is electric light and sweeping Cabot Trail Views. People are content. I’m content. I catch up to the crew. The family huddles together in quiet. Light continues to impress as sea birds and ocean swell provide the acoustics. The sun continues to do its thing, finally dropping behind the horizon only to light up the clouds.

Satisfied, and feeling proudly Canadian, we head back in the dark. As if on cue, a moose and her calf are spotted grazing about 100 metres away. We’ve arrived, and the Cape has provided.

 

 

Ingonish Beach overrides the day’s plans.

 

 

Waking up to the tall ships at anchor outside the Fort was a little surreal, a well-played prop for added effect.

 

 

Parks Canada Interpretive Guide Scott Aucoin takes our family to goods on this off-trail river walk of discovery.

 

A little unnerved looking through the viewfinder, waiting for my wife to shift 45 degrees prior to taking aim.

 

A tourist getting flogged and loving it. One of the more popular activities at the Fort.

 

Sleep in inside the walls of Fort Louisbourg with just a small handful of travellers and a large number of Acadian ghosts.

 

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