Hannah and I have come to Nova Scotia to revisit the greatest physical challenge we have ever faced. You might be thinking, Dan, you and Hannah have hiked the Pacific coast of Big Sur, the Tetons in the Rockies, and in each of the fourteen states of the Appalachian Trail. Greatest challenge, really? Oh, indeed it is! Biking the 300 kilometres (190 miles) of the Cabot Trail in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia over the course of 3 ½ days took us out to lunch, made us pay, and then wiped the floor with us. It’s also so true that I am really good at humble bragging!
Leaving friends Bill and Karen after an overnight in Fredericton, New Brunswick, we take the Trans-Canada Highway through New Brunswick into Nova Scotia.
Stopping at the Visitor Center, we learn from Caitlin of trails high above the north coast of Nova Scotia near Cape George that will satisfy our desire to both hike and break up our day’s 400-mile drive to Cape Breton.
With well-marked signs, route 337 (Sunrise Highway) leads us to ample trailhead parking a half mile from the local lighthouse. Always enamored with lighthouses, before hitting the trail, we check out Cape George Point.
Returning to the trailhead we find a grass trail through a meadow by the roadside. It’s stunningly pleasant on our feet as if tended by royal groundskeepers with royal weed whackers. Crossing the highway, we meander along this grassy path guided by orange circles spray-painted on the trees through the forest.
Coming upon a rutted driveway to a newly-built home, we lose our way. Clueless, as is often the case, we follow the rutted driveway back to the highway to no avail. Retracing our steps, we climb back up the hill to finally see the saddest excuse for a signpost – a metal pole that displays but the slightest hint of orange. You be the judge.
Thankful to have found the trail once again, we return to our grassy path that gently caresses our feet as we hike the ridge line above the coast of Nova Scotia, pristine and bucolic. Other than that one misstep, the trail is made for families and international, getaway lovers (i.e. Hannah and Dan).
Retracing our steps after an hour, we return to the trailhead ready to drive the final two hours to our overnight in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. Once there, we are lovingly embraced by Laverne Macrae, the B&B innkeeper who took us in five years ago. At the time, we had no idea what challenges lay ahead for us biking the Cabot Trail.
Tomorrow, we’ll drive the entire Cabot Trail in one day.