Dan and Hannah Hike the Middle Head Trail in Cape Breton au Canada

Leaving the northern reaches of the National Park, we drive by the hamlet of Cape North, where five years ago we spent the second of our three nights while biking the 300 kilometre Cabot Trail.  That third morning we awoke to light rain but had no choice but to pedal on.  Here is an excerpt from Day 3 on the Cabot Trail with pictures.

01_05_03_CapeBrtHighNP

Cape Breton Highlands National Park

[After six hours of biking], I dismount and walk to the door of the church with my right knee cramping and barking with the ferocity of an angry bulldog.  No one is about, and I hobble back to my bike and painfully remount.  Little do I know that I will pay for having dismounted.  The pain shoots up and down my right leg and sets up camp in my knee; I say to Hannah, “Go ahead.  I can’t go on.”  She suggests I get back on the bike and see what happens.  I say, “Please ride ahead and have Pamela [owner of the B&B where we will stay tonight] come back to get me.”

Hannah pedals on and I decide to give it a shot and put my feet in my toe clips and let the left leg carry the load.  Fortunately, I find it easier to bike than walk.  The rain having stopped, I decide to pedal as far as I can until I can go no more.  The faster I go the less painful my right knee is.  So I go for it.

Middle H past D and H ready to ride

Middle H past H chilly at brook

Middle H past H at Smokey Mt

Smokey Mountain

Middle H past D ready to ride

Middle H past H with rain gear

Today as we drive where we previously biked, we can’t believe how tediously long today’s 70 miles of paved road seems.  Trees, streams, and small houses of Cape Breton are iconic but lose their charm after all day in the bike saddle.

We motor through Ingonish, Ingonish Center up the long climb of Smokey Mountain; we are in awe of what we accomplished on the third day of our biking adventure five years ago.

A little after 5P this afternoon, we turn off the Cabot Trail, snake our way for two kilometres by the Keltic Lodge to the trailhead for our third modest hike of the day (see map above).  Choosing the rocky and rooted trail to the south, we hike through the woods, with the occasional view through the pines to the cliffs above the Atlantic.

Middle H 1 trail out

Middle H 3 rocky trail out

Middle H 4 cove

The trail back is level and pleasing to the feet, but we are hiking-and-driving-weary at 630 PM, yet grateful for another hour of wilderness hiking 700 miles from home.

Middle H 7 D on trail back

With an hour drive back to Laverne and Gordon at their Baddeck Riverside B&B, we are coming home.  Pulling in at 730P, we are greeted by Laverne mowing the lawn who says that we’ve been waiting for you (with a “so glad you are here” vibe), shower if you’d like, and we’ll sit on the front porch with wine before dinner.

We relax high above the Baddeck Riviere.

Cleanse Beddeck River

Click here for the full account of Day 3 of our biking the Cabot Trail five years ago and click here for the final Day 4.

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