Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Our Eastward Aye

(2. Slept under the stars ... not quite ... part 4)

Before I continue with my experiences almost under the stars, I include this side note for those who have been following the mouse tales. Also at the cottage, I had two encounters with the mice while driving the car. Oh yeah; it's true. Cuppa found the blog where she described those incidents. I'm sure you'll enjoy another good laugh at poor old AC.

The year after Westward Ho, we headed in the opposite direction on our Eastward Aye adventure, which I also turned into a web page. By then, I knew a little bit more about constructing web pages but still not a lot. However, I think it looks passable, even after these many years.

On our previous trip, we had at least set foot in all of the western provinces: Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia. Now, it was time to visit the Maritimes: New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island, and Nova Scotia. After this trip, we had visited all provinces except Newfoundland. Fortunately, east is a lot closer to Ontario than west, and after stopping in Ottawa (from Sarnia) for a night, we were able to reach New Brunswick fairly easily within a day.

While the west was large and magnificent, especially the Rocky Mountains, which thrilled me to pieces, I found the east to be charming and pleasant with ocean everywhere. We camped in New Brunswick's Bay of Fundy National Park, saw the tide come in and walked on the ocean floor at Hopewell Rocks. Then, we moved onto Prince Edward Island where we managed to pitch our tent right on a spider nest in PEI National Park. I swam in the ocean for the first time in my life, (not bad considering it was getting on in September and I was the only fool in the water that day) and visited Anne's (of Green Gables) Land.

Finally, we headed off to Cape Breton Highlands National Park in Nova Scotia. We drove the Cabot Trail (several times), whale-watched, enjoyed a Sunday afternoon of fiddling at the Red Shoe Pub, and visited the old French fortress at Louisbourg. The camping went fairly well on this trip until we did encounter some rain towards the end. However, we had erected a canopy over the tent (see blue tarp in photo below), just in case; in retrospect it turned out to be a very good idea: better idea than we knew at the time.

For we didn't know that the tent was poorly designed and leaky. However, when we got back to Ontario, we headed to the cottage where we often slept in the tent right by the river rather than stay inside. It rained there too, but without a canopy the tent took in quite a bit of water. Fortunately, we had the house to revert to, so it was not a real problem.

But it did cause us to purchase a better tent, which turned out to be a very good thing ... in the following year.

Meanwhile, I am pasting in one entry from the Eastward Aye journal of our trip around the Cabot Trail.

On Monday morning we headed back to the Hometown Kitchen for another fine breakfast, but we didn’t have any fascinating encounters with Buddhists or anyone else this time. We decided that we wanted to drive the Cabot Trail again, this time all of the way around to Ingonish on the Atlantic side. We purchased a cassette tape at the camp store that narrated us around the trail. More tourist places should do this type of thing. The day was misty and not great for pictures, but the drive was just as thrilling as before.

One thing I had wanted to do, after reading about it in a travel book, was to purchase a lobster sandwich on the Cabot Trail and to eat it by the ocean. We were able to make such a purchase in Big Intervale (or perhaps Cape North). In the same store, we met a lady from Cheticamp who had lived on the next street over from Cuppa’s parents in Toronto. The Disney folks are right; it is a small world after all. She recommended that we take our sandwiches to Black Brook Cove and have a picnic lunch there. Always follow the advise of locals. It was a remarkable spot, and we thoroughly enjoyed our lunch in what must surely be a little, Way Cool! foretaste of heaven.

On the drive back toward Cheticamp, we drove right into an incredible fog. We drove into the cloud at North Mountain. As we turned a corner, we could see it lying there in wait, but there was nothing else to do but to press forward into the maw of the thickest fog that I have ever encountered. Strangely enough, when we got near the top of Mount Mackenzie, the sun came out. We stopped at the lookout and tried to peer into the valley below, but we couldn’t because the fog had completely socked in the valley and locked out our vision. The pattern repeated itself several times; the mountaintops were clear while the valleys were dense with cloud.

We did have another marvellous experience that day. We saw our first moose. It wasn’t a big one, and it wasn’t a male with great, ponderous horns, but a moose it was. She suddenly appeared on the road before us. She stopped to stare at us, and we stopped to snap pictures; after two quick photos, she stepped nimbly over the guardrail and vanished wraith–like into the forest. We finally had our sighting! It seemed like everyone else that we talked to had seen at least sixteen dozen, and we finally saw one. It was just in the nick of time, for we were to break camp and begin driving southward on the morrow.


Amanda said...

I would love to travel across Canada and see the sights. It's a beautiful country that you live in.
Maybe one day ...!

Ruth said...

Just catching up on your adventures. I am determined to see more of Canada, but not while camping. (I think my age is showing) Mice have never bothered me even though I have never dealt with them in the house.

Jinksy said...

Not laughing at you, friend, simply with you!

MARY G said...

I think I ate a sandwich at the same table on the same beach. We've driven the Cabot several times (once my husband went to sleep through all the best scenery). I drove it once as chase car for the younger daughter's biking party. There's a photo I should put up for the photo club on that one.
I really like the retelling of your adventures; never thought of doing it myself but I think you may have inspired me.
Kudos from a fellow Canuck and age mate.

Woman in a Window said...

Cassettes, hahahah, that's a good one!

I can only hope my husband and I live long enough to enjoy a trip like this. A dream, it is for us right now, especially the East Coast. (I was fortunate enough to do the west coast a while back.)

Garnetrose said...

Looks like you had a great time. *s*

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I would love to see Cape Breton. I have camped in PEI, which is a lovely place also.