Nova Scotia Vacation

Kathryn and I celebrated our 30 years of wedded bliss by going to Nova Scotia for nine days. We drove over to Bar Harbor, Maine on Tuesday 1 August (9 hours) and took the CAT high speed catamaran ferry http://www.catferry.com/ (3 hours) to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia on Wed AM. We toured around the seacoast of Nova Scotia over the next 6 days.

On Wednesday afternoon we took a short hike along a groomed trail (mostly graveled) which led over bluffs to the shore at Kejimkujik Seaside Adjunct. We saw seals hanging out the rocks. The temperatures were unusually hot for Nova Scotia (80s) and the seals would climb out of the water and sit for a while and then jump back in the water – I suppose to cool off again.

The seals are the clothesless mammals on the rocks in the background

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Wednesday night we stayed at Lane’s Privateer Inn in Liverpool (http://www.lanesprivateerinn.com).

Thursday we continued along the southern shore and hiked out to Taylor Head Provincial Park (http://parks.gov.ns.ca/parks/taylors.htm). Taylor Head is a rocky finger projecting 4 miles into the Atlantic Ocean with 10 mile of coastline the headland is littered with glacial erratics deposited throughout the peninsula. A neat thing about this hike was that we saw a family of 6 ospreys.  One of the ospreys caught a fish and was swooping up and down with the fish.  We speculated it was either a parent showing off the food or an immature osprey that was unsure how to land with a fish in it’s talons.

Kathryn on Bob’s Bluff Trail

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We spent Thursday night in Antigonish at the Victorian Inn Bed and Breakfast – a very nice place.

The Victorian Inn

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Friday morning we continued onto Cape Breton driving out to the far most north eastern tip where we stayed for a couple of nights in Cape North.

Driving up the Cape Breton Highlands.

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Lobster boats along the Cape Breton Highlands

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Lunch on the rocks along the coast line

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We went on two whale watches courtesy of Captain Cox’s Whale Watch http://aco.ca/captcox/. On the first trip Friday evening we saw 30-50 dolphins in a large school but no whales so Chris Cox (originally a native of Voorheesville, NY) let us come back again the next day for free.

Black & white dolphins breaking the surface

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Our boat was used as a lobster boat during May and June and we sat in the open air. On Friday night it was windy and the temperatures dropped as the evening progressed. We packed a bunch of extra clothes and raingear in a carry on day pack and I ended up wearing 5 layers, including rain suit as the wind picked up a blew the ocean spray all around us. There were two other families that came on board with no extra clothing except the rain jackets and ponchos provided by the captain. Needless to say, those families weren’t interested in coming back on Saturday morning for another whale watch. I found the whale watch OK, but the boat ride along the coast was really special.

A waterfall falling off the cliffs along the coastline

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Saturday morning we returned for the 10:30 ride and we saw 1 Minki whale. It rained on our return and we were again thankful for our rain gear.

Kathryn looking for whales

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Saturday evening we went for a 5 mile hike up into the Cape Breton Highlands (http://www.greatcanadianparks.com/nova_scotia/cbretnp/index.htm) summiting at the Glascow Lakes look off.

A great panoramic view at the Glascow Lakes look off

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The trail description was a little ominous citing “with an elevation gain from 850 to 1500 ft this trail is a long and hard one, and be sure to bring a compass with you on this hike, because it is easy to wander off the trail and loose your way in the barrens. You may encounter moose, bear and swarms of mosquitoes during the trip.” We planned our hike for the evening hoping to see moose but were disappointed. We were not disappointed by views or the lack of bears or mosquitoes, nor was the trail difficult to follow. We found a lot of ripe blueberries to enjoy along our way.

Kathryn foraging for blueberries along the trail

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Sunday morning we hiked a self guided nature trail around a mature bog and then hiked in the popular Skyline Trail – a 5 mile loop along the coast.

Kathryn along Skyline Trail

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The Skyline Trail is known for moose and spruce grouse. The forest seems to be disturbed which was caused by a forest fire in the 1950’s, and by moose eating the spruce in winter.

Birch trees showing the effects of moose browsing

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At the view at the end of the trail you can peer down on the Cabot Trail or turn and look out into the Gulf of St. Lawrence. On our return to the car we did see a moose bedded under the trees just 20’ off the trail.

A snoozing moose

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We stayed at a couple other Bed & Breakfast’s on our return trip, but did nothing eventful. In summary, Nova Scotia was very nice but it was special to be able to spend 9 days dedicated with Kathryn. We had a lot of fun.

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