The Cabot Trail
Monday, July 14
With our long, big trek completed, it was time for some simple, relaxing car-touring. We had three-quarters of the world-famous Cabot Trail left to explore, and we were going to spend most of the day leisurely driving along it, soaking in the views from lookouts and enjoying some top-down driving. It would then be off to Prince Edward Island, where a friend had rented a cottage and had invited us to stay.
Sleeping by the Shore
Needless to say, after yesterday's monumental nearly 40-kilometre long hike, we slept in a little. Despite an iffy forecast, the morning was mostly sunny, with the view out of our little cottage's front window of a crisp and clear view out to Ingonish Bay.
After a leisurely wake-up, we packed up and headed north on the Cabot Trail.
It was a perfect day for a Cabot Trail drive. It wasn't too busy, and the clear, low-haze conditions made for great views. We stopped at many little lookouts, checked out little fishing community of Neils Harbour, and took the little scenic side road behind it that leads up to Aspy Bay.
Continuing north on the Cabot Trail, we had excellent views of Aspy Bay, and then cut across the northern part of the peninsula, getting interesting views of the straight escarpment edge of North Mountain. Then it was a drive across a bit of flat highlands, and down to yet-more coastal beauty near Pleasant Bay.
The drive southwestward along the Northumberland Strait side of the Cabot Trail was quite pretty. In fact, I recognized some of the views along this stretch as the iconic Cabot Trail views you see in postcards and such. : steeply sloping highlands dipping down to the ocean, and the ribbon of the Cabot Trail gently undulating up and down along into the distance. Nice. My only complaint? The park service marks any part of the trail that is not ruler-straight at 50km/hr. In my opinion, much too slow for as a blanket speed limit for a major highway. This side wasn't even all that twisty (compared to the section near Cape Smokey, which was more twisty and had an 80km/hr speed limit).
We exited the park for the last time and rolled into the Cheticamp area, another pocket of strong Acadian culture within Nova Scotia. Again reminding me of the Acadian Peninsula in northern NB, we stopped for lunch at a local diner where I had a quite tasty hot turkey sandwich with excellent gravy and coleslaw. The day had started to cloud over, having held up just long enough for us to fully enjoy our Cabot Trail tour.
Open-air on the Cabot Trail
Boat in Cheticamp Harbour
From Cheticamp, we drove under ever-darkening skies towards the Canso Causeway, and by the time we got there, it had started to drizzle: the first rain so far of our entire vacation. By the time we were on highway 104 heading west through mainland nova scotia, it was pouring.
It made good sense for us to take the Caribou-Wood Islands ferry to Prince Edward Island: It would avoid a longer drive around to New Brunswick and onto the confederation bridge; the ferry ride TO PEI is free (you only pay to get off the island); and travelling on ferries is fun. So heavy gray skies and the end of a downpour saw us at the loading dock at Caribou, waiting to get on the Holiday Island bound for Wood Islands, PEI.
Watching the other direction's traffic
By the time we got to the PEI side, it had mostly dried up, and we enjoyed a pleasant drive through the distinctly-PEI countryside to Roger's cottage on the north shore near Malpeque. As luck would have it, Pu was also visiting Roger's cottage for the weekend, and we all had a traditional seafood dinner at Roger's very spacious cottage.
Interactive Trackmap & Photo Points - Cabot Trail and Drive to PEI - Click map to expand