Cabot Trail, Day 2, Cape North to Baddeck

We started the second leg of our drive along the Cabot Trail about 9:15 this morning. The weather was a carbon copy of yesterday. Just beautiful! We traveled inland among forested mountains for awhile before moving back along the shore where we again entered the National Park.

We started our day with a laugh after seeing the Scottish/Irish influence reflected in these signs at the Tartans and Treasures Shop.

Over the last two days, we’ve seen quite a few bicyclists biking the Cabot Trail. As we passed each and every one, we had to ask ourselves “why?” You really have to want to do it…to bike these narrow, winding roads and steep hills. Then set up camp and be out in the elements all day long. You have to admire them for doing it!

Besides bicyclists, there seem to be a lot of motorcyclists as well. The winding roads would make for an interesting ride on a motorcycle too. We found out that there is a Harley Davidson Ralley in Sidney on Cape Breton Island this weekend. No wonder! Our first stop today was at Mary Ann Falls. 

We had to go 3.5 miles on a narrow, gravel road (sound familiar) and .3 km down a stairway to the falls. 

These falls had a much bigger volume of water flowing over the rocks. This is from the top looking down.

We climbed further down to the base of the falls. Bob took off his shoes and walked into the cold water to get a better picture of the falls. 

It wasn’t quite as high as yesterday’s waterfall, but it was worth it!

That was a good start to the day…a nice invigorating walk! As we left the site, we passed 2 young men who were going swimming in the falls. What fun! After visiting the falls, the road followed the coastline for awhile. We stopped at Lakies Head overlook for a nice view.

We kept seeing signs that warned us about moose, but never saw the real thing.

The vistas were beautiful here too, but not as dramatic and numerous as the ones on the west coast.

Again we were driving in and out of the park as we made our way south. We stopped at a few overlooks that had great views.

Our next stop was at Ingonish Beach. It is a very busy tourist area with restaurants, shops, and things to do.

The sand beach was ringed by a wall of granite stones….all smooth and rounded. It was very striking!

It was around noon and people were flocking to the beach, even though the onshore breeze was a bit chilly. A lifeguard kept watch as people actually swam in the 70 degree water. We were told it’s as warm as it’s going to get this summer! Sitting atop the bluff from where we stood, was the Keltic Lodge–a famous resort and golf course in this area. 

We had the opportunity to try a local Canadian dish here called “poutine”. They were selling it at the concession stand and we figured this might be our last chance to try it. Here’s what it is. Multiple layers of cooked french fries covered with chicken gravy and melted cheese curds. You eat it like you would French fries–all gooey with cheese.

They are actually pretty good, but not too good FOR you, I’m sure. At least we can say we tried it. That was our lunch break. No left over pizza today. After leaving the Ingonish area, we started the steep climb up to the top of Smokey Mountain (1200 ft.).

At the top there was a ski lodge and a chair lift. We could see the ski runs cut through the trees.

From there it was pretty much downhill….I mean down the hill. Some of the roads were pretty steep.

From the top of Smokey Mountain, the views were awesome!

We arrived back in Baddeck about 1:30. Things were busy in town with lots of people milling about. Alexander Graham Bell had a summer estate in Baddeck, Nova Scotia that is now a museum.

We stopped for gas and at the do-it-yourself car wash before heading back to camp. The truck really needed a wash from all those dirt roads we traveled on over the last two days. Back at camp, we unpacked and just relaxed in the shade of the trailer, watching new campers arrive. Auggie did too.

We watched some more of the Olympic games before dinner and had burgers on the grill. It was nice just to chill out and not go anywhere. This is our turning-around point. Tomorrow we start back towards New Brunswick and the States. Since we left the house in Florida on July 1, we have traveled exactly 4000 miles as of today. Wow!

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