We were making our way along the Cabot Trail. Sitting on top of the eastern province of Nova Scotia in Canada, the 300km drive is world renowned. Its natural beauty, scenery and mountain hugging road through the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, make it one of the world’s most popular and scenic destinations.
Winding our way through the highlands, we pulled over to follow a sign that leads to a trail that takes you to mountain edge skyline view. The first striking feature was the massive car park… completely empty. The sheer expanse of the park suggested this is normally a major attraction. The fact it was empty was not surprising. For our whole trip across the country, we came to realise that Canada was closed for business – at least for tourists. Campground gates shut or chains across entrances. RV parks, takeaways, icecream and coffee shops, tourist information centers….all closed.
Opening only on the May long weekend. Many RV parks were literally like ghost towns. Huge allotments of empty RVs and caravan trailers, deserted playgrounds, kiosk shop, the park office, all closed, shuttered up. Idly waiting for the remaining snow to melt. To make way for the sudden rush of summer vacationers, anxious to escape the long endured winter months.
As one campground owner told us, the winter was so long, opening anytime sooner was not possible because the water pipes were still frozen. Even the RV waste dump point was frozen. Now thats cold!
With a dark grey sky, it was an eery feeling as we walked past the vast expanse of empty car parks, making our way to the start of the hiking trail. The trail was well formed, suggesting, given the size of the car park, there must be normally hundreds of people on this path.
The entrance to the path warned of bears and a new threat we had not come across before, wild coyotes.
We were well into the highland bush walk when we came across fresh droppings. We concluded they appeared too small for a bear. Maybe a wild coyote. And that’s all it took. Here we were, alone in the middle of the wilderness. With each subsequent step, the imagination continued to fuel an inevitable attack. Thankfully we had read the warning how to cope with an aggressive coyote. That’s why we were carrying a stick. Stand firm. Stay confident. Slowly walk backward while maintaining eye contact. Simple really!
It’s fascinating the first thing people will generally say about visiting Australia, is the fear of snakes, spiders, crocs, sharks, etc just waiting to take the next tourist out.
And guess what people say when you tell them you’re going to Canada: Be very careful to keep away from bears. Like, as if they are running amok across the country like people expect to find kangaroos in every street in Australia. My only disappointment was we never got to see a bear!
Fear is a great inhibitor to do anything or go anywhere unfamiliar. But I like the argument which is just as powerful, just imagine what you could miss out on if you didn’t do it.
Canada may have been closed for business, but what a fantastic roadie it’s been. The lakes may have been frozen, but what an amazing experience standing in the middle of Lake Louise surrounded by the towering Rockie Mountains. The sky may have been grey at times, but the fresh snowfall it brought was picture perfect. Empty campgrounds dotted all along the trans Canadian highway, but wow, how delightful were many of the waterfront locations we enjoyed for a stop over. Some sections of the trans Canadian Highway is flat and nothingness, the night temperature during the whole trip often hovering near zero, but the warm Canadian hospitality we experienced, the people we met, the friends we visited, and even the ones who politely told us we were going down the wrong side of the road, all made this Canadian Roadie a specially memorable one.
What’s been your favourite road trip?
Fracking and Farming…. part of the landscape throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan.
A unique view into French Canadian culture in old Montreal through the eyes of artist Lucien Gobeil….
Love meeting the locals as we make our away across the country on our Canadian Roadie…. Floyd explains that despite the grunt of our Ford F350 RV Campervan, why trucks have been leaving us behind. And clothing from trees? Dwaine explains….
Everyone likes to be the biggest or have the biggest. Same with places….
Fancy a weekend getaway with a difference? What about a Mongolian Yurt….
Nature on an extraordinary show again with the highest tidal movement in the world. To be able to walk on the sea bed and within hours the same spot is completely submerged twice a day with a tide up to 16 metres.
The Youthful Art of Midlife Travel. (A new titled version of My Senior Gap Year) A story described by readers as entertaining and inspiring. Find out more at youthfulmidlifetravel.com. The book and kindle version is available from Amazon: Click here: Amazon.com (Australia: Amazon.com.au)
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