Tomorrow I’m off to Newfoundland!

July 24, 2019

The past few nights I have been staying in North Sydney, Nova Scotia.  I picked this town as a base to see Cape Breton Highlands National Park AND because it is the port where the ferry leaves to go to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland.

This was the ferry which was at the port Monday night when I arrived here:


The ride is supposed to take between 5 1/2 and 7 hours, depending on the weather.  I will have plenty of time on that journey to review pictures and assemble more posts about the Park and some other things I saw the past few days.  I also plan to post some more general comments and observations about my first two weeks in Canada.

I don’t know how reliable the internet will be for the 10 nights I am up there.  Most of my stops are in pretty rural areas and it may not be until I get to St. Johns on the east side of the island that I’ll be close to a major town.  Don’t worry, I’ll just keep accumulating photos and writing the commentary and I’ll get caught up eventually!

Depending on what time I wake up tomorrow morning I may sneak a few more posts in before I report to the port and check-in.  They say there is wifi on the ship but we’ll see if that’s true and how good it is.  I may also get some work done in the waiting area before we board.

Cape Breton Highlands NP – West side

July 22, 2019

Monday I drove north along the west side of Cape Breton Highlands National Park (NP).  The pictures I took Monday didn’t turn out very well and I went up to the Park again Tuesday and Wednesday.  These photos are what seem to be the best shots from all three days (so you will see variations is sky quality and cloud cover).


Shortly after entering the Park at the southwest entrance the first thing you come to is Grande Falaise, a rock wall that kind of reminds me, in shape, of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park (although they are very different in composition and height).


Next is a small parking area to the left just before the first uphill climb.  The road will go up and down along the coast for a while before making a final ascent into the mountains.  This post will cover the territory between Park entrance and that climb into the mountains.  I will make another post about the mountains and the northern edge of the Park.  The post below this one covers the east coast portion of the Park.

This is the view from atop the hill looking back.



And a view from the first lookoff area at the coastline looking south:





The road then goes back down near the water level.  Once down there there are two ponds, one to the left as the road turns towards the water and one on the right.

Left side of the road, looking south:


Right side of the road, looking north:


I drove out to the end of the parking area to the right of the pond in the first photo above to see Pillar Rock:


And some shore birds out on a rock looking right towards the Gulf:


The road then straightens out parallel to the water on it’s left, which at this point is the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  When I got out to the southern coast of Nova Scotia about a week ago I said that from that point forward all views of non-lake “big water” would be the Atlantic Ocean.  That was NOT correct!  Once I got up to the north coast near New Glasgow the large bodies of water off the coast are influenced by the St. Lawrence River which separates the northeast US from Canada.  It dumps out into the Atlantic Ocean north of here.  From this side of Cape Breton Island you are seeing the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and when on the east side of the Island you are, in fact, seeing the Atlantic.

Now that we have that straightened out….  Looking back south once the road gets out to the Gulf one sees Presq’ile:


And looking north the road continues ahead of me:


The road then climbs another hill and I stopped at the Cap Rouge Lookoff.  This is the view of the road looking north, ahead of me:



And looking back from where I just traveled:



When I drove the road going the other direction Tuesday I was struck by how different this looks when actually seen from the road (as the driver sees it) so I donned my trusty Safety Sam vest and stood out in the road taking pictures:


And from off the left side of the road – same spot:


Cap Rouge was also where I took the pictures of the clouds Monday.  This was looking up at the mountains from that parking area:



The first mountain the road would be climbing is French Mountain, which is just under 1,500 feet tall.  On Monday the low cloud deck was just below the very tops of the mountains.  I will be making a separate post about the mountains and the north edge of the Park.


Cape Breton Highlands NP – East side

July 22, 2019

Monday when I arrived on Cape Breton Island I drove around the upper end of the island clockwise – up the west side and down the east side.  I just reviewed the pictures from the west side and am very disappointed at how they turned out so I am going to try again today and hopefully post better quality pictures.  Despite the clear skies which appeared in the pictures I presented in “The Cabot Trail” post, when I entered the Cape Breton Highlands National Park (NP) at the southwest corner of the Park, low clouds had developed and the pictures are very poor.

For example….



Upon reaching the northwest corner of the Park I drove over to the other side and it was like I was in a totally different world….


At the top of the map is Neil’s Harbour:



This next shot is the same body of water but looking back west, towards the road which I am now traveling south on.  The thick clouds on the west side didn’t make it all the way over across the wide northern part of the island.


Further south, Black Brook Beach:




And further yet, MacKinnons Cove:




Next up, Green Cove:





And last stop as I approached the southeast corner of the Park, Lakie’s Head:




In the bottom photo you can see Ingonish Island (on the left), Middle Head (a peninsula sticking out from the mainland, in the center of the photo) and Cape Smokey off in the distance (between those two).  Those two photos also demonstrate the effect of clear, blue skies on taking photos of water.  The top photo was looking northeast, over the Atlantic Ocean and with clear skies.  The bottom photo was taken looking due south, and high, thin clouds were moving in, creating a more grayish look to the water.

There was a little more to see in the Park but there was road construction which restricted vehicles to only one alternating lane of travel and stopping within the work zone was prohibited.

More rain is coming in today (I am posting this Wednesday morning) but after I shower I will head back up to the west side and take more photos.  I was up there Tuesday afternoon and am now kicking myself (Ow!) for not taking more photos then.  They wouldn’t have been ideal either but they probably would have been better than Monday’s photos.