One Year on the Road

Cape Breton National Park, Nova Scotia

Cape Breton coast.

We were headed to Maine when our neighbor friends mentioned they were going to a Celtic music festival in Nova Scotia. Nova Scotia has always seemed like an impossibly far-off place, but on the map, it didn’t look so far from Maine. Hey, we like Celtic music. We’d heard Nova Scotia is beautiful. Why not drive a little further and meet up with our neighbors, 4,000 miles from home? Well, okay, it’s a lot further than it looks on the map. Two long days, and the second we drove for 11 hours, pulling into our campground at 9:00.

The beach at our campground.

We arrived a couple days early so we could see some of the national park before meeting our friends near Baddeck. There were only two park campgrounds still open, and we chose the one on the east side. We set up quickly in the dark when we arrived, and in the morning, we were happily surprised to see how beautiful the nearly empty park was. I walked with Bailey down to the campground beach. There was no one else around, so she could run freely on the sandy beach and swim in the inlet lake. It was brisk, but the sun was bright and the sky blue. A perfect day for exploring the cape.

That day we drove north on Cabot Trail (a road, actually, not a hiking trail), stopping here and there for viewpoints and short walks. We drove over the mountains to the west side of the cape, but it was so windy and cold over there that we had to have our picnic lunch in the car.

Me and Bailey in the Lone Shieling.

On the way back, we stopped for a hike to see the “Lone Shieling,” a stone shepherd’s hut built to commemorate the Scottish immigrants who settled in the area in the early 1800s, and in gratitude to the Scott who donated the land to the park in the 1930s.

Back in our campground, we met Glenda and Debbie, who come there every year from their 110-acre farm near Sydney. There were probably only five other campers in our area, and we were delighted to find a friendly lesbian couple among them. Glenda is an elementary school teacher and Deb works in housekeeping at the university. They invited us to their place for tea after dinner, and we visited more in the morning before we left. We felt an instant connection with them, and when they invited us to stay for a Canadian Thanksgiving feast they were putting on for friends that weekend, we were sad not to be able to join them. They invited us to visit their farm, and Kate said that if Trump wins the next election, we might come to stay. They said, great! Just bring a snow shovel with you.

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The four of us.

The four of us.


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