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February 8, 2006
People thought that my wife and I were crazy for taking an early spring vacation to Cape Breton; a place known for its spring snowfalls. When we arrived, we had reservations with the Telegraph House, in the sleepy central town of Baddeck, and began our quest to conquer the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
Obviously, the drawbacks of our timing led to the lack of open restaurants and facilities, and the lush green summer look. However, our concentration was squarely centered around the natural beauty of this spectacle. The park is open year-round and we traveled it from both the Ingonish and the Cheticamp entrances. Prior to reaching Ingonish, the drive was exhilerating... providing the death- defying mountain scale driving of Cape Smokey and overlooking the beautiful and partially frozen Atlantic. Even more amazing was the popular Cheticamp entrance, where the scaling foothills of French and McKenzie Mountains along side a more evident frozen ocean made riding on the world's tallest roller coaster pale in comparison. The first 3 days consisted of beautiful spring-like conditions with crisp winter-like evenings. For the fourth day we were treated to 4 inches of snow. All in all, even though ones inclination is to explore this amazing scenic adventure in the summer, Cape Breton Highlands poses a winter alternative that one may not have dreamed!
From journal Cape Breton in April
by J&J Reid
August 17, 2002
The Cabot Trail loop stretches 300 kilometres from Margaree to Baddeck around the most northern section of Cape Breton Island. It is along this trail that the Cape Breton Highlands National Park is located. I have driven the trail from the Baddeck side before but I find that the best route is to leave from the Margaree side. Whichever way you choose, I recommend you start quite early. It will take the entire day to travel, as you will make frequent stops for photos.
At the point at which the National Park starts, there is a toll both. You must stop here to pay the entry fee, around $7.00 for the two of us, to take advantage of any of the park facilities. This fee is well worth the price. You will also be given a map of the park that has numbers from 1 to 28. These numbers represent individual trails, of various lengths, that are available for walking and sight seeing.
Probably the best trail we took was Skyline, number 7. It is fairly long, it took us about two hours to make the trek. As we drove along, we could see people walking on top of a large mountain across a valley. We stopped at the next trail, number 7, and hoped that it would take us there. It did. It was probably the best walk I’ve ever had in my life. The panoramic photo below of the road across the valley is the place in which we first saw the people walking on the mountain. On this trail we saw a moose, whales as well as some fantastic scenery.
Another trail worth stopping at is number 11, MacIntosh Brook. This is a short wooded trail that follows MacIntosh Brook. At the end of the trail is a beautiful waterfall.
If you like big waves, make a stop at Black Brook Beach. The waves are so big here, it’s hard just to keep on your feet. The water is pretty cold here though as it is located directly on the Atlantic Ocean.
Once you pass Ingonish, you’ll be out of the park. It is from this point on that you will experience some of the most challenging driving on the Cabot Trail. The roads are very windy and change elevations quite quickly. You’ll be talking about this road trip weeks after your home. We certainly did.
From journal Scenic Cape Breton Island
October 21, 2000
From journal Cape Breton, a distant treat