Not a cairn in the world…

Vacation suits me.IMG_4180

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2017 is Canada’s 150th birthday. And today is my fortysomethingth birthday. Happy birthday to us both.

To celebrate this nation’s birthday, all of Canada’s national parks are allowing free admittance. So all y’all get yer damn passports updated and come up here and check out the parks for free and pump your money into the economy.

Cape Breton Highlands National Park is one of the prettiest drives one can experience. But first: face cutouts!

 

Is he a good sport or what?

About seven minutes into the park, we stopped at a lookoff and an eagle flew by. Not too shabby.

My primary goal for this trip to Cape Breton was to hike the Skyline Trail. And it was awesome. It’s an easy hike–almost five miles of clear trail, though the return trip is mostly uphill. The views are every bit as good as they appear in every brochure you will ever see about Cape Breton. And there are a lot of other people around. The ranger said somewhere between 500-700 people per DAY do that trail. It didn’t feel like that many, so that bus must have pulled up after we left.

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It’s hard to capture the wild beauty of the park. It just falls short in pictures. But it’s magnificent–mountains on all sides, the smell of pine and beach roses as you drive, and the ocean by your side as you roll up and down the Cabot Trail.

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Yup, we’re dorks. But we’re happy dorks.

Off the beaten path, at the tip top of the province, is Meat Cove, a campground that is beyond compare. I camped here when I visited before, so I’ve already gushed about it. And if you’re friends with me on facebook, you probably see the Meat Cove Chowder Hut pop up with “Kelly likes this” on the banner above it. I know this because a friend recently asked me what the hell this chowder hut was all about. Anyway, it’s a fun ride in and an extraordinary view. Mountain top poutine? Why yes!

EXCEPT that on the long drive in, I felt something very painful on my inner thigh. I looked down and saw a bee in my lap. I haven’t been stung in years. And it hurt like hell. I made Kirk stop on the side of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere so I could jump out and inspect the damage. So there I am, on my birthday, getting stung near my unmentionables, and dropping trou on the side of the road for everyone to see. It’s more than seven hours later, and it still hurts. So by the time I got to Meat Cove, I had earned a beer.

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The rest of the afternoon went by quickly, driving through the rest of the park (approximately two hours’ drive without stopping) and singing along to a 90s mix Kirk made me. Why it took him four days to pull that out of hiding, I don’t know. But it’s good stuff. And now we’re bedding down at a B&B in Wreck Cove, Nova Scotia. Here’s a map in case you’re playing along.

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And now time for well-earned sleep. Night.

 

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