After 13 days and 1,400 miles in Newfoundland, we reluctantly boarded the ferry to return to Nova Scotia. We opted for the night crossing this time. Hard to rest with strangers snoring around you, so we arrived back in North Sydney, NS a bit fatigued. First order of business - oil change and brake job, then off for a short visit to the Marconi National Historic Site in Glace Bay.
We devoted most of the next day to Louisbourg National Historic Site, the French colonial capital 1713-1758. Parks Canada has done a remarkable job reconstructing about 25% of the site using the original written plans. Costumed actors helped make it an interesting visit. We also hiked around the ruins that have not been reconstructed.
Fortress at Louisbourg National Historic Site
Firing the cannon
Next, back to Cape Breton Highlands National Park, this time on the eastern side around Ingonish. Hikes to a waterfall, around a small lake, and out to the end of Middle Head that separates Ingonish Bay into two parts kept us busy. We couldn't leave Cape Breton Island without attending a ceilidh (pronounced kay-lee) with traditional fiddle music and dance. We heard about one at a local church hall and spent the evening enjoying the entertainment.
Mary Ann Falls, Cape Breton Highlands NP
Middle Head, Ingonish Bay
The view from the end of Middle Head
We returned to mainland Nova Scotia and followed the south shore to Halifax, making short stops at historic sites along the way. One of our campsites was right on the beach – it's nice falling asleep to the sound of the surf.
Our next major stop was Kejimkujik National Park. We enjoyed hiking the trails and a tour of the petroglyphs there with a Mi'kmaw park naturalist who told us some of the stories passed down by her ancestors. “Keji” is a designated Dark Sky Preserve and we had some clear nights to look at the stars and see the Milky Way spread across the night time sky. You don't get to do that anywhere near Houston!
Mills Falls on the Mersey River, Kejimkujik National Park, Nova Scotia
We needed a place to spend the Labour Day weekend, so we stayed in a campground in the Annapolis River Valley, east of Digby. (We steered clear of the Wharf Rat Motorcycle Rally in Digby). One interesting stop was a Tidal Power Generating Station on the Annapolis River. We also enjoyed the Port Royal National Historic Site, a reconstructed settlement circa 1605. Costumed actors were demonstrating woodworking, carpentry, blacksmithing, etc. There were clothes you could try on and I gave the wooden shoes a try . . . very uncomfortable.
Documenting the tide status at the Tidal Power Generating Station for an Earthcache.
Standing in wooden shoes was okay, but walking around was a bit tricky.
Hard to see, but Kris is poking her head out of the window at the Port Royal Habitation.
Beautiful gardens at Grand Pre
Statue of Longfellow's heroine, Evangeline
For the next week, we followed the shores along the Bay of Fundy on both the Nova Scotia and New Brunswick sides, stopping a lighthouses and beaches at low tide. One stop was at Burntcoat Head where the highest tides in the world occur, about 50 feet difference between high and low. We were lucky enough to have good timing and observed a tidal bore on the longest river in Nova Scotia. We visited geology related museums including Joggins Fossil Cliffs where the earliest lizard fossils have been found. We went on a tour and found fossils in the cliffs and on the beach. Great fun for a couple of science nerds!
It's hard to see Brian in the window at the top
Back into New Brunswick on September 8 and a three-day visit to Fundy National Park. Our last visit to the park was in 1988 (Mark was 18 months old and Phillip wasn't even born yet). We observed high and low tides in several places, including Point Wolfe. Kim remembers the location and she was only 7 years old at the time. We hiked every day and completed a geocaching challenge sponsored by Parks Canada. We made a side trip to Cape Enrage and observed the Bay of Fundy from that vantage point.
Alma Harbour, high tide
Alma Harbour, low tide
Point Wolfe Estuary, low tide
Fundy National Park
Point Wolfe Estuary, high tide
Fundy National Park
Barn Marsh Beach below Cape Enrage, New Brunswick
Dickson Falls, Fundy NP
Our time in Canada is almost over. People have been friendly and we get stopped every now and then by people who are curious about our truck and camper. The campground at Fundy had a communal campfire pit and we enjoyed evenings sharing our adventures with fellow campers, including some from Europe.
Our next objective is Maine and watching tree leaves change colors. We have seen a hint of yellow in the birch leaves already.
Brian's two cents :
Not much to add to what Kris said. We have NOT been going crazy doing Geocaches. We have averaged about ten a day, and they are usually where we are going anyway. Right now, we are sitting at our campsite in Fundy, and I'm watching a squirrel jumping around and looking for a handout.
As she said, it has been a super visit to Canada, but it is time to get back to the USA where we don't have to do mental conversions of kilometres to miles or Celcius to Farenheit! Everyone has been saying that we must be loving the good US to Canadian exchange rate. Well, it is good when I take $300 Canadian out of the ATM, and it comes out of our account as $245 U.S., but a pound of bananas is about a dollar, so we are only saving money from what Canadians pay. It is still more than what we pay for most things at home! And there is a 15% sales tax ... even postage stamps are taxed.
I'm looking forward to seeing a high school friend, Paul Minot, next weekend. He plays in a band, and we are planning on going to see them perform.
"I think this is the right way to the oldest cache in Canada."
Canada's first geocache - placed June 2000 (Nova Scotia)