Monday, October 20, 2014

Cape Breton Hikes

On our fall trip to the Maritime provinces there was a lot of driving and sightseeing and not much time for hiking. I took my opportunities when Don was on the golf course. So on this day, I dropped him off at Highlands Links, near here:

then drove to the Franey trailhead, just off the Cabot Trail near Ingonish.

Franey is a 7.4 km loop.

I never saw either hawks or coyotes - not the season, I think.

Franey, an arduous climb to a look-out point, starts out calmly on a level accessible track.

It curves around and starts to climb through the forest.There are some giant boulders and a breathtaking view partway along.

The sun peeks through from time to time, but mostly there is a Scotch mist in the air. I'm torn about whether to stop to put on my raincoat.

This waterfall can be heard from a ways off.

And there is moss hanging from the trees.

The trail starts to climb....

Nature's signpost?

The trail got a bit tougher-going but was still clearly well-maintained although there were a lot of large and small branches on the path, the result of a bad storm the previous day (Sept. 21)

Finally the reward:

A clear view of North and South Bays, divided by Middle Head, my next walk destination. Keltic Lodge can be seen. 

See that lake in the middle? The trail wraps around it, but not close enough to see.

Ok...a selfie at the top once I caught my breath. 

I took some time on the way down to photograph some interesting mushrooms.

Now on to Middlehead, a 3.8 km loop.

These are the farm gates

and the old water trough for cattle.

As you might expect, since the Middlehead Trail is along the coast, the views are splendid!

There was a good supply of nesting materials for hawks, ospreys and eagles.

The views at the end were so worth the walk

I could see why families of young children might want to tie a leash onto them.


There were still a few fall flowers and berries along the trail.

Even though Middlehead Trail is supposedly easy and "mostly level with short climbs", I thought it very nice that there were several benches along the trail and I may have availed myself of one of them on the way back. 

One thing that surprised me about the trail is that it never got down to sea level, which is not how I had pictured it when still at home, planning the trip. I looked for but never saw any marine life - probably not the right time of year.

Two hikes and just over 11 km. later, I was ravenous and when Don texted that his golf game was over, we quickly decided to meet in the bar at Keltic Lodge for some seafood chowder. 

I also did a bit of walking in PEI and will blog about that separately.