Cape Breton 2015 Ruthie's birthday surprise!

It seems nearly all our friends knew that I was planning a surprise for Ruth's birthday, but somehow it managed to stay a secret! Little things were beginning to leak out, so she knew not to plan anything for that weekend, but thought she had things figured out.

The night before her birthday I gave her a card with a poem in it, telling her to get her clothing packed, and where we were going. Early the next morning, we flew to Halifax, where we spent a pleasant evening, and, in the morning, drove to Cape Breton Island.

Left: Church, near Baddeck, NS; Right: Shoreline along the Cabot Trail

There were charming, white, wood-framed churches all along the roads, and the Cabot Trail passes by many great views.

At the entry point into the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, we hiked up one of the nearby trails, where we found a nice place to sit and admire the stunning views (captured with my phone).

Farther north, at Ingonish Harbour, we checked out the possibility of a whale watching trip (but it was not to be, as the winds were too strong), and captured the fleet of fishing boats in the harbour.

There are several beautiful waterfalls along the Cabot Trail. We drove in on a dirt road to find our way to the short hike to Mary Ann Falls.

We actually drove the Cabot Trail on two consecutive days. Due to circumstances too unbelievable and convoluted to disclose, the first day I set off without my camera (hence the phone camera shots). It turned out to be a blessing in disguise, as the second day we took some side trips, and discovered several more waterfalls, that we didn't see the first day.

Near Black Head Cove
Near Black Head Cove
Near South Harbour

Just above Petit Etang we found a small, rocky, beach, with sea stacks and crashing waves.

After exiting the park near Cheticamp, we continued to Margaree Harbour, where we found the Calvin Church backlit by the sun

Proceeding on to the Ceilidh (pronounced Kaylee) Trail, we went to Port Hood, to see if we could find a good sunset. We were not disappointed! First we sat in the parking area near the beach (it was windy and cold out!), and saw that the sun would go down first over the small sand dunes.

Then we hurried to the waters' edge, to set up the tripod for the sunset image.

The next day we went from Baddeck to nearby Uisge Ban Falls (pronounced Ish-ka-ban). Hiking to the falls, the stream has many small waterfalls and rapids.

At Uisge Ban Falls, itself, there are two levels. What you are seeing in the first photograph, below, is the lower falls. From this vantage point you really can not even see the upper falls, which fall from the right, high above these lower falls, into a pool, and make a 90-degree turn to the left, to make the lower falls.

With encouragement from some (much) younger visitors, we scrambled across the stream and up the tiny path to the top of the lower falls, so we could see, and photograph, the upper falls. These falls look a bit odd, because they are at a diagonal from the camera, and come toward it, into the pool, and, turning left, fall over the lower falls. In fact, about three inches to the right of my feet is a sheer drop to the base of the falls.

The lake at Baddeck, Bras d'Or Lake, is home to hundreds of nesting pairs of bald eagles. We had seen one in flight while driving, and had hopes of seeing many more. We took a cruise on the schooner Amoeba in the afternoon. However, the day had been very windy, and the skipper said he had not seen a single eagle, all through the day. We had a lovely sail, seeing the summer home of Alexander Graham Bell (we had been to the Bell Museum in the morning), and were resigned to not seeing eagles, when, as we neared the pier for our return, the Captain called out, "There's one in the tree." We circled around, and he threw a frozen fish (frozen fish apparently float well) into the water. Sure enough, the eagle flew to the boat, but on seeing that the current had carried the fish back against the schooner, the eagle wheeled around and returned to his perch. A second fish was thrown, and this time the eagle retrieved it from the water. Shortly after we had sailed beyond it, a second eagle flew out and grabbed the first fish.

Our last day on Cape Breton Island, we drove to Sydney and Glace Bay, then drove part of the Marconi Trail and Bras d'Or Trail. I would like to tell you how we were navigating the old fashioned way (no GPS), so at one point we seem to have made a wrong turn, and ended up on a dirt road for a looooong while, then providentially turned up at an unplanned ferry ride, which put us back on the right path, but Ruth doesn't want me to mention it, so I'd best keep it a secret.

Upon returning to Halifax, we just had time to re-visit Peggy's Cove, which we had visited previously. It is a wonderfully picturesque lighthouse on a rock point. This visit there were several tour busses which unloaded while we were there. That made it a bit of a challenge to get photos without tourists in them.

Hope - life on the rocks, Peggy's Cove

Next to Peggy's Cove Lighthouse is Peggy's Cove - one of the loveliest little fishing coves you would ever want to see.

Hope you enjoyed the view of the surprise birthday for Ruth! I'll leave you with one more - the giant fiddle at Sydney, taken especially to show Brendan Young, who is learning violin.

Created By
Scott Thomas


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