Nova Scotia, Loving New Scotland
Welcome to the highest ocean tides in the world. Folks around Bay of Fundy, Nova Scotia adapt to tides from 47 to 54 feet.
We start to set up camp in Advocate Harbour, when a woman calls us over to her car, which contains seven small yapping terriers. “I know a campsite with much better ambiance,” she says. “Get your money back and follow me. It’s a bit hard to find. I’m Glenda. I’ve had three concussions.”Okay, how can we refuse that offer? Fifteen minutes later we set up camp on the edge of the Bay of Fundy at low tide, and watch eagles feast on easy prey. Yes, this former shipyard turned campground turns out to be a gem. Thank you, Glenda!In the morning as we watch the tide return, two women walk past our campsite carrying bags full of what we surmise to be clams. “Oh no,” Jan says. “This is dulse.” She grabs a handful and shows us. “Seaweed?” I ask. “Yes. We come here every year during a new moon to collect enough to last all year.” She explains that you dry it out in the sun until it gets crispy. “I like to leave the sea salt on it, but some people wash it first. It’s good for the blood.”Dulse contains a bunch of minerals like potassium and iron. Supposed to improve vision, immunity, bones, thyroid, lower blood pressure, and strengthen the brain. We now carry a bag of it in the truck and chew some every day. Thank you, Jan. We need all the brain help possible!After an outing to explore the Cape d’Or Lighthouse, we return to camp and watch the tide surround us. Soon we sleep to the sound of waves lapping within a few feet of our truck.Let’s hike part of the Coastal Trail in Cape Chignecto, an isolated wilderness area. Filled with many sea cliff views, this heart-pumper provides a sweaty workout.During the drive back to camp, we must wait in the truck for the road to clear from high tide. Good opportunity for a cold one. We have lots of fun driving around Nova Scotia, stopping in cool fishing villages for tastes of local craft beers and seafood delights.Marilynn finally finds some oysters to her liking, and I find scallops. As you can tell, folks are beyond friendly. After a week of camping, the rains decide to pour, presenting perfect timing for some luxury. We splurge on a harbor view room at the Cambridge Suites in Halifax. The hotel feels so good that I don’t leave it, not for one step, except from the parking lot. Marilynn walks around town in the rain, while I write in the luxurious room.
We happen to hit the hotel on Wednesday, when they have free drinks and hors d’oeuvres for an hour in the evening. Of course, we make friends with the free drink guy. Follow up in the morning with free breakfast, a gym workout complete with sauna and jacuzzi, and we’re strong, clean, ready for more camping and hiking.Driving the Cabot trail offers diverse scenery and excellent hiking opportunities.
Perhaps we expect to see more dramatic vistas due to the hype, but it’s still nice and will be spectacular when the fall colors come.Along the Celidh Trail, the scenery reminds us of Scotland. Of course, we have never been to Scotland, but almost feel as though we’re there.
The Skyline Trail wraps around an easy five-mile loop through boreal forest and coastal views. Fenced-off areas keep moose out so that the forest can grow.Otherwise, moose consume the saplings, leaving the terrain barren. Our good luck continues when we spot a mama moose eating the forest, despite the crowds and fences. Back at camp, to hell with lobster utensils. We have an ax!The first lighthouse in Canada was in Louisbourg. It’s no longer there, but they built one to replace it. The Lighthouse Trail traverses about 4 miles, weaving between boreal and Acadia forest, over bogs and fens, and Precambrian polished granite on the coastline.The French fought off the British here, and many shipwrecks lie somewhere under that ocean.Okay, it’s time to clean-up again, this time at Mountain Vista Seaside Cottages in Bras d’Or. We’ll cook our own food and reorganize the truck for the morning ferry ride to…, drum roll…, Newfoundland!