Welcome to Cape Breton Island! We traveled along the Cabot trail as we made our way along the coastline of Cape Breton Island. The long winding road led us along rugged shorelines and winding mountainous passes that were chock full of lush trees and breathtaking views. I enjoyed the pristine non commercial aspect of it all. To show you how non commercialized it is, during one evening we came close to running out of fuel because we couldn't find a town with a gas station that was open past 6pm. At exactly 6pm sharp most of the gas stations close for the night, that would have been a good fact to know beforehand. We are so used to our 24 hour modern conveniences that in some ways I found it almost refreshing to see the lack of convenience. Life has a slower pace here, spending time with family is more important then keeping a store open after dark. What a dramatic contrast from the frantic lifestyle we live in Chicago.
The highlight of Cape Breton Island was our travels to a tiny remote cove that a local told us was a “must see.” Would you believe this charming place is called “Meat Cove.” Don’t let the name fool you, it was such an incredible place. We traveled along a cliff hugging bumpy dirt road to this secret hideaway. Later we heard that a few years ago this dirt road was completely washed out during a big rain storm trapping people in the cove for days. There's something about the thought of being “trapped” in this cove that would be a welcomed reprieve, it’s just that peaceful. We walked along the rocky beaches and onto wooden boardwalks with not another person in sight. Up on the green cliffs I could see campers setting up their tents for the night and the smell of their campfires mixing with the fresh sea air made for a rather intoxicating elixir.
Our trip was full of many moments of pause, long uninterrupted conversations, breathing deeply, looking out and allowing the eyes to see beyond their normal capacity and into a future without limitation. The sea air and the vastness of the ocean has a gravitational pull on my soul, much like the moon pulls at the tides. The untamable vastness seems to shift my momentum and reorganizes my very own landscape.
As we were leaving Cape Breton Island we had one final stop to make in a town called Baddeck. It is such a charming quaint harbor town. I had been told of a sailboat tour that takes you around the harbor with views of the coastline, a chance to see Alexander Graham Bells estate and allows you to see Eagles in their natural habitat. Eagles! That's all I needed to hear. Count me in!!! We boarded the 67 ft hand built sailboat and what an amazing experience was about to be had. For me it was all about the eagles, let me tell you all about it. We sailed to a tiny island where a pair of nesting eagles live. Get this, their names are Alex and Mabel. Alex saw our sailboat pulling near and I watched as he sat high on his perch awaiting the dinner bell to toll. It was a perfectly orchestrated circus act of sorts. Our Captain held out a big fish and he yelled, "Aaaalex, coooome and geeeeeet iiiiiiit!" My heart was pounding with excitement as I watched Alex spread his giant wings and lift from his perch as he set his flight path into the wind. Majestically he soared toward his great reward. He swooped down right next to our boat and grabbed his fish and made his way back to his little island. I later said, "Mike, wasn't that amazing to see Alex grab that fish with his hands?" Mike politely said, "Lynne, Alex does not have hands, he has talons." Hands, talons...it was an amazing display. Oh, and yes, we did sail past Alexander Graham Bell's estate, but for some reason that just didn't hold the same excitement as watching Alex.
As we drove away from Cape Breton Island I was once again struck by the power of nature and it's untamed beauty. I'm already making plans for a return visit.