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Posted By Robin & Jim

The weather finally improved and we were able to run up the east coast of Nova Scotia to Cape Breton - the northern island.  This is my favorite part of the trip - the Bras d'Or Lake (really a very long and complex inlet to the ocean) is so beautiful and quiet and dramatic, and there are many anchorages and places to explore.  The way you get into the Lake on the south end of the island is through the tidal lock at the town of St. Peters.

st. peters lock

The lock is run by Parks Canada and was built in the 1850's to replace a portage for ships.  Once the lock gates are open we have to wait until someone gets in a truck and drives up to the little bridge and opens it.  It's an old and slow bridge, so we take our time cruising through the very narrow canal cut through the rock.  After a few rainy days and two nice anchorages where we could watch bald eagles, we cruised up into the northern part of the Lake to the town of Baddeck - the home of Alexander Graham Bell and a place for us to leave the boats by day and explore the famous Cabot trail.

baddeck lighthouse

The Cabot Trail is a scenic drive that runs around much of Cape Breton island, and includes the Cape Breton Highlands National Park at the northern end.  We rented a car and headed up the western side the first day - along the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

cabot trail west


pleasant bay

We stopped to hike the spectacular Skyline trail.  At the trail head there was a Park Ranger talking about the local wildlife, and the discussion about moose was most interesting since there is always a good chance of seeing moose on the trail.
The Ranger had some moose antlers - each antler weighs about 25 lbs, so you can imagine the size of the animal that carries 50 lbs of antlers on its head!

moose antlers

She also had a casting of a moose footprint, which was really interesting to see in Jim's big hands. 

moose footprint

These are really large animals, normally pretty quiet, but give them a healthy dose of respect if you encounter one.  Unfortunately we only saw moose droppings, but no actual moose this time.  We ran into other people on the trail who saw some, but all our diligent looking was for naught.  The last time we hiked Skyline we saw two moose, so we know they are around.  Tomorrow we'll explore up the eastern side of the Cabot Trail.


 
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