Our last day on Cape Breton Island was fairly lazy. Cleaned up the RV a little, drove up the coast to check out some scenic overlooks, and most important, stopped at a little bakery/cafe Linda found on the way back from whale watching.
I got one of “those” looks from Linda after I ordered a sausage roll thing and THREE pastries. While Linda ordered, I went out to the car to keep Dart company as he was not allowed in the cafe and no outdoor seating. Linda came out shortly, bags of lunch filling her arms, and we headed back to the RV. It was a nice day and we sat outside to eat. I was unpacking the bags and sorting out dishes for each of us. There’s my sausage and three pastries, there’s Linda’s soup and salad, of course, but what’s this… THREE more pastries! And she was giving ME the look?!
It was all good and I even saved the brownie for later. After letting the lunch goodness settle for a couple of hours I thought it would be a good idea to go on a hike.
Just across the road was a trail up to the top of Broad Mountain. I grabbed the pack, some water, the camera and got on the bike to peddle over to the trail. As I was warning up during the first 100 meters or so, I found myself thinking about the nice smooth carriage roads of Acadia. This trail was rough, probably the roughest one so far. Most of the geology “up here” is granite rock with a very thin layer of dirt, well just dust really. Anything that needs roots to grow will need to send them out along the ground not down. This causes many roots to be exposed when a path is repeatedly walked on, as well as various sized granite rocks. Not smooth walking at all! At about the half way point there was a bench with a view point. It seems no matter the trail, there are always benches placed along the way.
Time for a break and to snap a picture. As I was putting the camera back into the pack, I remembered how, on this trip alone, we have missed several photo opportunities because the cameras where not readily in reach or we just didn’t bring them. Hiking with a camera in hand is not comfortable but if I’m going to turn a corner and surprise a moose, I want to snap the photo of the goofy look on the moose’s face as he watches an exhausted hiker fall backwards, down the hill, while snapping pictures.
Well I didn’t see a moose but no more than 50 meters later I turned a corner and spied a bird in the trail. Camera at the ready I snapped away. The bird was wary but did not bolt. I got some shots but most were in shaded spots. Maybe Linda can work some Lightroom magic and make them usable. I continued to the top where I found some great views!
The views were great. I could stand in one spot and see Warren lake, which we hiked around with Dart. I could see the town of Ignoish, Broad Cove, the Keltic lodge, Middle head, our camp ground, and Smoky Cape. All of these places, we had spent time at and loved every minute. I wanted to stay longer but there was a brownie calling my name from the campground!
On the way down, camera still at the ready in my hand, I ran into that same bird! The lighting was still bad, this time with the sun behind the bird. I slowly walked closer, snapping photos step by step. As I crept along the trail, the bird would keep a distance of about 1.5 meters. I crept closer, he would move away. This went on for about 5-6 meters, I would take a few steps, snapping photos and the bird would take a few steps until the trail widened a bit.
I think by this time the bird did not think of me as a threat and as the bird went wide right on the trail, I went wide left. The closest we got was just 1 meter between us and I was snapping photos all the way! Now with the light behind me and shining on the bird, I was hoping to get some very nice shots. Well they turned out ok, not NAT GEO stuff but we should be able to identify the bird.
The rest of the way down I started to worry. You see, Linda is the Photo editor and I was thinking I just ripped off 70-80 photos of ONE bird. Good thing I kept a brownie in reserve! As it turns out, a day later when she got a chance to download the pictures, I had taken over 200 shots of just that one bird!
As I write this, one of the things that occurs to me is that trips like this are make up of small, unforgettable moments. I will not remember all of this trip but I will remember this bird. I will remember carrying the kayaks across 50 meters of mud flats because of the tides. I will remember the crab we saw, on the same mud flat, making his way back to deeper water wearing a long piece of seaweed like a scarf. I can just hear him saying “don’t mind me, just a bit of seaweed floating on the tide”.