Friday, July 19, 2013

The Island II

"I have seen the Canadian and American Rockies, the Andes, the Alps and the Highlands of Scotland, but for simple beauty, Cape Breton outrivals them all."  Alexander Graham Bell.

We made a brief stop at his visitor center in Baddeck.  The following pictures are from this 

This pretty Catholic Church looked inviting with its open door, so we walked in for a look.  There were many rosaries for the taking and you were promised to 
be blessed by taking one.  We did.

We enjoyed this little town, and if we ever go back, we will spend more time there.

This is the courthouse of the town of Baddeck.

This is a map of the island.  The upper loop is the Cabot Trail. The shaded area is the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.

We paid our entry fee of $25.00 to enter the park at the Ingonish Visitor Center.

One of the first scenic pull offs was at Lakies Head on the east side of the island with vast views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Then came Green Cove where we stopped for some time.  As you can see, it is beautiful here.

A short walk out to the point on this nice wooden boardwalk.

We were entertained with lots of these gannets feeding in the waters pretty close to shore.

And for all the geologists, the rocks were interesting.

The rock island behind me was filled with cormorants.  From my birds eye view, I enjoyed the time we spent there.  Did not see any whales though.

When we reached Pleasant Bay, it was time for lunch at the Rusty Anchor located on the west side now looking onto the Gulf of St. Lawrence.  We enjoyed our meal of flounder and haddock prepared just right. Good restaurant with a nice view.

In this scenic picture, the red building at the bottom is the restaurant I just mentioned and the village of Pleasant Bay.

Couldn't pass this up, a nice walk through a bog where we saw orchids, pitcher plants, sundews and many more things.

We camped our second night at the Cheticamp entrance of the park.  Our plan was to get up early, backtrack to hike the Skyline Trail, Nova Scotia's premier hiking trail.  We did not have breakfast first, and Wallace did not even whimper!  tee hee.  

The view was absolutely stunning. The road is coming down French Mountain toward Pleasant Bay.

The hike was only 4 miles, we took the shorter distance.  We did get a Boreal Chickadee and a Mourning Warbler among other birds.

After our hike, we broke camp and drove into Cheticamp for breakfast.  It is a beautiful Acadian Village where they greet you with Bonjour.

Another one of those beautiful churches in Cheticamp.  The west side of the island is French, with the east side being English and Scotch.

A couple of parting shots...there are many more...but...

Going into Canada, we were asked several questions...entering the states, we were welcomed home.  A mighty fine trip indeed.

Until next time...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Cape Breton Island...

and the Cabot Trail in Nova Scotia was our planned destination on our days off this week.  Our goal was to drive the trail, camp out, enjoy the scenery, food and music of the area.

We left at 5:00 am with an easy crossing from Calais.  I will say now, it was a ten hour drive.

Our first stop was at an Irvings where we ate breakfast and topped off the tank ($1.37 a can do the math).  Expensive!!! This is when we discovered we needed to notify our bank in order to use the debit card in Canada.  Not a problem.

Notice the flag of Nova Scotia.  To get here, you drive through New Brunswick first.  We are now at the visitor center in Amherst.

This fellow who helped us at the desk was kind enough to step over for his picture.  He played the bagpipes earlier for the visitors. The colors of the tartan.
Black: for the wealth of our coal miners.  Grey: for our Cape Breton steel.  Green: for our lofty mountains, our valleys and our fields.  Gold: for the golden sunsets, shining bright on the lakes of the Bras d' Or, to show God's hand lingered to bless Cape Breton's shores.  

We stopped for lunch in Antigonish. We just happened upon the university where we were entertained with the music of the bagpipe.

To get to the island, we crossed over the Straight of Canso via the rock causeway you can see in the distance.

WE MADE IT!!!  It is now about 2:30 pm. We make a brief stop at the visitor center for more information.  While there, I had a lady approach me and ask if I would say something. I was taken aback.  She loved my accent she said.  We had a nice visit.

This is the Provincial Park where we spent our first night in our tent.  The washrooms were world class...very tidy and clean.  It is located near the Bras d' Or Lake.  It is pronounced Bra Door.

We got it all set up and the last thing to do was air up the mattress. Oopsie daisy...the hose to our pump was not in the box!  Oh no, it's 4:00 pm.  We finally found a pump in the town of Baddeck we think will work. Hooray!!! Our little suite.

We fell in love with this little town.  First, they were able to help us out by having a pump that worked.  Just across the street was this wonderful little bakery/cafe.

It is the Highwheeler Cafe and Bakery.  We were told by Bill, about oatcakes and had to try them.  We purchased a bag of six for $4.95. They are wonderful.

The next morning, we went back to have breakfast and buy 7 more bags of those oatcakes.  Bill has asked us to speak at the Rotary Club Wednesday, so these are to share with the group afterwards.  Bill also has a bag coming.

This is what the oatcakes look like.  A bag of six squares.  Does Wallace look pleased?  He really felt bad about not checking out that pump before we left, but this picture was taken after we bought another pump.  $$$$.  We really lucked out...a pump that saved the trip and OATCAKES.

That morning, we had the delight of meeting the owner.  He has been in business for 18 years.
As we left, Wallace wished him success in his business...we all had a good laugh.  My breakfast sandwich was made with porridge bread.  Everything was excellent...even the coffee.  From 1 to 10, this place rates a 10.  We ate our breakfast while visiting with folks from PEI.  They noticed our license plates which always starts a conversation.

Come back for part II later.

Until next time...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

A Morning on the Water


This is the way we spent our 4th festivities out on the water at Bearce Lake inside the wilderness area here at Moosehorn NWR.

All loaded up and ready to roll!!!

Paddling around this little island, so picturesque. 

Bill Kolodnicki, refuge manager, suggested we go out and look for the Rose Pagonia, a member of the orchid family, and find we did.  We also found Calopogon, or Grass Pink, another orchid.  Their habitat is sphagnum fens or bogs.

They don't show up in this photo, and not one of my close ups were good.  There is a Pitcher Plant in the center of the picture that has gone by and all the pink spots are the orchids...there were MANY of them.  The flowers are quite small.  Now if I can only find a Fairy Slipper...(cedar swamps).

I was hoping to see a baby on the back of this Common Loon, but no such luck...did see one at Vose Pond...too far off for a photo.

A day to go barefooted.  Notice the little bare feet on my toe ring.  I love to go barefooted.  My mamas pet name for me was Barefoot Annie as Ann is my middle name.

What a wonderful day to be out on the mixed in with exercise.

Until next time...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Critters, Flowers and Good Coffee

This is the bud of a Yellow 
Goat's-beard.  At the base of the bud is a frothy white mass that looks like human spit, and that is what protects the little nymph of a Spittle Bug.  Have you ever examined the gooey stuff to find what is hiding inside?  Below is the little green nymph that is on my can see how small it is.  The Spittle Bug is a plant eating insect.  

And the flower looks like this...

We have an American Robin nest by the door at headquarters.

The eggs hatched...

and we have four naked babies...

begging to be fed.  I worried those eggs would never hatch as mama would flush every time someone would enter the building.  They all made it and as you can see, they are getting so big in their little nest.

Have you ever been measured for a new finger?  I had a lot of fun just watching this little inchworm doing all sorts of movements on my finger.  The inchworm is a larva of moths.  It's irregular projections resemble twigs...its camouflage.  (Hey, I even spelled it right the first time).  Sometimes the little worm would rear up, looking much like a twig.

This is an Orange Belted Bumble Bee.  I think it is a drone as there is a yellow band after the two orange bands.  Anyway, it was acting very peculiar...digging into the ground for awhile, then flying up and around and back to the ground.

The Wild Lupine are blooming and absolutely gorgeous.

The Clintonia (Woodlily) are now through blooming.

This male Northern Parula and his mate were flitting about behind our back window.  I didn't think I would ever get a decent picture of them.  Look at his yellow feet!!!

With the turtles nesting, Bill made up these cute signs and asked if we would take them to our auto tour road and put them up.  We came across 5 Painted Turtles in no time.

We drove out to check on our photo blind out by one of the impoundments to make sure it wasn't floating again and discovered another was on the door of the blind!!!  An Eastern Phoebe nest.  We have not been back to check on it yet.

Another favorite...a salamander.  Always check under rocks, logs...really anything, as there are things that hide under there.

I am not a coffee drinker...but I like this coffee...made in Maine.  Also a nice scenic setting in this picture.

Until next time...