Following our Day After Tomorrow experience in Newfoundland, we thought it best to check the weather for Cape Breton BEFORE we got there to make sure that we were all clear for camping (we’re learning).
Sure enough, they were forecasting a lightening storm our first night.
Of course they were.
It wasn’t even a question, we just started calling hotels. Surprisingly, the best deal we got on a pet-friendly hotel was IN the National Park, in a private cabin attached to a 4-star hotel with a full buffet breakfast. Things were starting to look up.
Strangely enough, so was the weather. To the point where we weren’t convinced there was even going to BE a storm.
And then it started.
If you’ve never experienced fog in Cape Breton, it really is like no other. Over the course of an hour, the entire peninsula we were on became engulfed in fog. It came rolling out of the water like a bad horror movie, fog so thick you literally couldn’t see two feet in front of your face.
We sat outside watching it, fascinated, until the rain and lightning started up and our PTSD from the day before kicked in. Even the dogs were like, NOPE (they usually don’t mind thunder and lightning) …. so we decided to head to bed early to plan tomorrow’s adventure along the Skyline Trail.
(For those of you NOT in the know… the Skyline Trail is a 7km hike with some of the most beautiful views of the coast of Cape Breton.)
10 minutes into our planning we were out. Comatose. And we slept like bricks.
The next morning I did NOT want to get up. After 48 hours of high stress and no sleep, cramped in a car or the boat equivalent of an airplane seat, I felt like someone had fried my brain and smashed my body with hammers.
I did my best grumpy cat impression through breakfast, hoping Dustin would take the hint and let me go back to bed, but instead he was gleefully oblivious (on purpose…the Skyline Trail was one of his must-sees), pleasantly loading me into the car like a parent dealing with an obnoxious preteen.
AND to make matters worse, he was so gung-ho about experiencing the scenery, he wouldn’t even let me play my “it’s so bright, I need to have sunglasses on” game (a thinly veiled attempt to sleep in the car). So… I adjusted my resting bitch face and created another game to amuse myself.
Turns out you can drive Dustin absolutely crazy by intentionally mispronouncing French words while pretending you’re ABSOLUTELY sure that’s how they’re pronounced.
Example: the plague.
Turns out there are lots of plagues in Cape Breton… or plages (beaches). Whatever.
When I wasn’t torturing my husband, my second favourite thing to do was say “The Cabot Trail” like the lucky charms commercial. Even he was amused by this antic and it started catching on.
There’s absolutely no way to type it how it sounds (I’ve tried for the last 10 minutes) so you’ll just have to say it out loud. It’s actually hilarious.
At first we weren’t buying into the hype of the Cabot Trail (say it!!), but you need to cut it some slack and give it a few bends of the road to warm up before passing judgement.
On one side are mountains covered in a mosaic of different-hued green trees and on the other are stark cliffs with impossibly blue-colored water smashing violently against the rocks below. The road snakes through them like an expert navigator, exploiting the views while trying to kill you with its death-defying corners. It’s like an episode straight out of Top Gear… the old one, not the reboot.
It was heaven.
We were just settling into the drive when Dustin *STOPPED* abruptly and pulled over to the side of the road…
Now, this is where our stories differ.
MY recollection of events is that we were an hour into the two hour drive and Dustin suddenly remembered dogs weren’t allowed on the trail.
HIS recollection is that we were only half an hour away from the hotel, and divine intervention caused him to randomly pull over, Google the trail, and learn for the first time that dogs were prohibited.
You know, whatever sounds more reasonable. Either way, we were effed.
Me being me, I immediately questioned the exclusionary nature of this so-called pet ban, but it turns out Parks Canada had good reason: during calving season moose become very aggressive towards dogs. Plus, it was a high density bear and coyowolf area as well.
Kudos to Parks Canada for preventing our untimely demise.
They also scored brownie points when the 4K trail they recommended as a backup (Middlehead) was literally, and I’m not kidding, LITERALLY 10 meters behind our cabin. We had no idea it there or even that the peninsula extended that far.
(There’s a super cool pic of the peninsula on our IG here.)
Fine, Parks Canada was still batting 1000, but to say I was unimpressed with Dustin would be putting it mildly. So I decided to reinstate the plague game but up the ante: stop at every plague on our way back along the coast and make him pose for pictures while saying plague.
“Omg the plague! Is it weird that our dogs love the plague?! Should we call someone and let them know the plague is in Canada?!”
Highly immature, yes. But also highly entertaining because, like his father, Dustin hates when you’re not being accurate.
By the time we got back to the hotel, I’m sure Dustin was ready to drown me on a plague.
That evening we hiked our “backyard trail” and were so impressed we didn’t regret missing the Skyline Trail. I even dropped the constant public health warnings.
The views were absolutely amazing, and because it was a lesser known trail, they were ours to experience alone.
On our last day we drove the rest the Cabot Trail (say it!!) as it wound around the coast, on our way to PEI. It had been silent in the car for a while, the dogs sleeping after a long walk. I was “hanging out with sunglasses on” and I decided that I wanted one more shot at Dustin for the extra 2 hours in the car the day before…
(Keep in mind he’s used to my antics and doesn’t ever take me seriously.)
“OH MY GOD, DUSTIN! STOP!!!” I said as I feigned importance. “The plague! It’s following us down the coast!!”
If looks could kill, I’d be dead, but much more importantly, we were even.
Hoping you find some good plagues next time you come to the Cape,
Sonia (and Dustin)
And the plague infected toddler huskies.
If you’d like a closer look at Cape Breton, here’s the promotional video for the Cabot Trail (that’s our hotel in the video)…