Monday, August 8, 2016


My title should really read "Sydney NS to Ingonish NS by way of Gabarus NS".  Here are a few more pics of this journey.
The village of Gabarus, with the harbor as seen from one of the public rights of way.  Yet another picturesque old fishing village. 
My personal favorite pic of this area doesn't show quite that same level of development, however.
In fact, it doesn't show any development at all.  Somewhere between Gabarus and the similar nearby fishing village of Fourchu, I had bought some waterfront acreage more than 20 years ago.  We tent-camped on it last year after flying up and paying excess airline baggage fees for our camping equipment, but this was the first time we had ever occupied the land in our Interstate.  Initially, I wasn't even sure that we could get the low-clearance Interstate down the old private road leading into it, but with careful driving, it did prove to be possible.  
A few pics of this wilderness property, including some macro shots.
I believe that's a Chanterelle mushroom, although I wouldn't bet my life on it.  
I don't know what these are, but they're cute. 
Also cute.  
Part of my land is actually low and wetland-y, hence the mushrooms and ferns.  
I said I "own" the land, but a more accurate term is "claim".  Or perhaps "pay taxes on" would be even more precise!  Twenty-odd years ago when I first acquired the property, I used to think, "Somehow all these beach rocks have a 'my-ness' component to them."  
Sunset over "my" cove.  
After a rare overnight on my own land, we did a little exploring up and down the coast.  The area is in a bit of existential limbo (in my view) because of the way the government has defined the public lands that make up the unique ecosystem that is now called the Gabarus Wilderness Area.
Tap to expand - excerpt from the government website.  They simultaneously seem to discourage access to this area (by leaving the assets "unmanaged" and thus quite rough in places) but neither do they prohibit access.  They simply state that it can be accessed, albeit in a rather uncontrolled manner.  
I had hiked the Gull Cove trail when I was a child, and given that there were unusually strong southwest winds when we were in the area, we decided to brave the broken-down boardwalks and muddy trail ruts (see this blog post regarding waterproof floor mats for the Interstate) for a hike through this area.  One advantage of a "no managed trail" outdoor venue is that there was nobody else on it, even though we were there on a Saturday afternoon in mid-summer.
The pic shown directly below was taken approximately at the location shown by the arrow.  You can see why this coastal destination would be a good choice in conditions of extremely strong southwest winds. 

Miles of coastline all to ourselves to enjoy.  And the wind on our backs.  Very peaceful. 
After our hike, we decided to take a look at the newly-refurbished lighthouse in the area, as it had been the subject of a lot of press coverage ("saved from the brink" style).
The pile of rubble in the foreground shows what we assume to have been the former foundation area.  After being moved, the lighthouse was repaired and repainted (five coats!).  It is still a working aid to navigation.  Although GPS electronic locator equipment is now standard equipment, fishermen still rely in part on physical confirmation via triangulation between this and another local beacon.  
With its horizontal garnet stripe and general configuration, I may never look at our Interstate again without seeing... a stylized lighthouse.
The more I looked at the Interstate, the more I could see the echoes.  Even the tapered body shape and rear doors seemed to mimic the general lighthouse design. 
Due to the unusual weather pattern (which included the strong southwest winds), and the cloud formations were pretty amazing at sunset.
The little lighthouse that could, surrounded by multiple layers of clouds, all very dynamic and unstable.  
We returned to Sydney briefly before striking out for parts north.
Along the way, we had several local meals at nonprofit venues.  Much of this sparsely-populated area cannot sustain conventional restaurants, and so fundraiser meals are a frequently offered by community groups (and in fact they are offered even where the population density does support restaurants).  This was a traditional Nova Scotia salt cod dinner served by a local Legion.  We also had a breakfast served by a local church.  Last year we attended a phenomenal potluck at a local volunteer fire hall.  All one has to do while traveling is watch for the signs advertising these feasts, as they are very common.  
Our destination of Ingonish is accessed via the world-famous Cabot Trail, which is long overdue for replacement in some locations.
This section of the Cabot Trail pre-dates me, and I'm over half a century old.  They are working on it, but it's extremely difficult to drive an Interstate over the likes of this.  In some locations, I could not exceed 30 mph.  Furthermore with the edges of the road in total collapse, I had to treat it as a one-lane road here and there.  Passenger cars have an easier time with the likes of this.  
We stopped at the well-known Wreck Cove General Store for their remarkable lobster sandwiches.
Our dog certainly was pleased to get a break from the rough roads.  
Continuing on to Ingonish, we were again greeted by continuing remarkable weather in the form of dualing air masses from the south and north (there was even a tornado warning for part of Cape Breton Island, which is extremely rare for a location this far north).
Ingonish harbor near sunset.  This pic was taken with an iPhone.
Our first night in Ingonish in the Interstate was extremely comfortable and peaceful, as it tends to be a bit cooler the farther north one travels in Cape Breton.
Crashed-out doggie, resting up for near-future adventures.

-- Stay tuned for Part 3. --

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