This year for our Thanksgiving, which is different from American Thanksgiving, we decided to get in one last camping trip before the fall weather cools down. Jonnie and I visited Cape Breton, NS in the summer of 2008 when we were expecting Jesse. Jonnie was playing in a baseball tournament and there had been an evacuation in our community due to a forest fire. Even though I was 8+ months pregnant I made the 6-7 hour drive with the team and our new puppy Bearbear.
Every year since then we have vowed we are going to take our kids to the Cabot Trial in Cape Breton and fit in as many hikes as we were able. What could be a more suitable time than during the autumn foliage. Fast forward 8 years and we finally made it! I think it was due to the impending Costa Rica trip and a finality we were feeling towards our Canadian climate. One day I sat down, looked at our schedules and decided we were going to book the weekend of Thanksgiving and go no matter what. If we hadn’t booked it in advance we wouldn’t go…it happened every year prior.
We stayed in a hut called an oTENTik and it was blissful. It was made of canvas with a propane heater to keep the chill off and had room to sleep 6 comfortable. We still managed all our meals outside on the charcoal BBQ or fire pit but had a shelter for a bit of privacy a tent is lacking.
The Cabot Trail is amazingly breath taking, the views make you feel small and a smile creeps upon your face while looking out to the sea or inwards to the mountains. We did mainly hiking, which is what the trial know for, and we able to fit in quite a few despite lugging a 8, 6 and 4-year-old along with us. A lot of families are unaware that Parks Canada has scavenger hunts and booklets set up for kids throughout their parks. Last summer the boys completed a workbook for kejimkujik National Park and received a dog tag with the parks logo on it. This year we stopped at the Ranger Lodge to grab our booklets right off the bat. Our first few hikes were for the boys to collect their stamps and get a sense of the beauty in the park. At the end of the trip we had hiked all 7 of the trials they required and had filled out/ completed all the activities for them to receive a new dog tag for Cabot Trial National Park. These books get the family involved and the kids start paying attention to the wild life around them. Plus, they got to hunt for moose poop and really, what could be more fun for young boys than POOP?!
The very last hike of the weekend was the longest and coldest, but the best one we had. It was rivaled by only one other which was a hike to the top of a mountain with moose calling out to each other all around us. The view from the top was probably my favorite one, sitting with the boys watching the ant sized cars in the distance and waiting for Mr. Moose to call to his wife again. Memories. The Skyline Trial though, that is a hike every Nova Scotia should have to do before they call themselves a bluenoser. You can choose from either a 2 hour same way trial or a 4 hour loop along the back side. Of course, we chose the longer loop just to make things interesting. It was during this hike that we found our moose we had been searching every path for and it was this hike that had the views artists paint.
7 hours is what it took us to drive to Cape Breton in Northern Nova Scotia, the same amount of time it would have taken to fly across Country, already the boys are talking about going in the summer of 2017. It was our favorite Canadian Thanksgiving together so far, even without the turkey dinner and pumpkin pie. We had baked beans and wieners followed by s’mores instead and it fit us perfectly!
Check out our album of the trip below!