Cape Breton, Nova Scotia: Sensory Perfection

Everyone’s heard of sensory deprivation–you know, when you go in one of those little tanks to mediate?  And anyone who has been to a high school football game can also describe the sensation of sensory overload.  But on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, I experienced a third option:  sensory perfection.

We drove all the way from Pennsylvania to Nova Scotia so we could drive around some more.  Yes, this sounds insane–but only if you’ve never been to Cape Breton.

My little car...at the end of the world!

Driving on Cape Breton was an attraction in and of itself.  We turned impossible corners on the edges of cliffs, with the ocean opening up before us, while listening to O Fortuna and Dance of the Swans.  Amazing views gave way to even more amazing views, and at one point it was literally impossible to not smile whilst zigging and zagging on the curvy roads.

View from the side of the road, just north of Cheticamp

The view from the passenger's seat!

Have you ever seen one of those sweeping epic travel videos?  The ones where beautiful music plays whilst showing footage from what must have been a helicopter swooping between cliffs?  Yeah–it was kind of like that…but in a Scion hatchback.

Of course, we didn’t ‘just’ drive.  We also pulled over on the side of the road and stared–a lot–mouths open, amazed.  I took hundreds of photos.  Additionally, we strapped on our hiking boots and headed out on some amazing hikes.  If you are on Cape Breton and do not do the Skyline Trail hike, well, there may actually be something wrong with you.  Looking out over the water from the top of a cliff you can both see and hear the waves breaking against the rocks far below you.  I only wish I could have tasted anything–my husband refused to bring food with us for fear of a bear attack.  My husband has issues!

Near the beginning of the Skyline Trail

Near the end of Skyline Trail

The Middle Head trail–just beyond Keltic Lodge–is another ‘feast for the senses’ (in quotes because I fully realize how cheesy that sounds–but it is true!)  It was an easy two-hour hike out the length of a narrow peninsula and back.  The best part?  The meadow in the middle, where the grass blows in the sea breeze and water surrounds you on both sides.  If you’ve never heard grass whispering and waves crashing whilst your hair blows all around your head and the smell of wild roses fills the air–you simply must get yourself to Cape Breton.  As soon as possible, actually.

My only regret for that hike?  I didn’t take my camera!  What was I thinking?  (Well, I know what I was thinking.  I was thinking ‘I’m tired of hiking with this camera around my neck’!)

At night I laid in bed and wondered where all that traffic noise was coming from–after all, we barely passed other cars during all of our day’s adventures.  And then on the second night there I realized–that sound wasn’t traffic.  It was the pounding of the surf on the beach a quarter mile from our cabin.

The freight train sounding beach near our cabin

It sounded a lot like a freight train–or a caravan of trucks.  And it made for a great night’s sleep.  Well, it was that or the hours of hiking each day! 

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