Monday, July 20, 2009

The Coastal Trail

On our second day in Cape Breton the group decided to hike. After much discussion we settled on doing the Coastal Trail. It is a 7km hike along the coast near Neil's Harbor. It also offers what looked like a few interesting side trips.
Getting to the trail turned into a mini adventure. The trail head is on the Cabot Trail, so it was easy enough to find. As we were donning our boots, I noticed a big hole in H's kayak. The rear hatch cover had blown off between the campground and the trail head. After a brief, but intense, moment of panic, we retraced our route. Fortunately, the cover was sitting in the road a few km away. BH ran into the road, and retrieved it.
With H's kayak back in one piece, we hit the trail. It starts off easy and leads down to a sandy beach. After the beach, however, it becomes more challenging. There is a section through woods that is steep. This is followed by a stretch along the shore that is broken up by round stone beaches.
The views along the shore are beautiful. The beaches are great for strengthening ankles and balance. The ocean has ground the rocks until they are rounded. Crossing the beaches are like an obstacle course out of ABC's Wipeout.
After the hike we found a local swimming hole a short distance from the trail head. Across from the actual trail head a path leads into the woods along a stream. A 100 meters up the path the stream runs through a rocky area and forms several big pools. We took advantage of this to cool down before driving back to camp.

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