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Archive for the ‘Cape Breton Island’ Category

Loon, St. Ann's Harbour

Something told me that day to take my DSLR camera with my zoom lens and teleconverter (1.5x) ,which made my zoom go to 405 mm. Off I went for my walk. It was a grey, overcast day not to cold at least I thought, so I took my hiking gloves. About 30 minutes later I switch to winter gloves, there was definitely wind chill factor in the air (-14).

Loon drying its wings

I heard a loon so I focused the camera to see if I could find it.  I did..It was out quite far in the harbour but my zoom brought it in. I stayed for 25-30 minutes watching it.  It was amazing experience…the loon caught a fish and ate it. Later it came in closer to shore…then it got up and dry its wings…. Then I saw a grey jay, squirrel and a seal on my walk.  An exceptional day for photography and nature. Now I want a bigger zoom.

Squirrel

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Hikers Mickey & Sharon enjoying the views on Skyline, photo by Phyllis MacLeod

It was a day when records fell and hikers were out in big numbers at Salmon Pools, Le Buttereau & le Chemin du Buttereau and Skyline hikes. The Skyline hike had the most hikers on any hike since the festival started 8 years ago with 75 plus. The total day of hikers was another record.

2nd pool, Salmon Pools trail

The weather cooperated again on Day 6 with sunny conditions for most of the day with some breezes on Skyline.  Many of the hikers did  two hikes today. Veteran and popular guide Daniel Aucoin started the day by helping hikers enjoyed nature on Salmon Pools trail. he was folled by park interpreter Donna Doucette who provided interesting stories & history of the Acadien families on Le Buttereau & Lechemin du Buttereau trails.

Moose on Skyline - photo by Phyllis MacLeod

The last hike of the day was on the Skyline trail led by guides Marieve Therriault and Lisa Dixon. The hikers did the back loop first (old trail)  and came back on the new trail.  Four moose were spotted. The day ended with a nice social evening at main theatre, Parks Canada Cheticamp Visitor Centre hosted by Les Amis du Plein Air.

Today’s hikes are Pollett’s Cove and Fishing Cove…. two of the longer hikes with outstanding views at the end of each hike.  This will be one hike day due to the length of each trail. Tonight presentation back at the hall is St. Paul’s Lighthouse.

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White Point

Close to 100 hikers enjoyed the hikes on Day 2 of 2011  Hike the Highlands Festival at White Point and Sugar Loaf . It was a day to enjoy great coastal scenery,  a climb up a steep mountain and to prepare you with some wet weather.

White Point hike provided great coastal scenery, the history of the Unknown sailor and  Two Tittles. This trail is featured in many photos especially Wally Hayes, retired professional photographer with NS Tourism. He enjoyed this trail at sunrise, sunset and during the day.

Sugar Loaf Mountain

Sugar Loaf , one of the classic hikes on Cape Breton Island and also part of 3 Peaks Challenge, made for some quick pictures at the top as the skies opened up with rain.  There are some great pics of nearby mountains, North Harbour and 4 mile beach on the summit.

Day 3 hikes include Meat Cove Mountain and Money Point Gulch, both feature outstanding views at the top of each mountain. Don’t forget your camera on this sunny day.

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Taking a break with Hiking Gear on Franey

With just 5 weeks away, it is time to start planning and preparing for the Hike the Highlands Festival, Sept. 9-18, 2011.  Here are some tips:

1) Determine your Hikes  – Review the list of hikes scheduled ie. trail description, photos & map. Determine the ones you would like to do and how many days you would be staying.  Registration is a 2 step process. First register for your hikes online and second –  determine pass, then pay on-line.

2) Book your Accommodations –  Once you have determine the hikes you want  to do and the days you are staying. now it is time to book your accommodations. An accommodation  list  is provided on each of the communities..Check out their websites and tripadvisor reviews to help you with your decision-making.  Please note  September is a busy time around the Cabot Trail.

3) Develop & Prepare your Equipment List –  Daypack, poles, hiking boots, water bottle(s), hat, sun glasses, sunscreen, insect repellent,  extra hiking socks,  jacket,  rain gear, extra layers, extra hiking shorts/pants,  digital camera with extra cards & batteries

4) Start Hiking or Continue – is important to be in shape for this festival…If you haven’t started hiking yet, please do so ..starting with a short hikes -2-4 kms, then work you way up to 5-8km and then a long hike 10-15 km.  You have time to get in shape.  Build up your hiking kms each week . Hikers at the Festival have options to hike 1-2 hikes a day or one longer hike.

Hope these tips have been helpful in planning and preparing for the upcoming Hike the Highlands Festival.

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2011 Cape Breton Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge - July 16th

Eighteen teams believed and took the challenge on – hiking three mountains in one day at the Cape Breton Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge, July 16th.  They all made it in safely and the organizers, Hike the Highlands Festival Society, are extremely proud of their accomplishments. Thanks to all the teams for participating in this event.

Seventy-two hikers hiked Franey in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, Roberts Mountain in Pleasant Bay, and Acadien in Cape Breton Highlands National Park, in weather that featured showers & drizzle throughout the day and great hiking temperatures – 10-15 degrees. Interesting to note the following day features hot, sunny weather with temperatures over 30 degrees.

One of my highlights of my day was on Acadien hiking trail going up Cheticamp River Valley and hearing the sound of a flowing stream along the hiking trail.

The day ended with a closing reception and door prizes. One of the questions asked for door prizes was “How many steps did you take while doing the Cape Breton Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge, answer is 42,968 steps. Thanks to our two partners – Cape Breton Highlands National Park and Les Amis du Plein Air for all their assistance with this event.

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Trails Day, Saturday, June 4th, 2011

On International Trails Day, Saturday, June 4th, we hiked the Cape Smokey hiking trail , a 11km seacoast trail that features a number of scenic look-offs – seven in total.  The look-offs are located over 900 feet from water on high granite cliffs. Besides the hike today, our tasks were to clean-up the final look-off and trim limbs and branches on the way out. It was Hike the Highlands  way of giving something  back to one of Cape Breton Highlands favorite hiking trails.

Unfortunately, we did not get to see much on the way out as it was a thick of fog. It started to clear a bit on the end and yes even the sun came out. My friend, Tim found the geocache at the end of the trail and that made his day. Locals call the end of the trail – the green spot. It is a wonderful view when it is clear and you can see Ingonish Harbour, Middle Head and Ingonish Island  and the bays – North and South. We could hear the lobster boats below and their engines as well the harbour buoy- a fog horn.

Coming back as the sky got clear and we stop a few times at the look-off near the coasts. It was evident by the views, we were hiking above the clouds that day. A great way to end the International Trails Day in Nova Scotia. Hope your day was special too. Below is a few pics of the day.

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A tough year ahead for hiking boots

The year 2011 can be declared the year of hiking challenges in the Cape Breton Highlands.  Here are just a few below :

1) The Cape Breton Highlands National Park celebrating its 75th Anniversary in 2011 has issued a 75 km hiking challenge from May to October.  You cannot hike on the same trail more than once.

2)  The 2nd annual Cape Breton Highlands 3 Peaks Challenge is back in 2011 on July 16th. Teams of 4 our are are required to hike 3 mountains in one day. The 3 peaks in 2011 are Franey, Roberts Mountain and Acadien.  Only 15 teams can register.

3) Hike Nova Scotia has a new hiker distance award program patterned off the Hike the Highlands festival but longer distances spread out over a year – 150, 250 and 500 km.

4) And finally the Hike the Highlands Festival Hiker Distance award program, now in its third year – 25, 50 and 100 km to be completed during the festival – Sept. 9-18, 2011.

We should be in great shape for the winter for snowshoeing, cross country skiing and other winter sports. Maybe Santa will bring us a new pair of hiking boots for Christmas and the 2012 hiking season.

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