National Geographic lists the Cabot Trail amongst its 20 “Drives of a Lifetime: The World’s Greatest Scenic Routes”. If this is what the drives on this list look like, I want to see all of them.
My wife is an avid runner (she’s as addicted to running as I am to lomography), and when she was invited to fly across the country to participate in the 300km Cabot Trail Relay Race, she jumped at the chance. I, of course, complained about how much it would cost for me join her, convinced her that I couldn’t come, and then secretly found someone to watch our kids and bought a plane ticket to surprise her. ;)
After I totally shocked her by calling her from across the street when she thought I was across the country (it’s a 4-1/2 hour plane trip, for those who don’t know how big Canada is), we made plans for the day of the race. The Cabot Trail is a 300 km loop that the circles around one point of the island of Cape Breton. It typically starts off in the town of Baddeck, and some people take several days to drive around it and take in all of the beautiful, natural sites. We didn’t have that luxury, so we would have to do it in one day. :P
The Cabot Trail Relay Race is a run around the 300km loop, done by teams of usually 17 people. Each team member runs one ‘leg’ of the race in succession, starting at 7am Saturday morning, and normally ending between 9 and 10am on Sunday morning. Teams run non-stop all through the night and in the dark. My wife was the first runner on her team, so we decided we would cheer on a few teammates in the early legs and then tour the Cabot Trail for the rest of the day.
We made many lovely memories that day including the delicious lunch at the Chicken Cafe (a bakery/restaurant), the stunning and repeatedly amazing ocean views, the untouched natural areas, and the countless signs advertising lobster suppers! One thing that always made me smile was the wooden chairs that everyone seemed to have in their yard. Every chair was painted a primary color – the most popular color being red.
Some parts of the trail took us precariously close to the cliff leading hundreds of meters straight down to the crashing waves. Other parts took us through forested highlands, without much sign of civilization other than the road we were traveling on. Many parts of the trail left me feeling like we had not only left our urban life, but that we had also left our current time.
As the promotional material says, “Come for the drive…Savour the journey”, I wish we could have spent more time here to really take it all in. I will have to be happy with my small collection of lomographs to make it through to my next Cape Breton journey…
(travelandleisure.com rates Cape Breton as the #1 Island to visit in continental North America)