Snowshoeing Nova Scotia: Part 3

BY BRAD DONALDSON

This winter, we’ll be highlight some of the province’s best trails for snowshoeing. For part three — our final instalment of this series — we’ve focused on Cape Breton and the highlands region. Parts one and two can be found here and here, respectively. 

1. Keppoch Mountain: A popular spot for mountain bikers, Keppoch Mountain’s trail system is also one Nova Scotia’s finest for hiking and snowshoeing. Not far from Antigonish, the area is an outdoor haven with 29 multi-use trails that stretch over 300 acres. For those who don’t have their own, snowshoes available on site for rent.

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Photo by @marsandmyrtle.

2. Fitzpatrick Mountain: Part of the Cape to Cape trail system, Fitzpatrick Mountain’s main, eight-kilometre trail is surrounded by beautiful woods, with babbling brooks trickling through the trees. The trailhead can be found behind the tennis courts in Scotsburn, directly beside the community baseball field. Snowshoers can expect a challenge when tackling this trail, as it meanders over terrain nearing 300 metres above sea-level.

3. Baille Ard Nature Trails: When strolling through the Acadian forests that encompass the Baille Ard Nature Trails, it’s hard to believe you’re just ten minutes from downtown Sydney. As fresh snow crunches under your feet, and a winter breeze rolls through the trees, the chances are you’ll feel more in the middle of the wilderness than anything. This trail system can be explored in a number of ways, as different trails wind their way through the area. And snowshoes can be rented at the Cape Breton Regional Municipality Recreation Office.

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Photo by @homeintheeast.

4. Skyline Trail: There’s something special about enjoying a classic trail under the fresh coat of a new season. The Skyline Trail might just be the poster-child for hiking in Nova Scotia, its views casted over the rugged coastlines of Cape Breton Island. But these views can also be enjoyed during winter, when snow covers the trees and cliffs that make Cape Breton one of the province’s most popular destinations.

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Photo by Tracey MacDonald.

5. Cabot Shores: Cabot Shores is a dazzling escape into the heart of Cape Breton’s wilderness. So when the heavy snows of winter fall, it’s hard to find a better place. This rural resort is built on 55 acres of land, offering dramatic views of the island’s scenery, which includes frigid mountain tops and frozen waterfalls.

*Note: While snowshoeing, please be respectful and mindful of other trail users. You may notice trails that are not multi-purposed, and specifically groomed for cross country skiing. In this instance, we ask you to not damage the hard work that goes into grooming and enjoy responsibly.

**Cover photo by Hilary Hendsbee.

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NS Hiking Summit

Hike Nova Scotia invites individuals and groups with an interest in hiking, walking and snowshoeing to the seventh annual Nova Scotia Hiking Summit from Friday, May 11 to Sunday, May 13 in Ingonish at the Keltic Lodge. The summit is a celebration of hiking culture and includes best practices, stories, networking opportunities, hikes and a new family / kids’ program. It is hosted by Hike NS, Naturally Active Victoria County, Parks Canada and the Keltic Lodge at the Highlands. Presenting sponsor is The Trail Shop, Platinum sponsor is Victoria County, Gold sponsors are Parks Canada and Destination Cape Breton, Silver sponsors are the NS Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage and Big Spruce Brewing and Bronze sponsor is the Ingonish Development Society. The guys from A for Adventure will be our MCs and the keynote speaker is David Miller, author of AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and The A.T. Guide.

There is limited space, so please register early to secure your spot. Registration is $45 for paid Hike NS members, $55 for non-members and $35 for children, youth and students. With the new family / kids’ program this year, families are invited to attend (some childcare provided). Registration includes: access to information sessions, hike events and socials along with Saturday and Sunday lunches. There are optional breakfasts and a Saturday supper at additional cost. Registration does not include accommodation or other meals – you must arrange them on your own. The deadline to register is May 6. Learn more and register online here.

Franey in the Fall

by Brad Donaldson

 

I thought it might be too late, that when I finally got up to the Cape Breton Highlands National Park to see the leaves in all their seasonal glory there’d be none left. But luckily I was terribly, terribly wrong Continue reading “Franey in the Fall”

Field Leader – Hiking Courses June 13-14, Baddeck and Antigonish

RIMG1150-smallerTwo Field Leader – Hiking Courses will be offered in Baddeck – one in Baddeck and one in Antigonish – on June 13 and 14, 2015. The course will provide participants with Outdoor Council of Canada (OCC) national certification in Field Leader – Hiking. This includes skills to organize and lead others in a one day, educational or activity based experience in a natural environment. The course is two full days in length and will provide successful candidates with the necessary skills to be a confident hiking leader Continue reading “Field Leader – Hiking Courses June 13-14, Baddeck and Antigonish”

Featured Trail: Cape Smokey Provincial Park

Trail Name: Cape Smokey Provincial Park

Location: Cape Smokey, Cape Breton

Description: “This trail starts at the Cape Smokey Provincial Park. Smokey is one of the most famous mountains in Cape Breton.” It features a 10 kilometre (return) rugged trail, picnic tables, look-offs, spectacular views, and rest stops.

Map: Find a map and directions here.

Long Distance Walkers on the International Appalachian Trail

By Claire MacNeil

Long distance walkers, Ed Talone and Julie King, have been walking on Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, the past two weeks. Ed started his hiking voyage in Key West Florida in 2011. After 6,500 kilometres later, Ed arrived in Bangor, Maine, at the same time Julie King was hiking through the International Appalachian Trail.ED-Julie-TrailSign

And so the journey of Ed Talone and Julie King began at Baxter Park, Maine in May 2013! Now it is the end of August, 2013 and they have hiked over 2,300 km. If you calculate Ed’s hiking distance, it adds up to more than 8,800 km of hiking. Just ask Ed how many bridges he crossed!

The part of the International Appalachian Trail that Ed and Julie are hiking extends from the northern boundary of the Appalachian Trail at Mount Katahdin, Maine, through New Brunswick and parts of Quebec and Nova Scotia. It extends to the northeast point of the Appalachian Mountains in Belle Isle, Newfoundland.

They are hiking and establishing new routes along the way. Areas considered are where existing Appalachian rock or the underlying bedrock has some association with the Appalachians.

While in Cape Breton they took a day off from hiking the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail and toured around parts of Inverness County. They stopped into the Red Shoe in Mabou and were treated to wonderful, traditional Scottish music. They continued along route 19 to Glenora  Distillery. The Glenora Inn and Distillery is North America’s first Single Malt Whisky Distillery and continues with pride and determination after winning a nine year legal battle with Edinburgh based Scotch Whisky Association. Interesting! Do you think that at the September IAT Conference in Scotland anyone will test their whisky or bring a bottle from Glenora?Ed-Julie-Distillery

They continued on to Inverness and promptly went to the Tourist Bureau and met with the local press across the street, a reporter from the Inverness Oran. The Inverness Miners Café was an interesting café they had a visit in on the main street in Inverness. Ed and Julie took a quick glimpse of the Cabot Links, Canada’s only authentic links golf course. At Cabot Links, every hole offers an ocean view and six holes play directly adjacent to the beach.

After leaving Inverness, they went on to Margaree and had a great lunch at the Dancing Goat. They enjoyed delicious coffee, fresh made sandwiches/salads and carrot cake. One of Julie and Ed’s favorite stops was the Margaree Salmon Museum. Here they were pleasantly surprised to see many artifacts that the founder of the International Appalachian Trail, Dick Anderson,  had donated to the Margaree museum. It seemed that every turn Julie and Ed took in the museum they came across some of Dick’s artifacts.

Thanks, Dick, for leaving your footprint in Margaree, NS!

From Margaree, NS, they took a scenic tour around part of the famous Cabot Trail and then back to The Clove Hitch Bar and Grill Bistro, located in picturesque Port Hood, NS. The owner was very accommodating, keeping Julie and Ed’s backpacks while they toured around Inverness County. They enjoyed a meal at the bistro and Ed enjoyed some Garrison Red beer.Ed-Julie-Museum

They left the bistro and walked (with a jug of water and some groceries) up to their campsite. Their campsite was located at the trailhead on the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail, Port Hood, NS. There are over thirty trailheads and access points along this trail.  Julie and Ed enjoyed all the community  information on the trailheads along the way. They caught up on community news with a friendly biker and camped at her house and had breakfast with another friendly walker who accompanied them with her dog for a short distance.

Julie and Ed thought that the Celtic Shores Coastal Trail was a wonderful inclusion in the International Appalachian Trail!

People continue to have sightings of Julie and Ed on their walking adventure of the IAT. The last reports were on the streets  in Inverness, NS and Cheticamp, NS.

Please say “Hi and Bon Voyage, Julie & Ed!”

Follow Ed and Julie on: www.edjuliehikingadventures.shutterfly.com
Ed-Julie-Hiking

Hike the Highlands Festival (Sept. 13-22): What is new in 2013?

Adapted from the Hike the Highlands Newsletter August 11

The Hike the Highlands Festival in Cape Breton will celebrate its 10th Anniversary this year from September 13-22. Thikelogo1e Festival is making it a special year to remember. Here’s what’s new in 2013 : 

  • A special souvenir pass/log book, a 32 page publication with photos and pages for notes
  • A special Wally Hayes Vision show – “A look Back at the Past,” nine years of Hike the Highlands Festival on opening night of the festival
  • A sit down supper as part of the closing ceremonies
  • Expanding your Horizons – A Landscape & Seascape Photography workshop, Sept. 12-13, learn to shoot wide angle & panoramic photos and managed your library of photos
  • New evening activities and presentations
  • Hike the Highlands new website now for mobile devices. If you type in our regular website address -www.hikethehighlands.com on your phone it will automatically take you to our mobile website. If you have a tablet ie. iPad , our regular website will come up on your device.

Summit Award Presented to Hike the Highlands

Hike Nova Scotia has awarded the Hike the Highlands Festival with its highest award.

“The Summit Award is presented to an organization and or an individual that has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to the growth and development of hiking in Nova Scotia,” explains Deb Ryan, Hike Nova

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Deb Ryan (left) and Claire MacNeil (right) of Hike Nova Scotia present Tom Wilson (centre) of the Hike the Highlands Festival with the Summit Award.

Scotia’s Past President.

The award was presented to Tom Wilson, President of the Hike the Highland Festival, at the Hike NS annual Summit held at the Gaelic College, St. Anne’s, in Cape Breton on June 22. The Hike the Highlands Festival inspires residents and visitors to hike and enjoy the highlands, scenic vistas and Cape Breton’s natural beauty.

During its 10 year history, Hike the Highlands has grown into a Nova Scotia Signature Event. It attracts participants from all over the world and it has expanded the 10 day September Festival to include a 3 Peaks Challenge in July and a series of winter snowshoe hikes. For more information about the Hike the Highlands Festival from September 13-22, go to http://www.hikethehighlands.com.

Clare MacNeil, a Hike NS board member from Cape Breton, has participated in many Hike the Highlands Festivals. MacNeil says she has seen an increase in the number of participants each year and recognizes the importance of the many volunteers that keep the spirit of the festival alive.

Photos from the Hiking Summit (June 21-22, 2013)

The Nova Scotia Hiking Summit took place on June 21-22, 2013 at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s, Cape Breton Island. Here are some photos from the event. Learn more about the summit here.

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A morning hike takes place on June 22 on the Gaelic College’s trails.
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The Summit Award is presented to Tom Wilson (centre), President of the Hike the Highlands Festival Society, for its work in promoting hiking in Cape Breton. With Tom is Hike NS outgoing President Deb Ryan (left) and Hike NS board member Claire MacNeil (right).
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Tom Wilson talks about the Hike the Highlands Festival.
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Elaine Wallace tell us about a possible long distance hiking trail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
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Erich Muntz talks about coyote research in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park.
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Shauna Heighton talks about the Outdoor Council of Canada and the Hike Leader course.
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Many of the folks who attended the Hiking Summit pose outside at the Gaelic College on a beautiful sunny day.
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Happy hikers pose on the Red Islands trail after the Hiking Summit.

Nova Scotia Hiking Summit: June 21-22

banner4_24x96Hike Nova Scotia invites individuals and groups with an interest in hiking, walking and snowshoeing to the second annual Nova Scotia Hiking Summit. This event will take place on Friday, June 21 and Saturday, June 22, 2013 at the Gaelic College in St. Ann’s on Cape Breton Island. The Summit is a celebration of Nova Scotia’s hiking culture, which includes sharing best practices, stories and networking opportunities. It will help us grow a hiking, walking and snowshoeing culture in the province.

Click here for a detailed agenda and to register. This event is co-hosted by Victoria County. Hike Nova Scotia acknowledges and thanks the Nova Scotia Department of Health and Wellness for its ongoing support.