Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Puffins! Puffins! Puffins!

Day 4: Meat Cove to Baddeck
Total mileage at the beginning of the day: 1,125.1

Despite the good cheer with which I went to bed, I did not sleep well. The wind picked up very suddenly, and I had nightmares that vacillated between large wildlife sniffing the tent and the wind whipping me right over the cliff and into the ocean. I got up at some point to put extra stakes in the ground for good measure.

I woke around six with the sun already up pretty high. I watched for whales, until a fellow camper (the only other one up) walked by and said the whales hadn't been by in three days. Not enough fish in the bay. Damn it! I had read that whales could be seen from shore, and it's true! Just not by me.

Dear LL Bean, you can send any royalties c/o Mill Girl Musings

It's hard to see, but this guy is awesome--just an inflated mattress and sleeping bag.

So I rolled out around 7, anxious to start my day and knowing what a long ride it is out of Meat Cove. But it's so damn beautiful.

If you want to know what Nova Scotia looks like, this is pretty much it. Everywhere.

I checked out John Cabot's landing spot.

I eventually got back to Cape North, where I had breakfast alongside some locals and a table of folks speaking Spanish. Then it was back to the Cabot Trail. I checked out Neil's Harbour and some back roads there because I was looking for something verrry specific.

There's a great website (airbnb.com) that allows you to rent someone's home instead of staying in a hotel. Noelle and I used it to get that crazy apartment in Montreal last summer. This year, I looked initially at that website to see what CB was offering. And I found something incredible online:
A refurbished '64 Airstream with separate outbuilding for writing, dining, etc.
Sigh. I love you, little Airstream.

And now that I know where it is, I can't stop thinking about coming up here for a week and writing from this little spot in the middle of nowhere. On the other hand, however, I would miss some of the interactions I've had with people at campgrounds and motels. I guess there's always the co-op in Neil's Harbour.

Driving back into the Highlands Park, I had my first wildlife encounter!
Hey, get back here! I have a blog to write, buddy. I need you.
Two moose, one bunny. Not bad.

And as I got down to the Ingonish area...
Erm, that speck is an eagle. Just hanging out on a lake.
Another eagle swooped right over the car as I was going around a hairpin turn on a cliff. Guess who was a jerk and tried to grab the camera *points at self*. I know, I know. I had a talk with me about my behavior.

So I drove and I drove, and I checked out some artisan shops and did some holiday shopping. Beautiful stuff. I'm really digging the woodwork and pewter all over NS. I also checked out the Gaelic school, where (surprise!) a kid was playing bagpipes in the parking lot.

Eventually, I made it down to the Bras D'Or area (bra-door) and drove up my own mountain.

And went by my own motel.

New name for the blog?

And I followed pictures of puffins along the side of the road and was just in time to walk aboard this:
To take a tour run by this father/son team:
The captain is awesome. Serious, but with a wicked dry sense of humor.
Here is what we saw:
I stole these pics from the web because my pictures are terrible. What, you don't believe me?
The two specks are bald eagles.
What, you don't see about 20 puffins here?
The only wildlife shot that didn't suck.
Looks like Auntie Kiki needs a fancier camera...

Back to the puffins--Holy shit, I want one. They're so flipping cute. I just want to put one in my pocket. And there were hundreds of them. They were flying by the boat, swimming in the sea, and hanging out in the openings of their caves. Being surrounded by puffins for the afternoon might have been the coolest part of the trip so far.


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