a few weeks ago now, dave and i took a little roadtrip to the east coast. it was quite hastily planned, & honestly the night before leaving, with barely anything packed, we wondered if we should even go at all. it was a busy time of year for us, and we’d already had to cancel this trip once, when we’d originally planned to go back in august. but, always itching for a new adventure & any chance to see more of this world, we went.
we drove for two days east, and as the sun set on the second full day of driving, we arrived at the start of the cabot trail in cape breton. that night in our cheap motel room, we planned to head for cape breton highlands national park & obtain a permit to backcountry camp that following evening. we were told to please call the head park office when we made it out to tell them we were ok & so they wouldn’t have to come looking for us. the next day, when we arrived to the parking lot where we’d leave our car, we arranged everything into bags right there in the gravel lot. there was a pile of hiking sticks waiting for us at the entrance of the trail — casually propped up beside the signs telling us what to do if we crossed paths with an assortment of wild animals.
the hike in off the main road took three hours down a mountain through black bear & coyote country. we carried everything we needed on our backs, including enough water, our tent, food, sleeping bags, and of course, camera equipment on top of it all. we arrived at the little inlet on the ocean & my legs were shaking from the hike. it was so beautiful & wild & isolated. it was like the scene from moonrise kingdom. we walked down to the water & shouted this is our land!!!
that night the wind gusts almost blew away our tent & i had serious moments of panic about wild animals eating us in the dark. every sound was definitely a pack of coyotes. i don’t think i slept at all. we were well & truly on our own, with no cell reception whatsoever & miles from the nearest road.
i can honestly say this was one of the hardest challenges i’ve done in a long time & you know what, it felt really good. in the physical exhaustion & at times feeling terrified, i had a moment of realizing that confidence comes in tackling things like this & conquering them. it felt so good to make it to that cove, and the reward was the beautiful surroundings, the wind blowing the wildflowers, the cold atlantic, and just that feeling, i did it. to be self-sufficient, and to make it through the dark night felt like an accomplishment. i realized that sitting behind a computer screen & doing the same things every day actually makes my confidence in myself plummet.. there’s nothing risky about it.
& it felt really nice to feel proud of myself.
i’d encourage anyone reading this to go find a similar adventure for yourself, something that kind of scares you — the rewards are unbeatable.
fishing cove backcountry camping, cape breton highlands, nova scotia