When Opportunity Knocks, Answer.

Well this is a very unfamiliar medium of expression. Seems like it has been ages since I have taken the time to actually go into detail about a recent adventure (8 Months to be exact). Recently I have found myself in a place of uncertainty, mostly regarding my pursuit of becoming a great Photographer. Is this working? Am I good enough to make it? How do I make that next step? Do people actually look forward to seeing my work? I could go on and on about my insecurities as an artist. These aren't always a bad thing however. Personally speaking, I find the moments after you pull yourself out of these slumps are the moments you do some of your best work. As fate would have it, at the tail end of my most recent inner battle, a good friend of mine named Dave Culligan came to me with a proposition. 

 Left to Right - Tristan, Anja, Myself, Alex, Patrick, and Dave.

Left to Right - Tristan, Anja, Myself, Alex, Patrick, and Dave.

I was introduced to Dave through a mutual friend. She had made a point to show me his Instagram and to push me to contact him. Dave was probably one of the first, of many people, who have become part of my inner circle thanks to the Social Media platform. Ever since I slid into his Dm's, Dave and I have been trying to do something creative and fun together. Although we have participated in Instagram meet-ups together, along with a few other random interactions, we haven't managed to link up and do anything together, until this past weekend. 

Dave, being the driven individual he is, managed to get in contact with someone who runs the creative department at Steele Ford. Through this, he was gifted a 2016 Ford Explorer  for 1 week in exchange for some promotion on some of his Social Media accounts (I'll link those at the End). Dave has been uploading frequent Vlogs on his Youtube account, and thought it would be an amazing Idea to have 4 like minded individuals accompany him on a roadtrip to Cape Breton. This is where I come in. Dave contacted me early in the week and asked if I would be interested in going with him on this trip. It would consist of 4 days of camping, lots of Hiking and exploring every corner of Cape Breton. I obviously said yes. 

Early in the week Dave made his way to Lunenburg and along the way ended up picking up a couple hitchhikers. They were a young couple in their Mid 20's, one from Austria and the other from Germany. They had told Dave that they would be eventually travelling through Cape Breton straight to NFLD. So Friday evening arrangements were made and they would be travelling with us to Cape Breton. We grabbed one more guy (His name is Alex, he was pretty cool) and then headed toward Truro to grab our final member of the group, Tristan Jennings. 

 Using the old bleachers  to hang their hammocks 

Using the old bleachers  to hang their hammocks 

We drove straight to Cape Breton, arriving late Friday night. Halfway into our drive we asked the couple that was travelling with us if they'd like to stay with us while we explored the Island, They said they would love to. We setup shop behind an old abandoned Baseball Field in Blues Mills. This just so happens to be exactly where I am from. We wanted to find somewhere that was not to far into the Island. I remembered from my childhood that this field was close enough to the highway that we wouldn't have to backtrack and it was also almost never used at all. It was a very quick stop, just enough to fuel us for the following day's agenda. 

 WATCH

WATCH

 ME

ME

 WHIP

WHIP

The next day was a jammed packed day. We were up before sunrise, and on the road slightly after it peaked over the neighbouring trees. From there we made the first of many stops for Coffee. We were headed straight for North River Falls. A fairly long hike that Dave had tackled in the Fall of this past year. The guide signs suggested it would take roughly 7 hours, and they weren't to far off, although Dave tried to reassure us early on that it wouldn't take nearly that long. It took us nearly the suggested time, But what was waiting for us at the end was certainly worth every grueling hill and narrow bank we had to hike. Photos hardly do justice for the just how incredible this place was. Couple that with the feeling of accomplishing a great feat by finishing the hike and you have a great start to your day. 

 Can you see Dave?

Can you see Dave?

 Top of the Waterfall

Top of the Waterfall

The rest of this day was spent enjoying local food, missing every liquor store that was within driving distance, and trying to find a good spot to stay for the evening. We agreed on heading as far North as we possibly could. This had us in a very small fishing community dubbed Meat Cove. This was by far one of my favourite parts of the trip. On our way to the beach where we ended up staying on in Meat Cove, we found ourself on a massive cliff, carved out of the rolling hills by erosion of many winters. There we stayed for what was probably one of the best sunsets anyone on this trip had ever seen. Radiating colours that were only mirrored in beauty by the coastal views it lit up. We drove the Explorer, with ease, to a beach that was nestled between two large hills. Here we all worked together gather wood and clearing a spot of our fire pit. 

Our second full day was spent doing a large amount of the time driving. We finished driving through the Cabot Trail, and headed towards Cheticamp. Quickly after arriving to Cheticamp, we realized that we had drove past one of the main Hikes the Cabot Trail has to offer, The Skyline. So we darted back making sure to take full advantage of the time we had with the Explorer. This hike wasn't nearly as up and down as our first, or even close to being as long, but regardless of it not being as challenging, it ended in the same satisfaction. The better part of 2 hours spent at the end of this Trail probably made for some of the best conversation on this trip. In those moments, all the worries I expressed earlier were shoved far far far into the back of my mind. It was just all of us, gazing at this gorgeous view partaking in interesting conversation.  You could see all the twists and turns the start of the Cabot Trail had to offer from up there, along with a great view of the ocean out on the horizon. 

After we got back to the Explorer, we headed straight back to Cheticamp. Cheticamp is a small Acadian fishing community on the North-West side of Cape Breton Island. Here we noticed a local Fishing Boat unloading the haul from the day. The rest of the guys pooled some money together and were able to get a dozen pounds of fresh Crab straight off the boat. From here we headed South towards Mabou. We gathered some of food and liquor from the local grocery store and headed for another Beach. We found a nice spot on the hills that overlooked  West Mabou Beach, which is very popular among the locals. Here we spent a long night around the fire enjoying our last night together and a good helping of fresh Crab. 

For the first time all weekend I was the first one packed and ready to go Monday morning. After always finding myself 1 step behind in the mornings before, it was nice to be ready to go. The last day was one full of mixed emotions. We made plans on day 2 to go check out the Fortress of Louisbourg. However the weather and time were not on our sides. We opted to check out Egypt Falls, a 2 tier waterfall that was only 40 minutes from we spent the night. It was a quick hike that only took us about an hour and half, including the time spent exploring it while there. Directly after this, our GPS decided to take us down a dirt road that, quickly became apparent, wasn't used very often. The Explorer handled it with ease, it took a little while longer, but it ended up making for some awesome photos.

After emerging out of the woods from this trail, we decided to take our guest straight to the NFLD ferry, instead of them having to hitchhike the small distance left. Here we said a very long good bye, although I have a feeling we'll be seeing them again. From here on, we decided to head back home. Most of the guys on the trip had to be back for work on Tuesday. This is where I got the most out of this trip. You'd think being away from technology, viewing all the gorgeous things we did, or even just roughing it for 4 days would be what we leave a lasting impression. It was the conversation had within the last hour or so that really resonated with me. I was left feeling motivated and full ready to tackle Halifax head on. When I needed it most, the best thing for me presented itself. After this weekend, I am sure that Summer Sixteen is going to be one I will remember for a long time!! 

If you have any suggestions of places in Nova Scotia, or even surrounding provinces. Please feel free to leave them in a comment below! I am always looking for the next Adventure!

Here are the rest of the photos!

Until Next time! 

Bernie

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