Hands down Nova Scotia is one of our favourite places (thus far) on this trip.
No doubt in our minds the saying is true; the further east you head in Canada, the friendlier the people. We really utilized Boondocking throughout Nova Scotia, and met some absolutely incredible hosts and locations.
Stop one in Antigonish backed onto a Provincial Park, providing miles upon miles of hikes for us to explore. Wandering through wildflowers, streams and wooded forests we hiked our way to the top of the ridge line, rewarded with an expansive view of the area.
We made it thus far with little rain, but early morning we heard the rain begin to fall on the bus roof. As we headed for Cape Breton National Park, it really started to rain. However, we were spoilt for a spectacularly purple sunset over the ocean in Inverness, as the rain cleared for the evening. We had a fairly slow day, driving and exploring trying to stay dry as much as possible. It was the first real test for our solar system, with very minimal sunshine all day, we were super impressed the battery capabilities.
The Cabot Trail was an impressive scenic drive, despite the intermittent raindrops and clouds. We decided to walk the skyline trail; an short hike along the ridgetop overlooking a large section of the Cabot trail. The easy-going hike provided a few Instagramable views including the final ridge which we figured would give us a great video of the bus driving along the Cabot trial.
Brent headed off the last couple of kms of the trail to jump in the bus and drive, I sat enjoying the view despite the rain and wind. As I turned to record the bus, a cloud front rolled in from the ocean. I could do nothing (no cell service) but laugh, I waited as long as I could while the weather deteriorated, but eventually made the call and hiked back to find the bus. Hilariously, well I guess frustratingly, I made it back to the bus as the cloud front cleared.
We continued our drive throughout Cape Breton National Park finishing our afternoon with a few beers at Big Spruce Brewing – a great suggestion from Parsons Brewing in Prince Edward County.
Yet again, Nova Scotia provided a spectacular sunset as we drove towards Halifax. We stumbled upon Sober Island Brewing, housed in a cozy little roadside pub with a few interesting brews.
We really try to avoid driving long days or at least break the days up with something outdoorsy. (We have a daily driving limit or ‘grumpiness avoidance plan’ as we like to call it) We found a great little hike along The Liscombe River, which followed the river banks either side, joined with a wooden bridge crossing the salmon ladder. As Aussies, we had no idea what the heck a fish ladder was, every sign we passed we assumed it was something for fishermen or something along those lines. It wasn’t until a quick chat with a group heading the opposite direction we realized it was part of the salmon run! Unfortunately, it wasn’t salmon season so it was a pretty empty ladder but still super interesting to see!
Next stop was Halifax, we had a little taste of what our lives may have been like as it was likely if we weren’t in Vancouver that we were going to be in Halifax. It was Sunday which in Canada means one thing – Hockey! We managed to grab two tickets to the Halifax Moosehead who are in the Canadian Hockey League. We hadn’t seen a CHL game so it was great to see some hockey, and we had missed watching the Canucks play back in Vancouver.
After a hockey Sunday in Halifax we headed to Broad Cove a very small group of houses along a beach about an hour out of Lunenburg. We had spent the morning admiring the exuberant coloured buildings of Lunenburg before retiring to a grassy knoll right beside the cove for the next couple of days. We enjoyed a few days reading on the beach, wandering throughout the rocks, watching the seals which called the cove home and sunset fires on the beach. Oh and meeting the locals who were walking their dogs along the cove, one of our favourites was a husky named Jax, who just a super gorgeous natured dog (I wanted to take him home with us in the bus).
After a mini beach retreat, we continued through Nova Scotia, heading for the opposite coast along Route 8. This road took us to Kejimkujik National Park (Do not ask me to say that aloud), a beautiful national park which is based around a lake and surrounding islands. We could have spent a week or more exploring the backcountry camping sites via canoe and hiking. We didn’t have the time unfortunately so we opted for a short kayak along the river thoroughly enjoying the fall colours which were really starting to take ahold. Whynot Adventures was a great rental place right on the water, which if we had the time rent whole backcountry canoeing kits. After the upper body workout, we jumped back into the bus and continued on our way.
We found a tiny little blue shack along the road which was a general store, gift shop and restaurant. The bustling little room filled with tables, served up hands down the best scallops we had ever had. Funnily enough, our boondockers that evening said it was their favourite local place and were surprised we found it! We left our boondocking hosts after sharing some wonderful stories and with some freshly caught Atlantic cod.
Brent had managed to find a Maple Syrup Farm that was still open this time of year, as we hadn’t realized there is a Maple syrup season! We were able to wander throughout the maple trees along the sap line which was gravity fed and most importantly taste different styles of maple syrup. We again boondocked nearby, with a delicious home cooked meal and an evening by the fire with our hosts, we were sad to be leaving Nova Scotia behind.
Small but with so much to offer, we only discovered the tip of the iceberg.