We heard that Meat Cove was remote, but we weren't prepared for just HOW remote.
From Cape North, just outside the northern entrance of the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, you turn left, drive for about 30-40 minutes, then turn left again and drive another 30 minutes before reaching Meat Cove campground. We wondered if we were ever going to get there!
But we did. Although, if you drive down the road you are bound to reach the campground considering it is...well, the only thing down there. And it is literally at the end of the road. You reach the campground and have no choice but to set up camp, or turn around and head back to civilization.
We decided to set up camp and stay a while.
We went to Meat Cove and the Highlands for the views, of course, and they didn't disappoint. The landscape is a carpet of green, rolling mountains covered in trees with sunbeams and fog peeking through. Over each hump and around each corner, vista after vista would be laid out before us looking like how I would picture Ireland in my mind. Who would have thought that this little slice of paradise existed on the very north-western tip of Nova Scotia?
We had a lovely beach day at Cabot's Landing provincial park, which is (supposedly) around the spot where John Cabot made his first North American landing. Sitting on the sand and in the surf, trying not to be overtaken by the giant waves and undertow, the view of the green mountains on the horizon reminded me of the Pitons in St Lucia. The view combined with the blue of the water made us feel like we could be a lot further South.
Our campsite was on a grassy cliff spot overlooking a beach down below, surrounded by high rock mountains. Opening the flap of our tent in the morning, we could see the sun coming up right in front of our eyes. We were open to the elements, but also strangely tucked away, almost like we were alone at the end of the world (although that wasn't actually the case - the place was packed).
We didn't just go for the views, however; we also went to complete a geocaching challenge. In 2009, a series of five geocaches were placed throughout the park and we decided to grab all five while we were there. Grabbing these caches gave us the chance to explore some of the parks prettiest sites - waterfalls, forest trails, a lake, etc. We punched a spot in our "cacheports" at each find to show that we were there, then turned it in at the end for a lovely commemorative geocoin.
On our first night in Cape Breton, we also decided to grab the last cache in the NS Provincial Parks series we had been working on. We stayed in a yurt in Whycocomagh Provincial Park to grab this one, which felt like we had our own cottage! Not that I don't love tents, but sometimes it's nice to have walls and a bed (and a bbq and huge deck!) Be forewarned: Bring blankets for overnight (it gets chiiiiiiilly!). This last find allowed us to complete this "cacheport" as well, which we will now send off to get another geocoin prize!
Needless to say it was quite the productive long weekend. As productive as we were, we were also relaxed and felt close to nature. Sometimes it pays to drive to the end of the road.