The journey…music, water, mountains and lobstermen. We are in Cheticamp, in Cape Breton Highlands National Park for five nights. This will probably be our longest camping stay. It is the destination.
Mac hiked the Acadian Trail this morning (I cannot download his pics – technologically challenged) and I hiked to a salmon pool with about fifteen other campers, some from the U.S.A. (Bethesda and Watsonville, IL) and of course, Canadians!
Scott (pronounced “scoot” in Canada-speak – I’m exaggerating – kinda) led the hike.
Some important things I learned:
- “Don’t mess with moose.”
- Hide behind a tree if charged by a male moose.
- If you spot a bear, act like a fool – scream, jump around and the bear will “probably” run away. Hmmm….
- The beech scale bug is infecting American beech trees in the park resulting in dwindling numbers and allowing for the sugar maple to flourish.
- Sugar maples germinate quickly and then “wait to grow.” Trees waiting to grow. So many lessons there. Waiting for growth. Waiting. Young sugar maples will wait as long as two years for the right time to stretch upward.
- Cape Breton is Americans most favorite park to visit. (Did I get that right? Over Yellowstone? I don’t think I was listening.)
- Rivers and streams “braid” just like the essays I like to write – twisting, turning, taking detours.
- I miss my mother in this world. It dawned on me, again, as I walked the trail with strangers and could not share the journey with her. I wondered if I am missed, out of touch by phone and with spotty, spotty internet. Interesting how our ego takes us back to self.
- I shared the walk back with Brian, a retired postman from Illinois and his dog Syd. Brian raises homing pigeons, has been retired fifteen years, uses a noise machine when he camps at rest stops and at Walmart(s) and has had both of his knees replaced. Brian also crafts his own beer and has fifty-one beer shirts. He advised that Indian beers (as in India, not First Peoples Canadian Indians) are really “hoppy” because back in the day, the British needed to preserve their pale ales for the long sea journeys and used hops to make that work. I would have enjoyed my solitude on the walk back to camp but decided to try to be a bit more friendly as a communal camper. It all works.
I had one very moody evening when Mac and I couldn’t level out the Hushpuppy on a hill in Dunvegan at MacLeod’s Beach Campsite (left below). Instead of a view of the Gulf of St. Lawrence from the hilltop, we had a fabulous view of the bath/shower/*!#*house. Lots of traffic, lots of folks cutting close by our campsite (#39) to the point one woman said she thought about “stopping to chat” and then her cell phone rang and she kept walking up the hill after her shower – Thank you Canadian Bell Telephone!
But here is the lesson. The showers were free unlike other campgrounds with tons of hot water. If you had to go #2, it was a short walk. Garbage drop off was close by and if you get up off of your butt (Vivian!) and quit sulking, look what was just a few hundred yards away…
Plus, maybe the woman passing by had an interesting story or needed to share. There aren’t enough hours left to waste. I cannot forget. There aren’t enough hours.