Canada Trip, 2016: Franey Mountain

The centerpiece of our stay in Cape Breton was our hike of Franey Mountain, an 1,100-foot ascent that took us between 3 and 4 total hours up and down. It could have been done more quickly but we took our time, soaking in and photographing the beautiful scenery of the Cape Breton Highlands along the way (as well as a pretty bird that I believe was a ruffed grouse).

There are two trails that lead to the top. The one we chose for the climb turned out to be the better one in terms of the views–we chose the other trail for the hike back down, which was much less challenging but also much less interesting from a scenery perspective. I don’t remember which was which, but if you’re looking at a map, the straighter looking trail is probably the less interesting one. Either way, you are likely to take both: one on the way up and the other on the way down.

Overall, it’s a beautiful hike. Climbers who reach the peak are rewarded with spectacular views of lush green mountains along a picturesque coast, as well as the opportunity to sign the hiker’s guest book attached to an Adirondack chair at the top. If you find yourself in Cape Breton, Franey Mountain is definitely worth a visit.

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Canada Trip, 2016: The Citadel in Halifax

These photos were taken on a foggy and drizzly morning spent at the Citadel, a colonial-era fortification in the middle of Halifax, Nova Scotia, which remained garrisoned through the early 1900’s. In addition to photos of Citadel itself, there are also shots of the city viewed from up on the Citadel hill, as well as pics of a labyrinthine, life-sized replica of a World War I trench that we were able to walk through.

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Canada Trip, 2016: Cape Forchu

On our final full day in Nova Scotia we spent a foggy morning at Cape Forchu. The following photos were shot at the Cape Forchu lighthouse and a nearby beach.

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Canada Trip, 2016: The Cabot Trail

This is a collection of photos taken over three days during my drive along the majestic Cabot Trail in Cape Breton—considered one of the most scenic drives in the world—and for good reason. The northern portion in particular reminded me of the Scottish Highlands, which makes sense given that geological evidence suggests at least part of the island was joined with Scotland millions of years ago. This is one road trip you definitely want to add to your bucket list.

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Canada Trip, 2016: Cape Breton Cabin and Beach

During the Nova Scotia leg of our Canada road trip, we spent three nights at a cute little cabin in northern Cape Breton. The cabin was owned by people from Holland, and at their Dancing Moose Cafe they make this delicious Dutch dish called pannekoeken, which is basically like a thin pancake or crepe made however you want it. The first two mornings I got mine with bacon (in my pre-vegetarian days) and onions baked in, and a fried egg on top. The third morning I got one with apple and cinnamon. If you find yourself in northern Cape Breton, look up the Dancing Moose Cafe–you won’t regret it.

The cabin is a nice place to stay as well, right on the beach, where we saw dozens of seals floating off the shore, one of which is featured in the photos below.

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Canada Trip, 2016: Cape Enrage and Fundy National Park

The photos below are from my visits to Cape Enrage and Fundy National Park on August 29, 2016.

My wife and I first drove to Cape Enrage, where we enjoyed a delicious lunch next to the lighthouse before taking a walk around the grounds. They have rappelling and ziplining at Cape Enrage, but unfortunately the zipline from the cliff down the the beach was closed due to the wind. Bummer.

After leaving Cape Enrage we drove to Hopewell and hiked out to the beach among the famous rocks at low tide (this experience will be recounted in a forthcoming post).

During our hike back from the beach at Hopewell the skies opened and drenched us, but by the time we got back to our chalet in Alma, it was sunny again, so we headed out to nearby Fundy National Park for an early evening hike along a small waterfall trail. It was beautiful, like a stroll through Middle Earth, and peaceful—we had the entire trail to ourselves.

Later that evening we enjoyed one of the best pasta meals I’ve ever had (yes, in Canada!) at a place called An Octopus’ Garden Cafe. Pasta is made fresh with sauce customized exactly how you want it (I chose a spicy red sauce). Highly recommended. I would make a trip back to Alma just to eat there again.

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Photo of the Day: Cape Breton Beach (long exposure)

I don’t often get to take long exposure shots while on vacation because it involves lugging around a tripod, but this beach was located just outside my cabin on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia, Canada, so it was a perfect opportunity to set up the tripod and try out the neutral density filter I bought last year. These types of filters enable you to take long exposures during the day without blowing the highlights. I’m still getting the hang of it, but I like the effect here of smoothing the ocean and blurring the clouds while keeping the rocks in focus, almost like a painting.

Date: 9/3/2016
Camera: Nikon D5100
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You can view more featured photos at my Photo of the Day Collection.

Photos of the Day: Canadian Maritime Night Sky

The night skies over the Canadian maritime provinces are spectacular, particularly in the remote areas where these two photos were shot–the skies are packed with far more stars than most of us are used to seeing on a regular basis. Although my astrophotography remains a work in progress, I feel like these are definitely an improvement over some of my earlier efforts.

The first photo was taken outside of the inn where I stayed on Prince Edward Island. In setting the building against the night sky I tried to capture the remoteness of the inn, which is located by itself out on a cliff overlooking the sea. I always feel weird going outside for night photography, setting up the tripod and everything while people are wondering what I’m doing out there. The women in one of the downstairs rooms kept looking out the window–I think they thought I was up to something nefarious. 🙂

The second photo of the Milky Way was taken outside my cabin on Cape Breton Island.

Date: 8/30/2016
Camera: Nikon D5100
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Date: 9/3/2016
Camera: Nikon D5100
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You can view more featured photos at my Photo of the Day Collection.

Photo of the Day: Cape Breton Skyline Trail

This was taken during my hike of the Skyline Trail in Cape Breton, Canada. It’s not a very vibrant photo due to the rainy conditions, but I like the imagery of a solitary figure standing at the top of a mountain gazing over the sea and the Cabot Trail. I didn’t have time to complete the entire trail myself, but had I done so, I would have been standing in the same spot as the person in this photo.

Date: 9/2/2016
Camera: Nikon D5100
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You can view more featured photos at my Photo of the Day Collection.