Hopewell Rocks – “flowerpots” to Cape Breton

Said our goodbyes to Alma and Fundy Nat’l Park, and our hotel. Double-click any photos for full-size:

Drove north along the Bay to Hopewell Rocks, that iconic “walk on the ocean floor” tourism site. Arrived at low tide – perfect! And with a 6-hour drive to the next national park ahead of us, we weren’t going to wait around to see high tide. So here’s a photo of their photo of high tide:

IMG_6255

Walked along the trails, overlooking mudflats – off limits due to fragile habitat, and finally down to the stairs down to the ocean floor. Impressive warning to return to the stairs before the tide returns, and instructions on what to do if you do get stuck in rising water.

The ads show 3 basic “flowerpot” rocks – formations with shrubs and trees growing on top. But once you’re down there, the formations (reminds me of giant versions of the “hoodoos” at Bryce Canyon) just keep coming, around each bend, there are more and more, and the cliff wall is carved out into a parade of formations. You can see how high the tide gets by looking up to see where the seaweed stops. On some rocks, the seaweed climbs above my head, even above my extended hiking stick.

A park ranger, Ranger Rick, builds stonehenge-like circles of precariously-balanced cairns during low tide, and lets the tides knock his work down so he can build them again. How Zen.

They warn you to wear sturdy shoes or boots, I guess because of the rocks and mud. Even with our hiking boots, and their great traction, we were slipping and sliding as the mud clogged the treads, and we ended up skating mud on mud. At times, the mud just sucks loose shoes off of feet – we saw kids lifting bare feet as the mud grabbed tight hold of sneakers and Crocs. And flip-flops!? Some folks just don’t read. Or plan.

And did you see all those little periwinkles? Lots of creatures in that mud on the ocean floor. Step carefully.

From Hopewell, we drove to Nova Scotia, across the northern side, then over a causeway onto Cape Breton Island. And drove and drove.

We finally reach Ingonish, and the eastern entrance to Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Fog, mist, gray, and flowers. And our hotel, Castle Rock Inn, was just lovely – great view, fresh baked cookies, terrific service.

view from our room

view from our room

Dinner at the local ski slope restaurant, with live music! But, he was a guitar player, not the traditional Cape Breton fiddler we were hoping for. He did play “Please Come to Boston” in our honor, and a Bruce song for another couple.

 

 

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