Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nova Scotia - Day 4: Dingwall, Cabot Trail Biking, Pleasant Bay

We awoke in Dingwall to a beautiful day by the shore!

After a nice breakfast up at the main building of The Markland, we went back down to the beach for practice - why not?

Although B gripes about practice as much as any six-year old might, she playing is coming along nicely.

Mark and Holly enjoyed B's performance, and the ocean's, from these chairs that just happened to be at the beach. Jasper romped in the sand and surf like a crazed animal!

Since we would be staying here a second night, we did not have the usual scramble to get packed up and on the road. We even took advantage of the Markland's washing machines to do a bit of laundry. This left us with some time to kill. Hilary sat in the sun for some reading (not realizing the need for sunscreen until much later!) Brynna convinced me to teach her how to play chess. There are many skills that I, humbly, claim to possess, but chess isn't one of them. She did respectably for a first timer, but did ultimately lose. She was keen to explain things to Hilary.

In the afternoon the plan was for Hilary and I to take our bikes and do a stretch of the Cabot Trail from Dingwall, up and over a climb, and down to Pleasant Bay.

It was a bight sunshiny day, but cool.

The first part of the climb gently heads up a loooong glacial valley, which this afternoon was in full autumn splendor.

Then it gets steeper and starts switchbacking.

And steeper still! Near the top there are several extended sections of 10-13%.

Eventually it flattens out onto a broad plateau with tall grass and short trees to either side. It was a prime spot for moose-watching. Brynna, Mark, and Holly apparently did see a moose on the side of the road when they buzzed past before us.

Then for the reward: several km of steep downhill! Neither H nor I are particularly fearless or accomplished descenders, so there was much squeezing of the brakes the whole way down. Even so, there were some open stretches that allowed me to open it up to about 40 mph! The descent was cold, though!

We met up with Mark, Holly, and B in Pleasant Bay, at the Rusty Anchor restaurant. What a find! The food was excellent, the veggie options original and tasty, and the beer selection quite satisfying. One would not have expected such a place, here way out at the end of the island. I asked the hostess if it'd be getting quiet in these parts come winter. She chuckled and said they'd be boarded up in another twelve days.
The Rusty Anchor also has an impressive view of the Bay. At various times, one can spot whales just off shore. More on that in Day 5.

After this fine picture at sunset just outside the restaurant, we loaded ourselves back into the car, with the bikes hanging off the back, and backtracked our route to The Markland, where we had another pleasant night.

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