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The Awe and Despair of Fishing Cove

Updated: Jan 25, 2019

As part of our trip to eastern Canada this June, we visited the revered and acclaimed area of Cabot Trail. In planning the trip, considering we wanted to visit New Brunswick as well, we came to the conclusion that we needed to choose between either Kemjimkujik National Park and Cape Breton Highlands National Park. Much of the reason we decided on Cape Breton was because of one particular spot: the only backcountry camping site in the park.

We had seen pictures online of the site uphill from the river and beach, in a cove overlooking the ocean to the northwest. As is often the case in these situations, pictures can never truly do such an awe-inspiring area justice.

We began the 6-kilometer hike in to the site after a short trek up from the Cheticamp campground along Cabot Trail, which, not to be overlooked, was arguably the most spectacular drive of our lives to date. The hike in went relatively smoothly; a steady descent along a moderately rocky trail that traced MacKenzie Mountain in a zigzag, with our only major obstacle being the moose scat that littered it. The further down trail we got the more distinct the sound rushing water became until we found ourselves overlooking the flowing river through the trees.

The hike continued along the river until the thick Acadian forest we’d spent the past few hours in became more and more sparse until it gave way to an absolute jaw-dropping view. At Fishing Cove, the mountains melt into a rocky beach and the river flows into the ocean. It would provide us with an unbelievable vista of the Atlantic and a breathtaking sunset that seemed to be placed perfectly centred between the surrounding mountains. If the aforementioned photos did not do this place justice, words will do it far less, so please enjoy these pictures below.

Unfortunately, we would learn an all too familiar lesson that, as beautiful and pristine as it may seem, nature can erupt at any moment. When we awoke the next morning, clouds had rolled in over the mountains and a few hours later, exploded into a downpour. This was a true northern Atlantic storm, with rain seeming to fall in every direction and winds strong enough to sweep us off our feet. Our rain gear provided little to no protection and soon we were drenched to the bone.

With our clothes, tent, and sleeping bags soaked through, it made for a miserable 24 hours and a painful hike out. Albeit, we could not forget the awe we had once had for the place, and Fishing Cove shall forever be engrained in our memories for having provided us with the opposing poles of time spent outdoors; those in which nature seems to constantly astound you, and those in which its merciless can leave you wretched.

Written by Jules Malizia

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Could not have described the experience better myself! One of the most beautiful places I have ever seen despite an awful storm...still made for some great memories with the best of friends.

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