Sydney, Nova Scotia: A Scenic Journey Through Canada's Northern Island
Today is a new day for me in the city of Sydney, Nova Scotia. This town is located north of Halifax, still within the same island confines that welcomed me with a chilly morning breeze. Yet my car was already downstairs, and according to my schedule, I would spend the entire day exploring an area known as the Cabot Trail.
The Cabot Trail, perhaps the most renowned route in the vicinity, is a scenic road that encircles the northern part of the island. One could either take a full day, perhaps a day and a half, to traverse it if they chose to take their time with each stop. However, I didn't possess such luxury, hence, I began my journey at dawn, aiming to cover a third of it before returning.
Regardless, this promised an opportunity to acquaint myself with the landscapes that define this region. The town of Sydney itself, while appearing as a quaint, provincial town, fails to present anything exceptionally notable or worthy of special attention.
An hour into the drive, I passed by mainly white, wooden houses that were comfortably nestled, each distinct yet sharing a certain similarity. Surrounded by green forests, predominantly of low white birches. But their short stature does not denote youth; rather, in these harsh lands, the trees expend more energy on survival than growth.
Another hour on the road unveiled a panoramic view of yet another bay on the horizon, the Cabot Trail wrapping around it like an artistic masterpiece. Local inhabitants have made good use of this peninsula, establishing a ferry crossing in this narrow, strategic location to traverse the bay.
The crossing itself, perhaps one of the shortest ferry rides in existence, saves significant time, covering approximately 100 meters from one shore to the bay's deeply indented end. From there, the real essence of the Cabot Trail begins.
The trail becomes more discernable and the landscapes more varied. Still punctuated by yellow birch forests, the road weaves along the shore, offering glimpses of vast lakes with solitary trees and waves breaking on them. Fishing establishments appear sporadically - fishing, particularly lobster and crab fishing, forms an integral part of the local economy.
The lobster season here is fleeting, lasting only a few weeks and is highly regulated. The lobster and crab fishery is one of the main exports, contributing substantially to the local economy. Despite their export value, lobsters aren't considered a delicacy here; their price is far removed from the exorbitant rates seen in global restaurants. Instead, they are a common staple, abundantly available for the local population.
My first stop is a small fishing village that reveals a vista of beaches, further enhanced by the coastal scenery. A few logs and stranded trees add to the atmosphere of this place. After a brief pause, I continue my journey along the coast, where the road gradually ascends to a location known as Smoky Mountain.