Hi friends! MAK here! Time for another monthly recap of life on the road, so let’s talk August.
Acadia National Park
Our first night of the month Owen and I decided to finally catch a sunset from the top of Cadillac mountain. Despite the fact that we had been in the park for a whole week we managed to save this incredible view for last. Owen and I arrived at the summit with 30 mins to spare before sunset and the place was packed. That’s because it’s one of the few western facing summits with no obstructions in the park. We recommend going early if you want a good spot for photos and a guaranteed parking spot. Mother nature did not disappoint and put on an incredible show!
The next day we headed just north to the other portion of Acadia NP called the Schoodic Peninsula. Being that it’s a small part of the park we only took the day to explore it.
It was a pristine little section of rugged coast and made for another incredible sunset! I’m not sure if you guys have picked up on this, but Owen and I are huge suckers for a good sunset!
West Quoddy HEad, MAINE
By the time we finally left Acadia National Park, we both were fully inspired and utterly in love. We’ve long dreamed of seeing Acadia and in all honesty, it far exceeded our expectations! We were sad to leave a place that we actually could see ourselves living someday, but our sights were set on Canada. So north we went.
One of our last stops in Maine before leaving the United States for the rest of the summer was West Quoddy Head, Maine. It’s claim to fame? The eastern most point in the United States of America.
In addition to being the most eastern point in the US, West Quoddy Head is also home to a beautiful lighthouse that is free to visitors. Turns out the museum greeter spends his summers here telling people about the lighthouse and winters in Florida near our family! Small world right?
We couldn’t see much further than the shoreline because of the thick fog, but we’ve really come to love the light that fog casts over everything. After visiting West Quoddy we’ve now been to the southern most and eastern most point in the US! Checkin off the boxes y’all!
Heading north towards the Canadian border Owen and I spotted a little road side stand that said “Smoked Salmon Sticks”. Naturally we turned around immediately to see what that was all about!
They were delicious and you need one!
Bay of Fundy, New Brunswick, Canada
After months, and months of dreaming of being in Canada we finally made it! As Owen and I reached the end of our build(s) we realized that we wanted to spend the rest of the summer in the Canadian Maritime provinces. Originally this part of the world was on our schedule for next year but we decided to move it to this year because we were already on the east coast. When we finally hit the Canadian border it was a huge sigh of relief because we finally felt like we were back to living our life our way!
After crossing the border we spent our first night shrouded in fog at the base of a lighthouse. The fog was so thick the fog horn was blasting every thirty seconds. It was so loud you could feel it in your chest. Annoying? Yes, but we weren’t phased. We were just happy to be in Canada. That night we sat outside next to Lando and enjoyed a fancy feast complete with wine, cheese, assorted nuts, caviar (a gift from my mom) and the sweet sound of the fog horn.
Our first stop in New Brunswick was to Fundy Bay National Park were we picked up our Canadian National Park Passes. If you plan on spending anytime in or around Canadian NPs we recommend you just go ahead and buy one. They were about $120 CAD for the both of us ($60 per person).
In the park Owen and I did a small hike called Matthews Head Trail that was an easy coastal trail that covered about 4.5 km before heading to the park pool for a dip and showers.
Owen and I tend to get into a rhythm where we try to do so/see so much every single day. We just want to be sure that we aren’t missing anything when we travel. The result is usually that we go weeks on end without sitting still for more than 15 minutes. By the time we’d reached the Bay of Fundy Owen and I were exhausted from our race to Canada. So we made our way to camp after lunch and spent a rare afternoon recharging our solar battery, reading, and watching the world go by. As the sun went down the breeze receded and we were visited by an unexpected and aggressive wetland native. The mosquito. In an effort to stay for the night we closed ourselves into the truck bed and blockaded the small openings with bug netting. Somehow the bugs were still infiltrating our home. At 11:30 pm we called it and went to find a headland were we stood a better chance of a breeze. We were lucky to find a spot just 10 minutes down the road where about 5 other vans were camped. It was so pleasant that we were able to stay up late capturing the incredible Milky Way over the bay.
Sleep deprived from the night before, we decided to head to a place called Hopewell Rocks after many recommendations! Hopewell Rocks is a (paid) nature park with paved walking trails and things of that nature. Typically, places like this aren’t our speed because they’re really busy, expensive, and it can be hard to enjoy nature when there’s so many people with selfie sticks afoot. The rocks in the above images are why we decided it was worth braving the crowd. When we went to pay the entry fee we were happy to hear that it was New Brunswick Day and entry into the park was free!
These are some of the coolest rock formations that we’ve seen anywhere. It made it even more special that the Bay of Fundy experiences the greatest tidal swing anywhere in the world at around 50ft between high and low tide! Owen and I stood on the beach at the base of this formation for about 15 mins and in that time the water completely receded from around these rocks! Pretty crazy right?!
Prince Edward Island, Canada
After we finished our journey through New Brunswick we took the long bridge into Prince Edward Island(PEI)! Immediately after arriving we headed to the National Park to check out the beaches that PEI is known for. The water is uncharacteristically warm for this area and draws a huge crowd! In all honesty we only spent about 15 minutes at the beach before we realized that it wasn’t for us. So we packed our beach bag back up and headed towards camp for the night.
Home for the night was Cape Tyron lighthouse. A historical lighthouse with an incredible view of The Gulf of St. Lawrence, the sea cliffs, and the nesting sea birds that have taken up residence in those cliff walls. To access this spot we had to weave through a bunch of little country roads that traversed through PEI’s farmland. The whole place felt like the Scottish Highlands. We enjoyed an evening of drawing, reading, and soaking in this pristine little spot.
In all we only spent a few days on PEI. The country side was beautiful, but we (personally) found the island to be a little touristy for our taste. We packed Lando and pointed ourselves towards the long awaited Nova Scotia.
Partridge Island, Nova Scotia, Canada
After leaving PEI we headed back through New Brunswick and then into Nova Scotia. For a long time I have wanted to see Nova Scotia and Newfoundland, so we were really excited to finally have made it. The first stop in Nova Scotia was to the small town of Partridge Island.
We rolled into camp, which was just a tiny spit of land between the Bay of Fundy and the Minas Basin. Following the lead of the local couple setting up a tent down the rocky beach we made camp near a picnic shelter and rock fire ring. After a day of driving were were excited for a bottle of wine and a sunset that was shaping up nicely!
As expected, the sunset was beautiful, the wine was yummy, and we even met a few friendly locals! After the sun dipped behind the horizon Owen and I made a fire from drift wood and took some photos of the bright milky-way despite the glow from the city of Truro in the distance. As we climbed into bed for the night we came to the realization that we’d locked our keys in the cab… both sets. Wonderful way to end the night right? Nothing could be done about it then so we went to bed and decided to deal with it in the morning.
We woke early to our sad situation. It wasn’t a dream, our keys were still locked in Lando’s cab. After a few failed attempts to open the back sliding window and a extensive search for a spare hidden on Lando’s undercarriage that we somehow didn’t know about, (we tried it because we actually found a surprise extra set of keys under Amelia once) we decided that we needed to find a locksmith. Naturally we had no service, AND it was a Saturday morning. We decided to walk around to explore the beach until a more appropriate hour so we could approach our neighbors to see if they knew of a locksmith in the town a few miles inland. The tide was low and there was plenty to fill our time with.
After a while we ran out of water, Owen started to get a bit nervous so we went to our neighbors for help. They thought they’d heard of a guy who owned a salvage yard outside of town who might be able to help, but they too didn’t have service. We decided to walk towards town in hope that we’d get service or someone would offer a ride. Service came first so we called the salvage yard. A gruff sounding man answered and we told him we were locked out of our truck on Partridge Island. He said “Yeah, I can get you in your car. I’ll be there soon.” and hung up without ever asking exactly where we were, how long “soon” was, or what car we were driving. Owen took him at his word and started heading down the hill back towards camp. I sighed in protest feeling that there was no way this man was going to show and followed Owen back to camp.
Sure enough… 15 minutes later a beat up truck came chugging down the hill towards us onto the beach. He stopped in front of Lando and said “I’m assuming you all are the ones that are locked out? People that are locked out of their car always have a look about ‘em.” This man apparently was also a mind reader because he just answered my unspoken question of how the hell he was able to find us so fast?!
A short 10 mins later he handed us our keys which had just been pulled out of Lando in an elaborate fishing routine performed through a small crack in our door. Color us impressed. This guy was not only fast, he was also accurate, and cheap. He asked for $45 CAD, but we only had $60 USD and happily gave him all of it for coming out so quickly on a Saturday morning! Seriously, that doesn’t ever happen!
With keys in hand we headed towards our activity of the day: Cape Chignecto.
Cape Chignecto, Nova Scotia
It was a beautiful drive from Partridge Island to Cape Chignecto Provincial Park. The park is laced with a bunch of cool trails that all have outlets to different parts of the coast line. We decided on a 4 mile loop but instead of returning through the woods we would take a small trail out to the coastline and walk back that way. We were warned that the coastline isn’t passible the whole way back until high tide has receded a bit.
When we made it out to the water we found the Bay of Fundy to be suspiciously tropical looking in comparison to the muddy waters of the bay on the New Brunswick side. We ended up having to wait for about an hour until we could start our return trip because the tide was still too high, but we used the time to lay around in the sun and enjoy the waterfall emptying onto the beach.
We enjoyed our 1 km walk back to the visitor center and as we always do, collected trash the whole way back. As our arms started to fill up we found a basket, which was also trash washed up on the beach, and used it to hold what ended up being an abundance of trash.
Allow me a brief moment to harp about picking up trash on the beach: I wasn’t brought up on the phrase “Leave no trace”. I was brought up on “If you see trash, you pick it up!”. My mom has always drilled into my brother and I that you should leave a place cleaner than you found it. Be it a beach, park, trail, rental car, or a city sidewalk. Anywhere. As a kid I chalked it up to a mom-ism, and did as I was told. Now, I look back and I’m incredibly thankful and proud that my mom brought us up to respect every place we’re fortunate enough to experience. Because of that I don’t ever leave the beach empty handed. Or any other outdoor space for that matter. So Mom, this one’s for you. Please treat everywhere you go like it’s your own backyard. If you see trash pick it up. We’re the reason trash fills water ways and places that should be pristine, so we must be the solution and take responsibility to clean them up.
Rant over. Thank you for your future cleanup efforts!
Walton, Nova Scotia
Walton river delta will go down in our books as a place that we’ll never forget. We actually didn’t even know about it until we realized we were going to need a place to stay somewhere in between Cape Chignecto and Cape Split. Typically in transit campsites aren’t places that we choose with a whole lot of foresight and therefore we tend to not have the highest of expectations for them. We weren’t ready for the sunset this place was about to put on!
After finding a spot overlooking the river delta and the Minas Basin (which is just part of the Bay of Fundy), we set out to make dinner so we could eat and watch the sun go down. With dinner in hands the sun started to set and proceeded to give us the most insane 20+ minutes of sunset we’ve ever seen! Our dinners got set aside and went cold as we frantically ran around getting hundreds of pictures. It felt like ever minute we were looking at a different sunset, and each being better than the last. I don’t think that I’ve ever seen Owen so excited over… ANYTHING like this before. It was amazing, it was a gift that we are forever grateful for. Immediately after the sun went down the mosquitoes moved in with a vengeance and we retreated to the safety of Lando’s cab.
Cape Split, Nova Scotia
The morning after seeing the most wonderful sunset of our life we went to Cape Split, a place that we saw in the distance at sunset from Partridge Island. We asked a local as he passed what that strange rock formation was off in the distance, and he told us all about Cape Split.
Legend has it that the Mi’kmaq god, Glooscap, had an arch enemy in Beaver. Beaver made a large dam that blocked the Bay of Fundy and thus created the Minas Basin. Glooscap didn’t like this dam and thus struck it down with a bolt of lightning. Cape split is all that remains of this dam that was once created by Beaver. Pretty cool right? After hearing that story we knew that we were going to make the drive to see it for ourselves!
The hike to the head of Cape Split is 16km round trip. At the farthest most point you get an incredible view of the Bay of Fundy, Minas Basin, and the water nearly 100m below! We were really lucky to get such great weather. The hike was amazing, the day was beautiful, and we enjoyed lunch just a few feet from the cliff’s edge! I took some time while we were there to do the line drawing below, and then later added color for your enjoyment.
After returning from the hike we headed straight to camp for the night. Like many of our camp spots thus far in Canada, we were right on the water and got a front row seat for the beautiful sunset over the huge tidal shift in the Bay of Fundy.
Below are pictures of the wharf that we stayed at for the night. When the tide is really far out the boats drop all the way to sit on the ground in little stands so they don’t roll over in the mud. We were told that fisherman in this area have to time their fishing days by the tide to avoid being stuck more than 50 feet from the wharf at low tide. Pretty impressive.
Digby, Nova Scotia
As we started to make our way towards the southern end of Nova Scotia we began to see signs for whale watching and heard rumors that whales could be seen from shore in these parts. Owen, who’s never seen a whale in the wild was hopeful, but not counting on seeing any whales as we passed through. On our way to camp that night Owen and I joked that we’d see somewhere between 50-75 whales that night. As our joking came to an end Owen muttered “but it would be nice”.
Home for the night was another wharf just outside of town. We converted Lando from drive mode into camp mode and then pulled up a chair on the dilapidated wharf in preparation for sunset. I was drawing in my sketch book, and Owen was sipping a beer when we heard the unmistakable sound of a large mammal breathing out in the water. The tide was very low but as we stood up and poked our heads over the rocks we saw our first whale surface.
Owen nearly lost his mind and ran back to the truck for our binoculars and a camera. As the sun started to set and the tide moved in we started to see an endless procession of fin and tail slaps and full breaching humpback whales. In total we probably were seeing the same 10-15 whales but they surfaced well over 50-75 times in our area. As the tide moved in, so did they.
By the time we went to bed that night the water was so high that it was splashing against the side of the wharf wall we were parked next to. We slept with the tail gate open and listened to the sound of whales breathing just feet from our bed. I’d like to say that I slept well that night, but honestly I was up most of the night listening to the sound of whales breathing. That sound isn’t just something you hear with your ears, it’s something you feel deep in your chest. I loved every minute of it.
Peggy’s Cove, Nova Scotia
After coming around the southern tip of Nova Scotia, we began to trace the Atlantic coast north towards the capitol city of Halifax. It was our 3 year wedding anniversary too! Since going on the road we’ve stopped exchanging gifts in favor of just trying to make each other’s day special with the things that we already have. We started our day in a small town south of Lunenburg (home of the famous Bluenose Schooner which is featured on Nova Scotia’s license plates). Being that it was a work day, we worked from a tiny little library until we left for a lunch time “Pizza Party” (just pizza and a beer at lunch) and tried Donair sauce for the first time. Donair sauce is a delightfully whipped garlicky/sweet spread that is famous just in this area of Nova Scotia. It isn’t an exaggeration to say that it was life changing. After work and lunch we made our way to the the wonderfully picturesque town of Lunenburg.
We spent a few hours walking around and looking for the Bluenose II only to find that it was out for a race somewhere. With that we decided to make our way to camp so we could get there in enough time to enjoy our anniversary dinner with a little bit of daylight.
We arrived at a parking lot in Peggy’s Cove to find a few more people also staying for the night. We parked in a quiet corner of the parking lot and enjoyed a special anniversary edition of Fancy Feast complete with a playlist of the most sappy love songs imaginable that we made during the ride to Peggy’s Cove. We finished off the night slow dancing in the pitch black, fog drenched parking lot to our first dance song, Georgia On My Mind. It was a perfectly “us” anniversary celebration.
The following morning we ventured out to explore Peggy’s Cove and took all the pictures you see here. Turns out we found a beautiful and unique spot to call home for the night!
Thank you as always for reading our lengthy recaps! Next time we’ll wrap up the last half of August and Nova Scotia!