To me, Cape Breton National Park simply redefines Canadian beauty to another level. The eight-hour tour of Cabot Trail gave me perfectly amazing first impression and glances of the outer boundary of the park, but the acadian, boreal, and taiga forest hidden inside the park is another gem yet to be discovered. What sort of beauty hidden behind those uprising highland plateau covered in green? What kind of wild lives disguised among those dark, yet enchanting woodland? How does it feel like to view the most picturesque sunset submerging to the depth of the ocean from the one of those soaring peaks? Never in my thoughts before I knew that I would actually find all the answers soon.
And just like that, I knew for sure I had to hike to enjoy the best sides out of it. However, I am no experienced mountain hiker with only a couple experiences in the past, and being a solo traveller did not seem to help at all for I wasn’t confident at all to explore Canadian mountain by myself as the wild animals were common sights in all national parks. But my persistence kept me going to find a possible way to hike with at least one other more experienced person, and that had led me to one of the greatest hikes in my life by far.
For you who had been knowing me since I was younger, you sure know that back then I was such a crybaby whom people wouldn’t assume to be able to grow up being all brave and bold. I was never into sports, was afraid of any sort of physical test, sucked at exercising, and possibly did not quite fit the image of a geologist which I am on my way to become. I had always been an introvert who was always anxious at social events or making friends especially big parties, and wouldn’t think of greeting a stranger in the first place. Yet it wasn’t until this particular hike I had in Cape Breton that I realized how much I’ve actually overcome those things, how far I’ve grown up.
Never in my lifetime before I had imagined would go with a stranger to an isolated place, let alone hike to some off-beaten tracks that are not mapped yet, with a person whom I just met the moment we were about to start our hike. All moms in the world would probably hate this idea quite a bit much, but I took the chance of trusting my own guts, and there I went to venture into the deep jungle of all things unknown with a Cape Breton National Park interpreter.
Nate is an Acadian-blood who led the way to hike an old trail that is no longer used anymore currently, in one sole mission of finding some secret lookout point where the views would be worth every drop of sweat. He did his Bachelor’s degree in Ecology so he basically knew a lot about the forest; the trees and the wild animals. But even though our hike was filled with his talk about nature and stuff, it was far from the typical boring university lecture of Bioscience 101, and more like two friends chitchatting about the biology of our surrounding. The whole hike was just enjoyable and even though it was indeed exhausting to spend the whole day to reach a couple peaks, we managed to just somehow turn the journey into a day worth remembering–at least for me, lol. After all, how many times do you get to climb to the top of a mountain but end up seeing the ocean from above?
And here are some snapshots from the hike:
And what’s more remarkable about this hike is that, I just realized how far we could go in life if we could just take a leap of faith, trust our guts, and be willing to believe in other people as well. This is not really about hiking with a stranger that turned out really such a once in a lifetime experience; this is more about the turning point in my life where I figured out what kind of person I could become but never thought would be. There’s no endless possibilities to what you could achieve, if you’re willing to put your fear behind and embrace the all new chances you never thought you would take. So yes, those Instagram-worthy posts are the outcomes, but they’re actually just some bonus to what I have fulfilled inherently.
But that hike with Nate wasn’t the only hike worth noting. That was just one of the many steps of myself recognizing just how amazing the people in the community is, which I’m going to excitedly talk about in the next post. In the meantime, cheers and peace out!