On Thanksgiving Monday, Bailey and I went for a hike with my friend Mike McPhee and his 7 year old son, Calum. We went to Ben Eoin Provincial Park for a hike up the small mountain there. We went to look at fall colours, mushrooms and the spectacular view over the Bras d’Or from the top. We found much more. It was really nice to hike this trail with a 7 year old boy and an 18 month old girl. The children give a great imaginative energy to hikes like this. Calum was a great companion for Bailey. He was very good at helping to take care of her – assisting with her hat, sharing toys with her. He was also great at turning the trail and forest into a magical land filled with goblins, trolls and aliens (including walking mushrooms from outer space!).
The hike itself is a good climb. It isn’t long but there are some steep parts. The climb is well worth the effort when you get to the top and see the view. We also found some little pools of water in the rocks at the top. Calum and Bailey quickly turned them into magical pools full of interesting little creatures.
It was a great feat for the children to make it to the top. We congratulated Calum on climbing the entire mountain when we finished. We thanked the mountain for giving us so much and we discussed our favourite parts of the hike. Calum was very happy at the end and he said, “That was the best walk I’ve had.”
The outdoors is a great place to take children of all ages (including 36 year olds). They get great exercise and use their imaginations in a healthy and creative way. We get great physical and mental health benefits from hiking in the woods of Cape Breton. Ben Eoin provides a great location to take advantage of these benefits. It is a trail that is relatively close to the major population centres of the island. There is also a picnic park there so you can further enjoy a day there with your family by having a meal in the fresh air. If you do so, make sure you dispose of all your garbage properly to keep the place clean and so that you don’t attract wildlife.
To reach the provincial park, take route 4. If you are coming from Sydney, the park is on your left between the ski hill and Ben Eoin Beach.
Until next time, I’m off on another great fall hike!