A couple of weekends ago, we had a wonderful fall day. The forecast was calling for rain all day but it turned out to be a fine sunny October day with the temperature hovering around 17 degrees. It was the perfect day to go to Schooner Pond with family and friends. Marcie, Bailey and I hooked up with our friends Kathleen and Chris for a great afternoon of hiking along the eastern coast of Cape Breton Island. It’s right in our own backyard – only minutes from Donkin and Port Morien.
If you haven’t been to Schooner Pond, you haven’t seen one of the most amazing coastal areas of Cape Breton. Many days, you will see seals playing offshore and a variety of seabirds soaring over the ocean and diving for food. You may also see deer, rabbits and other woodland creatures in the forested areas. On this day, we didn’t see much wildlife but we were treated to a wonderful weather show. When we started out, it was sunny. The waves were very large and were crashing against the cliffs. There was a wind blowing from onshore which was causing the tops of the waves to spray in the opposite direction of their momentum creating a wonderful two-way water show. Fog was lying off the coast, gobbling up Flint Island. Every once in a while you could see the ghostly outline of the island or a fleeting glimpse of its lighthouse. The fog was like a cat waiting to strike. And strike it did. We walked out in a sunny, warm day. We walked back in a foggy ether-world. At exactly the point when we turned around, the fog rolled in and it was like we had two completely different hikes. The coast that was beautiful in the sunshine was equally amazing in the fog. You could only see as far out as where the waves were breaking and it seemed as if they were coming out of a void. We had a great time exploring in both sun and fog – looking at the sheer cliffs, stubby trees and other natural wonders you will find at Schooner Pond.
A word of warning: Explore Schooner Pond and enjoy the cliffs, beach and forest but be very careful around the cliffs. They are eroding underneath so don’t get too close to the edge if you are on top and don’t go underneath the overhangs if you are searching for 300 million year old carboniferous era fossils on the beach below.
When you arrive, follow the old dirt road along the beach until you come to the hiking trail which is on the left. It looks like an ATV trail and you may want to wear waterproof footwear because the trail is often wet.
Until next time, I’m off on another fall hiking adventure!