I certainly am doing a lot of catching up this fall…and by catching up, I am referring to hiking and being outdoors. You know how I didn’t get to do a lot of hiking this summer? Well, now that I am laid off from my job, I am taking advantage of the beautiful fall we are having here in Cape Breton to getting outdoors and exploring some new places and revisiting some old favorites.
It was an early start to the morning the day I decided to do this hike. The drive from Lingan to Point Michaud is about two hours and there is always construction along route 4, which is the highway I usually take to get there. One of the most anticipated things about this day-trip was the opportunity to meet some new people. I’ve met a lot of new people this summer and this is a good thing for me because most of the people I’m meeting love the outdoors, nature and hiking like I do! And it’s very hard to meet people like that these days.
Luckily, we are having a very nice fall here in Cape Breton. Lots of sun and warm temperatures which are quite abnormal for this time of year and quite welcome after the horrendous winter we had earlier this year. Perhaps it’s the fact that weather experts are predicting an even worse winter this time around is what has me darting outside at every opportunity I get. But even though the sun was shining when I left home and it was calling for fairly decent temperatures, I played it safe and dressed in layers. Needless to say, the top layer came off about five minutes into the hike. More came off as the afternoon went on and the temperatures rose.
As we started to come into a clearing, I noticed a cluster of trees to the right of the trail. A cluster of trees is usually not something out-of-the-ordinary but this cluster of trees was different. For one, they were all dead and two, they were all very short - much shorter than the other trees in the area. A fellow hiker, who was familiar with the trail, had already wandered into the little tree cluster, calling it The Little People Forest. This name suited it as I had to slump down in order to maneuver through the little trees and there were many little hiding places and overhangs that one could hide in. It looked and felt like something you would see in one those fantasy movies like The Lord of the Rings and my imagination suddenly began to run wild. I felt like a little kid again as I weaved in and out of the little spaces.
While much of the group departed and headed home or to other engagements, the rest of us headed over to the Grand River area where there was a beach I didn’t even know existed. This hike wasn’t as long as the other one; it was more of a leisurely stroll along the water. We reached the far end of the beach and just sat by the river on the other side and listened to the natural sounds around us for a while; seabirds chirping, trees rustling, waves crashing onshore behind us and water trickling along in the river before us. It was the perfect end to a perfect day!