Sunday, December 23, 2018

Waterfalls, Scenic Detours and a Biking Adventure

When I heard that there is a waterfall in New Harris, Cape Breton, just a few kilometres from the Trans Canada Highway, I told myself I would find it before summer's end.  When I heard that the road leading to the waterfall was a wood road leading through a forested area along the water, I decided I would ride my bike to the trail leading to the falls.  I am currently on the lookout for new places to explore with my bike since I now have a bike rack on my car.

I did end up making it to that trail  and to the waterfalls but not with my bike.  I drove to New Harris and as far as the road would go, looking for a trail that could potentially lead to a waterfall.  I heard it was on the right side near the bridge going toward Camp Carter.  I reached the bridge but saw nothing that even remotely looked like a trail so I stopped at some picnic tables near Camp Carter and ate lunch while enjoying the beautiful fall colours that surrounded me.

I continued on to the end of that road, admiring the colourful landscape.  When the road ended and my car could not continue on the narrow ATV trail ahead, I turned back and resumed my search for the trail to the waterfall.  As I drove over the bridge (which I assumed must have been in the vicinity of the waterfall as it went over a river), I noticed some flattened grass near the ditch on the other side.  I got out to investigate and discovered that it was a trail that led along the river and likely to a waterfall. An easy ten-minute hike through some trees brought me to what I was looking for.

 I don't know what the official name of these fall is, but I've heard people call them Camp Carter Falls or simply the waterfalls at Camp Carter.  The trail came out at the top of the falls where I could hear the water rushing and see the spray.  However, I couldn't get a good view of them from that angle so I made my way to the bottom.  Not as easy as it sounds.  A rope was involved.  And some mud and slippery rocks and a steep embankment.  But the view of the falls at the bottom made it worth it.  I rested for a bit and took in those natural surroundings with the changing leaves, the thunderous roar of tons of water coming down into the river below and the felling of cool water lightly spraying my face.  When it started to get dark, I went back up the rope (it was much easier going up!) and headed back to the car.

Instead of taking the 125 all the way home, I made a detour I hadn't taken in many years.  I took the turn-off to Black Rock for a change of scenery and out of curiosity as I forgot what was down there.  I saw some new houses, some very nice ones too and a splendid view of the Bird Islands and then it was back to the TCH and onto the 125...the route home.

 Later that week, I embarked on another late fall adventure, one that I didn't think I would get to do once the weather turned cold.  A few days before I embarked on a bike ride to the Sand Lake/Port Morien area, I was monitoring the weather for possible warm breaks that would allow me to go on a few late-season bike adventures.  A break came on a sunny Wednesday with temperatures predicted to reach the high teens by midday.  I got my gear ready and put my bike on the car rack and off I went.

I made the 40-minute drive to Marconi Towers Rd, and parked on the gravel area near the community mailbox.  It rained periodically on the drive from New Waterford but by the time I got the bike off the rack and was ready to go, the clouds had cleared and the sun was out.

I avoided the main road at first and turned onto Marconi Towers Rd. toward the old wood road leading to Sand Lake.  The wind had died down which made the drive through that rural area that much more enjoyable.  The trees were at their autumn height; bright leaves in shades of yellow, orange and red.  And there was no one else around.  No cars, no people, not even any other bikers.  Just me...until I reached the hill approaching the lake and that is where I came across the orange"construction ahead" signs. It was too late to turn around so I waited until the flag person waved me along and I reluctantly passed dangerously close to moving machinery and endured the deafening sound of their workings until I reached the lake path on the other side.  I drove until I reached a quiet spot where I could rest and take in the views .

I only drove along this lake a few times never actually stopped and took a good look at it.  It's strange how I will travel all the way to Ingonish to enjoy Warren Lake, which is a two-and-a-half hour drive away, but this beautiful lake has always been here and it's only a half-hour drive away...and I never think of going there.

I intended to reach to turn around and head back to the car the same way but I kept going instead.  It was so warm and I was loving the fall breeze on my face as I cruised those back roads.  I eventually ended up back on the highway and turned towards Port Morien and that is where I ended up.

It was late in the afternoon and the sun was getting low in the sky when I reached the look off at Port Morien.  I got off the bike and walked down the stairs to the little beach and sat and enjoyed the view of the fishing docks and calm waters of the bay. I could have stayed there all evening but I was not equipped for safe bicycling at night.  I reluctantly headed back to the car.  I took the same way back down the highway, onto the gravel road along the lake, past the construction crew and back to my car.  The sun was starting to go down by that time but rush hour had already gone by so I was in for a relaxing evening n my drive home.

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