I have no idea what possessed us to look at the map of Nova Scotia, go all the way to the tip of Cape Breton Island, point at a random location and say ‘Hey, wouldn’t it be fun to drive all the way up there?’ but we did point, and we did drive all the way up there, and we (somewhat shockingly) lived to tell about it.
Meat Cove is one of those mildly mystical places that sounds a little like somewhere you’d go for a barbecue or a cannibal’s picnic, and also like a place you really shouldn’t be going to see. If you search the location on Instagram, all these gorgeous photos come up of a cliff and a vista that looks like you’re hanging off the edge of the world. And maybe for some people, on the right day, that is what it looks like. And maybe when you’re vomiting over the edge of that cliff cause you’re so car sick from driving all the way up there, you might stop and look up and think, ‘Man, that’s some view.’ Maybe maybe some people do that. Or maybe it’s just me, and the non-car sick people of the world can skip the vomiting and still think that.
Not I though. I’m very sorry, Meat Cove. I really wanted it to work out between us. The road, however, was long and winding and full of potholes and more than a little terrifying. Some motorcyclists we spoke to at breakfast who were riding from Victoria, B.C. to St. John’s, N.L. said they weren’t even going to attempt it, having been told the road would eat their bikes and result in the end of their journey. The road went on longer than I would stand to do most things. At the top, serious campers wearing hemp and with their wild children in tow have erected their tents and popped their trailers literally on the edge of the cliff.
We arrived in the fog and the cold and the grey, and peered down the side of the rock to the rocky beach where people braver than I were heading out to sea in kayaks. There was a trail to walk down to the shore, but it didn’t seem like the day for it. Signage around the Cove indicated a multitude of other hiking trails that no doubt, on a sunny day, would be memorable adventures for people who like that sort of thing.
I’m sure, on a beautiful sunny day, it would be grand. And please don’t take my experience as reason not to go, because it really is fun to be able to show people a map and say’We drove all the way up to Meat Cove!’ Be like Simone de Beauvoir, and see everything there is to see, because it does something to you whether you like the view or not (I know, I can be deep). Try to pick a sunny day, and know where you’re going for lunch after the vista viewing trip (Keltic Lodge is a doable drive, if you know where you’re going). You’ll need it after all that.
Heading to Cape Breton?