Friday, January 24, 2014

Chabot Trail North

Our fenders are pointing east and our long anticipated ride is about to begin along the Chabot Trail North in Nova Scotia. The temperatures hover in the 70 degree range, and helmet, jacket and gloves are all comfortable despite the sea breezes along the shore. While we are not alone on this trek, the traffic is light and accommodating. With kickstands up, we begin our climb along the Cabot Trail.

Initially, we weave our way through stately pines in shades of Hunter, Forest and Lincoln greens. The sun dappling its rays in flickering swaths between the boughs, casting intermittent play of shadow and light rhythmically across my shield. The heady alpine scent accompanies the rush of wind that washes over and around me. The turbulence of the wind as it passes over me creates a white noise effect in my ears, broken from time to time by the voice speaking to me in the headset.

We lean comfortably left then right, the trail being neither peg scrapping nor highway numbing. We continue in this fashion experiencing the climb in altitude, yet what we can see through the trees is only a hint of what we anticipate. The granite outcroppings to our right take on the semblance of a graph that spikes sharply like a good day on Wall Street. While at the same time, the pines to our left diminish in size until they are scrub.

We round the next bend to the left and without prelude, the sea and sky are one before us. The sky of cerulean blue is dotted with fair weather cumulus clouds on the horizon. The blending hues become cobalt blue as it meets the Gulf of St Lawrence. Gulls circle lazily on the thermals that rise between cliffs and sea. We stop here to fully experience the natural beauty of Nova Scotia.

I breathe deeply to fill lungs with the sharp sea air. Field of vision, distance sound of surf and sea birds, gentle breezes fluttering opened jacket, and bathed in full encompassing sunshine, the beauty that is Cape Breton Island is a full body experience. As I sit and endure this second arctic blast of single digit, flesh splitting cold, I close my eyes and envision myself here again.

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