The fog rolled in making the rugged cape feel very mysterious. Through it we could see only a vague outline of the tall, red and white lighthouse on the edge of Cape Forchu.
Our Great Canadian Roadtrip brought us to the southwestern coast of Nova Scotia. We explored this part of the province using a combination of highways and coastal roads. Although our main goal was to see the rugged Cape Forchu and its lighthouse, we knew there would be a lot to see on the way.
A few days earlier, a local Nova Scotian couple told us about seals sunning themselves on the rocks at Kejimkujik National Park Seaside. We instantly knew this was a stop we wanted to make. At the park’s entrance a hiking trail takes you on flat ground toward the sea. On either side of the trail dense bush, obscurs the view. After 1.3 km a fork in the trail splits it into two; Harbour Rocks Trail and Port Joli Head Trail. When we were there only Harbour Rocks Trail was open. This trail continues to be an easy walk that takes you to a beach where you can see the rock-filled bay.
We were looking forward to seeing the rocks covered in seals, basking in the sun. For us however, they were only being used by shore birds. We did see one seal swimming in the ocean, but it was quite far away.
The views of the bay are nice, but not spectacular. If you are short of time this site can be missed. Also, be warned, we saw dozens of snakes slithering across the trail. It ruined Maggie’s memory of the park. Kejimkujik National Park Seaside is operated by Parks Canada, but there didn’t seem to be a fee to enter.
We continued on our journey to Cape Forchu, but had to first visit another lighthouse. Sandy Point Lighthouse is located south of the town of Shelburne. It sits on a sandbar and if the water is low you can walk across the sandbar to reach the lighthouse. When we were there the tide was in so, instead of sitting on sand, the lighthouse appeared to be sitting in the middle of the ocean. I think I actually prefer the view we had.
Finally, we were on our way to Cape Forchu. The drive took us off the main highway to a small road south of Yarmouth and onto interesting terrain. The scenic road worked its way toward the cape but first we had to cross Yarmouth Bar. Driving across this narrow causeway, we could see the Atlantic Ocean from both sides of the car. At one point a tall, cement seawall protects the road from the raging ocean. It was calm when we were there, but we wouldn’t want to be driving on the causeway during a storm. The fact that they need a seawall tells a lot about how high the waves can be. Just beyond the wall we found the small Cape Forchu Harbour with colourful shacks on the shore and fishing boats in the water.
Another short isthmus connected us to the tip of the of the long, skinny cape. At its end lies the stunning Cape Forchu Lighthouse. This red and white stripped lighthouse is surrounded by jagged rocks and sits above the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean. The fog was coming in and out which added mystery to the harsh setting. At times it was difficult to see the apple core shaped lighthouse through the dense fog even though it was not far away.
The rocky cape was named by explorer Samuel de Champlain who first saw it in 1604. Forchu translates in English to forked because of the two rocky prongs at the end of the cape.
The fog followed us further north as we drove along the Nova Scotian side of The Bay of Fundy. In Digby we visited another lighthouse. Built in 1903, Digby Pier Lighthouse was decommissioned in the 1970s and spent almost 40 years in St. John, New Brunswick on the other side of the Bay of Fundy. It was only retuned to Digby in 2016 to be used as a draw for tourists. It’s housed on the side of the bay in a small green space called Loyalist Park. The park’s name along with six cannons recognizes the American Loyalist history in Digby. The town was settled by American and Black Loyalists in 1783. Also inside this park is an old bell which is a memorial to those lost at sea.
Our last stop in the southwest corner of Nova Scotia was also one of the cutest. Wolfville is located in the Annapolis Valley, famous for apple blossoms in the spring. Unfortunately we visited in the summer so none were in bloom but we still enjoyed walking along the streets of the historic downtown. There is a lot of history in this area and we wish we had planned to spend more time here instead of a quick stop.
North of Wolfville is Burntcoat Head Park where you can see The World’s Highest Tides which we wrote about earlier. The tidal range is as much as 16.3 m (53.6 ft) between high and low tides. During low tide you can walk on the exposed ocean floor, between rock features that at high tide appear as islands. For the full story click here.
Coming Next – Cape Breton & The Cabot Trail
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