Nova Scotia

First we made a 4th of July weekend stop in New York City.  Here we're walking across the Brooklyn Bridge.

We visited Amanda's sister, Erica, and stopped by my relatives' place in Brooklyn, where my Uncle Dan was home.

We went down to the waterfront area of Brooklyn... watch New York City's impressive fireworks display.

Near the village of Joggins, on Nova Scotia's Chignecto Peninsula, Amanda searches the beach for fossils...

...that wash down regularly from the cliffs due to the Bay of Fundy's 50 foot tides.  We found a few nice plant fossils.

A picturesque trailside spot at Five Islands Provincial Park, where we camped for two nights.

The last rays of direct sunlight under dark clouds, as seen from our campsite at Five Islands.

The clouds thin out as the sunset colors increase.

Fewer clouds and deeper colors yet, the tide going out as twilight arrives. 

We backpacked for about 7 miles up and down the clifftop trails of Cape Chignecto Provincial Park to camp at Refugee Cove.

On the way back we climbed over slippery rocks to take a shortcut along the beach.

A stream trickles down to meet the sea.  All of the rocks and beach here are underwater at high tide (don't worry, we knew the tide timetable).

In Halifax (Nova Scotia's capital), a changing of the guard at the Citadel, a historic fort above the city.

There was a jazz festival in town, and just a couple blocks away, these bagpipers took part in a Highland Games festival. 

Next we set off for Cape Breton Island.  Here is typical coastal scenery in Cape Breton National Park.

We detoured off the Cabot Trail onto this dirt road.  These flowers, called lupins, can be seen all over Nova Scotia.  Our destination...

...a Buddhist monastery.  In this room the monks can perform ritual chants, seek Buddha's enlightment, or admire the ocean view. 

Near the monastery is a "Stupa of Enlightment"...

...where the text was being painted as we watched.

Not far from the monastery, we began a day hike to Pollet's Cove.  Note the little 'platform' of grass on the left.

Amanda makes it her own stage.

On the park's Skyline trail, we were suprised to encounter this fellow.  He looked at us up with grass trailing out of his mouth, then went back to his grazing.

Just a short ways down the trail, we came upon another moose, this time a cow (female). 

Beautiful scenery from the Skyline Trail - can you blame the moose for wanting to live here? 

On the boardwalked Bog Trail, we came across numerous insect-eating pitcher plants.

We drove to the northern trip of Cape Breton Island and camped at Meat Cove, a far more attractive place than its name would suggest.

We kayaked in the waters below the campground...

...paddling amongst a sea of jellyfish.

Amanda paddles over to check out the waterfall.

We hiked from Meat Cove to Cape St. Lawrence.  A series of lighthouses have stood where the Gulf of St. Lawrence meets the Atlantic.

Continuing our hike, I heard and then saw a pod of whales swimming off shore.

Purple irises like this one grow wild along these coastal clifftop hillsides.

More irises and scenic coastline beyond.  Here we hiked with a man who was driving his VW bus around, looking for a new place to settle down.

On the eastern side of the park, Amanda regards the deep blue waters of the Atlantic.

The Great Hall of Clans at the Gaelic College.  I learned that the clan of my Scottish ancestors (Gunn) was founded by Vikings and often fought its neighbors.

We took a scenic drive along a peninsula that splits Bras D'Or (Arm of Gold) Lake in half.  The saltwater lake, in turn, splits Cape Breton Island in half. 

We took a boat tour to the Bird Islands.  On the way, the guides threw fish overboard to entice bald eagles to swoop near the boat. 

Waves crash against one of the islands.

Two kinds of cormorants nest on the islands...

...along with a few different species of seagulls...

...and the occasional puffin.

Many seals popped their heads up to watch the tourists wacthing them. 

All the other seals were in the water, but this guy had his own idea of the good life. 

After leaving Cape Breton, we stopped at Antigonish for the Highland Games.  Here dancers perform the Highland Fling.

Of course, no Scottish gathering would be complete without the legendary caber toss.

Driving through New Brunswick toward Quebec on the way home, we saw something you might call a 'cloudbow' or a 'slice of the rainbow'.

To break up the driving, we made a stop at the city of Quebec.

A blue-hatted youngster climbed Champlain's statue to watch the street performers below.

Amanda strolls one of Quebec's charming lanes in Old Town, reminiscent of Europe.