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Sola North American trip Table of Contents

Tent in leanto with car, Drape's Acres CG, NYS

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C:\Users\Orit\Pictures\US-Canada trip 2016\Vermont\IMG_5646.JPGA 62-year-old Israeli/ American sola camping trip through the American and Canadian Northeast – some navigational tips and a “warning”.


Canoeing Kennebunk Pond with MistsFrom flipping through the world atlas on my grandmother’s couch to the banks of the St. Lawrence. Why Canada, the lure of the North and genreal musings about the benefits of traveling.

Getting Ready

Walking in Har Eitan. Excersicing in the free airPractical info (and some philosophical musings) about “things”: technical details – equipment, physical preparation, gadgets from “electrical spoons” to GPS.

On This and That

Chinese tourists on Skyline Trail, Cape BretonSome general thoughts about my trip, including how the mode of traveling defines the experience, Israeli vs. American campgrounds, being alone, safety, money, empowerment, politics, the social scene, temperatures, beauty, and why I wrote this journal.

Getting There

Two glaciers conjoined flow into ocean. Clouds reflection denotes waterA Turkish Airlines transatlantic flight from Tel Aviv started my trip with a colorful stop in Istanbul followed by breathtaking views over Greenland at low altitude. The high-contrast highly eventful day ended in the quietude of the Maine woods.


Tenting over cliffs at Meat Cove Campground, cape Breton, NSA summary of the physical, technical and psychological long-term effects of my sola camping trip: “On this trip nobody  penetrated the space between me and my agency,  between me and my ability to think clearly, so every mistake or misstep were clearly mine and owned, as well as every decision well taken”.

First Trip

Little House by the Pond

A small wooden house by a quaint Maine pond became my home away from home, Maine. Swimming, kayaking, sailing, picking blueberries and preparing for my upcoming sola camping trip in the north, I received the best possible hospitality and started to get acquianted with the natural beauty of the northeast.

The Magic of Loons

loon dipping headIt was no jackal nor coyote. This haunting other-worldly sound, breaking intermittently over the Pond, did not emanate from a large mammal, but from a kind of middle-sized duck romantically called a loon…

Bluegreen Festival and a Blueberry Patch

Perfect carefree days by the Pond: swimming, sailing the pontoon with family and friends, writing poems, sunbathing on the dock, picking blueberries from the secret bushes and enjoying a variety of good music at a Bluegrass festival.

Atlantic Maine

Low tide, Atlantic coast by Lobster Buoy CG, MEFirst North American camping experiences and first Lobster Weekend; discovering the “disappearing” Atlantic coast, learning from kids about burrowing clams, and the awesome Fort Knox bridge.

A Warm Welcome to a Cold Country

The exciting ordeal of crossing from the land of stars and stripes to that of the maple leaf, from the toughness of border police to the warmth of an island home. My one and only cherished couchsurfing experience this trip, and strong Canadian ladies.

Campobello Tides

Arriving by chance at Quoddy Head, Campobello, I witness and document some of the most amazing tidal fluctuations in the world. Watch my stop motion slider…

Roosevelt Park, Campobello

Flowers in window, Roosevelt CottageEnchanted home of a great president, a bi-national park, beautiful bays, swamps and predatory plants. A foggy farewell to a magical island.

The Fogs of Campobello

C:\Users\Orit\Pictures\US-Canada trip 2016\Canada - first trip\Fogs and storm - Compobello to Fundy\IMG_2793.JPGLeaving Campobello in the fogs, and a unique ferry boat.

Highest Tides in the World – Fundy

Rangers station in fog at dusk, Point Wolfe, Fundy National ParkFerns, fiddleheads and the highest tides in the world. Fundy bays fill up during high tide. Lovely families spend an educational weekend in a beautiful national park.

Highest Tides in the World – Alma

C:\Users\Orit\Pictures\US-Canada trip 2016\Canada - first trip\Fundy national park\Alma\IMG_2978.JPG

The most amazing tidal experience. The ocean literally stalks you. Boats stranded on the sheer beach in low tide, soar 8 m high when it rises… And all that in a small New Brunswick town, Alma.

WOW and the Big Bore

Drying tent on front porch of dry cabin at WOW private campground, Truro, NSFairy lights in the rain, my first “dry cabin” and a missed tidal experience.

North Sidney’s KOA

Cloud reflections, N. Sidney vicinity, NSEnjoying the environment and the social atmosphere of North Sidney’s KOA in pouring rain, meeting an expat on her 1-year KOAs camping trip, and getting a sense of place.

Donelda and the Puffins

Donelda in her elemnt. Puffin Tours, NSA bit late in the season, but some puffins stayed out their migration for me. Also, seals, bald eagels, cormorants, and a great family business.

A kitchen Party in the Dark

Playing in the dark at the Ceilidh kitchen party, Baddeck, NSMy first kitchen party (Ceilidh) was held in complete darkenss in a church hall at Baddeck, a small pleasant touristic town.

Destination NL

Marine Atlantic ferry at closer rangeDismantling a wet tent and waiting around all day for the “naughty, naughty rain” to stop, as my tent tumbles in a cold drier. Taking the midnight “Marine Atlantic” ferry to NL, but not before a hearty local dinner at the Cedar House, where I got traveling tips across the tables from a fellow sola female traveller going the opposite direction.

Newly Finding Newfoundland

NFL virgin forest onthe far side of Spirity Pond, Gros MorneA rough start for my highly cherished destination, but I still managed to swim the lake, row a kayak and walk around it before settling into a rainy gloom.

Up the Gros Morne Coast

A boat drawn out for use at Sally's Cove, Gros MorneThe western coast is rich with living traditions, fishermen folklore, rugged shores and stunning geology. Especially imagination-inducing were Sally’s Cove, a still-operational forlorn fishermen’s village, and Broom Point, with its fishery museum. Green Point is where geologists find their haven on earth.

Woody Point and the Best Meal on the Trip

Fish dinner at Old Loft, Woody Point, NFLWoody Point offers beautiful views of the Tablelands, nice walks along the shore and great food at the iconic Old Loft.

Lobster Cove Lighthouse

So much happened here - Lobster Cove Lighthouse, NFLAt the Lobster Cove Lighthouse Museum, pieces of life lived on the edge of sea and land, rich in tradition but also in the unexpected, are well conveyed.  A delightful and tasty kitchen party thrown by the park authorities for locals and tourists alike. A walk around the lighhouse reveals more of the amazing geology and ecology of the island.

Berry’s Pond

C:\Users\Orit\Pictures\US-Canada trip 2016\Canada - first trip\NewFoundLand - Gros Morne\Berrry's pond\IMG_3725.JPGThe magic of Berry’s Pond at twilight captured in camera after getting some advice in photography from a fellow traveler…

Earth’s Mantle is Here – The Tablelands

Tundra trees send roots for anchor, Tablelands, NFLWhere Earth’s mantle is exposed, the most primeval landscapes prevail. Plants accumulate toxic metals, mighty trees turn to crawling bushes and predatory plants get the missing nutrients from insects. A highly recommended tour of the Tablelands plus free meandering in the lunar landscape.

Trout River

Huge whale rib decorating house, Trout River, NFLA small quaint town perched between two rivers, a mountain and a seashore… What else do we need? A hearty sea foodie meal, seagulls and geese.

Green Gardens

Green Gardens cliffs, NFLGetting empowered on my first “vertical” this trip. Meeting some great locals and learning about Newfoundland’s economy first-hand.

To Sail the Salt Sea

Jim Payne and Fergus O'Byrne playing accordion and banjo, Woody Point, NFLAnother serendipitious event. Driving back by Woody Point, I heard a haunting sailor song on the radio. It was advertising a show just about to begin in town. I’m having an unanticipated highly spiritual and social musical experience in a kitchen party with Jim Paine and Fergus O’Byrne on the night before leaving the magical island.

Ducks Unlimited – Codroy Natural Reserve and Leaving Newfoundland

Drying my tent at a municiapl gazebo at Port Aux Baskques, NFLDriving out of NL in the rain, visiting a fabulous riparian natural reserve en route, savoring every last minute on the island. Dryin my tent in a gazebo downtown Port Aux Bosques in wait for the Marine Atlantic ferry. 

Stars in the Lake – Ingonish National Park

Ingonish National Park and Cape Breton were so marvellous I did not have time to mourn leaving Newfoundland. The highlight of the visit was the empowering night walk, “Seeing in the Dark”, where I learned to sharpen hidden survival capacities I didn’t know I had. Highly recommended for all humanity…

The Remarkable Place – Middlehead Peninsula

Indian Pipe“The End of Land, We belong to ocean and sky”. The “Remarkable Place”, as its original indigenous name means, was, indeed, remarkable in its beauty. Middle Head Peninsula was bought for $600 by Henry Corson to nurse his ailing wife to health. Cormorants, Indian Pipe, ducks, whales and sturdy tough vegetation confront the harsh weather.

Up Cape Breton’s Eastern Coast

Neil's Harbor lighthouse against a darkening skyWalking coyote country at sunset? No, thanks. Opting for a drive this time, I watched the seagulls flying against the picturesque lighthouse at Neil’s Harbor, was warned about rouge waves at Green Point, and had a cozy sola musical evening at the Keltic Lodge.

Going for the Vertical – Mount Franey

Getting a wide vista from the top of Mt. Franey, Cape Breton, NSClimbing Mount Franey, dragging behing all the younger folk, but getting there. Beautiful views. Worth every minute.

End of the World – Meat Cove

Watching the waves from a beachrock at Meat Cove, Cape Breton, NSThe End of the World. Winds, waves, rocks jutting into an unconstrained ocean, and a group of wonderful tenters perched up on the cliffs… Walking by the beach and up a mountain, meeting and sharing “life” with a mysterious woman found sitted on a cliff , as well as a dinner by the fire with some expats.

Buddhas Everywhere

C:\Users\Orit\Pictures\US-Canada trip 2016\Canada - first trip\Cape Breton\Buddhist Center\IMG_4264.JPGAn inspirational visit to the Gampo Abbey Buddhist monastery in Pleasant Bay, Cape Breton, including a climb to a mountain shrine and a visit to the stupa.

Lookouts on the Cabot Trail

sunset flickering in water on cabot TrailThe Cabot Trail is one of the most scenic routes in the world. It is impossible to drive around without stopping every few meters, taking pictures and breathing it all in.

West Cabot Trail – Cheticamp, Le Buttreau, Skyline

A windy, rainy day on the Skyline Trail, cape Breton, NSWestern Cape Breton is rich with history, geology and beauty – you can’t go wrong. Still, I was the only one walking the historical Chemin Le Buttreau, visiting the ruins of Acadian fishemen’s houses, while everybody else was fighting the winds and the rain on the famous Skyline Trail. Also, a great evening at Le Gabriele, meeting a super-friendly Canadian lady.

Northumberland – Following the Sunset

On the spur of the moment, I snatched the opportunity to board a ferry to PEI. A breathtaking sunset from deck and the porpoises announcing the upcoming island. Pitched a tent in pitch darkness, only to discover a tranquil and beautiful beach scene in the morning. A brief friendship led to sea kayaking, and a gathering storm forced me to change plans.

Campbell’s Cove – the Red Sands

Seaweed stranded on PEI beachIn another “End of the World” I found marvellous geology and friendly people. The red of rock and sand intertwined with sea and tidal pools, creating a superbly photogenic fantasyland.

Back to My childhood – Anne of Green Gables

Anne of Green Gables on site, Cavendish, PEIA return to my dreaming childhood? Cavendish, the farm where Maud Montgomery got the inspiration for Anne of Green Gables and her other books, was no disappointment. Excellently preserved and maintained, I could still find my dreams hanging from apple trees, reflected in forest pools.

At Morgan’s in Shediac

Great breakfast at Morgan's Shediac, NBLuck (and some good will on the part of motel employees) sent me to this cozy atmsopheric B&B in Sheidac, NB. I discovered some Canadians do want to escape their country’s cold.

Mountain Desert Island

Enjoying a perfect morning at Charlotte's Legendary, NE HarborTenting at Hadley’s Point Campground, I have an enchanting evening walk by the beach, share a bonfire with a friendly couple, and the universe with herons and other water birds. Next day was Southwest Harbor, Sargeant Road, Seal Cove. This “desert” island, a place to enjoy the luxury of leisure, the glamor of sun, sky and water and total beauty.

A foggy Pond and More Loons

Sailboat in fog, Kennebunk PondBack to the Pond and the Loons, having meals with family and friends, including a traditional lobster dinner, taking the kayak again over the water in fog, and having some car troubles while preparing for the second part of my sola trip.

Second Trip

Jigger Johnson’s Campground

Lot #10 at Jigger Johnson Campground, White Mountains, NHThe nights at Jigger Johnson Campground, Kangamagus Road, deserve their own post. Past Labor Day, the campgrounds emptied out and I was facing the nights in almost total solitude with the cold, the howls and the silence.

Sabbaday Falls

Sabbaday Falls beauty, NHAgainst a setup of incredible active geology and beautiful cascades, a meeting with an elderly couple made my day in Sabbaday Falls, a great introduction to the wonders of the White Mountains.

Going Vertical – Boulder Loop Trail

Under the boulders. Bouloder Loop Trail, White Mountains.An exhilirating climb led to opening vistas of mountains and forests from rock ledges. Glacial boulders covered in black lichen dotted the way. Sharing the road with two friendly women and using the interpreted trail map, I learned a lot about trees (including the amazing hemlocks), rocks and forest preservation.

Horizontals – Greeley Ponds

U-valley with storm gathering, Kancamagus, NHBeauty upon beauty in the “horizontal” walk of the Greeley Ponds. Enjoying incredible vistas of gathering storm clouds over forested mountains, I started this incredibly rewarding walk in the rain. Soon, though, it was dry enough to enjoy both the macro and the micro worlds that kept emerging around me, and some socializing too.

Fastest Winds in the World – Mt. Washington

Posing with the summit sign, Mt. WashingtonWell, I did not really conquer that peak, the van did, but still I got an idea and a future challenge , and tackeld another decision making process. “Ends of the World” can also be found on mountain tops…

Bear Notch Road

Intending to get to one place and reaching another, I was lucky to find myself on top of the amazing Cathedral Ledge, seeing a magnificent vista. Also a highly interesting social encounter with a female rock climber and a night drive on a desolate road.

Lost River

Stunning tree rooting and anchoring techniques, Lost RiverLast sortie into the White Mountains at the magical Lost River Reserve. Roots make impossible overground journeys to provide trees with grounding and nutrients, water cascades down tunnels to erupt in beautiful waterfalls, boulders conceal caves and crevasses, and the park management made it all accessible and easy to enjoy.

From Highlands to Cornfields – The Trip to Vermont

Experiencing a change in climate, landscape, way of life and mode of travel, I crisscrossed the corn fields of Vermont to end up in a campground in the midst of nowhere. I met some great guys there, learned to eat S’mores and found out where custom granite tombstones are made in a place aptly called “Forever”.

In My Element – the Isles of Lake Champlain

Hanging by the threads - trees in Grand Isle BeachI reconnected with my water element on this set of beautiful islands, replete with history, geology, nature and atmsophere. At night, as I was waiting for my cellphone to charge, I communed with the spirit of a huge tree.

Cruising Through Big Time – La Motte

Lake Champlain on way to La MotteIsle La Motte – extraordinary beauty and wildlife and stunning geology: the oldest fossilized reef in the world. Also: a Walk Through Time: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going?

Vermont Apples and Japanese Sushi

Picking apples at Hackett's Orchard, South Hero, VTDriving to Burlington to take care of my car insurance claim, then rewarding myself with a great Japanese meal. To wrap up my “authentic” Vermont experience I picked Macintosh apples at Hacket Farm.

My First Leanto and the Ironwood Trail

Transferring into my first leanto and studying the variety of habitats on the Ironwood Trail, I spent another charming day on Lake Chmaplain.

La Motte Revisited – Fossils and Serendipity

Rock, sky and water in a Fisk Quarry Pond, La MotteAn extraordinary chain of events led me from a quarry turned nature preserve to the house of the people who fought a winning battle to make sure this is protected and safeguarded for future generations. Thw quarry featuries the oldest known fossilized reef!! Also a deligthful art barn and a pizza dinner in a home atmosphere.

Adirondacks – The Great National Playground

Stuffed bear sprawled over bed in Keene's Furniture StoreNew York State welcomed me with colorful fruit stands, pristine glacial lakes and furniture stores featuring an authentic mountain hunting culture. Far from the lights of the Big Apple, my campsite was a picth dark, desolate post-season affair.

Mt. Whiteface – Inverted Sunrays, Interted Fishheads and Cloud Collectors

Climbing two sections of Mount Whiteface, I saw how Nature takes after the Olympic human enterprise, how sunrays reflect back from mountain valleys into space and how a cloud collector in the Adirondacks measures pollution blowing over from Shanghai.

Glory Bygone – Olympic Lake Placid

Finish line of old luge/bobsled track, Lake Placid Olympic ComplexSweet and sour. An out-of-season Olympic village that knew better days. As natural vegetation growth outpaces athletic speeds, new generations keep practicing in the ice arenas. On the way out – the breathtaking Cascade Lake – literally!

One Island out of 1000 – Gate to the St. lawrence

Ghost in window at Clayton's house, Upper NYSLeaving the Adirondacks, I took a farewell, breath-taking plunge into the Cascade Lake. Relocating to the 1000 Island Campground,  Johnny Depp welcomed me in the bathroom… A beautiful sunset hung over one of the 1000 islands in the nearby state park. 

Wellesley Island Nature Preserve

View over river from Eel Bay TrailBeauty and more beauty. Wellseley Island is full with water, life and geological history. Paths are easy to walk and very rewarding to the nature lover. An uplifting encounter with a jolly Canadian girl in shorts. 

Trumptes and High Heels – Jazz over the St. Lawrence

Kimberly Hawkey performing over the river in ClaytonKimberly Hawkey, the 10th Mountain Division Jazz Band and Studio G from Nashville, all sounded their music over the St Lawrence, as barges were going downstream. Then they played and sang at night in various Clayton’s hangouts. I visited (briefly) my first Big Lake and participated in an October Fest in another small town.

The Other 999

One island out of a 1000, Upper NYSPlaying the tourist, I boarded Uncle Sam’s bi-national boat trip, oohd and aahd about the cuteness of the islands and the general magnificence of the area, shot pictures obsessively, visited the must-see Boldt’s love castle, but also a memorial for “Operation Iraqi Freedom”. Learned about bootlegging.

Sola Going French – Entering Quebec

Great law prevails. A sign in St. Regis Mahawk Reservation, NYSCrossing borders, I instantaneously found myself in a different human milieu. Quebec at that particular border was not especially welcoming, but I quickly made the mental adjustments. Staying a desolate night in an off-season campground in Nicolet was a surreal experience, as I was making efforts to follow the second presidential debate on my electronic devices in pouring rain.

Cold Baptism at Parc National du Bic

Inside Huttopia tent, Parc National du BicI’m having a utopia in a Huttopia, meeting animals, enjoying the beauty of the sea-land interphase on Chemin du Norde, learning first-hand about the cooling effects clear days have on night temperatures, and living through the coldest night of my life…

Du Bic – Two More Wonderful Trails

Squirrel interested in sharing my breakfast chocolate, camping Di BicWhat a wonderful park, indeed. Filmed a woodpecker on Pic Champlain, saw seals in Les Anses as well as fantastic geology in Les Anses, where I meditated by the quietest, most picturesque bay. I spent a second night in the cold only to have a shower crisis in the morning, which proved an opportunity to meet a new friend and share my breakfast. A cute squirrel also wanted to participate…

Gasping for Beauty – Gaspe Peninsula

Tilted geological strata in cliffs by road 132, Gaspe QCOn the way to Forillon I found small villages with churches, Holy Marys, windmills, castles and lots of seabirds and trees in colors. Most spectacular were the famous cliffs that appeared somewhere mid-drive. I ended the day as a sola guest in an out-of-season B&B, enjoying the comforts and hearing interesting life stories from the owner .

Park Forillon – My First Hostel and Another End- of -the-World

C:\Users\Orit\Pictures\US-Canada trip 2016\Quebec - Gaspe peninsula Forillon and Parce\IMG_7473.JPGReaching Forillon National Park was well worth it, from Sunday-packed carriage roads to desolate paths in the woods, from the “Bay of Seals” to Land’s End, where the ocean opened up in all its grandeur, replete with whales and diving gannets. The day closed with a wondrous sunset and a great social evening complete with a piano recital and a crunch cake at Forillon’s Auberge .

Perce, Bonaventure and the Largest Gannet Colony in the World

Gannet chick and adult, Des Colonies, BonaventureA peak experience at the Bonaventure gannet colony. Every naturalist and bird lover paradise. Unfortunately, boat arrangements did not enable a full enjoyment of the experience.  Still –  except for the Galapagos – second to none…

Alice in Wonderland

Forest changing colors, NB, CanadaRoad 132 kept offering its marvels all the way from Perce to the Newbrunswick border. Staying in Campbelton, a multicultural border town, I learned about life there from friendly young folk at the Super 8 spa. Crossing the border was a bit challenging this time, but the same seasonal beauty greeted me on the other side. The next day it was a nice seafood meal at Machias, Maine, and a roadside motel.

Acadia National Park – Maine’s Precious Jewel

Mists over Lake Jordan surface, Acadia National Park, MaineAcadia National Park deserves its reputation. Beauty was everywhere and glorious. After figuring out some bureaucracy I went ahead to circumnavigate Jordan Pond, a highly rewarding trail photographically and very interesting biologically.

The Cadillac Among Mountains

Climbing Mount Cadillac Southern ridge trailA bonanza for the body and spirit, climbing Mt. Cadillac was challenging, but doable. Meeting wonderful people and sharing food and life stories made the day. The landscape turned from forest to stark bedrock, but life still thrived in rain pools, enlivening the barren landscape. The view from the top was wondrous.

Eagle Lake

Circumnavigating Eagle Lake was a perfect way to round up my Acadia time and sola trip. Beauty was inexhaustible, from the smallest details of the forest floor to the vistas of mountains in automn colors reflected in tranquil waters. Choosing to save money and drive through to the pond was another empowering decision.

Last Visit at the Pond

C:\Users\Orit\Pictures\US-Canada trip 2016\transfer from cellphone\IMG_20161008_134320.jpgAs automn is coming to a close, I kayak over Kennebunk Pond for the last time and take some loon pictures on location, with the row in my hand and the cellphone in the other. We enjoy a great getout with oldies music and beer. Eventually I pack up my wonderful trip, ready (kind of) to resettle in the Middle East…

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