The Remarkable Place
Middle Head Peninsula - The Interpreted Tour
Ingonish Campground, 25.8.16, 6:50 a.m.
The meeting place for the “interpreted tour” of the Middle Head Peninsula was behind the Keltic Lodge, an impressive landmark structure near the peninsula’s narrow “neck”. It was expected to start at 10 o’clock. I woke up early after a deep sleep, and decided to walk there from the campground.
The walk was a bit lengthy and not extremely interesting, but I needed the exercise. Once there, I wasn’t sure of the location. I walked into the hotel lobby, feeling somewhat out of my turf , but nobody seemed to mind. A very nice woman, traveling with her teenage daughter, gave me directions. The two of them were interested in joining the walk as well, but had not come to a decision yet. She was recently divorced, perhpas not yet used to taking control.
Following her instructions I waited for a while at the wrong spot, then asked more people. The meeting place was located past the hotel and up where the road met the trail. The guide was mediocre this time and the tour kind of boring, but the place was great!
The stunning fact I can never get used to is that the entire Middle Head peninsula was owned privately by one couple, the Corsons, who bought the land, cliffs, beaches and sea all for a mere $600 in 1881…
To his credit, Henry Corson bought the land to nurse his invalid wife to health, so at least there was a good motive. Still, how can a private person own an island, a peninsula, a mountain, lake, just because they had a prosperous business somewhere? Why should these primeval, basic natural entities be on a market? I’ll never get used to that.
By 1938, the land was transferred to the federal government. Some sites say it was expropriated, against relatives’ will; most claim that it was sold.
We Belong to Ocean and Sky
The end of land
We belong to ocean and sky
Clean air, clean water, food
Gifts to all
We ruin with pollution and greed
Cloud, ocean and sun
waiting for time
Like the begining
I woulnd’t say it is the greatest of poems (maybe better in French), but it drives home the desperation of anybody who cares deeply about our Planet. In this beautiful setting, the message is poignant. We are reminded of everything that has already been lost, that is getting lost now and that will get lost in the future, unless some miracle will change our ways. One simply can’t enjoy the beauty of Nature anywhere on the planet without that accompanying Pain: the devastating legacy of our impact on our only Home and the extraordinary miracle that is the Living Earth.
The Mi’kmaq called the narrow peninsula – surrounded by sea, beaten by winds, rains and snows – “The Remarkable Place”. It was also called “Camaraderie” for the two bays that the peninsula separates. Now it is called Middle Head Peninsula due to this very unique location between the two bays.
Middle Head Peninsula - The Trail
The trail itself was spectacular and had everything I love – cliffs, sea vistas, cormorants, waves and gales. I was once again “in my element”. After the guide left us, I sat with several people on a rock “hunting” for cataceans. We saw “half a whale” leaping out of the water, but did not succeed to see its “other half”…
I got a bit confused around the end of the trail, thinking I missed the turnaround. At this point, though, being the tip of the peninsula, the trail simply cannot loop anymore… I headed back on my tracks.
Once the width of the peninsula became more substantial, there was an option to come back to the lodge on the other side, but people reported it was slippery, so I forewent that option.
The geology, like everywhere on my Canadian trip, was fascinating. According to the brochure, the igneous rocks that now underlay the peninsula used to be surrounded by softer sediments that eroded to form North Bay and South Bay.
Once I reached the Lodge it was certainly time for “a little something”. The Atlantic Restaurant situated in the Keltic Lodge complex was a perfect choice:
The waiter promised live music that night. I promised to come back if I could pay for only one drink. And I eventaully delivered.
On the way back I got a ride. An older guy in a pickup truck, full of golf poles and bags, was on his way to a game. Yes, he knew where the campground was, and would take me right to the soccer field. From there I could take the trail.
In the afternoon I took the car on a drive north, stopping at several stations, trying a bit of this and a bit of that.