Well we didn't die like I joked around in our previous post, although we may have been light headed, but that’s mostly because of the stunning views that left us breathless! The Hike the Highlands 3-Peaks Challenge can be crossed off my bucket list of things I want to do in Cape Breton but I will definitely be adding it to the list again!
Our team consisting of myself (Melissa), Wayne, our good friend Adam and my little brother Don Michael really got started the day before on July 18th, I was so excited I couldn’t wait to hit the road to get to the Mid Trail Motel and Inn at Pleasant Bay (http://goo.gl/70NGXP) where we stayed the night prior to hitting the mountains in the morning. We arrived late and I would like to personally thank the staff of the Mid Trail Motel and Inn for their kind hospitality. Even though we were late and the restaurant was closed they served us anyways. Our server was excellent, and even told us what to expect on Robert’s Mountain which was our first mountain of the day and our room even provided us with an excellent view of the mountain! The Mid Trail Motel and Inn, thank you so much for a lovely stay and for demonstrating true Cape Breton hospitality!
We woke up early the next morning, excited, and maybe a bit nervous. It was the first time any of us had attempted the 3-Peaks Challenge, I was lucky enough my cousin had given me a head’s up of what to expect from each mountain as she has had experience hiking each mountain. When we arrived at the base of Robert’s Mountain with the other participants it was a great vibe! Everyone was so excited and nice to talk to, what a great group of hikers from all over the island; we were pleasantly surprised to even see a team from Prince Edward Island.
Our first mountain was Robert’s Mountain, it was named after Robert MacLeod, one of the first settlers in Pleasant Bay, and boy... is it STEEP! For me personally, it was the hardest mountain of the day. I was very nervous at the start of the day not knowing what to expect. Once I made it to the top and I could see the view of the Pleasant Bay Harbour and the community of Pleasant Bay, my nerves subsided and I was ready for the rest of the day. Quick group photo and down we went!
Sugarloaf was the second mountain of the day, and it reminded me a lot of our practice trail (Coxheath Mountain) except 3 times as long. When we finally reached the look-off at the top, we were stunned by the view of the highlands and Bay St. Lawrence. It was so rewarding to look down and realize how far we had actually hiked.
After pulling ourselves away from the views that Sugarloaf offered we set off for Mount Franey, our third and last challenge of the day! Although Franey is longer, it’s not quite as steep as the previous two mountains. However, due to us being pretty tired from the other mountains it was just as challenging. For Don Michael and Adam, the hike took on an unexpected surprise... a moose! They were walking ahead of us on our route back when they heard a loud noise in the woods; they were pleasantly shocked to see a Moose in the distance! I am slightly jealous... but maybe next time!
Overall our adventure was a memorable experience. Living in the urban areas of Cape Breton, were constantly reminded of economic hardships that Cape Breton faces every day, it was a great reminder of how beautiful this island is and how lucky we are to live here! We’ll definitely be attending the 3-Peaks Challenge again.
We challenged ourselves and we finished! It’s not often a person can claim they hiked 3 mountains in one day! We would like to thank the organizers of the Hike the Highlands 3-Peaks challenge for a wonderful job for putting on such an amazing event, we appreciate all your hard work for organizing the event and grooming the trails! We think it’s something everyone should do at least once!
For more information on "Hike the Highlands 3-Peaks Challenge!", visit their website (http://www.hikethehighlands.com/), or stay connected on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/hikethehighlandsfestival).