North Cape PEI
North Cape is the most northerly and westerly Point on Prince Edward Island. The Bay of St Lawrence is on its right side and the Northumberland Strait is on its left.
We had read that this little corner of PEI was significantly different from the rest of the north coast so we took the nearly 2 hour trip to get there. On the drive we passed bays filled with mussel and oyster culture and incredibly manicured farms — predominately grain and. Potatoes. But at one point we saw soy beans and windmills, making us feel as we were in Benton County. Along the way we passed through some lovely towns with incredibly beautiful old churches. As we approached the cape the trees were shorter and the only farm seemed to be hay operations.
At the end of the cape is the Canadian Wind Energy center with a very extensive information center as well as a gift shop with PEI crafts and a cafe. Wind turbines are located there as this area is the windiest in all of Canada. After touring the information center ($4.75 each) we walked out to the North Point lighthouse and then took the Black Marsh Nature Trail.
This 3.5 mile round-trip trail took us along the end of the cliffs on the side of the Northumberland Strait and under some of the wind turbines. The walk is varied: open field with views of the strait, boreal forest, a walk right under a turbine, and finally a bog. The bog, like that we visited in Kouchibouguac NB was full of varied flowers. After reaching the end of the trail near Elephant rock we returned to the van. On the way back we read about Irish Moss which was at one point an important crop gathered on the rocks beneath these cliffs. It was processed to obtain carrageenan which was and is used in the production of many processed foods, in particular, ice cream. Today while it is still harvested, other sources of carrageenan have been found.
The cliffs here are a highly erodible conglomerate rock. Elephant rock was a pillar of rock which stood at the base of the cliffs and looked like an elephant until parts of it began to collapse in 2005. At this point it’s just a round rock protruding from the ocean.
On the way back to Cavendish CG we stopped for fresh vegetables — corn, beets, beans, and tomatoes — at a stand near Summerside. The corn was terrific.