We left off in a sketchy Kensington parking lot with a burly fisherman trying to feed me a slimy clam from the back of his pick up truck. Now, if anyone knows me, they are aware that my brain sees seafood and says “that’s not food, Sandra.” It’s a long story, but I’ve made great efforts over the past few years to get over my aversion. I’ve eaten fresh oysters in Ucluelet, ate through a mountain of sushi whilst galavanting in Collingwood, I’ve even been known to swipe a piece or two of shrimp for courage’s sake. None of this prepared me for the moment a large, impatient, smelly fisherman in a Frosty Treat parking lot broke open a bi-valve drowned in its own brine and offered it forward to me to try. My mind raced almost as much as my heart and in three seconds of sheer panic and not wanting to offend - I slurped every salty gooey bit of it back down my confused gullet. We bought two fillets of cod and a quahog clam, threw them in our tiny fridge, and got back on the road - a little sick with adrenaline, albeit, excited for dinner.
Summerside offered a pleasant boardwalk and a rest from driving before our last leg of Highway 2 turned into our Highway 14 scenic route. It wasn’t long before the rolling farm hills became rugged red cliffs even more sheer and abrupt than we had seen at Cable Head. We wound and wound along the jagged coast until just after Miminegash, when we decided to turn off down a dirt road - much like we had done in the east - where we found ourselves parked practically on the beach. Perfect. We explored the rocky shoreline littered with periwinkle snails, collected driftwood, and enjoyed a sunset beach fire after Ryan cooked up a memorable seafood supper on the barbecue. Walking back from the fire - the moon impossibly giant, full, and rising right over our tiny home - I reflected on everything that had brought us there and offered the moment my gratitude.
Our second day on the west side started with a strong coffee and a trip to the North Cape. A short hike from the visitor centre and we felt like we had truly walked to the edge of the earth. Thousands of swallows darted around our heads and among their nests on the cliff faces. The powerful on shore wind blew relentlessly inland where hungry windmills waited to swallow them up in their monstrous sweeping arms. We stood at the edge watching the waves crash against the monstrous rock reef that stretched just below the water’s surface almost a kilometre out to sea. Some of the most stunning places we have been in the maritimes have held this graceful balance between harsh desolation and an all-but-invisible biodiverse community of extraordinary creatures - ever patient with their strange visitors.
Highway 12 snaked south through tiny hamlets that touted river waterfalls, modest bakeries, colourful cottages, and even a soap box derby! Back on Highway 2, halfway between Miscouche and Kensington, we got a text from a friend back in Charlottetown and we motored back to enjoy a visit at the local bike shop. Our last couple of days on the island were honoured with a crazy hot and sweaty ride at Bonshaw Hills, a soul-saving shower at the local pool, and one last dinner and sunset walk at the harbour - complete with a visit from famous local cat, Cutie. Getting ready for bed on our last night, I thought to myself that the only thing that would have made our island visit perfect in every little way would have been sighting just one (apparently plentiful) fox. I sat in the front seat to give Ryan some room to use the kitchen sink, and what came trotting passed but a skinny, bushy-tailed, smarmy, cute-as-a-button F - O - X.
Prince Edward Island - we are convinced - you are perfect.