Cabot Trail Climbing Smokey Mountain from Below

Cabot Trail climbing Smokey Mountain from below
Photo 4 of 25: Cabot Trail climbing Smokey Mountain from below
Taken 2006 June 28 from the Cabot Trail below Smokey Mountain
4.5 km (2.8 mi) south of the Cape Smokey Provincial Parking lot
GPS 46°34.36?'N 60°23.57?'W

This view, from the Cabot Trail below Smokey Mountain, shows the edge of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau from left to right across the upper middle of the photo. The Cabot Trail makes a 90° left turn about 0.5 km (0.3 mi) further down the road from where this photo was taken, follows along Pathend Brook (at the left and outside the photo), makes a hairpin turn of 180°, and then begins to ascend Smokey Mountain along the sharply rising diagonal path one sees across the middle of the photo. At the far right of the photo, the road is directly above the water and bends again sharply left to continue its climb up the other side.

What one sees here is not the summit of Smokey Mountain itself, but one of its ridges. The distance from the road below in the foreground to the road surface one sees at the far right of the photo is approximately 110 m (360 ft), so it is just about halfway up there; the road therefore has considerably further to climb as it ascends the other side of this ridge next to a long ravine to its right.

Before the Cabot Trail was constructed, this ridge presented a severe obstacle to travel. The wide bed on which the road now lies did not, of course, exist and had to be created by blasting away part of the cliff face to allow for a surface wide enough to support vehicles and stable enough not to be affected by the high winds and heavy rains which visit Cape Breton Island during the year. People often have the misapprehension that immediately beyond the edge of the road is a perpendicular cliff; as this photo and the subsequent photos show, there is a much wider underpinning than just the width of the road as it ascends—notice the vegetation which lines the road on most of its ascent here, helping to anchor that underpinning and prevent it from eroding. Hopefully, this will help those with severe acrophobia to realize that they are in far less danger of falling from this road than they may think.