Hines’ Ocean View Lodge sits high above Meat Cove just east of the Inverness/Victoria County Line at the far north of Cape Breton Island with fine views of the Gulf of St Lawrence, the area’s gorgeous mountains, and the valley below. It offers indoor accommodations for those who prefer not to tent at the justly famous Meat Cove Campground in the valley with its own fine views much closer to the water.
This view is taken from the upstairs deck of the Lodge looking to the southwest. The peak of Meat Cove Mountain is at the upper far left; one of several local hiking trails leads to that summit and to a ridge (not visible here) which continues to the south high above the valley carved by Meat Cove Brook, offering magnificent views of the area in all directions. The mountains on the far (western) side of Meat Cove Brook appear without names on the topographical map and are also, I am told, without local names, except that the elevated “platform” at the far right of the photo just below the highest prominence is known as the Meat Cove Look-Off, to which another trail runs and from which there are more marvellous views. The community of Meat Cove lies in the valley below, to the right and out of the scope of this view.
The trail to Cape St Lawrence, Lowland Cove, and Polletts Cove first ascends the massif across the valley, starting from the end of the road beyond the Meat Cove Campground. When it reaches reaches the far side of ridge seen here, the Cape St Lawrence Trail, also called the Lighthouse Trail, splits off and continues northward past Bear Hill to Cape St Lawrence. The main trail continues below the ridge towards the southwest and eventually splits into the Lowland Cove Trail to the west and the Polletts Cove Trail to the south. See Colin Mudle’s excellent web site with downloadable trail maps and GPS waypoints for details of these and other hiking trails in the Meat Cove area. A photo essay in this series that describes my first (summer) hike to Cape St Lawrence and Lowland Cove can be found here; I was pleased to redo this same hike, though this time in the opposite direction, in June of 2009, when I found that the obstacle course on the main trail from the Polletts Cove Trail Junction to the Cape St Lawrence Trail Junction had been substantially improved and stabilized and that there were now a number of red stakes to give one confidence that one had located the proper trail heads in the coastal areas. This hike is without any question in my mind the most memorable of those I have taken in Cape Breton because of its tremendous and seldom seen beauty in a pristine and isolated area (but also because its length and difficulty for me — I had an incredible feeling of euphoria after completing it each time). What a privilege it is now to see this area in its winter colours — how different things appear from this balcony in the spring, summer, and fall!