Eight minutes after leaving the overlook from which the photos seen on the previous page of this essay were taken, I stood on the spit of land that delimits it from Barachois Pond, where superb views of St Anns Bay in all directions greeted my eyes. In the view in photo #1 to the south, the tree-covered slopes of Murray Mountain gleam across the right two thirds of the photo, for sure not as brightly as the polished cobblestones along this “beach”, but gleam nonetheless in the afternoon sun.
You will notice some driftwood at the far right of photo #1. There is even more of it in photo #2, which looks to the north; the spit continues on in that direction too and well beyond the point, unnamed on the topographical map, that juts out at the right of this photo. Behind that point is MacDonald’s Pond, seen nearly daily in the the photos Jim Steele sends out to those subscribed to his marvellous Sunrise Photo Mailing List.
The light on the east side of St Anns Bay was much less bright and dependable than that on the west side this day (there were tantalizing sunny breaks between the fast-moving clouds that alternately lit up and occluded the massif I was trying to capture) and I wasted a considerable number of photos on what ultimately proved to be rather dull shots of the other side. Photo #3 is the best I was able to get; it shows the north end of the massif descending to Cape Dauphin. This photo did, somewhat surprisingly to me, capture the cliffs along the waters that line the massif in most places and even a bit of the cobblestone beach (at the far right of the photo) known as Big Grappling Beach.
The Red Island Trail continues on the inland side of the cobblestone berm, known as Red Island (hence the trail name), on to the south side of MacDonalds Pond, a section that took me fifteen minutes to hike (not counting several stops for photos), from which there are fine views of the St Anns Bay shore to the north; Cape Smokey is not visible because of the trees growing on Red Island itself. I saw several waterfowl fishing and cavorting in the waters while resting beside the pond and a family of ducks landed in a cove on the west side of the pond, ignoring me until I got up to leave, when they quickly swam out of my view. Fifteen minutes later, I was back at the car, having spent a lovely afternoon. My sincerest thanks go to those who built the trail and continue to maintain it. If you have not yet discovered it, by all means give it a look; it’s hardly an onerous hike and the views are superb.
And with these photos, this essay, like my June trip, has reached its end. I packed a lot into the three weeks I was there and I hope you enjoy the scenes presented here as much as I enjoyed visiting them. While many of them were “old friends” of long acquaintance, I got to a number of places I hadn’t previously seen and to which I will certainly return in the future. My hope is that some of the photos in this essay will entice you too to have a look at a corner of Cape Breton’s glorious scenery that may be new to you.