Photo #1 was also taken in the U-shaped bay 0.3 km (0.2 mi) to the west of the photos on the previous page, but the view here is more to the east, with Salt Mountain in the middle of the photo. As with the mountains to the west of Skye Mountain, so with those to the east of Salt Mountain: they are all edges of a large internal plateau, again unnamed so far as I can determine, that lies to the east of Highway 395 and Highway 19 and to the south and west of the Cabot Trail, whose corners are Whycocomagh, Scotsville, Margaree Forks, Middle River, and Wagmatcook. The notch at the middle left of the photo again marks Whycocomagh Mountain, which runs along the ridge seen there behind Salt Mountain, in the centre of the photo, and all the way east to south of the southern arm of Lake Ainslie. If the other mountains along the Whycocomagh Bay shore in the photo above have any names, I am unaware of them.
Photo #2 shows a bit-south-of-west-facing view from its eastern end down nearly the full length of Whycocomagh Bay, taken about 1.5 km (1 mi) south of the Little Narrows ferry ramp on Highway 223. Salt Mountain, whose characteristic diagonal gash from a power line is barely visible in this view, is about a quarter of the way in from the left edge of the photo. This sidewise view, so to speak, gives a better idea of the plateau edge, as the prominences seen “front-on” in the photo at the top appear to be more distinct entities.
Photo #3 was taken from near the eastern end of Portage Road and looks out across a snow-covered field towards the other side of the ice-covered Whycocomagh Bay; were there not lots of trees to define it, the boundary between the land and the Bay would be completely invisible. In this photo, the gash on the flank of Salt Mountain is clearly visible in the middle left of the photo, with Skye Mountain at the far left. And again, the plateau is more easily seen to be a whole than in photo #1.
Photo #4 was taken from further west along Portage Road than the two previous ones, though not so far west as the photo at the top of the page. It shows two islands in Whycocomagh Bay, Sheep Island at the middle left below Skye Mountain and MacInnis Island, the long low island running from the right of Sheep Island to well past Salt Mountain, marked by a row of dark trees against the snow and ice. (You can get a better idea of the MacInnis Island from this view from the top of Salt Mountain, where its western end appears at the left of the photo.) In this view, Sheep Island hides Indian Island, while Campbells Mountain is seen between Skye Mountain and Salt Mountain just right of centre.
The contrast between these Portage Road photos and those taken along the West Bay Highway and the Marble Mountain Road is remarkable: Whycocomagh Bay lies under a cover of ice capped by snow that shows no visible breaks at all, while West Bay had some shore ice in some of the coves, but was mostly open water. I have no idea what accounts for the difference. Whycocomagh Bay is a considerably smaller body of water than the Bras d’Or Lake, of which West Bay is one arm, though it is by no means a small body of water, with a length of roughly 13.5 km (8.4 mi) and a variable width that is likely close to 3 km (1.9 mi) on average. Moreover, it is traversed by currents which are fairly powerful at Little Narrows and I can vouch that the winds on both bodies of water can be fierce. I do not know how they differ as to depth, which would surely have some effect. But, whatever the cause, it is clear that one freezes over completely and the other does not, something I find very intriguing.
Photo #5 is a close-up of the notch that marks Whycocomagh Mountain, seen from afar in previous photos. This view is from Highway 252 in Skye Glen, north of its junction with Highway 395. It is, of course, from the completely opposite direction as well: this view is to the southeast, while the others were to the north or northeast. The topographic map gives its height as above 220 m (720 ft), though other parts of Whycocomagh Mountain rise to above 260 m (850 ft). In several attempts at photographing this cliff face (which appears to change shape as one proceeds southeast through Skye Glen) and the amphitheatre to its east, hidden in this view, this is the best result I have so far achieved (though, alas, under grey skies), in no large part because the leaves are missing from the trees but also because the snow helps to define the contours one sees with great clarity. Indeed, this will be one of the recurrent themes of this essay—one’s view of the terrain is altogether sharper in the winter time than in other seasons, with many details that are not easy to see under foliage standing out starkly.