Cape Smokey and Smokey Mountain

Cape Smokey from Beach Crossing Road
[#1] Photo 43 of 132: Cape Smokey from Beach Crossing Road
Taken 2011 March 4 in Ingonish Beach from the Beach Crossing Road along South Bay Ingonish
1.3 km (0.8 mi) east of its junction with the Cabot Trail
GPS 46°38.376'N 60°23.448'W

You find Beach Crossing Road in the locality of Ingonish Beach¹; driving north on the Cabot Trail, after you circle around Ingonish Harbour, you will climb up and over a hill (that diagonal slope seen earlier in the view of the Ski Cape Smokey slopes) as you enter Ingonish Beach. At the left of the Cabot Trail, you will soon see the Main Street Restaurant and Bakery and a Y straight ahead (GPS 46°38.448'N 60°24.229'W). Marked by a small green street sign at the right of the Cabot Trail, Beach Crossing Road is the right fork of that Y and, as you turn down it, you will see a yellow “No Exit” sign. (If you instead reach the Cape Breton Highlands National Park entrance, you have missed the turn.)

Beach Crossing Road is not long, only 1.6 km (1 mi) long, but well before you reach its end, you will make a 90° turn to the right and see huge boulders forming a breakwater to protect the road. The road makes another 90° turn to the right shortly before it dead ends, but between the two turns, the views are very fine.

If you park along the road near the first of the 90° turns and start walking north along the path you see there, you will traverse a spit of land which divides Freshwater Lake on your left from South Bay Ingonish on your right. If you continue your walk, you will eventually arrive at the Ingonish Beach swimming area and its facilities, which can also be directly accessed from Keltic Road (leading out to the Keltic Lodge and Middle Head inside the park boundaries).

The water-level view of Cape Smokey seen in photo #1 is one of the scenes to which your eyes will certainly be drawn on Beach Crossing Road, as it dominates the area to the southeast. As with all the other scenes I saw on this trip, its winter appearance is very different to my eyes from its usual look: for one thing, snow and ice hide the rock faces that are exposed during the rest of the year. Note also a transient blizzard just right of the centre of this photo about halfway up the slopes; the winds had certainly not relented! Although the photo clearly shows their approach, I did not remember the clouds which here seem to be trying to throw a cloak over the Cape (its name arises from such clouds and fog enshrouding much of it very often throughout the year, though, fortunately, not this day.

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¹ There are lots of Ingonishes in Ingonish! Driving along the Cabot Trail towards the north, they are, in order, Ingonish Ferry, Ingonish Harbour (The Nova Scotia Atlas names it South Ingonish Harbour), Ingonish Beach, Ingonish Centre, and lastly just plain Ingonish. The first three border on South Bay Ingonish and the last two border on North Bay Ingonish, the bodies of water on either side of Middle Head.

Cape Smokey from Keltic Road
[#2] Photo 44 of 132: Cape Smokey from Keltic Road
Taken 2011 March 4 in Keltic Lodge from the Keltic Road
850 m (0.5 mi) east of its junction with the Cabot Trail
GPS 46°39.228'N 60°23.310'W

After taking several photos at this beautiful spot, we drove on to the Keltic Lodge, on the way to which (roughly 850 m (0.5 mi) from the junction of the Cabot Trail and Keltic Road) I took photo #2, another fine view of Cape Smokey from a bit further away. There’s no blizzard here, but the clouds are still on-coming.

Photo #3 was taken from just before the Middle Head Trail parking lot in front of the Keltic Lodge. As previously promised, it shows the summit of Smokey Mountain in the centre of the photo, with its communication towers standing out against the blue sky (the encroaching clouds over St Anns Bay haven’t yet reached the summit). The Smokey Towers Trail, a fairly short and not very difficult trail following a maintenance road (requiring a high-slung vehicle such as a truck—it’s not feasible for a car), leads from Cape Smokey Provincial Park up to the towers, from which there are spectacular views to the south, west, and north. The long snowy gash at the far right of the photo is a utility line, which stands out far less starkly when the foliage is out. The Cabot Trail runs left to right across the photo down the sloping hill; Ingonish Ferry and the 90° curve at Castle Rock Inn are at the far left of the photo (and outside its scope); Ingonish Harbour is at the far right of the photo (and also outside its scope).

Smokey Mountain from Keltic Road
[#3] Photo 45 of 132: Smokey Mountain from Keltic Road
Taken 2011 March 4 in Keltic Lodge from before the Middle Head Trail parking lot
GPS 46°39.342'N 60°22.578'W