Views in Meat Cove

Meat Cove Mountain
[#1] Photo 70 of 132: Meat Cove Mountain
Taken 2011 March 4 in Meat Cove from the Meat Cove Road near the bridge across Meat Cove Brook
GPS 46°59.926'N 60°29.691'W

After leaving the campground area, we drove back towards the bridge over Meat Cove Brook, very close to which I took photo #1 of Meat Cove Mountain, which dominates the small village. The generally fine condition of the snow-covered road here can be seen as it swings to the left to start its long climb out of the valley. The Bailey bridge seen in the photo is a temporary replacement for the two huge culverts formerly there, which were washed out during the same 2010 August storm that also undermined the Salmon River Bridge and destroyed smaller culverts all along the Meat Cove Road; the last I had heard, the former are to be rebuilt even larger and the bridge is to be removed, restoring the road here to the condition it had prior to the storm. (For more information on this once-in-a-lifetime rampage, see my retelling assembled from reportage at the time and visit the community’s fine flood web page (no longer on-line but still available courtesy of the Wayback Machine Archive).) The building at the left houses a restaurant and serves as a community centre with interesting exhibits on the walls; it is also the local C@P site providing public broad­band internet access both to visitors and to the community. Its extensive deck provided a fine place to eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner while listening to the gurgling of Meat Cove Brook as it passed nearby; it sustained extensive damage, but was in the process of being repaired and restored when I was there last fall, so it will hopefully once again be available next year.

While a fair amount of detail can be seen at the summit of Meat Cove Mountain in the wide-angled photo at the top of the page, the close-up seen in photo #2 brings the rock formations there, again tilted at roughly a 45° angle, into much sharper focus. I have still not found a good explanation accessible to a non-geologist that explains the geological significance of these tilted rock formations, which are over a billion years old, and are derived from the Canadian Shield.¹

[continued below]

¹ See Clarence Barrett’s Cape Breton Highlands National Park: A Park Lover’s Companion, p. 37. His account of Cape Breton geology in chapter 3 is accessible, but, alas, it does not address the tilted and folded rocks seen all around the Meat Cove area.

Close-up of the Meat Cove Mountain summit
[#2] Photo 71 of 132: Close-up of the Meat Cove Mountain summit
Taken 2011 March 4 in Meat Cove from the Meat Cove Road near the bridge across Meat Cove Brook
GPS 46°59.926'N 60°29.691'W
Meat Cove Brook
[#3] Photo 72 of 132: Meat Cove Brook
Taken 2011 March 4 in Meat Cove from the Meat Cove Road at the bridge across Meat Cove Brook
GPS 46°59.926'N 60°29.691'W

Photo #3 shows a very docile and wintry Meat Cove Brook, flowing quietly to the sea between snowy banks, unencumbered by a coating of ice. Unless one has seen with one’s own eyes the devastation this pretty stream caused to the landscape, carrying trees, bushes, a goodly part of its banks, culverts, a bridge, a building, and all else in its way when the wall of water came crashing down its course last August, it is next to impossible to imagine how this placid little stream could have wreaked so much damage!

Photo #4 looks down the valley carved by Meat Cove Brook, another part of which can be seen at the far right of the photo in the foreground—still docile and placid. At the left of the photo, the slope of Meat Cove Mountain descends to its base; at the right, the unnamed prominences seen there mark the course of the brook inland. Great hiking abounds in this area, with trails to Meat Cove Mountain, to Meat Cove Look-Off (on the side of a mountain directly west of Meat Cove Mountain), to Little Grassy (above Blackrock Point), and to Cape St Lawrence and Lowland Cove on the Gulf of St Lawrence coast. I have hiked all of them and can recommend them all without hesitation. Except for the short and relatively easy trail up to Little Grassy, they are among the more challenging trails on Cape Breton Island; they all repay the effort expended in hiking them many times over. Alas, I do not yet have descriptions of any of these trails in the hiking section of my web site, though I have plenty of photos and several log books of trail notes on which to draw. Getting them there is definitely on my to-do list. At the moment, the best I can do is to refer you to the Cape St Lawrence and Lowland Cove photo essay, where you will find an extensive description with photos of that most memorable hike.

[2012] A great deal of work has been done to restore Meat Cove since this was written, although, if you look closely, you can still see evidence of the damage done, particularly in the Meat Cove Brook Valley to the south of the village. The deck of the Meat Cove Restaurant is once again properly shored up and usable and a new parking area has been made across the road beside the bridge. The Bailey bridge over Meat Cove Brook is indeed now gone, replaced, not by new culverts like those that were there, but by a fine new bridge with much more capacity for water to flow beneath it. The bridge on the Meat Cove Beach Road has also been replaced and the boardwalk was, by the end of the summer in 2012, partially rerouted and nearly completely restored. The beach has been cleaned up and the trail signage put back (at least on those trails I hiked in 2012). Congratulations to the community on its recovery!

Meat Cove Brook Valley
[#4] Photo 73 of 132: Meat Cove Brook Valley
Taken 2011 March 4 in Meat Cove from the Meat Cove Road near the bridge across Meat Cove Brook
GPS 46°59.926'N 60°29.691'W