After leaving Pleasant Bay, we stopped briefly at the bridge over the MacKenzies River at the base of MacKenzies Mountain and then continued on up MacKenzies Mountain, but didn’t stop again until we reached French Mountain outside Chéticamp, as, except for the occasional ray briefly breaking through the clouds, the sun wasn’t out and the ability to get good photos was generally poor. So, hereafter, though with a few exceptions, I am switching to using the photos I took the next day, when I drove back from Mabou to MacKenzies Mountain on the way to a Saturday afternoon cèilidh at the Doryman in Chéticamp—the long way there to be sure! But the sun was out and it was a perfect day for photography, with blue skies galore, so I simply couldn’t resist, even at the (high) cost of missing some of the music.
The glorious panorama in photo #1, one of the many photos I took all along the Cabot Trail on MacKenzies Mountain that day, shows the mostly uninhabited coast of northwestern Cape Breton from MacKenzies Mountain in the foreground (you can see the Cabot Trail below) to Tittle Point (just south of Cape St Lawrence (not visible here)) at the far left and low to the ice beyond the High Capes, a distance of some 28 km (17.4 mi). Nearly all of this coast belongs to the Polletts Cove-Aspy Fault Wilderness Area, which includes most of Cape Breton Island north of the Cabot Trail and east of Pleasant Bay, except for the areas populated when it was formed (Pleasant Bay, Red River, Big Intervale, Sunrise, Cape North Village, the Aspy Bay area and most of the eastern and northern coastal areas, including the unpopulated northern end of the Cape North massif). The village of Pleasant Bay lies off the far right of the photo and outside its scope. Kerrs Point is in the centre of the photo and one can easily see the Red River Road which leads from Pleasant Bay, around Moores Hill at the far right of the photo, into the hamlet of Red River, and then back out to the coast and around Kerrs Point to Gampo Abbey and beyond, where it terminates at the Polletts Cove trail head. I have long wanted to hike to Polletts Cove, the trail to which traverses the Black Cliffs (seen beyond Kerrs Point near the centre of the photo—much darker than the terrain to the north), but I had to give up my only attempt an hour past the trail head because of the freezing cold that fall day. Beyond Polletts Cove are Delaneys Point and the High Capes, then Lowland Cove and Tittle Point (and finally Cape St Lawrence, which is not visible here); last year’s Cape Breton’s Winter Colours photo essay includes fine contributed photos taken in the Polletts Cove area here and here.
Photo #2 looks much closer at hand at the village of Pleasant Bay and its surrounding highlands. The ice-covered breakwaters (just left of the centre of the photo in the blue open water and ice floe mix) mark the entrance to “The Pond”; the United Church can be seen across the harbour and the elementary school is the white building to its left further out along the Red River Road where it makes a reverse S curve. Moores Hill rises above the Red River Road at the left of the photo where it veers east into the community of Red River. The snow-covered summit to the right of Moores Hill at the middle right of the photo is Icy Mountain.
Photo #3 is another view of Roberts Mountain, seen from a different angle and much higher up than in photo #4 on the previous page. (This view is further to the east than either of the other photos on the present page and hence Roberts Mountain is missing from both of them.) I find it very interesting to compare these two views, in particular the very different shading of the glen just left of centre in this view: in bright sun, what the previous view clearly revealed to be tree trunks are here far less distinct and it is the snow that predominates, not the trees, though they do lessen the white somewhat.