Cap-le-Moine (Friar’s Head) is both a community and a physical feature and is located to the south of Grand-Étang and St-Joseph-du-Moine. In photo #1, it is seen at the left. The Cabot Trail turns before it reaches there; it can be seen as a small diagonal black strip in the centre of the photo climbing over a hill on its way into St-Joseph-du-Moine. The Highlands seen from le Chemin Cormier are at the right of the photo and, if you know where to look, as you should by now, you can easily make out the top of La Grande Falaise. The mountains at the far right are part of the coastal range which runs from Chéticamp to the Margaree River.
That river is doubtless responsible for the large amounts of open water seen along the coast here, since this photo was taken from south of its mouth. Severe damage was done in the Margarees in late fall of 2010 by a rampaging river which had been fed by heavy and continuous rains, causing it to rise to levels not seen in many years; it carried away a bridge at East Margaree, severely weakened another, and undermined the Cabot Trail itself outside of Margaree Forks, as well as causing damage to houses and camps at several points along this normally beautiful and relatively shallow salmon-fishing river.
Three of the photos on this page were taken on Saturday about noon as I headed north to Chéticamp from a pull-off along the Shore Road (Highway 219)—nothing fancy, just a wide shoulder at the edge of the road. Its commanding position on a cliff above the beach at Margaree Harbour and the mouth of the Margaree River make it one of my favourite spots to stop for the views of the coast north to Chéticamp. This pull-off is much less well known than the wide and spacious pull-off just north of Terre-Noire, from which the much closer view of Cap-le-Moine in photo #2 was shot. It too offers very fine views of the coast, particularly to the south; those to the north are blocked by Cap-le-Moine itself.
Photo #3 shows Squirrel Mountain behind Grand-Étang, the very angular flat-topped mountain at the centre of the photo with the long slope taking the form of a curved arc; its distinctive profile allows it to be easily identified from both the north and the south. In the foreground is the coast, covered by a thick blanket of snow and ice, from Belle-Côte to Terre-Noire; a small piece of the Cabot Trail can be seen at the left of the photo as a black diagonal line where it climbs a hill along the coast. This photo also shows the darker cloud cover of the morning which, by 13h, had entirely given way to the beautiful blue skies seen in the later photos further north. When I arrived here, I had no plans of going on to MacKenzies Mountain, but as the cloud cover lifted as I drove north, I simply couldn’t resist, cèilidh or not.
Photo #4, taken at the juction of the Cabot Trail and the Shore Road just outside Margaree Harbour, shows the snow-covered surface of the wide Margaree River estuary; its mouth is only a short distance to the left of the photo (and outside its scope). Although there is no pull-off here, the road is wide enough to park at its edge back several car lengths from the junction so as to not interfere with traffic; the new Margaree River bridge, constructed a few years ago to replace a bridge with a wooden substructure that was no longer viable, is immediately at the left of this photo (and outside its scope) and has a sidewalk. A walk across this bridge will give you a much better understanding of how wide the river is at this point and offers a great place from which to get photos of the river, the surrounding mountains, the harbour at Belle-Côte, and even some of the coast. A walk along the Cabot Trail to the right (south) of the junction will reveal the very modern, almost artistic, engineering of the new bridge.
Photo #5 shows the community of Belle-Côte from the Shore Road pull-off. What a wintry vision this is! You may need to look closely to see the houses in the village, many of which blend in very well with the snow. In the foreground, to the left of the red building, you will see the ice-covered boulders of the northern breakwater at the mouth of the Margaree River. Some boats have been drawn up onto the land above the harbour (the bounds of the water are not too easy to make out, but if you look to the right of the red building, you will see a snow-covered pile of rock; if you follow to the left from there, you will see a faint line which marks off the land from the snow-and-ice-covered water). In the middle of the photo from the far left to about a third of the way in, you can see a diagonal line between the trees that climbs up the hill there, crossing over the ridge: that is the Old Belle-Côte Road and leads back into the hills for some distance; a gravel road, it was not in the best of shape when I last drove it in my Camry, but I was able to make it in 4.7 km (2.9 mi) before I had to turn around. There were no open spots along the part of the road I drove from which one could see a panorama of the coast as I was hoping might be there, but the mountainous terrain was nevertheless very interesting to see. When I was in Marsh Brook on the other side of the coastal range a year later, I noticed signs for two hiking trails, one of which ends in East Margaree and the other of which comes out on the Old Belle-Côte Road; I have added both to my hiking to-do list.