The nor’easter which greeted my arrival in Cape Breton continued for the next couple of days — so much for the weather forecast! Thursday, after visiting friends, I stopped by West Mabou Beach Provincial Park. I wasn’t the only one there that stormy day, though it was hardly crowded!
A bit misled by the conditions in the parking lot, where the rain had stopped, I decided to hike out along the Western Coastal Trail in the hopes of getting some photos of the fall colours I had noticed on the drive in to the park. Once out on the cliffs, I found myself buffetted by the fierce, raw, and chill winds, which I had expected, but I also encountered plenty of salt spray being carried up from the waters below the cliffs on the stiff winds, which I had not. Whenever I stood at the edge of the cliffs, the spray was drenching. In the nominal lee of the grove which shelters the trail register, I tried to get some shots, but even there, the spray interfered mightily, as the winds directly targeted the grove, quickly bespotting the camera lens as soon as I pointed it towards Green Point. Photo #2 is the best of those efforts; it looks to the north towards Green Point, which looms above the wind-driven waves crashing on shore off the Gulf.
Photo #1, taken not far southwest on the trail from photo #2, provides a better view of the fall colours I had hoped to capture; here, the shallow waters were whipped into a mass of white, much of which was carried into the air, obscuring the Colindale coast beyond the Hogs Back, the hump seen at the centre of the photo above. Beginning to become soaked by the spray, I turned at the sign seen beyond the picnic table and headed up Cnoc na Smuain (Meditation Hill). Even there the spray was too fierce to allow of any photos, so I headed over it and onto the Sheep Trail. That soon led me below the ridge, where I was protected from the spray, though not from the winds.
It was nice to see the recent trail work done on the Sheep Trail, making it unnecessary to avoid mucky areas. A short hike brought me back to the park entrance road, which I then followed back to my car.
After leaving the park, I drove out the Colindale Road, stopping at one of my favourite Cape Breton views, seen in photo #3, that of the mouth of the Mabou River and the Cape Mabou Highlands rising above (West Mabou Beach Provincial Park, from which the other two photos on this page were taken, is at the right of the photo). The churning waters of the Gulf on this day contrast greatly with the tranquil waters seen here, here, here, and here (I told you it was one of my favourite views!). That is not rain in the air, but spray, driven by the still fierce winds. For all the grey of this day, I still found it a beautiful place.