The further north I drove, the better the day got: this is the first photo with no clouds visible anywhere since the back country at Glencoe earlier in the morning; the resultant blue sky was simply stunning on the water. Even better, all trace of haze is also gone. Days like this are, in recent years, alas, a rarity in Cape Breton—truly, the weather was being extraördinarily kind to this photographer!
Since I discovered it, thanks to Jim Steele, Little River has become a required stop along any trip north on this part of the Cabot Trail; indeed, when I attend the summer cèilidhs at St Anns Bay United Church, I now often drive on to here just for the views. A very short drive down the Little River Road brings one to the wharf and fishing harbour on St Anns Bay, beyond which the road comes to an end beside a picnic table. The view in photo #1 immediately takes one’s eye there, with the Cape Breton Highlands rising above the shore all the way to Cape Smokey, at the far right. The diagonal slash of the Cabot Trail as it climbs up Smokey Mountain is easily visible here about a fifth of the way in from the right. So far as I can ascertain, none of the prominences south of Smokey Mountain visible here are named; they are all the edges of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau. Photo #2 is a telephoto view of the right half of photo #1 and exposes considerably more details of this beautiful scene. The Cabot Trail runs well inland of this shore, only coming near it at a couple of points between Little River and Smokey Mountain, and never giving one as coherent a sense of it as this beautiful spot. Compared to other photos I have taken here, the clarity of these views is also most unusual; the haze and low clouds which often hover around Cape Smokey (hence its name) are entirely missing this day, making the terrain stand out extra clearly!
In photo #3, the view is inland of the shore, looking at MacDonalds Pond, another obvious barachois and one of many along the west shore of St Anns Bay. I haven’t yet walked along the shore here to see whether MacDonalds Pond has an outlet into St Anns Bay (the topographical map seems to indicate that it does). This photo, more so than the two previous ones, probably because it is looking closer at hand, shows very early colours in the foliage behind the pond and on the slopes of the Highlands beyond; this is clearly not the usual summer garb, but equally clearly, it is not very far along yet either.
Photo #4 looks out across St Anns Bay to Ciboux Island where, if you look closely about a third of the way in from the left end of the island, you can barely make out the lighthouse up top. Ciboux Island is one of the Bird Islands, discussed and illustrated at length in my previous photo essay. Little River offers the best views of the Bird Islands from the mainland that I am aware of; yet, as good as they are, they are nothing compared to the up-close views one gets on a boat tour of the islands.