Photo #1, taken from the Meat Cove Road as it descends sharply down into the village, shows the valley carved by the Meat Cove Brook out of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau. Meat Cove Mountain’s distinctive profile is at the left of the photo; the mountains on the other side are, so far as I have been able to determine, unnamed. This view is notable for the amount of fall colours showing on the mountains.
Photo #2 is a telephoto view of those colours, taken at a moment when the sun was trying very hard to burst through the cloud cover, but hadn’t quite been successful. With my predilection for reds, I of course immediately noticed the brilliant one in the lower left corner of the photo, which was bright even without the benefit of the sun. But I didn’t fail to notice also the oranges and yellows and greens of many hues scattered about with abandon on this gorgeous mountainside.
In the upper right corner of the photo, you will notice a cliff face; this is the Meat Cove Look-Off, at the end of the aforementioned trail. It has, as you can well imagine, incredible views of the Meat Cove Brook valley below, of Meat Cove Mountain across the way, of the coast out to Cape North, and of the Cape Breton Highlands in all directions. Alas, the day I was there (2010 June 17) was hazy and without much sun, so the photos I got were not what I had hoped; I’ll therefore be looking forward to doing this trail again on a fine day, and especially curious to see what the Meat Cove Brook valley below now looks like.
Photo #3 was taken from the Meat Cove Road beyond its junction with the Meat Cove Beach Road from the newly installed guardrails. I was delighted to see that work was underway to repair the destroyed beach road and the small wooden bridge over the brook there — a huge backhoe and two men deploying sand bags were hard at work along the brook as I passed by. The view in photo #3 looks upstream along the Meat Cove Brook, with Meat Cove Mountain rising high above the valley. The brook this day is calm and placid, but the remaining litter of trees and stones that has not yet been cleaned up bears witness to the terrible wall of water that thundered down this valley in 2010, carrying everything in its path away.
Photo #4 was taken from the temporary Bailey bridge across Meat Cove Brook, again looking upstream. As can be seen in the foreground, the rock walls above the brook are stripped bare, the vegetation removed by the rushing wall of water and carried downstream; a few of the trees in the centre escaped the damage, but it looks as if they cling rather precariously to not very much soil. The road and the two large metal culverts through which the brook used to flow were likewise destroyed by the rampage. The plan is to replace the Bailey bridge with a proper cement bridge across the brook, which will hopefully be completed in time for the tourist season next spring. (The previous plan of restoring the road with larger cement culverts than the old ones has been abandoned.) The day I was there, work was underway drilling and excavating the foundations for the bridge; it was amazing to see the large crew of construction workers in the village, most living in the accommodations there through the week; it was a hive of activity not usually seen there at this time of year.
The fall colours in photo #3 are less far along than they are in photo #4, doubtless because of greater protection and less light. Notice the stray ray of sunlight which lights up the stand of lime-coloured trees in the upper left third of photo #3 below the rock slide on Meat Cove Mountain; it’s too bad the sun wasn’t out in full to really show off the colours here, which were considerably brighter than they appear.