After leaving Dingwall, I turned south on the Cabot Trail, crossed the bridges over the Middle and South Aspy Rivers, not far from where they merge to flow into Middle Harbour, and turned left at the monument onto South Ridge Road. I had discovered this road last year and knew from that excursion that it was likely to provide more fall colour than most other locations in the area.
Except from the two aforementioned bridges, I know of only one other vantage point for each of these rivers, both on the South Ridge Road. As one travels from east to west along the South Ridge Road, one soon arrives at occasional open views from which North Mountain can be seen to the northwest across the valley through which the three Aspy Rivers flow; early morning on a clear day after the sun is well up in the sky is a particularly good time to drive this road, as the sun then illuminates the mountains, making for a very beautiful scene.
Some 1.5 km (0.9 mi) after turning off the Cabot Trail, one arrives at the bridge over the South Aspy River, views downstream and upstream from which are seen in photos #1 and #2, respectively. The skies, which were valiantly trying to clear, let in enough light to provide a pretty good idea of the state of the fall colours; they are clearly just starting, with mostly greens and incipient oranges, though reds are seen at the bottom left and, across the river, at the far right in the middle of photo #1. The upstream view, looking towards South Mountain in the distance, gives much the same impression, with perhaps a bit more yellow. In both views, the river is very pretty, though its rock-strewn nature attests to the force of the spring run-offs which have deposited the many rocks seen in the middle and along the edges.
3.4 km (2.1 mi) southwest of the bridge over the South Aspy River, one reaches the bridge over the Middle Aspy River, at which point the road makes a sharp turn to the north and ascends to its junction with Blaze Road, about 250 m (0.2 mi) from the latter’s junction with the Cabot Trail in Sunrise, southwest of Cape North Village.¹ Be careful descending the hill down to this bridge: I scraped bottom at a couple of points on what deceptively appeared to be an even surface (I had no similar problems last year with the same car — a reminder that gravel roads change over time). The Middle Aspy River at this bridge is considerably noisier than the South Aspy River was at its bridge, spilling over a couple of small rock ledges after flowing around and through several piles of rocks and boulders further upstream.
The colours in this lovely scene, whose joyful purling, plashing, and gurgles I can hear in my mind still, are perhaps a bit more advanced than those at the South Aspy River bridge, but not much. The trees near where the river turns are definitely sporting reds, though, as magnification shows, with a good deal of green underneath the red; there seem to be more yellows as well.
¹ Prissy (my Prius’ GPS) said that the section of Blaze Road from the Cabot Trail to its junction with the South Ridge Road was also part of the South Ridge Road; the local signage says otherwise, as does Google Maps.↩