The lovely, accessible Southwest Mabou River long ago brought me under its spell: I have devoted an entire photo essay to it. So, since I was on my way to the cèilidh at the Celtic Music Interpretive Centre in Judique, it was more than natural that I drove out to see the river at Long Johns Bridge (GPS 45°57.261'N 61°22.380'W) in Upper Southwest Mabou, until this year, the furthest upstream view I had seen of it. I had just gone back to the car after yet another photo shoot there and was finishing up my notes on it when a jeep-like ATV came along bearing Mark and Charlene MacIsaac, who live just beyond the bridge on the Rear Intervale Road. Mark recognized me from the Glencoe dances and stopped to say hello and chat; we got to talking about the Southwest Mabou River. I mentioned that I'd long been interested in exploring a private road just up from the bridge to take photos of the river and he gave me permission to do so (his family owns the farm along that road). Even better, he asked me to hop on his vehicle and drove me out MacLeods Settlement Road and down a private side road to the river bank where I got several more photos of the Southwest Mabou River, from which the photos on this page are drawn. (Alas, I forgot to bring Griselda along with me, so the GPS coördinates on this page are estimated from Google Maps.) Talk about going the extra mile! Serendipity! A couple of minutes earlier or later and our encounter wouldn't have happened!
Photo #1 looks upstream from the banks of the Southwest Mabou River west of the MacLeod Settlement Road; photo #2, taken with a somewhat longer focal length, shows the more distant part of the view in photo #1 in more detail and from a different vantage point somewhat further upstream.
Photo #3 looks downstream from the banks of the Southwest Mabou River west of the MacLeod Settlement Road. Photo #4, taken with a somewhat longer focal length, shows the more distant part of the view in photo #3 in more detail and from a different vantage point a bit further downstream.
I later learnt that much of the course of the river from Long Johns Bridge south to the location to which Mark and Charlene brought me (and beyond) lies between steep banks as high as 10 m (30 ft)) that do not afford easy access to the river at most spots. This location, at a bend in the river, is exceptional in that the banks are very low at this point. If you look at the upper middle of photo #4, you can make out the bank behind the crossed tree limbs; notice also the height of the hill at the upper left of photo #3.
The long dry spell had already commenced when these photos were taken and the amount of water in the river was quite low all along its course, as well as here. I do not know what a normal level of the river would look like here, but the rocks lying out of the water in these views would surely cause surface irregularities (“rapids”) were there enough water to flow over them. Mark spoke of a nearby swimming hole, so deep pools must normally occur at some points along the river’s course here.