MacPhersons Brook

MacPhersons Brook
[#1] Photo 108 of 171: MacPhersons Brook
Taken 2012 July 3 from the Lewis Mountain Trail about 310 m (0.2 mi) from its start at the trail head
GPS 45°59.691'N 61°00.610'W

I abandoned my plans of hiking up Salt Mountain when I saw the nasty grey clouds over Whycocomagh Bay seen on the previous page that, even if they didn't dump any rain, would have spoilt the views from the summit. I therefore drove north along the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 105) to the Lewis Mountain trail head across from Exit 6, the Little Narrows ferry exit, at GPS 45°59.569'N 61°00.447'W, where the presence or absence of the sun would make little difference, as there are no vistas from the trail.

I had first been up the Lewis Mountain Trail last fall during Celtic Colours—see this page for photos from that hike—and fell in love with MacPhersons Brook, which cascades and spills and splishes and splashes its way down the ravine between Lewis and Northside Mountains. Even with the parched state of the land this summer, it was every bit as beautiful and noisy, though clad in greens rather than the more gaudy autumnal shades of last fall. I had great fun trying to get good photos of it, a difficult task as the trail is usually well above the brook, in places by as much as twenty or more metres/yards, and trees filter the sunlight that makes it down into the ravine pretty severely, though annoyingly often concentrating a blast of sun in a reduced space that confuses the camera as it tries to properly capture both bright light and low light in the same photo. As the photos on this page show, I still have a lot to learn about successful photography under these conditions; these five are the best of the seventy-eight that I took on the hike.

Photo #1 is a small cascade, the first of many one meets in ascending the trail, just a short hike up from the trail head. One hears the noise of the brook before one reaches it and both the brook and its lovely sounds follow one up the trail as it climbs; though some distance away, the brook is still there when one reaches the log bridge near the col at the top of Northside Mountain (at GPS 46°00.666'N 61°01.728'W), but, past GPS 46°00.294'N 61°01.426'W, well before reaching the log bridge, the brook is neither audible nor visible. Unless you plan on hiking all the way up to the crossroads at GPS 46°01.844'N 61°04.375'W, I would suggest just turning around when can you no longer hear the brook.

Photo #2, taken on the hike back down, is a much larger cascade, with fast-flowing waters that spread out into the dark pool seen at the upper left. Unfortunately, it is also further below the trail, making it harder to capture through the trees. Apparently fish climb this brook as my friend noticed fingerlings in some of the larger puddles in the road above the log bridge on our hike last fall. As I learnt some years ago when hiking les Trous de saumonsTrail in the Cape Breton Highlands National Park, described in this photo essay and this trail description with photos, the pools are important to the fish, as they give them a place to rest while preparing to leap up the falls.

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MacPhersons Brook
[#2] Photo 109 of 171: MacPhersons Brook
Taken 2012 July 3 from the Lewis Mountain Trail about 750 m (0.5 mi) from its start at the trail head
GPS 45°59.830'N 61°00.887'W
MacPhersons Brook
[#3] Photo 110 of 171: MacPhersons Brook
Taken 2012 July 3 from the Lewis Mountain Trail about 1050 m (0.7 mi) from its start at the trail head
GPS 45°59.914'N 61°01.095'W

Photo #3 is a much quieter run than the previous cascade, again well below the trail, but still plenty audible. How delightful it was just sitting there in the shade, watching the very pretty brook flow and listening to its music!

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MacPhersons Brook
[#4] Photo 111 of 171: MacPhersons Brook
Taken 2012 July 3 from the Lewis Mountain Trail about 1325 m (0.8 mi) from its start at the trail head
GPS 45°59.988'N 61°01.267'W

Photo #4 is of another cascade, a couple of metres/yards high, further up the trail. Again, notice the pool at the left of the photo. The greenish blobs in the upper and lower right are leaves much closer to me than to the cascade that the camera could not bring into focus without losing the focus on the cascade.

Photo #5 is of the same cascade as shown in photo #4, but taken from somewhat further up the trail and using a much shorter focal length; it therefore shows much more of the area both above and below the cascade. This is another gorgeous spot where I could easily have spent a lot more time.

If you have not yet discovered this lovely brook, let me encourage you to seek it out; you don’t need a bright sunny day in which to enjoy it and the climb is surprisingly gentle.

MacPhersons Brook
[#5] Photo 112 of 171: MacPhersons Brook
Taken 2012 July 3 from the Lewis Mountain Trail about 1375 m (0.9 mi) from its start at the trail head
GPS 46°00.016'N 61°01.274'W