Thursday evening’s concert was in Iona, so, after turning on to the Whycocomagh Road upon leaving the Rosedale Road, I drove into Whycocomagh, took care of some errands there, and then headed southwest on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 105) through Waycobah to Iron Mines, where I took the Orangedale Road. After 2.9 km (1.8 mi) on the Orangedale Road, one comes to the southwestern end of Portage Road (at GPS 45°55.370'N 61°07.537'W) on the left. Portage Road runs out along the north side of an isthmus bordered on the north by Whycocomagh Bay, on the south by the River Denys Basin, and on the east by the Bras d’Or Lake, leaving only a narrow spit of land between Alba and Estmere connecting the isthmus to the Washabuck Peninsula. The views from Portage Road are fine along much of its length, offering superb views across Whycocomagh Bay of the mountains along the north shore of the bay from west of Whycocomagh to Little Narrows. The photos on this page form a left-to-right panorama of the view from just one of the vantage points along Portage Road, that near Wilburn from a horseshoe-shaped bay, unnamed on the topographical map.
Photo #1 shows Whycocomagh Mountain, part of a huge interior plateau running from Whycocomagh to Margaree Forks; the ridge descending to a col near the centre of the photo can also be seen from Highway 252, as at the left of this view, where it has a very different aspect. The trees in the foreground line the western shore of the horseshoe bay out to the (unnamed) point (MacEacherns Point is further west, outside the scope of this photo); so many evergreens are mixed in these trees that it’s easy to overlook the numerous deciduous trees that have changed, a contrast with the trees on the north side of Whycocomagh Bay, whose mottling indicates some incipient changes, but not the extensive ones that will be seen here later when the colours are at their peak.
Photo #2 pans somewhat to the right, looking at the long mountainside below the ridge of Whycocomagh Mountain; at the far right, the slope of Salt Mountain begins its rise to the summit.
Photo #3, panning further to the right, shows the slopes of Salt Mountain spreading across the full width of the photo. Salt Mountain is said to be so named for a saline spring near its summit; indeed, the topographical map shows a Saltwater Brook flowing down from the plateau and entering Whycocomagh Bay to the west of the foot of Salt Mountain (a Freshwater Brook, by contrast, also flows down from the plateau and enters Whycocomagh Bay to the east of Salt Mountain at Frasers Beach). Whycocomagh Mountain continues behind Salt Mountain, its ridge hidden by the nearer Salt Mountain slopes. Given the time of day, the lighting conceals the cliffs that are visible, e.g., in this view; trails lead to the summit and offer superb views of all four of Cape Breton Island’s counties from those cliffs. The colours on Salt Mountain are even less advanced than those elsewhere, though some small changes are visible.
Photo #4, still further to the right, shows Whycocomagh Mountain, no longer hidden by Salt Mountain. Google Earth shows that the (unnamed) peak about a third of the way in from the right of the photo sits above a fairly deep gully carved by a brook on the far side of the nearest hill to the right of the peak; that gully runs a fair distance back into the plateau.
Photo #5 shows more of Whycocomagh Mountain as it proceeds towards the east. The houses near the shores of Whycocomagh Bay mark the location of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 105). The power lines further back from the shore originate at the Transformer Substation north of Port Hastings that connects the generating station in Point Tupper to the rest of the electric grid in Cape Breton; the lines seen here continue on towards Baddeck and eventually end at the Wreck Cove Generating Station on St Anns Bay.
Photo #6 shows the rightmost part of Whycocomagh Mountain visible from this vantage point: at the far right, MacKenzies Point on the east end of the horseshoe-shaped cove blocks the continuation of the view towards Little Narrows (which is revealed if one travels further east along Portage Road). The band of trees in the middle ground across most of the width of the photo sits on MacInnis Island; Whycocomagh Bay is on the far side of the island. The long hillside seen descending in the centre of photo #6 nearest the shaded area marks the course of Argyle Brook along which an old road named Logans Glen Road (according to Google Earth) runs back into the plateau to a large glen on the far side of that hill. While researching this photo essay, I discovered that a waterfall is found along this brook and road, as shown in the photos on this web page. This is the very first I have ever heard of either the road or the waterfall. Because many back roads appear very similar to driveways (especially at 100 km/h (60 mph)!), I’d never noticed it; it’s now on my to-do list to locate and, if feasible, explore and photograph.