It was time to leave, particularly as I was moving pretty slowly and we had two more places to reach this afternoon on this hike. We reluctantly left the gorgeous look-off and continued back out the look-off spur trail to the main trail and then started towards MacKinnons Brook. The former trail, made impassible by dead trees killed by the spruce bark beetle, was relocated last year above its former course to a ridge from which the dead wood had been cleared, offering fantastic open views (at least until the forest regrows) that were not previously available. The initial part of the relocated trail follows the MacPhee Trail to the northeast (from GPS 46°09.134'N 61°26.751'W to 46°09.187'N 61°26.591'W) to reach the ridge, whereupon it turns to the north and descends towards MacKinnons Brook, picking up the former trail at the bottom of the ridge. Photo #1 shows the main view from a few metres/yards down the trail just after leaving the MacPhee Trail (a summer view from this same location can be seen here). Just left of centre is Beinn Bhiorach (Steep Mountain) descending towards Sight Point in the distance at the far left; the terrain hides MacKinnons Brook in this view, but it is beyond the bottom of the ridge at the far left—a bit of the Meadows near the brook mouth can be made out near the border between the sun-lit and shaded areas. The slopes which dominate the right of the photo are on an unnamed mountain, across which the Beaton Trail leads to a look-off on the far side of the further prominence. This was my first fall hike along the relocated trail and I was greatly struck by the amount of colour in this scene, most of which would have been hidden from view along the former trail, so this was an especial treat!
Photo #2 is a detail of the colours in the centre of photo #1; the yellow tree at the centre of photo #2 is easily made out in photo #1, so bright are its leaves when lit by the sun. Most of the hardwoods here have changed to their fall hues, but for many it is a very recent change, with considerable amounts of chlorophyll darkening their hues, particularly holding back the reds; the trees on the side of Beinn Bhiorach on the far side of the descending slope have retained more of their greens.
Photo #3 looks at the col left of centre that lies between Beinn Bhiorach at the far left and the plateau seen in the further distance that runs across much of the photo. MacKinnons Brook runs in the valley below between Beinn Bhiorach and the unnamed mountain’s slope in the foreground; the telephoto view seriously compresses the distances actually involved here! The lovely Gleann Sidh (Enchanted Valley) Trail starts at the top of this col and leads down the north side of Beinn Bhiorach to eventually join the Braighe à Bhaird (Poets Ridge) Trail and descend to the MacKinnons Brook Trail that runs from Sight Point along the western side of Beinn Bhiorach to MacKinnons Brook. The Coill à Bhraighe (Highland Forest) Trail crosses the col and continues to the MacEachen Trail (closed as of this writing), which leads from the Cape Mabou Trail Head to the Sight Point Trail Head. So many memories of wonderful hikes in these amazingly beautiful highlands!
Photo #4 looks at the western slopes of Beinn Bhiorach. In the centre middle ground, the open area with the evergreens to the left along the coast is known as the Meadows; it is the site of the former community known as MacKinnons Brook. It lies to the left of the large stand of destroyed spruce that currently blocks the lower end of the Beinn Bhiorach Trail (the side trail from the Meadows to the main trail can be used instead). In the left foreground, the path of the relocated Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain) Trail can be seen as a curving green stripe at the bottom of the ridge just shortly before it rejoins the former trail.
Photo #5 looks across a small brook, a tributary of MacKinnons Brook that one crosses by the gate at the bottom of the Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain) Trail, at the fall colours on the slopes of the unnamed mountain (the plateau above the col seen in photo #3 is at the left in the far distance). The clouds and sun give the leaves a very “warm” glow in this photo and convey quite well the state of the fall colours here on this day.