The lovely view in photo #1 in the declining sun of my last day on Cape Breton looks at West Mabou Beach Provincial Park in the foreground across the cove and across the Mabou River, a very thin strip of which is visible behind the dunes across the left half of the photo, beyond to the intricately marvellous folds of the southern Cape Mabou Highlands. At the centre and at the right on the flanks of the Highlands are bands of colour where the sun brightens the post-peak rust-hued leaves on the deciduous trees that still have them—magnification reveals that many are entirely bare, particularly those further up on the hillsides, where the green of the evergreens blends into the greys of the bare trunks. Even in this compressed version, a lovely orange-hued tree at the peak of its colours, made more striking still by the golden sun, stands out on the hillside to the right of and above the rightmost house,
With some overlap, photo #2 looks left of photo #1 at the eastern side of Mabou Harbour Mountain descending to the right across the left half of the photo, resolutely the province of evergreens, and at the breakwater left of centre marking the mouth of the Mabou River, with the southern Cape Mabou Highlands spanning the entire photo. On the far side of Mabou Harbour Mountain, mostly now bare deciduous trees account for the lighter colours seen there and into the centre of the photo. Alas, the sun doesn’t bring out the sparkle of the white sand beach at the park along the edge of the cove, but anyone who has hiked or swum there on a “beach day” knows just how blindingly bright that sand is under a strong summer sun.
The next three photos are close-ups taken with Big Bertha on the second day of the festival from the Colindale Road, looking in some detail at some of the aforementioned intricate folds of the southern Cape Mabou Highlands.
In photo #3, no bare deciduous trees are visible on the slopes, even at magnification; most are still green, but enough have begun to change into yellows and oranges that the impression from a distance is no longer that of summer greens. In this photo, the cove is rather more active than in the two previous views, with surf breaking on shore; the sands of the beach catch the sun at the left, though, at the right, they remain without its benefit. A lovely hiking trail crosses the cliffs left of centre above the beach; the large flat mesa right of centre is beyond the boundaries of the park, though Cnoc na Smuain (Meditation Hill), where one can make out the trail sign there as a dot of white at the edge of the forest, confusingly seems to merge into the flat mesa, which is actually quite some distance off, separated by the valley carved by the Johnny Angus Brook.
In photo #4, the lovely folds of the previous photos are revealed as ridges rising high above glens concealed from view behind them; although there must be footpaths or animal paths along the slopes at the edges of these highlands, I suspect very few people have recently ventured onto most of these hillsides. A few spots of orange and yellow can be seen here and there, along the ridges, but it’s definitely early days yet for the colours. The mouth of the Johnny Angus Brook can be seen left of centre behind the long pile of rocks extending across the foreground out into the cove; this brook marks the park’s boundary.
Photo #5 looks at the ridges at the left half of photo #4 in as much detail as Big Bertha can deliver. Here, for the first time, there is enough detail to see the colours of individual trees, which begin to stand out on the lower ridges, though my eyes are unable to pick up many instances that look like a red tree.