Photo #1 is an overview of the Pleasant Bay coast that will be examined in much greater detail on this web page. The Pleasant Bay Harbour is at the lower right; its parallel breakwaters mark it well. The road in the lower right is the Cabot Trail as it approaches the village of Pleasant Bay, which is mostly to the right and outside the scope of this photo. The buildings beyond the harbour, which include a church and an elementary school, are along the Pleasant Bay Road, as the section of the Red River Road south of the school is officially known. The smaller hill (relative to the mountains) to the right of the centre is Moores Hill and hides nearly all of the community of Red River, which lies behind it on the far side. The mouth of the Red River is at Moores Cove, which lies at the base of Moores Hill where it descends close to the water, left of centre. The Red River Road can be seen continuing to the far left of the photo on its way out Kerrs Point (locally pronounced as if it were spelt Carrs Point). The mountain at the left of the photo nearest the coast at Moores Cove is named Baldy, though it no longer is bald, if ever it was. The highest mountain at the right in the distance is Icy Mountain. These two named mountains and all the rest seen at the far left are part of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau, which runs all the way to the north end of Cape Breton Island.
Photo #2 looks to the left of photo #1 and forms a panorama with photos #3, #4, and #5. Pleasant Bay (the water) is usually taken as ending at Kerrs Point, so the waters at the left of the photo are of the Gulf of St Lawrence. At the far left of the photo, the rock face lit by the sun marks Fort Cove. In the centre of the photo is Polletts Cove, to which an arduous hiking trail leads from the end of the Red River Road. Kerrs Point is the nearest point at the far right, where the Red River Road can be seen snaking around the base of Baldy. The view from the second look-off extends considerably to the left of this photo, continuing all the way to and beyond Delaneys Point. I would have included it here, but it, alas, did not turn out very well and I have better photos of that area which will appear subsequently in this essay. For much more information about this section of the northwestern coast, I refer you to the last fifteen pages my essay, The Spectacular Northwestern Inverness County Coast, which covers the various features, as seen from a boat in the waters off shore, in much more detail than I have space for here.
Photo #3 looks to the right of photo #2, with which it overlaps. Kerrs Point is now at the left and Baldy occupies the right two thirds of the photo. Three houses at Red River can be seen along the Red River Road on the far side of the mouth of the Red River, but the bulk of the hamlet is concealed by Moores Hill, at the far right. The grey smudge in the water below Moores Hill is a boat.
Photo #4 looks to the right of photo #3 at the houses along the Pleasant Bay Road on the outskirts of Pleasant Bay and at the harbour area at the bottom right. Baldy is at the far left and Moores Hill is at the centre; Icy Mountain is behind the triangular base of the rising ridge at the centre right of the photo in the background. The ridge rising to the right of Moores Hill in the middle ground reaches Bear Hill at the right and shows the path of Bear Brook, which enters the Gulf near where the boat is at the centre left.
Photo #5 completes the panorama, showing the mouth of the Grande-Anse River and the Cape Breton Highlands behind. The full reach of Icy Mountain is better seen in this view. Andrews Mountain is to the south of the Red River valley; only the lower portion of it is visible in this photo. Roberts Mountain is further to the right and outside the scope of this photo; the colourful trees at the far right are on its lower slopes.
Photo #6 is a close-up of the coast and harbour at Pleasant Bay. The topographical map labels the waters at the far right of the photo, the mouth of the Grande-Anse River, as The Pond. Harbour Road leads from the centre of the village to The Pond, where the whale-watching tours begin and the Whale Interpretive Centre (at the right outside the scope of this photo) is located. The beach in the lower foreground is a popular summer swimming spot on hot days. The leftmost building is the elementary school; the church is in the centre right beyond and above the harbour. The Quonset structure at the centre of the photo houses the firehall.
Photo #7 looks at the slopes of MacKenzies Mountain in the foreground; beyond it is the valley of the Grande-Anse River, through which the Cabot Trail continues beyond Pleasant Bay on its course up North Mountain, as the inland portion of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau north of the Grande-Anse River is known. The slopes of Roberts Mountain are in the left third of the photo; the swatch of colour at the far left marks a great stand of deciduous trees which were at their peak this day. A substantial number of bright yellow trees are visible on the nearby slopes of MacKenzies Mountain, though the majority of the trees are well beyond their peak colours and many are bare.
Photo #8 catches a stand of yellow trees on the side of MacKenzies Mountain blazing in the day’s filtered sunlight. The rock outcroppings on the mountainside seen at the left lead one to conclude that this is not the most hospitable terrain for vegetation, yet the forest seems to be doing reasonably well here. The yellow trees are again clearly well behind their orangish-hued neighbours, most of which have lost half or more of their leaves.
Photo #9 is a view of Roberts Mountain to the left of that seen in photo #7, bringing into view the great swathes of peak colours in the lower glens of Roberts Mountain. The upper reaches of the mountain are evergreen territory, but vast stands of deciduous trees have taken over much of the lower ones. Even the distance from the second look-off barely diminishes their colours.