A fine panorama of the hills of Upper Glencoe and the Bornish Hills beyond is available at a location I call “The Plains”¹ about 1.2 km (¾ mi) east of the junction of the Whycocomagh Port Hood and Glencoe Roads in Glencoe Mills. This panorama is far wider than my camera can capture at its widest-angled view. The photos on this page were taken at “The Plains” on a day when the lighting through the prevailing thin white cloud cover wasn’t perfect, but good enough to show the surprisingly advanced state of the colours for this early date.
¹ I enclose names, such as “The Plains”, in double quote marks to indicate that they are of my devising; they allow me to think about and describe features that would otherwise require constant clumsy circumlocutions each time I mention them. These names do not appear on the topographical maps nor in the The Nova Scotia Atlas; should these features have been given local names, they are not known to me (though I would greatly appreciate hearing about them using the feedback address in the footer). A name appearing outside double quotes is either an officially designated name or else a local name I have been made aware of.↩
Photo #1 shows the central part of the panorama, centred on an unnamed prominence in Upper Glencoe, a part of the Bornish Hills; it lies a bit east of due south. If one were to fly in a straight line from here crossing that prominence, one would end up near the quarry in Melford on the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 105) east of River Denys Mountain and the Big Ridge. A quick look at this beautiful view leaves one with the impression that most trees are unchanged; however, this proves to be an artefact of the distance, as the following close-ups of this view (and of parts of the panorama outside the scope of this view) will show.
Photo #2 looks across “The Plains” to the summit of Churchview Road (named for its fine views of St Joseph’s Church in Glencoe Mills), which climbs up this ridge from the MacKinnon Road to arrive at the right of the trees in the centre (part of the path the road takes can be seen as a mark through the trees if one knows where to look). This view is to the left and well outside the scope of photo #1. Part of the reason that there is no obstructing vegetation to block the views from “The Plains” is because of blueberry fields near the road; I do not know if they are still cultivated commercially or not (they appear somewhat overgrown with brush and small trees), but this view looks across them to the ridge (which continues to the left of this view to Dunakin) and the Churchview Road summit. The darker greens of the evergreens are scattered across the photo, more or less marking the valley of the Mull River; the large stand of lighter greens left of centre are tamaracks, which had not begun to change yet; the remainder are deciduous trees and it can be better seen here that they have already changed significantly all along the ridge. In the foreground are some very bright small red trees (which would be brighter still in less filtered light).
Photo #3 is to the right of photo #2 and shows the field at the farm on the MacKinnon Road that serves as an identifying landmark for miles around; like photo #2, this view is also outside the scope of the panorama in photo #1, but is much closer to its left edge. The considerable amount of colour showing in the deciduous trees indicates how early the colour change occurred this year in Cape Breton (as elsewhere). I’m relatively certain that the colours on the trees in back of the field are as bright as those nearer to the eye, but the distance robs them of colour, as it did in the panorama.
Photo #4 looks at the unnamed prominence in the centre of photo #1. At the far left is a cleared area, whether a field or a logged area, I cannot say. One of the tributaries of the Mull River flows down through the cleft at the left. The main branch of the Mull River is on the far side of the evergreen/tamarack mixture in the middle ground; the tributaries from the Bornish Hills enter it a short distance upstream from the White Millers Bridge in Glencoe Mills. The colours here do not stand out as well as in the two previous photos, but they are visible if one looks closely and allows for the distance; indeed, much of the hillside is noticeably changed!
At its far left, photo #5 looks at the small “bump” about a third of the way in from the right of photo #1 and the ridge that extends to the far right of photo #1. Red-oranges predominate in the foreground, though there are some reds; on the far side of the evergreen/tamarack stand along the Mull River, a significant amount of colour can be again made out along the ridge, though here evergreens are a more important component of the forest, limning the ridge itself.
Photo #6 is to the right and well outside the scope of photo #1; it shows the continuation of the ridge seen in photo #5 below which St Joseph’s Church in Glencoe Mills sits. The colour on the ridge is significantly less advanced than that in Upper Glencoe; while some colours can be seen along the ridge, most of the trees are still predominantly green, though with that tinge indicating that they are about to change. The trees on the near side of the tamaracks along the Mull River are significantly further along, though the one a third of the way in from the left has only just begun to change, with a significant amount of unchanged greens.
Photo #7 is a close-up of a gorgeous smallish maple that caught a ray of the sun (and my eye) just as I was finishing up taking photos at “The Plains”. There are still noticeable greens in many of its leaves, but they only seem to serve to make the reds redder. Notice also the ferns in the lower left corner of the photo; there had been no frost at this point, yet they are showing brown/tan/orange colours as if they had been frost-bitten.