According to Google Earth, my GPS track from the Meat Cove Mountain Trail Head on the Meat Cove Road (at GPS 47°01.211′N 60°33.665′W) up to the col between the two summits (at GPS 47°00.748′N 60°33.522′W) measures 860 m (½ mi). It is a very steep climb with tricky footing on both the way up and the way down, at least for me: it took me 1h50 on the way up and 0h59 on the way down, considerably slower than the last time I hiked it in 2012. While I was on the mountain, I met three hikers in their twenties or early thirties, who managed it twenty-five minutes, which is a good indication of just how steep it really is—those folks could easily do a kilometre in under eight minutes on flatter terrain. But the climb is very well worth the effort, with spectacular views in every direction!
Photo #1, a wide-angled view, shows the Meat Cove Brook Valley as it wends its way south through the Cape Breton Highlands. The Brook descends from bogs on the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau behind the flat ridge at the middle of the photo. Near the centre of the photo, Meat Cove Brook is joined by Pine Brook, which descends from the same bogs but begins its course further north. So far as I am aware, none of the prominences seen here are named; those at the left of the photo (including the south summit of Meat Cove Mountain, which is out of scope here) are the edges of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau on North Mountain. There appears to be more fall colour in the blueberry bushes in the foreground than on the Highlands, but bear in mind that one is looking out over a goodly distance in this photo—it’s about 3.5 km (2⅙ mi) to the highest prominence left of centre. If one looks carefully, one can see considerable colour on the sides of the Highlands on both sides of Meat Cove Brook.
Photo #2 looks at the point where Meat Cove Brook and Pine Brook join in the valley, about 1.3 km (⅘ mi) from where I am standing. Here, the colour is definitely changing, with considerable stands, like the one just west and north of the junction, that are predominantly non-green. Indeed, changed trees can be seen everywhere, though the greens are still in the considerable majority.
Photo #3 is a telephoto view of the stand of coloured trees west and north of the junction of the Meat Cove and Pine Brooks. At least from this distance, the colours appear orange, and some can be seen to be that cross between orange and green where the leaves still have considerable amounts of chlorophyll. Although the greens still have it in this photo too, their days in the majority are clearly numbered.
Photo #4 is a wider-angled view of the junction, showing more of the trees on the east side of Meat Cove Brook, where, again, the colours are mostly orange with some showing the orange/green cross. This photo was taken later in the afternoon when the sun was positioned so as to shine on the waters of the brook, which can be seen here at the lower right.
Photo #5 was taken with “Big Bertha”, my long-distance telephoto lens, here capturing the waters and shores of the Meat Cove Brook seen in the bottom right of photo #4. The fall colours here show both yellows and oranges and nearly as many trees are changed or changing as are still green. Mother nature is gradually reclaiming the land that the deluge of 2010 tore up, as vegetation is once again approaching the banks of the brook. Although dead tree trunks are still strewn like matchsticks along some reaches of the brook, none are visible in this shot.
Photo #6 is a wide-angled view looking to the south from along the trail to the north summit. The south summit, which spans the top middle of the photo, is a short climb up from the col; it offers better views to the east than are had from the north summit and provides great views of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau on North Mountain as well as of the Cape North Massif. A selection of views from the south summit can be seen here.
Photo #7 is a close-up of the leaves on the blueberry bushes that line both sides of the trail in photo #6. What beautiful reds! A close look reveals considerable amounts of green chlorophyll still present in the leaves. The hikers I met on the trail had earlier been to the south summit, where they filled their containers with berries from up there.
Photo #8 looks at the south summit of Meat Cove Mountain from the col, about 350 m (⅕ mi) away. The trail can be seen in the foreground and again along the top of the ridge where it crosses over the summit near the small rocks; the additional elevation above the col can be gauged by the height of the evergreens in the photo.
Photo #9, a wide-angled view, looks in the opposite direction to the north summit of Meat Cove Mountain, about 290 m (⅙ mi) away; the main Meat Cove Mountain Trail, which can be seen in the foreground and further out along the side of the mountain, crosses the north summit and descends on its far side for another 225 m (⅛ mi) to the end of the trail at the rock face that forms an iconic view of Meat Cove Mountain when seen below (as in the middle right of this photo from the summit of Little Grassy).
Photo #10 is a telephoto view that gives a better impression of the height of the north summit above the col. The trail skirts the rocky outcroppings seen in the left half of the photo and crosses over the top of the summit to the right of the tree right of centre.
Photo #11 looks at the Meat Cove Mountain Trail as it leaves the col to enter the forest on the way down Meat Cove Mountain to the trail head. Plenty of fall colours can be seen here, from the reds of the blueberry bushes to the yellows of the trees; most of the bushes have altogether lost their leaves, stripped bare by the winds. Compared to the brown grasses seen on the north summit, green grasses predominate here on the trail.