The following morning, alas, was grey with moderate overcast through which the sun occasionally shone briefly, but barely enough to cast a shadow, rendering conditions for photography less than excellent. After exploring the state of the colours at Bay St Lawrence, I drove back to Cape North Village and down to South Harbour, where I turned onto the South Ridge Road, a lovely drive on the lower slopes of South Mountain that I discovered a few years ago; it affords views of North Mountain and takes one across the South and Middle Aspy Rivers. The colours there were further along, with some nice reds and oranges, but still a week from peak. The western end of South Ridge Road (which one source now calls the South Ridge Branch Road) is in bad need of ditching; water courses down the middle and sides of the road, leaving small rocks and big ruts in its wake; it was passable with care in my Prius, but only barely. Fortunately, that section is short. The photos on this page were taken from two different points along that road.
Photo #1, with its view of North Mountain and the lovely red tree seen at the right compelled me to stop here to savour and capture the views. The ridge in the middle ground, on the other side of which the Cabot Trail runs along the North Aspy River, is rather less mottled than the slopes of North Mountain, at least from this distance. Most of the trees that had changed or were in the process of changing to this point exhibited yellows and oranges, so the red tree at the right was worthy of attention; alas, I was unable to capture it any better than is seen here, as it was closely nestled in amongst the neighbouring trees.
Photo #2, taken at the same point as photo #1, shows a lovely red-orange tree which is mostly, but not completely, changed—some green leaves amongs the red-orange leaves can be seen at the left and close to the main trunk.
Photo #3 is another shot of the lovely tree seen in photo #2, taken from a somewhat different vantage point. The main trunk is the central one, though the other two trunks appear to be sharing a common root system and the leaves on the right trunk show the same colours, though less far along. This photo was especially lucky, as it caught a rare ray of sunlight on the lovely leaves.
Photo #4 is a close-up showing the detail of the branch at the lower left of photo #2, where traces of chlorophyll can be seen in most leaves and is barely changed in other leaves. A very pretty tree, for sure!
540 m (⅓ mi) from where I stopped last, one arrives at a fork in the road. Google Maps labels both forks as the South Ridge Road; the Cape Breton Highlands National Park Topographic Map, however, labels the left fork as the South Ridge Road and the right fork as the South Ridge Branch Road. The left fork, in better shape, dead ends 1.3 km (⅘ mi) later at a residence, while the right fork descends to arrive 200 m (⅛ mi) later at the bridge seen in photo #5, which crosses over the Middle Aspy River. As can be seen, the foliage is mostly unchanged here, though a couple of beautiful trees are at the left and some incipient changes can be seen at the right.
Photo #6 looks at a small waterfall, about ⅓ m (1 ft) in height, on the upstream side of the bridge; it was singing prettily in the late morning, though not a great deal of water is flowing. The multitude of rocks and small boulders that line its course attest to much mightier flows at other times of the year.
Photo #7 looks more closely at the two lovely red-orange trees at the curve in the river. I suspect that once the residual chlorophyll disappears from their leaves, these trees will be a very vibrant red with not much trace left of orange. A beautiful spot!
Taken from a slightly different vantage point, photo #8 is a close-up of the leftmost of the two trees, where the red-oranges appear more red than orange, perhaps an artifact of the camera’s different focal length or of the changed vantage point. A fine specimen, indeed!
Photo #9 looks down river at the Middle Aspy River, where the colours are definitely changing, though the greens still predominate. I would have loved to be here at the peak of the colours; it must be spectacular!