From North Mountain, I descended into Pleasant Bay, where I turned onto the Red River Road and drove it past the Gampo Abbey to its end at Archies Brook, an area locally known as The Lower End. I didn’t make the drive for its fall colours—most of the trees north of the Red River are evergreens—but for its coastal views: it’s the closest one can get to Polletts Cove by road (indeed, the Polletts Cove trail head is at the end of the road) and the return views of Pleasant Bay and MacKenzies Mountain are fine. I haven’t included any of the photos I took there in this essay as what colours there were were not very advanced.
Back in Red River at the bridge, I turned onto the Hinkley Glen Road, which I had never before driven but about which I had read in a 1930’s travelogue, no longer in my possession, of an amazing trip by a Connecticut couple around the then recently opened Cabot Trail: in those days, if I recall the text correctly, a resort in Hinkley Glen attracted sports fishermen and the couple stayed there to fish. Today, it’s a very pretty drive through a beautiful, deserted, narrow valley between Icy Mountain on the north and Andrews Mountain on the south, with some interesting views of the adjacent mountains and highlands. The road, about 3.8 km (2.4 mi) long, is generally fair to good with a half dozen bad spots requiring care; it follows the Red River and ends where the mountains close off the Glen (the Red River descends there from its source in Red River Lake on the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau on North Mountain). An ATV trail continues past the turn-around, which is at the base of an old rock quarry, but is not suitable for a car—in any case, the lay of the mountains means it can’t continue far unless it goes up onto the Plateau. The photos on this and the following page come from a few different points along that road; unfortunately, the overcast skies meant rather dull photos of a quite beautiful valley.
Photo #1 was taken from the sharp bend where the Hinkley Glen Road passes over the Eastern Brook; it looks up at the slopes of Icy Mountain, where some early colours can be seen on the sides of the Highlands.
Photo #2 was taken a bit further into the Glen from a large flat gravelled area, perhaps once a gravel quarry. This view is to the southeast, along the Red River Valley, and shows the sides of Icy Mountain that rise above the Red River. The summits of these slopes are covered with evergreens, but the slopes themselves are deciduous forest, where an early blush of colour can be seen in the day’s less than excellent light.
Photo #3 looks to the left of photo #2 at the visible part of one of the slopes of Icy Mountain (the slope itself hides its upper portion). The colours here are definitely a-changing, but still are a long way from peak: mostly a blush of red-orange with some yellow and an occasional redder hue.
Photos #4 through #8 form a connected panorama of the highlands seen in photo #2, all part of Icy Mountain. Photo #3 has no overlap with photo #4. The colours on this peak are hardly changed at all, while those in the foreground are showing some colour.
Photo #5 looks into the gap between the left and middle summits in photo #2. The evergreens aside, there is somewhat more fall colour in this photo than in photo #4, but it is still very early.
Photo #6 looks at the middle summit in photo #2, capped with a crown of evergreens. This slope has spots of red (not red-orange) at a few points, but the bulk of the changed trees are orange or red-orange.
Photo #7 continues the panorama, looking at the area between the middle and right summits of photo #2. In that area, there is distinctly more colour, reddish-orange from this distance and lacking the spots of red seen on the middle summit. The tree in the lower right corner has an interesting radial shape, looking like a peacock’s tail feathers arrayed as a fan.
Photo #8 completes the panorama, looking at the right area of photo #2. There appears to be very little colour on the far slopes; it seems to be confined to the area between the two summits, where the topographical map shows a brook descending the mountainside.
Photo #9, taken on the return drive, shows a maple at the side of the Hinkley Glen Road, most of whose leaves have turned bright red, though a number still show mixed red/green hues. There were very few such trees along this road on this day, so I made sure to capture it on the way back.
Photo #10, also taken on the return trip, shows the Red River beside the Hinkley Glen Road just a bit before the red tree seen in photo #9. The peak and ridge seen here are part of Andrews Mountain, on the north side of Hinkley Glen.