I continued on into Margaree Valley and turned left onto the East Big Intervale Road and drove southwest 1.2 km (¾ mi), crossing Nile Brook, to the unnamed gravel road which parallels the east side of the 760 m (2500 ft) asphalt runway at the Margaree Airport,¹ whose enhancement has been the subject of some considerable controversy this year. To date, at least, air traffic has been minimal any time I have been there (I think I recall seeing one small two-passenger plane once), so this is a lovely spot from which to survey the Highlands surrounding the Margaree Valley, offering a 360° panorama unobstructed by any nearby objects. I didn’t take a full panorama this day, partly because I thought the haze was worse than it turned out to be, so I can’t present one here; instead, you will see selected portions of the terrain at various points around the compass rose. The blueberry fields adjacent to the runway are very popular in season. The photos on this page were taken a bit off the road at the edge of those fields.
Photo #1, on this lovely day, looks across the vast blueberry field towards the locality of Egypt Road, where the Normaway Inn is located, and at the Highlands to the east southeast. Egypt Road (the road) runs across this entire photo, hidden by the trees and the terrain, passing behind the small hill at the right and in front of the larger one at the far right. The valley at the left of the photo is that carved by the Nile Brook descending from the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau.
Photo #2 is a telephoto view looking up into the Nile Brook Valley. Magnification reveals that the dot in the sky just right of centre is an eagle surveying the lovely scene. This view brings into clearer focus the blush of red-orange across the left hillside in the morning sun; the right hillside is still in the shade, but those portions of it that can be seen also reveal some colours already showing. The evergreens hiding Egypt Road are accented by occasional spots of colour on the deciduous trees in their midst, especially the lovely small red tree left of centre. What lovely highlands are these!
Photo #3 looks south across the runway (hidden by the grasses in the foreground) at the northern end of Twelve O’Clock Mountain in the centre; its bulk rises above the Cabot Trail on its west side as it passes by the Lakes O’Law. Like so many “mountains”, this is really the edge of a highland plateau, running from Margaree Forks to Scotsville to Whycocomagh to Wagmatcook to Middle River and back to Margaree Forks, an area never colonized by the pioneers except for a few settlements such as Pipers Glen and Mount Pleasant near the periphery. Enough haze is present that it is hard to make out the colours on the sides of the highlands, but there is clearly some change since green is no longer the only colour visible there. Closer at hand, the fall colours are evident everywhere, in the grasses and brush as well as the trees.
Photo #4 looks further to the west across the runway at some colourful trees on its far side; this is a telephoto view, so objects appear closer than they really are. The colours here tend to be mostly either red-oranges or darkish reds.
Photo #5 looks across the runway at the slopes of Phillips Mountain rising a bit north of west. The Phillips Mountain Look-Off (on the West Big Intervale Road southwest of Margaree Centre) is to the left of this photo and outside its scope. There are colours on the Highlands, but, under magnification, bare branches also appear; some are clearly deciduous trees that have lost their leaves, most likely from the winds on the slopes, while a few near other evergreens appear to be dead spruce trees.
Photo #6 looks a bit west of due north at the Margaree Highlands in the area of Marsh Brook (the locality), which lies on the far side beyond Hogsback Hill, the lower hill whose summit can be seen above the windsock; the Marsh Brook Road crosses over this summit on its way down into the Marsh Brook Valley. Marsh Brook (the stream) rises between Hogsback Hill and the north end of Phillips Mountain at the far left outside the scope of the photo and is not therefore responsible for the cleft one sees behind Phillips Mountain, which is caused by other brooks as best as I can tell from the topographical maps. East Margaree and Belle-Côte lie across the Highlands seen here. The colours on Hogsback Hill are progressing nicely, as are those on the East Big Intervale Road at the end of the unnamed airport road, seen at the left in the foreground. It is too far to really tell about those on the Highlands on the far side of Hogsback Hill.
Photo #7 looks somewhat west of north at the Highlands which line the Aspy Fault above the West Big Intervale Road, with Portree at the base of the descending mountain at the far right of the photo. This is also the valley of the Northeast Margaree River. Again, the distance is rather far to get a good grip on the fall colours, but there is certainly a blush on the slopes. The colours at the far right at the edge of the field are far less ambiguous, with some nice reds amongst the other hues.
Photo #8 looks a bit east of north at the vast bulk of Sugarloaf Mountain. The Northeast Margaree River flows on its far (west) side following the Aspy Fault; the East Big Intervale Road runs along its near (east) side from Margaree Valley (the locality) to Kingross at its northern end. As described here, a trail leads from near the Portree bridge across the summit of Sugarloaf to a look-off slightly below the summit; the trail was new in 2006 when I hiked it and I assume it must still be there, though I’ve not been back since. The look-off affords superb views of the Highlands east of the East Big Intervale Road and is certainly well worth the hike there, though there are no views of the Northeast Margaree River (which is on the west side of the mountain) and no vistas on the way up.
Photo #9 looks to the northeast at the bulk of Frasers Mountain, east of the East Big Intervale Road. Fielding Road, which is the initial part of the route from Margaree Valley to Cape Clear, climbs up this mountain, passing along the green fields seen just right of centre on its way; I have not so far found any spot from which there are great views of the valley from Fielding Road that do not also require me to trespass, but there is a house there that must have a magnificent view of the valley below.