Photo #1, taken with “Big Bertha” looks down below the open ridge to a valley which unnamed brooks draining the two “Beaton Mountains” have created. This is a protected area where the deciduous trees outnumber the evergreens. A few stragglers, such as the one in the evergreens in the lower centre, are still unchanged or showing early fall colours of mixed yellows and greens, but most of the trees here have already lost their leaves and those that haven’t are post-peak oranges and and golds.
Photo #2 looks up above the valley at the slopes of the two “Beaton Mountains”, where it is much the same story—vast numbers of bare trees, with late oranges and golds.
Further down the slopes, the fall colours are a bit brighter, as seen in photo #3, but vast numbers of trees are also leafless.
The reds weren’t completely missing from the scene, as there were the bushes seen in photo #4 overlooking the Gulf some distance away from the trail. These are not small maples, but I am unable to say exactly what they are. Pretty, though, especially against the blue waters of the Gulf below.
Photo #5 is a close-up of a devastated grove on the lower flanks of Beinn Bhiorach (Steep Mountain), seen at the centre left of the first photo on the previous page. Before the relocated Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain) Trail was opened, it was hard to get an overview of Beinn Bhiorach (Steep Mountain), such as seen in that photo, but I found a view from the Meadows below Beinn Bhiorach from 2006 August where the grove was still intact, but even then had visibly dying trees. By 2009, it had assumed much of its current look. These slopes are almost a monoculture forest, making it highly susceptible to the spruce bark beetle, which mainly attacks spruce of 50 or more years of age; that explains why the surrounding trees and the younger ones within the grove are still unaffected. For more information on this odious scourge, see this information leaflet from the Nova Scotia provincial government. There are sporadic deciduous trees in this photo, betrayed by their orange colours, but they are clearly few in number.
Photo #6 is a lovely, lone evergreen standing tall against the sky on one of the “Beaton Mountains”. Thanks to “Big Bertha”, it looks far closer than it actually is. Its neighbours are nearly all deciduous trees, mostly bare on this day, with a few showing very late post-peak colours.
Photo #7 offers a final look at Sight Point, the Meadows, and the MacKinnons Brook mouth area, but it was chosen for the field at the base of the Beinn Alasdair Bhain (Fair Alistair’s Mountain) Trail. Both the original trail and the relocated trail pass through this field and rejoin, to continue onwards to the MacKinnons Brook Trail Head on MacKinnons Brook about five minutes’ walk from the Meadows, seen at the centre far right of the photo.
I now had a choice to make: continue on down the trail to the MacKinnons Brook trail head and then circle back to the Mabou Post Road trail head on the Cul Na Beinne (Beyond the Mountains) Trail, or return to the MacPhee Trail and take it down to the Cul Na Beinne Trail. It was already well past 13h on an October day when the sun sets early compared with the summer and my pace had heretofore been glacial and wasn’t likely to improve on the climb back up from MacKinnons Brook, so I questioned whether, if I did that, I’d get out by dark. I consequently headed back up the relocated trail to the junction with the MacPhee Trail.