Photo #1 is the panorama which greets one from the Meat Cove Look-Off. At the far left is the rock face on Meat Cove Mountain, which latter occupies the left third of the photo. The Cape Breton Highlands plateau is at and behind the ridge across the centre and right of the photo on the east side of the Meat Cove Brook. The rounded northern summit, higher than the rock face but lower than the bare arching southern summit further away, is superimposed on the latter in this view. The highlands on the west side of the brook form part of the same plateau, but the two sides do not join up until the southern end of the valley, where the Meat Cove Brook descends from its source in the bogs on the plateau east of the High Capes.
Photo #2 looks directly across at Meat Cove Mountain. At the far left in the far distance is the Cape North Massif; at the left in the middle distance is the ridge which leads down to Black Point. Closer at hand on the left is the long sloping cliff which rises on the far side of the unnamed brook along which the Meat Cove Mountain Trail ascends. The northern summit of Meat Cove Mountain is just right of centre, while the rock face that appears to be the summit from the village below is dead on in the centre. The southern summit is the arching bare ridge right of centre on the far side of the col between the two summits. This photo, taken from the southern summit looking towards the look-off, shows that the grassy, rounded northern summit is lower than the southern one.
Photo #3 is a telephoto view of the rock face on Meat Cove Mountain; when I first arrived, much of it was hidden in its own shadow, but later in the afternoon, the sunlight reaches most of it, bringing out the details that are harder to see in the morning light. The trail down from the northern summit comes out at the centre of the photo and is through the forest above it, not along the edge of the ridge. Views from there are, of course, spectacular; some can be seen here. Erosion has carved several channels below the rock face and loosened stones and rocks there, so it is not wise to approach too close to the edge!
Photo #4 looks at the arching southern summit of Meat Cove Mountain and the cliffs on the southern side of the Meat Cove Valley. A short trail from the col leads up there. At the right of the photo, the forest begins and the open views from the summit, actually the edge of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau, end.
Photo #5 looks at the eastern ridge above the Meat Cove Brook valley, where trees have successfully colonized the entire slope of the highland, unlike those of Meat Cove Mountain itself, which are only partially colonized.
Photo #6, which has almost no overlap with photo #5, looks at the eastern ridge above the Meat Cove Brook valley as far south as one can see from the Look-Off. The valley continues further south about the same distance as is visible in this photo, curving slightly to the southwest beyond this point. The vegetation on the eastern slopes shows scars where intermittent streams have cleared paths down the mountainside. From this photo, it is clear that these scars were present before the Deluge of 2010, which caused so much damage in the Meat Cove Brook Valley, though they may well have been widened and exacerbated by those torrential rains.
Photo #7 looks down at the Meat Cove Brook below Meat Cove Mountain. It still shows the ravages of the Deluge of 2010; compare it to this photo, taken three months before the Deluge. Much of the vegetation along the brook, which nearly concealed it altogether from view from the Look-Off has simply disappeared and will take a long time to return. Views of the Meat Cove Brook in this area from brook-level can be found here.
Photo #8 is a telephoto view of the area in the lower left of photo #7, bringing into better view the remains of the trees, stripped bare of branches and piled pell-mell, that continue to litter the banks of the brook. A hike out the valley is truly an eye-opener; enquire at the Welcome Centre for directions. And be sure to wear appropriate footwear—the going is not easy!
Photo #9 looks up from the Meat Cove Look-Off at the hillside that rises directly to the south, making clear that the Look-Off is not at the highest point of the western Highlands. I made no attempt to get up there as it would have been a dandy bushwhack for me, with no guarantee of open views once at the summit. The yellows of the vegetation contrast with the greens seen in the previous photos on this page, attesting to their relative newness, evidence of which was everywhere in the area. The only idea I can think of why the vegetation here is further behind that elsewhere is because of its greater exposure to the winds off the Gulf.
Photo #10 is a close-up of the hillside in photo #9, which seems to indicate that finding an open view from the summit might not be all that likely. The views from the Look-Off are already fine enough that I suspect few have made the attempt.