Photo #1 looks eastward from the Look-Off, with the Cape North Massif filling the right two thirds of the photo in the far distance. Black Point is the headland in the middle distance with a dark rocky cliff showing below the road, which curves around it about a third of the way up; a long sloping hill descends to it from the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau that is to the right and largely outside the scope of this photo. This was still very early in the tourist season and no flag had yet been attached to the pole seen here. Because of the strong winds that constantly wrack this exposed location, such flags typically don’t last a long time, even in summer weather. But it makes a readily visible point of reference from below!
Photo #2 looks directly down from the edge of the Look-Off at the Meat Cove Brook and the newly-constructed bridge over it; at the right of the brook is the Meat Cove Welcome Centre, whose family restaurant serves fine meals in the summer time, provides Internet connectivity, and is an excellent source of information on local trails and the history of the community, housing a small museum of historical photographs of the area and its inhabitants. The parking area across from the Welcome Centre is a convenient place to park if you wish to climb the Lowland Cove Trail using the Old Fraser Road Trail, which starts just across the bridge on the left. Although the telephoto lens makes the distance down look relatively short, your body will tell you otherwise if you’ve hiked up to the Look-Off! As the photos on the second last page show, you’re at the same height as the rock face on Meat Cove Mountain.
Photo #3 was taken shortly after I arrived at the Look-Off. There was haze in the distance and even some low-lying fog northeast of Black Point. That haze extended well inland along the western slopes of the Cape North Massif, making the three communications towers on the rounded hump on the Massif right of centre next to impossible to see in this reduced version. The long descending slope ending in Black Point is the next salient feature in this panorama. Nearer at hand at the right is the cliff above the unnamed brook along which the Meat Cove Mountain Trail ascends to the col.
Photo #4 brings the left portion of photo #3 into sharper focus. The distinctive form of the strata at Black Point, in the form of an arc, can be better seen here, though the light is still casting confusing shadows that break up the pattern. The beautiful folds of the terrain also mark two brooks: Edwards Brook descends to the Meat Cove Brook very near its mouth behind the nearest of those folds, while Jumping Brook, which forms the waterfall west of Black Point (seen here), is responsible for the second.
Photo #5 is a mid-afternoon view of Black Point, which better shows off the curved strata of the point. A white RV is just rounding the bend above Black Point, below the more yellowish-hued boulders in the quarry above the road. Some of the boulders in the quarry were used to shore up the road in Meat Cove at the point where its underpinnings had been seriously eroded during the Deluge of 2010. The building in the lower part of the photo is the Lodge where I stay and from which views were shown on two earlier pages of this essay.
Photo #6 looks at a rock cliff on the mountainside above the Look-Off, one of the few exposed rock faces visible there. This view, taken about 13h, shows that the earlier fog seen off Black Point is gone and that the haze at the Cape North Massif remains, but has also yielded to a degree.
Photo #7 is a view to the northeast from the Look-Off at the waters off Meat Cove; because of the terrain, it is not possible to see further to the north, as photo #6 illustrates. While I was there this afternoon, I saw and heard several lobster boats and one boat too fast for a lobster boat; this was the latter—magnification shows a boat with a white superstructure and a red bottom slashed with a white stripe amidships, marking it as a Canadian Coast Guard vessel.
Photo #8 was taken a few minutes before 15h, when I noticed that clouds to the south and west were beginning cast shadows on the terrain below, as seen in this view. It was then that I first noticed the fog bank seen here in the Cabot Strait east of Cape North running across the entire photo.
Photo #9 is a closer view of the enormous fog bank; it is not a telephoto view because I wanted to get as much of the fog bank as I could. Spotting it was a surprise, as, while it had certainly been hazy in that direction, any residual morning fog was mostly gone at the point I arrived. It always pays to keep a close eye on the weather in Cape Breton, but the day was so beautiful and I was spending a lot of time enjoying the views to the south, that I was not paying as close attention to the Strait as I should have, so I have no real idea when it first hove into view.
Photo #10 was taken ten minutes later when the rapidly moving fog bank had crashed into the Cape North Massif; this view provides a better idea of its enormous height than the two previous ones do, rising a third higher than the top of the Massif, whose highest point (where the communications towers are) is above 400 m (1300 ft) according to the topographical map. Pushed high off the water, I assume by winds in the Strait, I watched enchanted as this drama played out in front of my eyes for another fifty minutes: the fog kept on coming and continued inland along the western side of the massif, though it never succeeded in covering the Massif while I was there. Nor did it head towards Black Point nor the Look-Off, but, by 16h, another fog bank began rolling in from the northwest and much of the terrain below was soon in shadow from the low clouds. Not wanting to be at the Look-Off during a repeat of last night’s pea soup event, I hoisted my pack and reluctantly headed down off the mountain. What a lovely, memorable afternoon!