The beautiful Middle River area of Cape Breton lies between the Cape Breton Highlands on the east and north and what I think of as the “Great Central Interior Plateau” (see footnote one on this page for a definition and discussion) on the west and south. The Middle River rises in the Cape Breton Highlands north of the Middle River Wilderness Area and flows into Nyanza Bay at Wagmatcook. It was once one of Cape Breton’s major salmon fishing rivers, but in 2015, the salmon population was low and not meeting conservation requirements; according to this article, First Nations communities in Cape Breton have stopped taking salmon from the Middle River for food or ceremonial purposes in order to allow the salmon population to return to healthier levels. Three roads traverse this area: the Cabot Trail, the Yankee Line Road, and the Middle River West Road; the first two are on the east side of the Middle River and the third is on the west side. Only the Yankee Line Road has good views of the Middle River itself, though there are some glimpses from the Middle River West Road and the Cabot Trail crosses the river. The views on this page come from a stop I made along the Middle River West Road on a beautiful summer morning.
Photo #1 is a wide-angled view to the east of north taken from the side of the Middle River West Road. The Middle River is not visible here, but its course is parallel to the road and down in the valley behind trees; if you know where to look, you can make out part of its course by following the lines of trees. The Yankee Line Road is across the valley on the far side of the river. The edge of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau spans the entire width of the photo in the far distance. So far as I am aware, none of the distinct prominences seen in the photo have their own names.
Photo #2 is a telephoto view showing the left part of the edge of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau seen in photo #1. As can be seen, this is a mostly forested area; at one time there must have been much more cleared land than appears today.
Photo #3 is at the same scale as photo #2 and shows the right part of the edge of the Cape Breton Highlands Plateau seen in photo #1. The brown area is a rock and gravel quarry on Yankee Line Road, a small piece of which can be seen about a third of the way in from the right edge and a quarter of the way up from the bottom edge.
Photo #4 looks across the road at the edge of the “Great Central Interior Plateau”, the western bound of the Middle River area. Because it is relatively close to the road, the views are not as spectacular as those of the Highlands across the valley to the east, but, seen from a distance, it is nearly as impressive as the Highlands. The goldenrod is out in fine form at the edge of the road, no surprise in mid-August.
Photo #5 looks east at a lovely green field on what is obviously a still very active farm. The farm buildings sit on a hill above the Middle River; the field crosses the hill and descends to the river. This farm is roughly halfway between two salmon fishing pools, accessed from the Yankee Line Road.
Photo #6 is a fine stand of goldenrod, certain to have given my mother an attack of asthma. I, fortunately, have no such allergies and enjoy the beauty the plant adds to the summer scenery. If you are unlucky enough to have the allergy, pick a different season, for this road is a beautiful drive any time of the year.