MacKenzies Mountain

MacKenzies Mountain
Photo 8 of 25: MacKenzies Mountain
Taken 2003 July 28 from the Red River Road just outside Pleasant Bay
GPS 46°50.16?'N 60°47.46?'W

In the centre of the community of Pleasant Bay, you will find a paved road which leaves the Cabot Trail and follows the coast north along the cliffs to the community of Red River; at Red River, it becomes a gravel road and continues on quite a bit further. There are pretty views all along the way, though the road passes through some forested areas. If you follow this road long enough, you will reach Gampo Abbey, a Tibetan Buddhist monastery founded in 1984 (see its web site for photos and futher information). Going a bit further will bring you to a dead end, where you can access the Polletts Cove trail, as described here under the subheading ”Pollets Cove”. I haven’t tried this trail, which is probably beyond my abilities, but I have no doubt it would be one gorgeous trip.

This photo of the Gulf Coast was taken on returning from Red River just outside Pleasant Bay; you can see the breakwater for the harbour at Pleasant Bay a bit to left of centre in the photograph. The mountain in the middle of the photo is MacKenzies Mountain (355 m (1165 ft)); the Nova Scotia Atlas does not give a name for the mountain ridge at the left of the photo. The MacKenzies River flows between the two, entering the Gulf just before you begin ascending MacKenzies Mountain (you can easily see the Cabot Trail winding up MacKenzies Mountain). One of the look-offs on the way up MacKenzies Mountain offers spectacular views of the MacKenzies River valley—it’s incredible how such a small stream has had such a major effect on the terrain!

[2012] On 2007 October 17, I did make it part way out the Polletts Cove Trail; the wind was strong and the temperature too cool—cold better describes the temperature with the wind chill factored in: I needed a tuque, gloves, and a heavy sweatshirt and still the wind penetrated. I had no intention of going to the end of the trail—it was too late in the season to consider doing that—but I just had to satisfy my curiosity about how hard this trail really is. So I hiked to the top of the first mountain along the trail in forty minutes of slow-moving hiking (and sixty-seven minutes of clock time) and started down the other side; as it appeared that I was going to have to climb all the way down and then all the way up again, and as I was feeling quite chilled, I decided to turn around at that point, perhaps a fifth of the way down the trail. However, nothing I saw up to this point indicated that the trail was an impossible one for me, as I had been told. I regret I haven’t since gotten back for another attempt, but it requires warm weather, an early start, and a long period of daylight, which means staying overnight in Pleasant Bay in the late spring or early summer, which, with all the music then available along the Cèilidh Trail, hasn’t fit my schedule very well in the intervening years. But it’s still a hike I’d very much like to take—the photos I have seen of Polletts Cove are stunningly gorgeous!