This is a description of a camping trip from Meat Cove to Pollets Cove and then onto Red River. The part from Meat Cove to Pollets cove is mostly pure bushwacking in a very remote part of NS. Make sure your orienteering skills are good. Unfortunately I did this trip pre-GPS so I do not have a track to share. This trip is my all-time favorite in NS.
From the campground we followed a dirt road up the steep hill to the top of the highlands. You can see this road on any topo map. Once on top of the highlands we took a trail to the right which descended to Cape St Lawrence. The descent is not quite as steep as the climb and is fairly easy on the knees. We eventually made our way to the coast. Walking along the coast is easy as it is a barren. There were a few cows on the day we were there. After a little while we came to a place called Lowlands Cove and made camp in a s pot just beside Lowland Bk (47° 1' 1" N 60° 37' 15" W). It looks like we weren’t the only ones that have camped there. All in all this part took a few hours in the afternoon.
The next morning we made our way back to the top of the highlands by walking up a trail and then a dirt road (passing a house on the right at some point). You can see this trail on the 1:50000 topo. We eventually made our way back to the main dirt road we had taken from Meat cove although we were now further south then where we had cut towards Cape St Lawrence the day before. Seeing the house there make me think that we could have driven further than Meat Cove and cut the Lowland Cove portion of the trip. However the Lowland Cove area is very scenic and could be made as a trip on its own.
Now back on the main dirt road we followed it for a while until it basically disappeared at the start of a huge bog. From that point on we took our compass headings frequently to make our way to the top of Pollets Cove. We crossed numerous bogs (see topo map). Having good waterproof boots and gaiters are a must for these sections as you never know when you will sink down in the peat. My friend sank down to the chest in one mud hole. Interspersed by bogs are thick evergreen forests that are a bit hard to get through but all in all not too bad. I remember us passing by an abandoned hunting camp.
We crossed the headwaters of a few of the streams that you see on the 1:50000. Some of these headwaters areas were very hard to walk though as they were absolutely dominated by alders that grew close together. We decided to stay always on the top of the Highlands until we reached one of the tributaries to Pollets Cove. Therefore although the vegetation was hard to get through we did not have to deal with much elevations most of that day. By sheer luck in the afternoon we came across some old yellow triangle trail signs posted on some trees. We made the gamble to follow these as surely they would lead us to Pollets Cove. Although some of these trail markers were hard to find we did follow them for a good while and the gamble paid off as they were leading us in the right direction.
At some point we came to a very deep and large ravine and so we knew we had made it to a tributary to Pollets Cove as there are only these streams that have carved deep ravines in this area. From looking at topo maps, we had made it to Blair River. We walked along the edge of the ravine of the Blair River and here the walking is quite easy as this area is mostly tall grass. We eventually made our way to the summit of the small hill located to the NE of Pollets Cove (46° 56' 35" N 60° 39' 11" W). At this point you are almost overlooking the beach. We made our way down through some steep sections that are covered by mature beech trees and eventually to the smaller hill located just by the side of the cove. Then it was a short climb down to the river. Right across the river is a large flat area perfect for camping. FYI; we made it with about an hour of daylight left and we did this trip in August. There were a couple of horses we when were there.
The next morning we took a trail to the south of the cove which hugs the coastline back to Red River. There are a few ups and downs on this part especially near the stream but overall it is a good hiking trail. At this point you will meet people which make their way from Red River to Pollets cove for camping.
Drive to Meat Cove at the Northern end of Cape Breton Island. We had two cars on this trip. We left one in Meat Cove and the other at the end of the road near Red River. We paid a few bucks to the campground operator in Meat Cove to look over our car.
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