Click on the camera for the
Newfoundland photo gallery
What a province! Labrador and Newfoundland are two completely different lands of adventure. Although they are one province,
they seem like two different countries and really cannot be compared.
June 25, 2003:
The ferry ride over to St. Barbe was uneventful (except for the Tim Horton's cup floating in the middle of the ocean) and was followed by a picturesque drive through several fishing villages to the northern tip of Newfoundland.
The rivers in this area meander into the ocean rather then dropping off abruptly as they did on Quebec's north shore. After our many days of driving we were set to stay put in one spot for awhile and so set up at
Pistolet Bay Provincial Park. The staff were very welcoming and made us feel very much at home (thanks Sheldon and Jim).
After getting settled, we biked to Cape Onion and on the
way back, pedaled right by a moose! We also noticed that there were regular log piles and gardens along the side of the road but not near any houses. We asked and discovered that the
logging is regulated and the wood belongs to
different families - each family is entitled to 8 cords per year to heat their
home. In the winter, they go in, cut the wood and bring it out to the edge of the road where it dries for the next winter. The gardens are located where people have
found good land and have started a garden. Anyone can squat on a piece of land that is not in use and build a garden.
June 26, 2003:
We signed up for a tour of the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve even though from afar it looked like nothing grew there. Up close however, there were all kinds of tiny,
low-lying plants. They do not grow very big due to the cold wind-swept, barren ground but there are many rare species not found anywhere else. Many of the plants
lie in wind eddies (behind rocks) where they get some shelter. The women who run the reserve used to work in the cod fishery before it crashed and had taught themselves the proper names (Latin included) for every plant on the reserve so they could take these jobs. Despite the massive career change they did an excellent job. We also visited L'Anse Aux Meadows where the Vikings or Norsemen first lived over 1000
years ago. It is amazing how they made it to Newfoundland without even the use of a compass and then survived through the harsh winter conditions. They were
very resourceful even making iron tools out of bog-iron which is found in the local bogs.
On the way home we noticed a gigantic iceberg that had floated into one of the small fishing villages. Apparently this is quite common.
June 27 - July 4, 2003:
Off we went to Gros Morne National Park in the middle of the west coast. It definitely takes longer to get around Newfoundland then we realized.
We had booked the park for the long week-end to ensure we had a place to stay but little did we know that we were still considered in the off season and had no need to worry. Gros Morne is a very rugged, mountainous area and is a great place to hike. We did a few different hikes with the Green Garden hike being the
highlight (we also saw whales swimming around right off the coast). Gros Morne is
also famous for the Tablelands which were originally pieces of the ocean floor now thrust high up into the mountains. The mineral make up of these Tablelands is not conducive to plant life so very little grows there.
This part of our trip was also the start of the rain and finally our camper came in handy. We decided to climb Gros Morne the one day we had nice weather but
it seemed that everyone else had had the same idea and so we became a part of a convoy to the top. The trail climbs a steep skree passage and loops around
down around the back - the sights were well worth the climb but the Green Garden hike was better because of the solitude.
July 5 - 6, 2003:
Watching the salmon jump the Big Falls on the Humber River (Sir Richard Squires Memorial Park) was fascinating . Unlike the clean,
quick shots in magazines which have the salmon gracefully sailing through the air the fish actually beat themselves silly
trying and failing to get over the falls. I have never seen such determination. They leap up landing where-ever fate takes them. They
smash head first into the rocks or land in impossibly fast current only to be hammered back by the torrents of water. Only occasionally
do they land in a portion of the river that allows them to progress up river - often grinding themselves over the rocks through the shallows.
While in the park we canoed down a portion of the Humber River - more details can be found at the
Humber River Trip link.
July 7, 2003:
We checked into a hotel in Corner Brook before heading south to the ferry to escape from the rain for a short period and to dry off from the previous
canoe trip. It also gave us a chance to tour around town and allowed Carol to tour the occupational therapy department
at the hospital. Corner Brook is a nice town but being built on such a steeply sloped area gives the houses and roads a wedged-in feeling. The lots were very small and usually sloped.
July 8 - 9, 2003:
We headed south down the coast and through the Codroy Valley to Prot Aux Basque where we stayed a few days in the Cape Ray Provincial Park before
taking the ferry across to Cape Breton. Yet again
we were made to feel very welcome by the park staff - this time it was Uncle Eli (Newfoundland has an excellent provincial part system - basic but well organized,
very reasonably priced and very friendly). While out for beach walk on a sunny afternoon we came upon a local who had just finishing digging for clams. After chatting for awhile about his technique (he offered us his shovel) we decided to give it a try. During low tide the clams can be found buried in the sand and you look for little holes where they breathe
to know where to dig. It
didn't take long to get the hang of it and soon we had dug up quite a pile (just using our hands). What a feast for dinner!! And luckily for us, Stephen noticed that the tide was
coming in - we just got the edges of our shoes wet jumping to shore!
From the southern portion of Newfoundland we took a ferry back to Nova Scotia (Cape Breton) thus completing our big loop involving the maritime provinces, Quebec, Labrador and Newfoundland. Unlike our rush-and-get-ready May 2003 visit to Nova Scotia we were hoping that this visit would allow more time for exploring parts of the province, relaxing and visiting family. To follow along click on the Nova Scotia: Part 2 link.
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