Newfoundland, the East Side
We hit it lucky. Had no idea that Canada was celebrating its 150th anniversary. That means free admission to all National Parks and National Historical Sites all year. Our costs have been cut in half.Upon our return from Labrador, we backtrack to Gros Morne National Park, and catch the last campsite available on this busy Labor Day weekend.Onward to the east coast of Newfoundland. Near the town of Twillingate, we camp in the rain at Dildo Run Provincial Park. From there we hike to Nanny’s hole. Some dirty minds are at work here. We must ask about this.“You’re the first ones to ask me how we got the name,” the ranger jokes. “Dildos are the pegs around a ship’s steering wheel.” I didn’t want to ask about the nearby Nanny’s Hole or Cuckold trails. I read that Captain James Cook had a sense of humor back in 1763. On the way to Butter Pot Provincial Park, we stop at England’s first colony in Canada. The town of Cupids boasts the gorgeous Burnt Head trail, (I’m not making this up), lined with billions of wild blueberries, upon which we walk and feast.Instead of Cupids, it’s the nearby town of Brigus that grabs our hearts.Full of historical significance and charm, (during WWI Rockwell Kent the American painter lived here, before being deported for suspicion of spying) we marvel at the waterfront and the Brigus Tunnel.Constructed so that Arctic explorer Captain Robert Bartlett, the town’s most famous citizen, could easily access his ship, the tunnel was cut through rock in the 1860’s. Driving around this Province we notice huge and abundant piles of wood along the road. “What is with the wood?” we ask a local man.He explains that each “NewfenLander” gets 10 cords free yearly, with permits for specific areas. Yes, they must chop, stack, and haul their own.Back at the Butter Pot campground, moose roam in the fog of morning mist.On the way to the city of St. John’s, we fulfill our fascination with extreme geographical points. Cape Spear marks the most easterly point in North America. (Nome, South Africa, Portugal) A trail hugs the cliffs and weaves inland where again, wild blueberries abound.After all this camping and hiking, it’s time for a hotel splurge. Besides, the truck needs servicing and the rain has returned. The JAG Boutique Hotel in the city of St. John’s is the hippest place we have ever stayed. What could be better than a hotel filled with images and uninterrupted music of an eclectic array of musicians and bands?It’s hard to pull ourselves away from the JAG radio station on our TV to watch football. Now that is saying something!We fall in love with the city of St. John’s immediately. An attractive city with a small- town feel. Colorful houses sit on hilly streets surrounding a sheltered harbor. Full of innovative restaurants, friendly pubs, and live music, what’s not to love?