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?
Posts from the ‘Newfoundland’ Category
The NFLD Ferry swallows our Toyota Pick-up for a smooth, six-hour ride to Channel-Port aux Basques, Newfoundland.We waste no time finding a Provincial Park, and light a campfire before dark. Brrr…, taking a pee under the stars in the cold night reminds one that they’re alive.
In the morning, forget about cooking coffee. A brisk 42 degrees Fahrenheit convinces us to hightail it to “Tim Horton’s.” If you’re on a road trip through Canada, remember that Tim Horton’s is your drive-through coffee/snack friend!Welcome to Gros Morne National Park, where glaciers, frost, and flowing water have carved deep lakes and fjords out of bedrock. Some of these tectonic plates, the earth’s mantle, have traveled here from as far away as the equator to heave mountains into place. Plants can’t even grow on some of this strange rock. A steady upward trail passes meat-eating plants. The Pitcher Plant is the floral emblem of Newfoundland and Labrador.The mountain top views of the area remind us of the Mt. Riley trail in Alaska, but geographically older, thus minus jagged, snow-capped peaks.
Hiking/walking coastal trails surround the working port of St. Anthony. Fresh air and rugged wilderness leave us lightheaded.Even local folks come out to the lighthouse in the morning to sip coffee with a view. One man teaches me how to pronounce the name of his province, “NewfenLAND.” He tells a story about the boat being tugged in the bay.“My brother was on that fishing boat,” he says. “He was stuck out at sea without a rudder for two days before being rescued. Can you imagine being at the mercy of wind and tides for two days?”
Instead of going fishing for cod, we order at a restaurant. I order cod tongues, which are the fleshy lower jaw lightly fried, while Marilynn gets fish’n brewis, which is salted cod, hard tac, onions and scrunchins (fried salt pork!). Excellent!To the top of the island with you, Viking! Yes, Leif Erikson first landed right here.
The Vikings constructed sod buildings for living and storage.Decomposing plants from bogs and fens in this area produce acids, which leach iron and other minerals from the soil and bedrock.When the iron rusts, it adheres to sand and peat particles, forming nodules of bog iron. The Vikings forged bog iron into boat rivets. Could this be Newfoundland’s first blast furnace?A young couple gathers bakeapple berries (cloud berries) that grow in the bogs and fens. They spend a lot of time gathering wild berries to make jams and other delights to supplement the fish, moose, and caribou that will fill their freezer for winter.We could spend more time with these friendly folks, and have much more to see in Newfoundland, but first will ferry over to explore Labrador. Stay tuned!