St. John’s

View at Signal Hill

We spent a couple of days in the very interesting city of St. John's. As I write this, we are in Terra Nova National Park. Here are a few pictures from St. John's but it mostly rained while we were there. It was nice to have “unlimited” electricity and water in the trailer. We've been without hookups a lot of this trip and many campgrounds only have pond water with limited treatment so they tell you to boil it (although all the locals drink it without issue.)

I left off a couple of pictures from Labrador that I took at Point Amour. The Lighthouse was closed already when we got there but that was okay – we've seen a lot of lighthouses and they are best viewed from the outside. The clouds were rolling in but that didn't stop us from exploring the coastline. They had several shipwrecks in the area and there is still a lot of debris (aka rusty, old metal) around.

 

 

 

On our way to St. John's, we made a layover near Twillingate. It was a quaint town but a little touristy, compared to the rest of Newfoundland. It had it's own Polar Bear and there were still icebergs floating off the Coast.

 

Iceberg (just a tiny spec to the left of the island.)

We are booked on the Ferry back to Nova Scotia a week from today (Tuesday.) It looks like we will be celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary in Gander or Grand Falls-Windsor.

 

Red Bay

After touring the L'Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and learning about the vikings and their adventures in “Vinland” and exploring the Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve, I talked the guys into going across the Gulf of St. Lawrence to Labrador. We turned around in Quirpon and spent the night near the ferry terminal in St. Barbe. (It wasn't nearly as dramatic to drive onto the ferry without the trailers.)

Red Bay and the Red Bay National Historic Site were definitely the highlights of Labrador. They found the remains of a 1565 whaling vessel in the water right behind a ship that had wrecked in 1965. After a long archeological investigation, they put what was left of the ship back in the Bay.

There are berries ripening all over the Province right now. I've become a big fan of the Cloudberry. The Cloudberry (or Bakeapple) Jam I bought in Quirpon is gone already.

We did a little hike after touring the Historic Site. They had a really lovely boardwalk to the highest point in town.

It was a long day. We went back to Newfoundland on the 8:00 PM ferry with a lot of locals and spent most of the trip tryng to understand the lilting dialect of English spoken in this area.

 

I'm posting these from Dildo Run Provincial Park nearTwillingate. We stopped here for a few nights thinking we might go to Fogo and Barr'd Island but they don't take reservations on the Ferry and we don't want to risk not getting back! This area has been kind of crowded anyway, compared to the rest of Newfoundland and Labrador.

We are off to St. John to wait out another hurricane. Then, we will start the drive back around this Island. There are a few things we planned to see on the way back, so it is likely to be two more weeks or so before we get the return Ferry to Nova Scotia.

 

Great Northern Peninsula

We have been enjoying terrific weather on the Northern Peninsula in Newfoundland. After Gros Morne National Park, we stopped in Port au Choix and Quirpon (near St. Anthony) then took the ferry to Labrador for the day.

Here are a couple of my favorite pictures from Port au Choix.

Arches Provincial Park

Port au Choix

 

Point Riche Lighthouse at Port au Choix Historic Site

Finally, the bread going into the French bread oven! Fishermen from the Normandy area came to this area and fished the Gulf of St. Lawrence but were prohibited from building permanent structures. There solution was to build these outdoor, communal bread ovens for cooking.

There are many communities that have rebuilt them and fire them up on a regular schedule. This day was a small celebration of the Limestone Barrens where several endangered and threatened flowers grow. We got to hang out with tourists and some locals while enjoying the bread and local jams. I am a big fan of the Cloudberry/Bakeapple!

 

Gros Morne, the Mountain

We did the Gros Morne signature hike – the mountain on our last day in the Park. I will just say the hike was hard but the view was magnificent.

This is the view looking up the first part of the trail – a scree field.

 

This was the view looking down that same part of the trail:

 

The top is all frost-fractured rock:

The views were still terrific coming down the back side of the mountain.

 

 

The trail was well maintained and even included some stairs to make the route down very manageable.

 

We haven't seen that much wildlife on this trip. We did finally get to see a moose – along the road on our way back from a swim and hot tub soak. Unfortunately, I didn't get a great picture before a motorcycle spooked him back into the woods.

 

Gros Morne National Park

We had the opportunity to spend four nights at Gros Morne National Park on the western coast of Newfoundland. It is definitely in my top ten National Parks! It has great geology, terrific hikes and the ocean. I loved it and hope we get to stop over for at least another night as we make it back to the ferry terminal and back to Nova Scotia.
The first day in the Park we headed out to take a guided hike at Tablelands. We got a nice lesson on the geology of the area – the rocks on Tablelands are peridotite. It is very rare to find peridotite on the surface since it is from the earth’s mantle.
Originally, we were only going to take the guided hike but later decided to keep going to the top. There was a fantastic view!

 

The next day we went back to the far end of the Park to hike out to the shore and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There was a very cool sea cave that you could access at low tide.

I loved searching the tide pools for something other than snails and mussels.

There was also a sea stack. We had never found the sea stack we went looking for after landing at Port aux Basques so this made up for that!

We spent last night camping on the beach at Port au Choix. We drove up the coast today and have made it to Quirpon, near the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Tomorrow we will learn about the first Viking Settlement in North America.

I still have pictures from Gros Morne (the Moutain) that I will try and get posted before we leave here since we finally have some decent internet at the camper!

 

 

P.S. Thank you all for your kind words about my pictures. I really just take a lot and then pick the few that are good enough to share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rocks of the Port au Port Peninsula

Somehow I had missed the pictures I took the day we drove around Port au Port Peninsula when we were staying at Barachois Pond Provincial Park. It was a lot of driving but we saw some really interesting rocks.

First there were the 300+ million year old tree fossils in Blanche Creek near Stephenville.

 

A lot of the bigger fossils were in the stream but there were smaller specimens you could hold in your hand (but not take home!)

 

We also saw these clearly bent rocks along the beach:

At the very northern tip of the Peninsula, out a long dirt road, we found a small fishing village that had some serious construction going on on their dock. This magnificent shoreline was worth putting up with the big gravel trucks on the road!

There was even a small arch:

We saw a lot of rocks that day, including these:

 

 

Newfoundland

Driving the trailer right up inside a ship was definitely an experience. It was somewhat difficult to get reservations on the trip from North Sydney to Newfoundland and we ended up on the “cargo” run. There was only a sunset for entertainment, unless you wanted to talk to the truck drivers that made the trip regularly.

 

The clouds were much more interesting as we left port – these would have made for some dramatic sunset pictures!

We didn't have a plan for camping after we arrived in Port aux Basques but we managed to find a spot for the night and then made our way to Barachois Pond Provincial Park (with a stop for lunch along the coast.)

Not sure exactly which ocean-dwelling creature this was:

The weather was a bit overcast for our one hike at Barachois Pond so I mostly have plant pictures to share.

 

We've stopped in Corner Brook for supplies. We have reservations in Gros Morne National Park for the next couple of days. Hopefully, the internet connection will hold up well enough here for me to post these and then I will be mostly caught up!