Things We’ll Never See Unless We Walk to Them

There are two ferry options to leave Newfoundland returning to Nova Scotia.  The first is the “short ferry,” a six hour passage into Port Aux Basque on the western side, back the way I came.  Then there is the “long ferry” that leaves from the eastern side of the island.  I have decided to take the long ferry back for several reasons.  I don’t want to backtrack on the Trans Canada Highway, driving the same interior road again.   And I really enjoyed the six hour passage coming over.  I wasn’t ready to get off the ship.  It’s rare for me to get to “ride” versus “drive,” and I enjoyed watching the ocean roll by from the comfort of my reclining seat.  But most importantly, returning via the long ferry will allow me to continue on down around the Avalon Peninsula a bit further. Continue reading

Mistaken Point…A Mistake?

Moving south along the Avalon Peninsula, I want to visit Newfoundland’s newest UNESCO World Heritage Site, the ecological reserve at Mistaken Point. This landmark got its ominous name from sailors who mistook the southernmost point for having rounded the point of Cape Race on their way into the port of St John’s, but instead slammed into treacherous rocks. There are some 50 shipwrecks still preserved in the icy waters off the shore of Mistaken Point.

But Mistaken Point now has new notoriety, Continue reading

Why Not More Picnics?

I’m up early from my boondocking spot at Cape Spear, because I want to be among the first to see the sun rise at 5:35am on the furthest eastern point on the continent.  But long before my alarm beeps to life, I wake to the long and low moan of the fog horn, warning of low visibility.   It’s like trying to see the sunrise with a white blanket over my head.   Oh, well, my consolation prize was getting to spend the night beneath another lighthouse. Continue reading

St. John’s – Jellybeans and Other Sweet Treats

Driving toward St John’s, Newfoundland’s capital city on the Avalon Peninsula, is a bit of culture shock.  It’s been three weeks since I’ve seen any semblance of “traffic,” so to roll up to the first stop light in so many days just seems odd, if not downright intimidating.  I’m eager to tour the city, but going from night after night of freedom in  remote boondocking spots to a crowded RV Park is tough to swallow, in spite of my desire to see the sights.

According to wikipedia, “Of major Canadian cities, St. John’s is the foggiest (124 days), windiest (15.1 mph) average speed), and cloudiest (1,497 hours of sunshine.) Precipitation is frequent and often heavy, falling year round.”   So I feel fortunate Continue reading

Wooden Boats to my Heart’s Content

Each of the “fingers” that extend from Newfoundland’s northern shore has its own personality.   Each has a scenic road that runs around its perimeter, all with their own “trail” name.   My next exploratory jaunt around one of these fingers is called the “Baccalieu Trail,” named for the small Baccalieu Island off the coast, most likely named after the Portuguese or Spanish word for cod.

But who can even remember “Baccalieu,” when you have such interesting town names along this trail!   There is Heart’s Desire, Heart’s Delight, Heart’s Content, Cupids, and Continue reading

Photo-hike on the Skerwink Trail

The weather has been gray and drizzly since leaving Bonavista, but the forecast shows a brief window of relief. So I b-line it for the Skerwink Trail. It will mean hiking in the late afternoon, but it’s the only rain-free window for the next 24 hours, so I’m going for it. The trail is reported to have some muddy, slippery stretches along the cliffsides, and I don’t want to walk it in the rain.

The Skerwink Trail is a 5.3km/3.5 mile loop that skirts the perimeter of Skerwink Head, between Trinity Bay and Port Rexton’s Robinhood Bay. For what it’s worth, to quote Continue reading

Nuthin’ but Puffins!

The chance to see a puffin up close is haunting me, particularly after reading in the Newfoundland Travel Guide that it’s one of the only remaining places in the world where one can see them up close in the wild.  But it means a 30 mile drive back to Elliston in the rain, and still no guarantee. However, the weekend is now behind me, so crowds should have let up. I decide I will boondock at the scenic overlook just beyond the puffin site.  This will give me two opportunities, one later in the evening, and another the following morning if I don’t have success. Continue reading

Bonavista Peninsula — Down the Other Side

After spending the night with whales feeding right outside my window, I am too wired for sleep.  I wake up with the sun, which is quite a feat considering it rises at 5:30am.  After my hike up to the lighthouse in hopes of getting some nice color in the clouds before the ubiquitous fog rolls in, I contemplate a nap.

But the weather forecast shows this to be the most favorable day in a while.  So no crawling back into bed for a few more winks, even though it was only a few hours sleep.  I’ve got to keep moving.  Weather changes fast here on the east coast, Continue reading

Bonavista Peninsula — Up One Side…

Ever eager to keep up my circumnavigation around the island, I move east, clockwise around the perimeter. Newfoundland’s “other” national park, Terra Nova, Gros Morne’s baby sibling sits on the east coast. If you drew an imaginary line across the northern part of the island from Gros Morne on the western side, chopping off all the “fingers and arms” that jut off from the coast, you would hit Terra Nova National Park on the eastern side.

Every national park has a reason to warrant protection and conservation by the National Park Service. In the case of Terra Nova, Continue reading

From a Fogo State of Mind to a New York State of Mind

To say I left Fogo Island reluctantly is a gross understatement.  It’s one of those places where I know I am going to look back and say “Why didn’t I spend more time there?”  But I’ve made a commitment back in Maine at the end of August, so I must keep moving.

I want to stop at the North Atlantic Aviation Museum in Gander as I head east around the island of Newfoundland.  Often referred to as “the lifeboat of the North Atlantic,” Continue reading