Tag Archives: Canada

What is it about rocks?

Because of the rich pickings from marine life in Port au Choix, this was another ancient spot where once early Inuit groups, then the Dorset Paleo-Eskimo, and finally the Beothuk had lived over the last 3 000 years before Europeans arrived to chase the Beothuk inland where they couldn’t survive. On the way I spotted a moose in the distance crossing the road. The huge animal stopped briefly as it munched its way through the forest.

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Gros Morne National Park

After my Fleur des Lys detour, I drove to Corner Brook on the western side of Newfoundland and arrived late in the afternoon. This was close to Newfoundland’s largest, most well-known national park. Gros Morne had been established as a reserve back in 1973, then a UNESCO heritage site in 1987, and finally a national park in 2005. This was not only due to its diverse landscape, but its clear evidence of continental drift exposing plate tectonics. 

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Boyd’s Cove’s Beothuk past

In one of my Canadian studies courses I was compelled to complete when I first came to Canada, I learned about the Beothuk—the original inhabitants of Newfoundland. They covered their bodies in red clay to ward off mosquitoes and when Europeans arrived, they mistakenly gave them the name, red skins. 

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Tera Nova National Park

Many of the places I stayed were B & Bs, mostly run by women, like my Bonavista stay. They usually had one or the other reaction when I rolled in and they discovered I was travelling alone. I’d see a far away look in their eyes as if they wished they could do the same and never would, or there’d be that question, “Aren’t you afraid to travel around alone?” I almost burst out laughing the first time I heard this. In Newfoundland? Where you don’t even lock a car door? Must be the safest place on earth.

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Elliston’s special treat

Along the highway from Bonavista to Elliston, garden plots dotted the side of the road (featured photo). This was where locals grew their vegetables before the harsh winters. Wouldn’t people stop and steal their crops? No, I was told. No one had experienced this kind of theft according to locals. I also spotted root sellers in Elliston and Maberly. These were where an earlier generation once stored their food like an outdoor refrigerator. It couldn’t have been fun traipsing outside to collect vegetables and whatever else they stored in them during the winter. But I was headed to a peninsula just out of Elliston to see puffins.

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Trinity East to Bonavista

After my Earhart detour, I drove to Trinity East along quiet highways where traffic was at a minimum. It was the six-kilometre Sherwink Trail I was headed to where I hiked through forest, past cliffs, and up, down, and around to a beach. Stacks stood offshore. At one point, a sign explained how capelin came to spawn on the beach below where the females layed up to 5 000 eggs. Fog rolled in and the sound of a warning horn reverberated through the grey mist. During the entire hike, I never saw another person as if the trail was mine.

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Amelia’s Harbour Grace

From the south of Newfoundland’s Avalon Peninsula, I drove north to Harbour Grace, a small town with a five-hundred-year European history. Originally founded by the French in 1517, it became a thriving fishing community because Channel Islanders fished off Newfoundland’s coast. Cod and seals were caught in abundance. But like other maritime provinces, squabbles between the French and English were common. However, I hadn’t come to Harbour Grace for this history but for its connection to Amelia Earhart. 

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Cape St Mary’s Ecological Reserve

One hundred and seventy-five kilometres from St John’s, was Cape St Mary’s Ecological Reserve that was established in 1983. The sixty-four square kilometre reserve, of which most was ocean, was bird haven. Situated on the southernmost tip of the Avalon Peninsula, was the largest nesting colony of gannets in Newfoundland—some 30,000.

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Witless Bay Islands Park Reserve 

South from Newfoundland’s capital was a whale watching and puffin tour at Bay Bulls. Whale watching is often a gamble and on my trip out into Witless Bay we spotted several pods, but only briefly. Still, being on the ocean was exhilarating and I was introduced to that distinct Newfoundland accent. 

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