Transit to Cape Breton Island and Cape Breton Highlands National Park

Several of our readers emailed us since we storm evacuated from Saint John’s and wondered if we were OK…we’re fine and the storm was pretty much a non event for us except for the rain and fog on our first day from Saint John’s over to Grand Falls-Windsor. But we were tired after working hard in Saint John’s to get all we needed to get done there done and after the 2 day 520 mile drive to Doyles on the west side of Newfoundland…so we just stayed home all weekend and dindunuffin as they say…well, nuffin ‘cept laundry cuz our hamper was full.

Monday we were up early for our transit to Cape Breton Island…and even though it was only 110 towing miles we were out of the campground at Doyles by 0730 or so for the 30 mile transit down to the ferry terminal at Port aux Basques. We arrived on schedule…Connie stopped at Tim Horton’s for breakfast…Maple Pecan Danish, yum…and more coffee…and got quickly checked in with the ferry folks…we were the second RV in line which meant pretty early boarding. We really didn’t care about early boarding…but early boarding means early disembarking and since we had about 80 miles to go after we got off the ferry early disembarking is what we know in the bidness as a Good Thing© for reasons which will become clear shortly. 

We loaded about 1030…and while the first two liner-upers let Connie get right behind Neil with Little Red so we would disembark together…separate means we have to meet up on the road and while we had planned for that ahead of time not having to link up is mo’ bedda ya know…anyways, the guy actually parking us on the ferry made her get out of place behind him and she was 2 rows over and 2 vehicles back. 

We got up to the seating deck and had lunch…then read books on our iPads ad took a nap…there was nothing to do as the entire trip over was in reduced visibility due to fog…it was rarely more than a half mile or so of visibility and the Blue Puttees was sounding fog signals the whole way over. We got into the pier about 1800 and headed down to the vehicle deck. Luckily…we were exiting out the bow of the ferry this time instead of the stern that has a wider door…so instead of offloading 1 column of vehicles at a time they offloaded one row across the ship at a time…Neil got out first as he was in the middle lane and Connie got out just about 5 or 6 vehicles behind him. She took one wrong turn as we headed west on the TCH or Trans Canada Highway…which is NS-105 in this part of the country…but quickly got things sorted out and we made the speed limit of 100 kph all the way to our turnoff onto the Cabot Trail…we had another 60 miles or so to go on there to get to Broad Cove Campground.

The first 40 miles were pretty nice…some curves and up and downs but the road was good and the speed limit was 70 or 80 kph most of that part. Unfortunately…we ran out of good road the last 20 miles…many more sharp curves and short but steep hills…and even a bunch of switchbacks to contend with. Yuck! Luckily sunset isn’t until 2045 so even though we arrived about 2050 it was still pretty light as we got checked in and headed to our selected site 7 for 5 nights. Turned out it’s a pull through…we thought we would have to back in when we made the reservation. However…since it was getting dark by the time we unhitched and we were tired…all Neil hooked up was power and left water and sewer for Tuesday morning. We did have to clean up our second kitchen disaster in the past 3 weeks…first it was the milk carton that tipped over and dumped milk all all over the inside of the fridge. Today it was a jar of jelly that fell out of our pantry…the glass was all busted up but fortunately most of the jelly remained in a single blob that he picked up for her…then we scrubbed the floor to finish cleaning up. The 30 minutes that took was the real reason behind not doing water and sewer last night. We had a cheese omelet for dinner and went to bed.

With 4 full days here in Cape Breton Island…and with rain forecast for all day and night Wednesday…we headed out to do the Cabot Trail on Tuesday about 0900. The Trail is about a 180 mile loop around most of the northern half of the island…with the top 1/3 of the loop mostly along the shoreline and the lower 2/3s of the loop mostly inland. Folks have suggested to us that it should be done in both the clockwise and counter clockwise directions for best viewing but that the counter clockwise direction is the better of the two. So that’s what we set out to do…circumnavigate the Trail counter clockwise. We quickly figured out after our first 2 stops that the entire east side of the island was fog bound…we talked about whether we should give it up for another day but decided to continue at least until we got to the west side of the island before giving up.

About an hour after we left we headed inland across the top portion that isn’t on the coast…and an hour or so later we arrived over on the western side of the island where it was pretty clear. There was still some haze out on the horizon so it wasn’t all the way to beautiful…but it was a heck of a lot better than the east side was. Our first stop on the west side was for lunch at the Rusty Anchor Cafe right on the beach…lobstah roll for Connie and deep fried haddock sandwich for Neil…both were good although the fish sandwich was too tarted up really…it had bacon, shrimp, garlic mayo on it and he left the guacamole and tomato off…it was decent but really didn’t need all that extra stuff. We had a couple cans of Breton Brewery Red Ale to go along with it and then continued our journey west and south along the island for another hour or so. When we got to Cheticamp right at the southern border of Cape Breton Islands NP…Connie said that she was Cabot Trailed out…so we pulled over and regrouped. It was about 100 km back the way we came but that would be mostly along the water and we would be doing it the other direction. Continuing on around the way we were going it was about 200 km back and almost all inland…since we like the water views better we turned ‘round and headed back. We got stuck in the same 4 or 5 construction/flagman/single lane sections that we had on the way over…but there would surely have been some on the southern half anyway. We stopped by a grocery store on the way home in New Haven…right north of Neil’s new favorite village…then headed the last 15 km back to the rig, arriving home about 1610.

Ok…let’s get on to the photos for the day.

Our first stop just a couple klicks north of the campground revealed this.

Straight out of the camera shot…it was actually more foggy than this visually.

D71 6720

Cleaned up a little in post…too blue but the best I could do with it.

D71 6720 2

D75 3406

We headed north a few more minutes and found Neil’s favorite new village.

D71 6783

It even had his very own lighthouse…the ocean is visible…well, it would be except for the fog…right behind the light.

D75 3411

Connie got a shot that shows the maple leaf on the top of the light…Neil didn’t even notice it there…and her version shows both it and gives a more realistic idea of what the fog was like.

D71 6757

And some rocks outside the lighthouse.

D71 6744

Connie found some flowers…Neil’s got to teach her to either find ones away from the fence or to select an appropriate wide open aperture so that depth of field is less and hence the background gets blurred out…the technical name for that is bokeh.

Really cool withy the fog that condensed out into droplets on the flowers though…

D71 6748

D71 6747

Here’s another version of the first one…Neil did some Photoshopping on it to simulate what bokeh would be like…it’s not exact but as you can see it makes the subject stand out a bit more.

D71 6748 Edit

And Neils Harbor has…naturally…his very own harbor. He thought about going down and showing this guy his license to prove his name and extract a lobstah royalty from him.

D71 6760

After continuing around to the west side of the island…these were taken from our table on the veranda at the Rusty Anchor.

D75 3431

D75 3434

After lunch we drove up over the top of Kelly Mountain…well it was actually a ridge…as we headed south along the shoreline.

Right at the center of this shot the white area near the shore is the parking lot of the Rusty Anchor…the next shot is a zoomed in one from the same location so you can see where we ate.

D75 3436

D75 3435

Looking the other direction from the top of the ridge…here’s a pano of the Cape Breton Island Highlands for which the National Park is named.

D75 3439 Pano

Another very far away shot…the little cove at the bottom is named Fishing Cove and is where the Celtic people that first populated this island went to fish…it’s the least developed area in the park…the only way in is about a 10 mile hike downhill from this point to the beach there. There’s a small primitive campground with a limited number of permits issued to go there…but there are no services. No water, toilets, trash, or anything else…you must pack in your water and pack out all your trash. The next shot after this is a zoomed in shot of the camping area at the beach. This is very similar to the Kalaulau community on the north shore of Kauai that we took some photos of years ago when we visited that island…again a very primitive campground at the end of a long hike down a valley from the top of the ridge to the shoreline.

D75 3450

D75 3451

Some more shots as we headed south down the coast.

The road just up from the beach you can see is the Cabot Trail.

D75 3453

A rock formation known as La Bloc…no idea why.

D75 3454

Looking the other way from La Bloc.

D75 3456

Just south of La Bloc are these two small…well, probably 40 feet high…rocks sticking up out of the water. Just on the other side of the cove is the town of Cheticamp where we ended up turning around.

D75 3458

After stopping by the grocery store in New Haven just north of Neils Harbor…we did stop for one more shot of our new favorite village…you can see the lighthouse and the harbor is just in between the top topmost rocky points in the photo. About 90 degrees to the right from this shot is a nice beach…located naturally on Neils River as it empties into the Gulf of Saint Lawrence.

D75 3461

So that’s it for photos.

I can say that the Cabot Trail is probably worth it…but you need a really pretty day weather wise or else you get crummy views and pictures. Apparently fog is pretty common this time of the year…so perhaps coming a little later in the summer or earlier in the spring would be better. As to doing it both directions…sure, we saw different views on our way back home and that’s probably worth doing…but we would stick to the northern 1/3 of the Trail as that’s the only part with coastline involved…everything south of where we went is inland and the mountains aren’t really tall enough to be impressive…all the ones we saw were tree covered to the summit like most of the Appalachians are…and that’s just not as dramatic a skyline.

Tomorrow we’ll probably stay home…since it’s forecast to rain. There’s a ranger talk at the outdoor theatre in the campground at 1900…assuming it don’t get rained out.

Author dedication in an ebook we saw.

AuthorDedication

Looters.

Looters

Dogs have owners…cats have staff.

11B4A607 0D72 4A3C A95D 91DE9EEE3811

We know some RVers like this.

07E0CA7B 7DBD 4CD4 85F7 8541DB3BD81F

And finally…

A709D68A 547F 422A 8C15 424C25534968

Cyas.

Advertisements
Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

St John’s Newfoundland and Hurricane Chris

With our work in Eastport and the Terra Nova NP area complete…we headed out Monday morning for the 175 mile drive down to Pippy Park. It was an uneventful drive on a nice warm day…we arrived about 1300 and quickly got checked in for our 5 night stay in the full service loop 4 site 156. Once we were setup…Neil put in a new sediment water filter cartridge in our filter setup…the old one was orange from all the crap in the water up here even though it was only a bit over 2 months old…and put 50 gallons of water in our fresh tank in anticipation of a couple of things…first was to have enough for the 3 day transit from St. John’s back over to Doyles over night, then the ferry to the mainland and the last 80 miles to our next real stop in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. The second was to have water in case of issues with Hurricane Chris. On our arrival it was still motionless southeast from Cape Hatteras NC about 300 miles but it was supposed to intensify to hurricane strength 1 and then proceed northeastward…staying offshore of the US and Nova Scotia but possibly making landfall in Newfoundland…albeit it would only be an extra-tropical storm by then as it would weaken in the cold North Atlantic and would be out of the tropics and hence not a tropical storm anymore but still a cyclone…before it headed out into the North Atlantic to die.

At our arrival…all of that was still days out and the track not very specific…so we figured we would stick to our original plan of leaving Saturday morning for the 2 day drive back to Doyles just north of the ferry terminal then take the ferry and continue onto Cape Breton Highlands as scheduled. However…we did change the order of our planned activities just in case. The storm was forecast to arrive Thursday sometime so we made sure that all of the must-do stuff was scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Garofalo’s pulled in to Pippy Park about an hour after we did and parked 2 sites down…so we continued the NHOG Rally, Newfoundland Edition with them…and as it turned out they followed us to Grand Falls Windsor on Thursday, and Doyles on Friday as well.

Monday evening we headed downtown to the O’Reilly’s Irish Newfoundland pub…where we had some very good brews from the local Yellow Belly Brewery…St. John’s Stout for Neil and Irish Red for Connie. He had some moose nachos for dinner…they were excellent…and Connie had Newfoundland split white pea soup…which was more the consistency of very thick stew than soup but whatever…she said it was good. 

Tuesday we headed up the northwestern arm of the Avalon peninsula…St John’s is on the southeast portion of the peninsula…for a visit to Harbor Grace where Connie’s great grandparents were married and her grandfather baptized, then on to New Perlican where they may…or may not, but it is where her great grandmother who was a Peddle was from…have resided, she’s not sure from her ancestry.com research. We included a visit to the village of Heart’s Content…where the North American end of the first transatlantic telegraph cable was located…after all we needed to do something Neil was interested in and she always tries to do that. We sandwiched lunch in there and got back to the rig pretty late in the afternoon.

Wednesday morning…the track of Hurricane Chris which was up to category 2 instead of the previously forecast category 1 had firmed up and it showed landfall on the Avalon peninsula where St. John’s is located…with some uncertainty that it would actually make landfall as opposed to skirting close by…but it would still be an extra-tropical storm with a defined eye, lots of rain, and winds up to about 60 knots with gusts another 15 or 20 higher than that. Since we were on exposed ground at Pippy Park, and given the potential loss of power and water services due to the storm, and given that we would have to spend most of Thursday and possibly Friday inside the rig sheltering from the rain with the slides closed to reduce our windage area…we, well actually Connie…decided to “choose wisely” as the aged knight said and leave town. Not to worry…Neil agreed with her but said he was going with her desires…although his precise statement was that if he thought she was being insufficiently conservative he might overrule her. We called Sanger Memorial RV Park in Grand Falls-Windsor and moved our reservation from Saturday night to Thursday night, called Grand Codroy RV Park in Doyles and switched our Sunday reservation to Friday through Sunday and decided to just stay in Doyles for the weekend. We’ll do laundry and potentially run down to Port aux Basques for dinner and a brew one night. With both of those reservations firmed up…we headed out for Fun Stuff©.

We first visited Signal Hill in the downtown area to see the Signal Tattoo…which is a military parade of sorts as well as the Cabot Tower on top of Signal Hill, then stopped by the local Catholic diocese offices to see if she could track down some more genealogical records for her various family trees…mostly she was looking for more info on her great grandparents and their children. Unfortunately…those records don’t exist. Back in those days the civil authorities didn’t keep any birth records and the church with the Catholic records in it burned to the ground years ago…so no joy on that front. Signal Hill and the Tattoo were pretty outstanding though.

In the afternoon…Neil dumped tanks and stowed water and sewer connections and we hitched Big Red to the rig…it was supposed to be raining starting at 0400 Thursday morning and it’s much more pleasant to hitch up and do the utilities when it’s not raining and blowing.

 

We then headed out again to downtown for dinner…stopping first again at O’Reilly’s for beer, dinner, and so we could get Screeched In…more on that later…and since it turned out O’Reilly’s had run out of Screeched in Certificates we instead ended up at Christian’s Pub for the Screech In Ceremony.

We checked the Chris track when we got home…and it turned out that the rain wasn’t starting until about 1000…so we could have hitched in the morning but since it was done we still planned on an 0800 departure to get out as much ahead of the rain as we could.

After our 0500 alarm went off…it continues to amaze us that even though we’re retired we still set an alarm probably half the time…and a lot of time it’s at ungodly times like 0400 or 0530…crazy talk Ima tellin’ ya…anyways we had coffee, a cinnamon sticky bun we bought at Sobey’s when we picked up a few groceries, finished up our remaining pre-underway checks and were on the road and out of the park shortly after 0800 for the 275 mile drive to Grand Falls-Windsor. It’s a nice drive…at least the road is pretty good…but the weather turned out to be abysmal. Instead of starting raining at 1000…it started just about 0900 and varied from just a few sprinkles to tropical downpour amounts of rain…although again I guess that’s actually extra-tropical downpour. Fog, some wind although not really too much and a really grueling driving day. The storm was still several hundred miles from us…but the bands of clouds that spiral out from the eye kept passing over us and we would go from relatively dry weather to fog and rain you could hardly see cars through and back to dry in the space of 10 or 15 minutes.

Tomorrow (Friday) we’ll continue on to Doyles and spend the weekend at Grand Codroy RV Park then head on down to Port aux Basques arriving about 0900 Monday for the 1145 departure of the ferry. Docking is scheduled at 1800 Nova Scotia time and we’ve another 80 miles of driving to get to the campground…so it will be dusk-ish by the time we arrive. I may post again over the weekend…but then again I might just wait until we get to Cape Breton instead…ya never know.

Ok…on to the photos.

Immaculate Conception Church in Harbour Grace. This is no longer in use (another church has been built) but has been declared an historic property. It isn’t the church that Connie’s great grandparents were married in or her grandfather was baptized in, because that one burned down in 1889, but it is on the same site.The local diocese is soliciting bids to sell or lease the property for “repurposing.”

D75 3278 Luminar2018 edit

A statue of Mary in front of the former cathedral.

D75 3281

View from the front of the church. This is the view that Connie’s great grandparents would have seen coming out of the church after they were married.

D75 3286 Pano

The Heart’s Content Lighthouse…the village is named due to the heart shaped bay it is located within.

D75 3295 Edit Luminar2018 edit

Over in New Perlican…here’s a street named after Connie’s ancestors. There are still Peddle’s living in the town according to the ladies at the Cable Station Historic Site, but she’s not aware of any that we needed to go meet.

D75 3301

Shots of the small…very small…village of New Perlican.

IMG 2792

Note the colored fishing shacks at the head of each dock. The houses in St. John’s are all brightly colored like this too. Its a Newfoundland tradition.

IMG 2795

IMG 2797

The site where the first transatlantic cable came ashore…it was actually the fourth attempt that succeeded as the steamship Great Eastern carried the cable from Ireland to Newfoundland, anchoring in Heart’s Bay to send it ashore.

D75 3303

The cable station…which remained in service until the mid 1960s when it was retired. When it was open a cost of a telegram to England cost 20 pounds sterling for 20 words, 100 characters maximum, spaces don’t count, numbers have to be spelled, and the to and from names count.  The original operators were British but eventually were almost entirely replaced by Newfoundlanders.

D75 3309

A repeater from the cable…about 4 feet long and 1 foot in diameter.

D75 3306

The pipe that protected the cable as it transitioned from the floor of the bay across the beach to the cable station located just across the street.

D75 3307

Wednesday we drove up to the top of Signal Hill for some photos…including this cool fog bank you can see as we look south-southwest. 

D75 3310 Luminar2018 edit

The entrance light to St. John’s harbor…they get cruise ships and large container ships into this harbor as it’s the only deep water port on the eastern side of Newfoundland.

D75 3314 Luminar2018 edit

Cabot Tower…built in the late 1800s for the 400th anniversary of the landing of John Cabot as I related a couple of blog posts back…it was used as a wireless signal station during World War I…or the Great War as it’s known up here…and also actually was the station that received the SOS from the SS Titanic after it struck the iceberg in April 1911.

D75 3317 AuroraHDR2018 edit

D75 3322 AuroraHDR2018 edit Edit

D75 3329 AuroraHDR2018 edit

Panoramic view of St. John’s harbor…the entrance is to the left and the light in the photo above is about 200 yards past the end of the channel you can see…the harbor proper is center and right. As I said…this is an excellent harbor…albeit one that’s pretty difficult to get into.

D75 3336 Pano

A closer view of the entrance…looks like plenty of water for ships to pass through, right? Well…appearances are misleading as the following images show.

D75 3348

A cropped in version of the above with a couple of important things to note.  Atlantic Ocean to the left, harbor to the right. In the center of the frame is a red marker on a rock…remember Red Right Returning? There is deep water right up to the far side of the marker but on this side it’s maybe 2 feet. The red circle at upper left center shows the location of the green buoy that marks the left side (inbound) of the channel…again the buoy is in deep water but about 8 or 10 feet on the far side of it there’s a shelf that extends just about the entire width of this photo. So incoming shipping has to pass through the channel between the green buoy marking the shoals on the left and the red marker marking those on the right? How wide is that?

D75 3348 2

Here’s another shot…the boat coming in is about 18 feet long…so that means that the entire width of the channel from green buoy to red marker is maybe 100-120 feet. A container ship has a beam of 80ish feet and a cruise liner a little more depending on the size of the liner…so the crew, well actually the harbor pilot with the assistance of probably at least 2 tugs and the bow thrusters that most modern ocean gong vessels have…has to thread a 700 or 800 foot long 80-100 feet wide ship with a 26-30 foot draft through a narrow channel about 100-120 feet wide and maybe 1,500 feet long before it widens out into the harbor. If you look straight up from the boat’s location to the far shore…you can see portions of the ledge that extend almost out to the green buoy. Obviously they do this a lot as there are 6 or 8 vessels in port in the panoramic photo above…but it’s carefully done, requires a harbor pilot and tugs, and isn’t done in anything remotely approaching bad weather or nighttime. If the seas or wind are high…the shipping has to just wait outside the harbor. 

D75 3343

Two things from this shot…which is about 200 yards or so further into the entrance channel than the red marker in the above shots…the narrowness continues until the harbor widen out. Second is the cannon at the King’s Battery… the point right down the center of the channel and although there are only 6 of them they would have turned any wooden vessel that tried to force entry into driftwood. 

D71 6524

Shots from the tattoo…it’s performed in honor of the members of the Newfoundland Battalion that served under a total of 4 flags during it’s history. The performers are all college age re-enactors.

D71 6547

D71 6555

D71 6580

Connie got a shot of them firing their muskets.

D71 6635

Neil on the other hand…put his camera in burst mode and got a nice sequence of the firing…you can see the muzzle flash in the second one and the blast from the artillery piece in the background in the last.

D75 3361

D75 3362

D75 3365

D75 3374

They then fired off one of the mortars up on top of the hill you can see in the above shots.

D75 3401

With that…our day was done…so we headed back and finished up the pre-underway chores I talked about before…then headed out to first O’Reilly’s and then Christian’s Pub for the Screech In ceremony. You’ve probably been wondering ever since back at the beginning of this post…so Ima gonna tell ya about it.

You see…to a Newfoundlander…they are extremely proud of their heritage, history and culture. St. John’s is one of the oldest settlements in North America and the folks here have a long history of fishing…and of selling their fish to people down in the Caribbean islands in exchange for rum. They also believe that there are only two types of people in the world…Newfies and CFAs…that stands for Come From Aways…or outsiders. However…being friendly people, and thinking that everybody wanted to become a Newfie…they wanted to have a way for CFAs to become Newfies, or at least  an honorary rum Thusly…they needed to establish certain requirements, ceremonial rites, secret handshakes and the like to go along with that. So’s they got to thinking and decided that three things needed to be involved…first up is cod since fishing for cod is the oldest industry in Newfoundland…second is rum since they brought it in from the islands and hey, who doesn’t like drinking shots of rum in the bar…and third you needed to learn some of the Newfoundland language.

First up…the language. Now most of what we learned has to remain forever secret…except for those who’ve become honorary Newfies by completing the ceremonial hits and receiving their official Royal Order of Newfoundland Screechers certificate. However…the one Newfie word that is allowed for CFAs is ah bye…it means Yes and is a general reply to just about any question from “how’s the weather” to “did ye catch any cod today” to whatever else one Newfie might ask another. We learned other words as well…but as I noted those must remain a mystery for CFAs.

Next…you must kiss the cod…and by cod they mean an actual used to be swimming in the ocean whole cod. There was a piece of sautéed maple bologna to go along with it.

IMG 2774 1

IMG 2775

And finally…a shot of Screech Rum…which is the locally distilled stuff…no, we didn’t drink all of these but there was one for every former CFA taking part in the aforementioned ceremonial rites. We had people from as far away as India in our group…and even 3 year old Casper (the son of Leisha and Dimka the Indian folks) participated…although he got gypped and got no Screech…just some sugar syrup.

IMG 2771 1

Connie couldn’t resist getting another kiss o’ the cod along with our master of ceremonies…aka the bartender…who is an actual Newfie.

IMG 2778

We’re official!! Connie thought that she shouldn’t have to kiss the cod as her ancestors were born here…but you’re either born a Newfie or you’re a CFA…not any more though.

20180711 Newfoundland Screechers Cert

With that our day was done and we headed home…I already talked earlier about the trip over to Grand Falls Windsor.

On to interesting things found on the net…although none of these were actually found on the net this week…they all came from our camera.

The menu from O’Reilly’s…notice the part over on the left about there being no strangers, only friends you haven’t met yet…Neil’s been saying this for years.

IMG 2782

Only in Newfoundland would they name a village Dildo.

IMG 2802

Only in Newfoundland 2…where they actually have 3 liter bottles of booze…these are the aforementioned Screech Rum…biggest darned booze bottle ya evah dun seen…Oooh Wee, it be wundermus as Justin would say. (Google Justin Wilson if you don’t get the reference.)

IMG 2768 1

And finally…these 20somethings pulled in yesterday evening to camp for the weekend. I’m not sure what is going on over there as it’s 3 guys and 1 gal in a 24 foot class C…but hey, whatever. Anyway…they were out having breakfast this morning at 0737…as you can see they’re having Beer…the Breakfast of Champions! Score! One of the has no shirt, another is dressed only in a towel, one is wearing pajama bottoms and a t-shirt, and the young lady was dressed in only a thin lace swimming suit coverup…sans suit.

What were they thinking?

IMG 2809

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Transit to Eastport and Terra Nova National Park

After our relatively late night in St. Andrews for the Viking Feast…we started getting ready to leave about 0800 for the first day of our 2 day transit to the eastern side of Newfoundland…and were o the road shortly after 0900 for our 288 mile transit to Deer Lake where the highway known as the Viking Trail joins back up with the Trans Canada Highway (TCH)…the former is a 2 lane road with 90 kph speed limit (56 mph) while the latter is a 3 lane highway at 100 kph (62 mph). The TCH is also less curvy, it’s more of a freeway with some at grade crossings than a standard highway like the Viking Trail is…and it’s a lot better maintained…it’s mostly indistinguishable from the better highways down in the US. The weather was gorgeous…no rain or fog and not really much wind for most of the way…we only stopped twice for bathroom breaks and once for a sandwich in a coastal overlook and pulled into the Gateway to the North RV Park about 1500 or so.

Unfortunately…on entering the rig we found that our carton of milk had toppled over and leaked about a cup and a half of milk. Naturally this went pretty much everywhere…so instead of a leisurely afternoon in the recliners we spent the next hour or so emptying, cleaning, and restoring the fridge. We normally get milk in the plastic jugs with a screw top…but the older style paper carton was all that was available when we bought it last…Connie thought she had adequately stowed it so it would stay in place but the barrier bars we put in the fridge to hold things on the shelves slipped and it toppled the opposite way from what one would think…it fell over on the shelf spout down instead of backwards into the door which would have been spout up.

We consoled ourselves with a beer and some barely adequate dinner at the local pub…

Next morning we were out of the park in about 30 minutes since we only hooked up power for overnight. After a quick stop for diesel fuel and gas…almost $400 CN total…have I mentioned that gas and fuel are expensive up here…we hopped on the TCH for our 222 mile trip over across the island to Eastport…the last 10 or so were on a smaller road into the town and campground alongside one of the many lakes in Newfoundland…I think there are even more of them here than Minnesota claims to have. On arrival at the Harold W. Duffet Shriner’s Memorial RV Park…he musta been some sort of honcho in the Shriners up here as he’s got at least 2 RV parks bearing his name.

The second day’s transit was again a nice easy day…with no more milk spillage so we were able to rest up after getting here…and after a short rest we tried to go have a beer over at the Inn at Happy Adventure…which is a hotel, restaurant, and bar nearby…in fact it’s the only one nearby. We got there about 1545…the door was open so we figured we would have a brew and go home to cook a steak Neil had taken out. They…however…weren’t open for business…despite 3 employees milling about the reception area and nobody at the 5 seat bar. We told them we only wanted a beer…and the incredibly lazy and unhelpful 20somethings told us to come back at 1700, but we couldn’t have dinner as they were fully booked. This was said with a snooty attitude…clearly if the owner had been there he/she would have been happy to pour us a brew but the children just couldn’t be bothered. No matter…we have beer at home for just these sorts of emergencies so that was what we did. A couple of frosty ones later we had steak, taters, and a glass o’wine.

With only 3 full days in Eastport…we had our work cut out for us in the Fun Stuff© department. Friday was a planed driving tour around the Gander peninsula, Saturday a tour through Terra Nova NP to the town of Bonavista at the end of the Cape Bonavista…both of those are in the 230-250 mile range total so they would be pretty full days…and then a visit to Terra Nova NP itself on Sunday after Mass and lunch…that’s a shorter day since we’re traveling again on Monday.

So we headed out about 0900 on Friday…and I wish that I could say something about how the Gander peninsula drive was great…as it was recommended to us by several friends…but it was uniformly unimpressive. First off…it was rainy and cold most of the day…several times it rained pretty hard, secondly there was a considerably greater amount of road construction than we’ve seen so far, and thirdly there’s just not really much to look at.

We passed through a couple of nice towns…Musgrave Harbor was supposed to be the nicest one…but it was basically a dump…not worth the effort to get there. The highlights of the day were supposed to be lunch at a place named Cafe by the Sea and a visit to the Beothuk Interpretation Center. Cafe by the Sea…which one would think would be located…by the sea maybe…but you would be sorely mistaken…was basically a diner with mediocre food and no beer. Slightly better than a Waffle House or Denny’s but not much.

The Beothuk Interpretation Center was pretty nice though…by the time we got there it had stopped raining and wasn’t too windy. The Beothuk were one of the native peoples tribes that inhabited this area right around the same time as the old Leif landed over on the other coast about 1,000AD…although they never met each other. The site is on an old archeological dig…there is fresh water, a large smelt run in the spring, a nice bay with a beach to bring canoes into, and an above the beach shelf to build a village. The archeological types aren’t sure if this was a permanently inhabited village or a fishing camp only but based on the dwelling remains are pretty sure it was the former. There are the remains of 11 wigwams here…but not the typical one one would see in the American west…they’re actually closer to a Viking longhouse in construction than a teepee. To build one you construct a circular fence of vertical sticks with branches woven through them about 3 feet high. The center is then dug out to a depth of about 3 feet and the dirt used to build up a mound outside the fence for insulation. Then logs are placed over the walls in a conical shape meeting in the center and covered with birch bark, sail cloth, or deer skins.

There are no actual dwellings left…but 4 of the 11 have been fully archeologically excavated and then reburied…there’s a museum with artifacts from the digs, some cultural stuff about the Beothuk, and a reproduction of one of their birchbark canoes. The Beothuk were known by the Europeans as the “red Indians” due to the ochre that they colored everything with…ochre is basically ground up iron oxide containing rock…think dirt from say Monument Valley…mixed with animal fat and used to decorate everything from clothing…all of it…to makeup to canoes.

The Interpretation Center main building…vaguely reminiscent of the design of the wigwams.

D75 3001

Replica of a period birchbark canoe created using somewhat typical technology. Note the red ochre coloring on pretty much everything.

D75 3003

Pretty much of a bust and a wasted 220 mile drive I think…but you never really know about these things. Sometimes you think it will be great and it’s not, sometimes you think it will be meh and it’s actually pretty great.

We were pretty sure that Saturday had to be better…and it was.

Starting off with the weather…which was beautiful. Warm, up to about 77 F, no rain, and a nice breeze instead of the biting cold wind we had the day before. We headed out again about 0900…that would put us at Shannon’s Irish Pub in Bonavista right about lunch time…see, we wuz using our noggins on this one. Cape Bonavista turned out to have the best scenery we’ve seen since our day at Western Brook Pond on the boat into the former fjord.

This boat…well, it’s got a problem Ima thinkin’

D75 3004

Some shots of one of the many coves we passed.

D75 3007

D75 3006

And eventually we made our way past the town of Bonavista over to the Cape Bonavista Lighthouse…which as you can see actually has a visually distinctive paint job so you can tell which light it is in the daylight. It’s also got a different light pattern and even the type of light it uses than most other lights up here.

Typically…a lighthouse has a single light with a rotating reflector behind it…and it’s surrounded by a Fresnel lens to focus the beam. I won’t get into a bunch of detail about what a Fresnel lens is here…you can look here if you want to see more…but basically it’s a compact lens which allows a large aperture and focal length without the correspondingly large mass and size that a conventional lens design would have. Instead of a single light and lens like almost every other light you’ve ever seen or heard of…this light has a total of 6 lanterns with reflectors behind them that rotates every 90 seconds. Two of the lights are red so instead of your typical lighthouse characteristic of either a flash every x seconds or an occulting light (which means it’s mostly on with short periods of darkness instead of mostly dark with short flashes of light) of x seconds duration…it flashes white, white, red every 45 seconds. So it’s easy to identify both visually in the daytime due to it’s unique paint scheme as well as by night. Pretty good idea as if you look at the geography it’s pretty much the first thing you see when coming in from Europe to Newfoundland.

D75 3009

As you can see from the tilted layers…this entire area was laid down by volcanic lava flows sometime in the really distant past…then as it was uplifted when either the glaciers receded or the teutonic plates collided it wasn’t pushed up evenly but on a slant…these layers are about 10 feet thick and the entire coastline is like this.

D75 3013

Connie staring out to sea…next stop is the UK in that direction…Neil told her it was too far to see…not enough height of eye to overcome the distance to the horizon thing ya know.

D75 3016

D75 3018

Whale tour boat returning from a trip.

D71 6464

D75 3025

Ya think? The cliffs here are probably 150-160 feet tall and range from the sloping down to the sea slabs above to rocky hillsides you could probably climb down if you were forced into it to vertical slap cliffs down to the water.

D75 3032

The light was built in 1843 and served until 1962.

D71 6488

D71 6490

D75 3031

Kitchen area of the lighthouse…the door that is open shows you the counterweight that the keeper had to go and crank to the top every 2 hours or so…took about 15 minutes and then he had two hours of turning the light before he or one of his kids or spouse had to go up and do it again.

D75 3049

Top end of the rotating mechanism.

D75 3054

The unique light structure…the light itself no longer is in service…it’s been replaced by an automatic light out back but it’s been restored to the condition it was in back in the late 1870s

D75 3053

Nearby is a statue and memorial to John Cabot…who based on his name you would probably think was English…but then you would be wrong. He was a Venetian whose actual name was Giovanni Caboto who had a patent from Henry VII to find a western passage to Asia. On June 24, 1497 he landed somewhere on the eastern seaboard of what is now Canada. Sources do not allow unequivocal identification of his landing point…and no hard evidence exists either way…but local Newfoundland oral tradition has it that he landed at Cape Bonavista. That’s their story…and Ima gonna guess they’re stickin’ to it.

D75 3058

Our next stop was lunch…we headed about 5 klicks back into Bonavista for our previously selected by the DLETC destination…Shannon’s Pub. I gotta tell ya…we’ve been in probably hundreds of Irish pubs both in the old country and around North America…and this one is the closest we’ve found on this continent in character to an actual Irish Irish pub. We knew when we walked in and inventoried the taps that it would be good because …blimey, they’ve got Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale on tap…we’ve found 2 or maybe 3 total Irish Pubs in North America that have it…and I gotta tell ya it’s one of the finest beers we’ve ever quaffed. What makes it so interesting is that it’s got the flavor profile of an Irish Red Ale…but a mouth feel like a smooth creamy Guinness Stout. Smooth going down I tellya…

So we quickly ordered a couple of pints…and then eventually another single pint which we split as we were getting full by then. To go along with it we split a BLT with Cheese Panini type sandwich and a bowl of Irish Onion soup. It’s similar to French Onion Soup…but it’s made with chicken stock or milk instead of wine and beef broth and flavored with mustard…then instead of having the bread toasted and put on top the bread is mixed in with the soup so it gets all gooey and creamy then covered with Gruyère (a wonderful Swiss cheese made in France). My oh my…was it good. So very rich though…that even though it was a small bowl about 10 ounces or so between half of that and half of the BLT we were stuffed…so stuffed that we didn’t even eat dinner. 

IMG 5242

IMG 8807

Mighty good Ima tellin’ ya…mighty good.

After lunch…we headed another 4 or 5 klicks out of town to a Puffin viewing area…basically a small rock right off the coast separated by about 10 yards or so of water…just enough to keep predators away I guess. It was populated by thousands of Puffins, Murre, and Gannets which are the same birds we saw over on Skellig Michael off the southwest tip of Ireland…small wonder though, both Ireland and Newfoundland are islands at about the same latitude in the North Atlantic and both are warmed by the Gulf Stream. So not only does the landscape look eerily similar to Ireland’s…particularly over here on the eastern side…but the bird life is pretty similar as well. As you can see…there were literally thousands…probably 10s of thousands…of ‘em. The third shot is about 10 or 12 feet wide so you can see the density…and the entire rock was probably 40 yards by 40 yards.

D75 3066

D75 3090

D75 3103

D75 3106

D75 3117

D75 3129

D75 3213

On the way back home…we stopped and got some shots at the Northwest River…more of a rapids than a true waterfall…these shots are looking downstream from the bridge over it…there wasn’t any way to get shots looking upstream without crashing the golf course…and Ima sure they wouldna liked that.

D75 3241

D75 3249

Sunday we went to Mass then after a quick lunch headed out for a quick look at Terra Nova NP…unfortunately most of the park is one of those drive through and look type of parks…not many hikes to speak of and nothing really of our length. Connie’s hip was hurting some today…so we just stopped by for a quick peek at Pissamare Falls right off of one of the parking lots. Not really much to see though…only about 15 feet tall and not much water flowing over it…we’re a little late for the spring melt runoff.

 D75 3256 AuroraHDR2018 edit

One last stop as we headed for home…there was a nice overlook at the top of a hill right off of the TCH named Blue Hill and Neil got a nice pano overlooking what’s known as the Western Arm. The Adirondack chairs…or Muskova chairs as the Canucks call ‘em…are frequently placed at viewpoints by the Park Service up here. The water you see in the distance is the Western Arm…this view is looking east-southeast and it eventually connects up to the Atlantic.

Really…a beautiful day today…and yesterday for that matter. Warm…a nice breeze…and we even changed into shorts before we went out today instead of jeans.

D75 3268 Pano Edit

OK…on to interesting things found on the net.

Somebody had a bad day today…

BadDay

Ever seen a turbocharged grill? Tune is a race car term that means to adjust it for a maximum performance. A turbocharger is an exhaust driven compressor that pumps a lot more air into an engine than it would get normally…hence more power. Big Red has one on his Cummins diesel…which is what makes him so powerful.

TurboGrill

No words needed here.

CallDad

And finally…a slogan we can get behind.

ShutUpLiver

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

l’Anse aux Meadows World Heritage Site

With two days left in Quirpon NL…we just had two remaining Fun Stuff© things to take care of…so on Monday we took care of the first of them…a visit to the Viking…or more properly Norse…settlement site…or more properly base camp…at l’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site…which is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site about 10 klicks northwest of Quirpon on the coast…I’ll discuss both of those “more properly” statements in a bit. Then on Tuesday we’ll do laundry as our hamper is getting full…when it’s cold you need to wear more clothes and most of the time we’re in a jeans with a t-shirt covered by a sweatshirt/rugby shirt and then a hoodie over the top of that…it’s not the temperature as much as the wind and the wind chill it causes. After laundry…we’ll head back down in late afternoon for a return visit to Fisherman’s Point where we were yesterday to attend the Viking Dinner Theater.

Ok…let’s talk about first those two “more properly” things and then about the settlement a bit.

First up…Norse versus Vikings…let’s straighten that out first. As the guy in the movie at the l’Anse aux Meadows (it’s pronounced like lance ah meadows…hey, it’s French) World Heritage site said…Vikings sounds so much more cool than Norsemen that the term Vikings is generically used. But here’s the deal…they were Norsemen first and Vikings second. Norsemen…and Norsewomen of course…are a Germanic strain of European stock that populated the Scandinavian countries. Most people think that they’re Norse because they come from Norway…but they actually inhabited Sweden and Denmark as well as Norway…and like most people everywhere…they were farmers, herdsmen, hunters, smiths, ironworkers and all the other occupations a culture needs to survive. However…they also invented the famous Viking longboat with the dragon prow, shields on the sides, and red and white striped seals in about the year 850AD or so…and like a lot of people back at that time they went on raids…and called themselves Vikings when they were on their raiding trips. They pillaged along all of the northern coastline of Europe and the UK as well as the Baltic Sea and into the Mediterranean all the way to the Middle East…while others went on first exploration journeys and then settlement journeys to Iceland about a week or so’s travel from Norway, then on to Greenland, and eventually on to North America as I’ll talk about in a bit. So Norse was their nationality and Viking is kind of a period term for what we would call SEAL Teams today I guess…they were raiders but also explorers and traders. So that’s the first “more properly” taken care of…you should use either term for them depending on what portion of their culture and activities you’re referring to.

The second “more properly” is whether the building site here at l’Anse aux Meadows is a settlement or not…and there it’s really a matter of semantics. Settlements are intended to be long term colonies with a permanent presence and hence have fields to farm, livestock, women and children and all the other accoutrements of what one would call home. A base camp is a temporary living arrangement so you don’t have to sleep on the ground while you’re temporarily in a location for whatever reason.

So…why in the heck would anybody want to settle here in northern Newfoundland…it’s cold and windy…but we know the answer to that question now. After the successful establishment of colonies on Iceland and the southwest corner of Greenland…the guy in charge of the Greenland was a guy you’re probably heard of…his name was Erik Thorvaldsson…also known as Erik the Red. Turns out that the colony in Greenland was short of a few things they really needed…wood for one and iron for another. Wood to make structures and boats and iron to make most importantly nails for doing boat repairs and secondarily weapons to defend the colony. So Erik the Red decided that instead of the long voyage back to Iceland…which had some wood but no iron…or back to Scandinavia…which had both…to undertake a voyage to the west to see what he could find. Old Erik mounted, manned, and equipped an expedition…but then on the way down to the pier to leave his horse stumbled. He decided this was a bad omen…why no one is really sure as by this time most of the Norse had become Christians but they still devoted a lot of time to pleasing Odin and the other gods I guess…anyway as it was a bad omen he decided not to lead the expedition but to send his son instead…another guy you might have heard of named Leif Eiriksson. His last name was different because he was Erik’s son…hence Eiriks-son or Eiriksson…don’t ask me why dad’s first name and son’s first name are spelled different…it’s just because. The Old Norse spelling is Eirikr…so that explains the son’s spelling but dad’s name has been Anglicized over the years I guess.

So old Leif headed out with the expedition…and since the Norse mostly operated along the coastline and followed currents…and since he didn’t really know what was to the west of Greenland at all…left port in Greenland and proceeded up the west side of Greenland a bit until they saw land to the west according to the Norse sagas anyway…but the land is about 300 miles away so he must have had an inkling it was there…anyway they went up the Davis Strait a bit then west to what is now known as Baffin Island…and turned south along the coast. At the southern end of the island he continued south across to the northern tip of what is now Labrador and continued south until about even with the north end of Newfoundland. There was plenty of timber available on Labrador…but they could see land across the sea to the east and wondered what was there…so they crossed over to Newfoundland and landed somewhere around 1,000AD.

Now the climate was warmer 1,000 years ago…and the land here at l’Anse aux Meadows was lower as it hadn’t finished rising back from being depressed by the last ice age…so the beach was a little farther inland than now and the bay was a bit deeper than it is now. What they found was a nice little bay protected by a couple of islands offshore…and to the west was what they thought was a fjord that was closed by land at the southern end. This body of water is the Gulf of Saint Lawrence which connects…unbeknownst to the Norse…to the Atlantic at it’s southern end. They named this area Vinland after wine…but since wild grapes have never grown on Newfoundland they must have had another reason for the name. Between that and the remains of butternuts that they found in the what I’ll call the base camp as it’s currently understood…the Norse must have explored further south into Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

There’s another story about the discovery…in the second one Leif sailed back to Norway in 999AD and converted to Christianity…and was given the mission of taking Christianity to Greenland where he lived. On the return voyage he was blown off course and came into Newfoundland from the east…sighting the entrance to what he thought was a fjord at l’Anse aux Meadows and landing there…naming the area Vinland. From the scholar’s interpretation of the two sagas…the Saga of Erik the Red and the Saga of the Greenlanders…these were written down in about 1,200AD after being passed down as oral tradition for about 200 years…and from what Neil understands about the prevailing winds and currents in the Davis Strait…which are basically north to south…and based on the fact that Baffin Island off he mainland is about 300+ miles from Greenland and hence out ofd sight…the later explanation makes more sense. According to the most literal translation of the two sagas…a merchant named Bjarni Herjólfsson sighted land to the west of Greenland at an earlier date…but he didn’t land as he was hurrying home for Yuletide ale. Like much of ancient history…it’s a lot of tea leaf reading and using a very few actual facts, a few more generally supported ideas without factual evidence to back them up, and general cultural and technology capabilities to come up with a most likely scenario. According to the sagas…Leif landed first on a land he named Helluland or Flat Rock Land, likely Baffin Island, then proceeded south to a forested place he named Markland, likely Labrador, and then on to a location with a milder climate and abundant salmon he named Vinland, definitely l’Anse aux Meadows in Newfoundland.He wintered over where he landed then headed home with knowledge of the discovery and a cargo of timber and grapes…the grapes had to have come from New Brunswick so he know he explored that far at least…and the sagas talk of explorations to the south.

So Leif and his band of probably 3 ships as there are 3 houses and Norse usually lived with one crew per house…established a base camp here to gather wood to take back to Greenland and sell…and to make at least one batch of iron to make nails to repair their ships. They were here for for awhile…long enough to build buildings at least…before sailing back to Greenland. Subsequent voyages were also made by other Norse merchants…perhaps as many as 4 in total over a period of approximately 10 years although the exact number is undetermined except for analysis of levels in the middens or garbage dumps…at which point the Norse abandoned the settlement permanently. They continued to harvest timber from Labrador for about 300 more years but the sagas talk about relations with the local indigenous people souring…in any event they left and their structures were burned…it’s not clear whether they were burned by the Norse or the natives and the sagas have no information on that.

Along in the early 1960s…a Norwegian fella had an interest in proving that the first Europeans to set foot on North America were Norse and not Christopher Columbus some 500 years later. He sailed up the Atlantic coast asking anybody who he could if they knew of any ruins in the area. He found nothing until he got to the small village of l’Anse aux Meadows…we’ve been there and it’s really small…and he found an old local man who offered to take him to what the locals called the “old Indian camp”. On arrival and seeing the remains…he immediately recognized them as Norse in character and he and his archeologist wife spent the next 7 years excavating the site to try and prove it was a Norse site.

They eventually found several artifacts that confirmed this was a Norse settlement…first up was the remains of an iron forge and since the local natives didn’t have any iron that proved it was Europeans…and then they found a Norse style cloak clasp and Norse metal tools…thus providing convincing evidence that this was a Norse settlement and it must be Leif Eiriksson’s as the sagas indicate.

The site has been completely excavated and then the original buildings reburied…3 of them have been reproduced using period Norse techniques and construction methods. It was named a World Heritage Site in 1978 and was the first Cultural World Heritage site designated…that requires a bit more explanation…don’t worry…Ima getting to photos eventually.

Some 250,000 years ago Homo Sapiens developed in central Africa and about 150,000 years ago they started migrating northwards through Africa. Once north of the Mediterranean Sea they ended up migrating in both directions…those that went east eventually populated Mongolia, China, Asia and then across the land bridge into North and South America and became the indigenous peoples of those areas. Those that went west eventually became Europeans but the Atlantic Ocean prevented humans from encircling the earth until Leif Eiriksson came along. Somewhere along these shores…probably not at l’Anse aux Meadows as although it’s been occupied for the last 6,000 years or so there were not indigenous people in this area during the time the Norse were here. They were north and south of this area…and since the Norse were both north and south of this area somewhere along the line the eastward migrating people from Africa eventually met the westward migrating European people and finished the task of humans encircling the planet.

Probably didn’t happen right at the settlement…but since it’s the first known Norse settlement in North America…it happened somewhere around here…hence the first World Cultural Heritage Site designation.

The base camp was mostly men…but there were clearly some women involved as loom weight stones have been found in the ruins…and it was only temporarily occupied by each successive timber harvesting voyage until it’s eventual abandonment. From the excavations…the camp had a maximum population of 160 or so…given that the Greenland colony in 1,000AD had a population of only 2,500 or so…it’s unlikely that multiple base camps or additional settlements were made as they just didn’t have the people to do so.

Ok…another of that blather…let’s have some photos.

One of the excavated houses…it’s a typical Norse longhouse…what remains are the outlines of the foundation walls. The walls were 6 feet thick…2 feet of peat on the inside and outside with 2 feet of sand and gravel in between them. The roof was a layer of wood, then peat, then wood, then sod. There were generally 4 rooms…starring from the entrance there was the women’s work area, the men’s work area…both doubled as their sleeping area…then the kitchen, then the private sleeping quarters where leader and/or the women slept. You’re looking at about a 45 degree angle from the front, the stone plaque at the left side is about half way along the long dimension of the building.

D75 2959

The larger longhouse…this one is differentiated ty a couple of things. This is more of a view down the length of the longhouse…the plaque is in the center of the short dimension and the grass humps leading back and to the left are the foundations. Off to the left side there’s a 3 sided attached boat house…you are looking at the back wall with the open end on the far side…and along the right side of the main building are storerooms. Since the storerooms would have been used to store the materials they were gathering to take back and sell…and since this is the biggest building…the archaeologists have concluded this was most likely occupied by Leif Eiriksson himself.

D75 2962

Yeah…I know that the remains of them ain’t much to look at…so here are some rebuilt ones. They were built to the same dimensions inside and out as the originals and the top parts are constructed largely as the Norse settlements in Greenland and Iceland are constructed…all the buildings were burned so there is some divergence probably. They were built using original construction materials and techniques though…so they are as authentic as possible.

Leif’s house with a tent containing a bowl turning lathe inside it on the left. The guy walking towards us next to the building is dressed as a Norse of 1,000AD would be dressed…he was working on stripping the bark off of the log leaning against the building with a spokeshave.

D75 2964

The smaller of he reconstructed houses in the back and the slave/servant quarters in the foreground.

D75 2966

Connie doing her best Viking impersonation/reenactment…she’s of Swedish heritage ya know…so her ancestors coulda been here.

D75 2970

Cooking and sleeping area.

D71 6433

Period dressed woman doing some sewing.

D75 2973

The bay where the longships entered and landed…the ocean is out of frame to the right, the beach to the left and there are a couple of islands sheltering the bay entrance offshore.

D75 2974

Smithy and iron maker building…they smelted at least one batch of iron here to make nails…from the amount of slag remaining they produced about 5 pounds of raw iron which probably made 100 or so nails…including the one that was lost and found in the 1960s archeological dig.

D75 2980

Inside construction…you can see the peat inner walls and the roof supporting structure.

D75 2984

Couldn’t pass up a couple of small waterfalls on the creek that runs through the site and provided both drinking and bathing water for the Norse.

D75 2985

D75 2997

After we finished at the National Historic Site…we headed a couple of clicks down the road to the end of the point where the little village of l’Anse aux Meadows is located. Nothing much to be found there, one craft shop, one restaurant and a couple dozen houses maximum. They did have a statue of old Leif situated looking out over the bay near the end of town…so Neil pulled over and Connie got some photos. The plaques to the left detail the origin of the statue…the original was sculpted for the Seattle Century 21 Exposition in 1962 and replicas were given to Trondheim in Norway (the ancient capital of the Nordic region) and Brattahild in Greenland (the location of Erik the Red’s farm)…followed by this one in 2013 which is dedicated all Nordic immigrants to North America. We’re glad ‘round these parts for Nordic immigrants…other wise we would have any blondes and in particular we wouldn’t have Connie…Neil wouldn’t like that.

D71 6455

Interesting things found on the net.

Connie found this image of Carrigafoyle…which according to oconnorclans.com is “Carrigafoyle was the stronghold of the O’Connor Kerry. It was built in 1490 by Conor Liath O’Connor Kerry. It is made with limestone and stands in a strategic position on the edge of the Shannon Estuary, in an almost impenetrable position on what was originally an island. It is five stories high. One of its interesting features is the wide spiral stairs of 104 steps which leads to the battlements. The location enabled the O’Connor Kerry to intercept ships as they passed along the river and to extract a ‘tax’ in the form of a portion of their cargo. The castle was a target for the Elizabethan forces and was finally breached by Sir William Pelham in 1580 when all of the occupants were massacred.”

So what’s important about it? Neil is descended from the Connors…you remember his 5th great grandfather Richard Connor who founded Detroit from a couple years back and his 12th great grandfather Conor O’Connor who was born in the old country of Ireland in 1530 so about another 3 or 4 generations back you would find his something or other great grand father Conor Liath O’Connor Kerry who built Carrigafoyle. Pretty darned cool I think. So his ancestors basically built a toll booth on the estuary…which worked pretty good until they were massacred in 1580…but obviously either Conor Liath or one of his children survived or Neil wouldn’t be here.

IMG 0117

My kind of gun control.

GunControl

Say this slowly and think about it.

SayThatSlowly

Titles…well, they’re hard I guess.

TitlesAreHard

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Quirpon Newfoundland

With our work at Gros Morne National Park finished…we were ready to head on to Quirpon NL which is way, way on the far northern tip of Newfoundland…all the way up to 51.5 degrees North Latitude…the northern limit of our travels for this season…so it’s pretty much all southward from here I guess.

Neil had dumped our waste tanks and filled our fresh water tank the afternoon before…we were warned at Cow Head that the water farther north was less than fully satisfactory…so we brought on a full 100 gallons before we left Seabreeze which had really good water…and decided to just live on internal supplies and our water pump for the 4 nights at Quirpon and the one night in Deer Lake as we head south back to the TCH (Trans Canada Highway) and east across the island to Eastport and then Saint John’s. With the relative scarcity…or so we had been told but there is actually plenty here but at a higher price…of diesel fuel…we had filled up halfway through our last travel day to Cow Head and this will give us enough to easily get to Quirpon and back down to the TCH intersection at Deer Lake…there’s an Irving there which is the Canuck equivalent of Pilot or Flying J. The only thing we really should have done in addition was get more propane…but when Neil checked we still had a full 40 pound cylinder and the other one was reading well over half…but when he looked on arrival in Quirpon the partially used one is down to about 1/4…but then we used a bit in Cow Head on a couple of cold mornings. No worries though…with our limited use what we have will be fine and if we are running short we’ll toss a cylinder in Little Red when we head down to St. Anthony on Tuesday afternoon for the Viking Dinner Theater.

Anyway…we were up and getting ready to get on the road early as we anticipated a slower than normal average speed due to roads…and we were definitely right although it wasn’t just the roads. As you get farther north in Newfoundland…the roads get even more Alaska like…as I discussed before they have issues with roads, snow, and snow plows and have just accepted a lower standard than we’re used to in the lower 48. They patch the potholes as best as they can…and put up these little warning signs with a black bar with a sinusoidal up and down top part indicating the rough patch ahead…basically the sign means “Rough Road…Tough Nuggies”.

That wasn’t really the only problem though…the weather didn’t cooperate either. It was foggy enough that we had to slow well below the speed limit of 90 kph (56 mph) several times and it was cold, rainy, and windy all day…which made driving in it a real joy. There were no rest stops…so whenever we had to pee we just pulled off into whatever wide spot we found and ran inside the rig. Then there was the short stop for an emergency repair on one of our slide seals…although Neil actually accomplished a complete proper repair instead of a temporary fix. RV slide seals have two parts…a set of wiper thingies sort of like wide windshield wiper blades that rubs along the edge of the slide as it goes in and out and seals the water with a secondary seal on top of it facing outwards so that when the slide seats fully in it contacts the secondary seal and keeps it weather tight. The wiper part is glued/screwed to the wall and the secondary seal slides into a track attached to the wiper part…with just a little plastic catch to keep it from sliding down and off. Well…the catch wore out and the secondary seal slide down…luckily Connie saw it and we pulled over to fix it. The fix is simple…just screw a small sheet metal screw through the secondary seal into the fiberglass wall to hold it permanently in place…we were only stopped for 10 minutes while he fixed it and while it was still windy on the side of the road at least it wasn’t raining at the time.

The last 30 miles or so the weather cleared up and it was just cloudy although it remained cold and windy…and we arrived on schedule pretty much at Viking RV Park in Quirpon…it’s right down the road from l’Anse aux Meadows which is a National Historic Site in Canada…it’s the location of the first European settlement in the New World around 1000AD by the Vikings. We quickly got checked in and backed into site 15…I’ll get Neil to grab a photo for ya when he’s next outside…but it’s pretty much like an Alaskan or Yukon campground…gravel sites pretty close together. Water and power are provided to the site but no sewer…again we’ll just use our tank for the 4 nights we are here are and visit the dump station on the way out.

We had leftover spaghetti bolognese sauce that we were originally going to eat…but instead headed up to Skipper Hot’s Tavern just a couple of klicks up the road…that’s Army speak for kilometers. We had a couple pints each of Rickard’s Red Ale…mighty tasty…along with a burger for Neil (that they actually left slightly underdone by Canuck standards…it was gray all the way through instead of pink but at least it still had some juices in it…Connie had home made chicken strips. We ran into the same Canuck couple MJ and her husband that Neil had met walking along the dikes at the campground in Hopewell NB and chatted with them for an hour or so…and fellow NHOGers the Garafolos are also here in Viking RV Park.

So…it turns out that June and July in northern Newfoundland is what the Newfies call Iceberg Season…we had really not thought about them being here until the past couple of days and it turns out that there are a goodly number of them in the area. Not surprising really…when you look at the map immediately north and west of Newfoundland is Labrador and immediately east of there is Greenland with the Davis Strait separating Greenland from Labrador…the exit from the strait into the North Atlantic is only about 450 miles north of Quirpon. Since something over half of all the icebergs in the world come from the glaciers on the western side of Greenland and since the current and prevailing winds in the Davis Strait are north to south…guess which way the icebergs go. Despite the distance though…it typically takes 2 full years for a ‘berg to make it’s way from the western side of Greenland down to Newfoundland and thence into the Atlantic…they’re big, heavy, and don’t have much windage so they really don’t move very quickly at all.

With that in mind…we headed out this morning for a drive down to St. Anthony…that’s another strange thing about NL…St. Anthony is usually referred to with the St instead of Saint…weird…anyways we headed out as the website Connie checked…icebergfinder.com…who knew…said that there were a couple down there in some of the bays. First up was Mass at the church down there…well actually it was really a prayer service since no priest was available. Their local parish priest is on vacation so the fill in guy only gets there every other week for a full Mass. In the alternate weeks…one of the parishioners does a service which looks and sounds strangely like an actual Mass would be…except he skips the parts that only a priest can do like the Consecration of the bread and wine and the blessing at the end…lay people can’t do that part. What they do is make sure that when the actual priest is here he Consecrates enough bread to cover the service the following weekend. Never been to a Mass like that before…but it works. After that…we stopped by Tim Horton’s (Canuck Starbucks but really more like a Dunkin Donuts in atmosphere) for a couple of sandwiches for lunch and a couple of pastries for breakfast tomorrow…maple pecan danish…yum.

Then it was off to Fisherman’s Point for our first iceberg sightings…and man was the wind cold whipping off of the North Atlantic…brrrr.

A couple of views from Fisherman’s Point.

D75 2855

D75 2857

And the iceberg right off the point. All of the icebergs in this post are no longer drifting…they’ve run aground. They generally are drifting south in the Davis Strait and then southeast into the open ocean…but some of them get caught up by wind or tide and shoved into the bays and inlets along the coast where they run around and stay there until they melt enough so that the draft is less then they drift a little farther into the bay…they never get out as that would be upwind and up current…and eventually they just melt away…or get so rotten with melt that they collapse like the edge of a glacier does when the iceberg originally calves from it.

D75 2864

Slightly wider shot of the same ‘berg for scale…that’s about a 16 or 18 foot boat at the far left side of the frame…so this one is probably 200 or 250 feet wide and 60 or 70 feet tall. Don’t forget…these are just really big ice cubes so most of the mass…about 90%…is underwater and the maximum draft of an iceberg is about 5 to 10 times it’s height above the water…no wonder they run aground.

D75 2866

Connie got a shot of the Fox Point Light with it’s associated loud sumbich fog horn…seems they have a lot of those up here. We saw several fog banks drift across the points and bays during our day so it can go from this clear blue sky to pea soup fog in 5 minutes then back to bright blue sky 15 minutes later after the bank passes.

D71 6403

A smaller iceberg…this is probably what would be classified as a bergy bit based on it’s size…ti’s off to the right from the big one above and in a smaller cove next to the point. It’s only about 40 or so feet wide and maybe 15 tall…although you can see some of the light green areas that are shallowly submerged portions of the berg.

D75 2868

Neil got another shot of the Fox Point Light with the big one in the background…it’s actually only about 100 or 120 yards from the shore.

D75 2889

The big one again…but the sun came out and highlighted some of the areas…take note of the bright spot at the center of the bottom edge…it’s in another photo later.

D75 2893

Turning around 180 degrees from the above shot…this is the reconstructed Viking Longhouse where we’ll be attending the Viking Dinner Theater on Tuesday.

D71 6420 Edit

This is the bright spot from a couple photos back…zoomed in. We originally thought it was a hole melted through but it’s actually just a piece sticking out from the side and illuminated as it comes out from the shadow of the top part. Icebergs actually melt from the bottom rather than the top…the heat transfer ice to water is much greater than ice to air so throughout it’s life a berg keeps flipping over as the bottom melts and it becomes top heavy. I’ve seen videos on youtube and such that show the flip and it’s a pretty quick thing…one minute this huge chunk of ice is sitting there and in the next 15 seconds it rolls completely inverted.

D75 2902

Next we headed another 10 or 12 klicks south to Goose Cove where there was an even larger iceberg. On the way out to the point…we passed Redneck Santa’s abandoned sleigh…

D75 2912

The entrance to the harbor at Goose Cove…the marker marks the rocks on the near side of the inlet with the ocean out of frame to the left and the harbor to the right.

D75 2916

The largest one we saw today…the pillars are about 120 feet high by our estimation and it’s over 100 yards wide. It used to be much larger but the center section between the two remaining pillars has completely melted except for the shallow submerged greenish section you can see in-between the pillars.

D71 6424

Neil was able to zoom in a little more on both the whole thing and each of the pillars. Nice detail in the surface…definitely too big to fit in our cocktail glasses.

D75 2917

D75 2918

D75 2919

Bill…we found you a plane. This is a WW-II era US Navy amphibious patrol plane known as a PB-Y Catalina. This one was re-purposed by the Canuck Forest Service into an aerial tanker for fighting forest fires…it’s here as a memorial to the crew of another PB-Y that crashed and killed the crew during fire fighting operations. In flight…it would come down like it was going to land on the water and open a scoop on the front of the boat portion…then skim right over the surface and scoop up a plane load of water in 10 or 15 seconds.

D75 2926 Edit

D75 2927

With that our day was mostly done…so we headed back for the 40 or so klick trip back to Quirpon. Passed Triple Falls along the way…literally right alongside the highway and Neil took these from the shoulder.

D75 2930 Luminar2018 edit

D75 2941 Luminar2018 edit

Another small berg we passed just before reaching Quirpon again…this one is only about 10 or 12 feet high and 50 or so wide.

D75 2947

Everybody heats their homes with wood up here…this is the wood pile at one person’s house…and it was not the largest one we say today…and this is what’s leftover from last winter’s pile unless he’s already started working on next winter’s pile. There are numerous piles of firewood out along the sides of the highway that folks are in the middle of cutting…so more likely this is starting to build up for next winter. 

D75 2949

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment

Gros Morne National Park

Wednesday and Thursday were devoted to the remainder of Gros Morne National Park…while Western Brook Pond is in the park that was a longish day so we ignored all the other stuff we passed on the park road both coming and going. Wednesday we did the southern and central portion of the park on basically a drive around tour with a couple of short hikes…while Thursday we did the northern section and went to the visitor center.

Both days the weather by the time we got out was really windy…and cold in addition on Wednesday…50s and 25+ knots of wind. Thursday dawned calm and with a forecast high of about 70…that remained true for the morning when Neil was airing up truck tires but by the time we headed out it was still warm but blowing hard again…which made for a difficult drive as most of the park road is right along the shore of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence and with that much wind coming directly in from your side poor old Little Red was gettin’ blown all over the road…especially as it wasn’t steady but a really gusty wind instead.

We had chicken and rice for dinner Wednesday night…but Thursday headed out to the Gros Morne Theater Festival to see a dinner theater performance of The SS Ethie…a shipwreck just south of here. The Ethie was a coastal steamer that was wrecked in December 1919. It wasn’t the storm that caused her downfall but rather the build up of ice on the hull in combination with the storm pushing her toward the lee shore…with the ice she was unable to turn into the seas and hence get farther offshore for safety. At the last minute…the captain decided that instead of foundering on the rocks he would go full steam ahead onto Point Martin…by doing that she would still wreck but would be close enough to shore for passengers and crew to be rescued via high line to the clifftop instead of being too far offshore to reach. The plot was basically a comedy about the passengers and crew on the ship for it’s last voyage. 

Before I get into the photos from our drive…here are a series of shots taken from just in front of the rig on the bay shore at both low and high tide…they’re in pairs with the view at low tide followed by one at high tide. Don’t know what the tidal range is…but as you can see it’s a pretty significant difference between the two.

D75 2771

D75 2794

D75 2772

D75 2795

D75 2773

D75 2796

On to photos from our drive.

Looking west across the East Arm of a large fjord in the southern part of the park…Bonne Bay is the seaward portion and it splits into the East and South Arms. 

D71 6324

D71 6332

South East Brook Falls.

D71 6340

D71 6354

D75 2805 AuroraHDR2018 edit

D75 2815 AuroraHDR2018 edit

D75 2832

The Tablelands…you can see why they get their name as they’re flat on the top. According to the explanation signs…they’re actually part of the magma of the earth instead of the crust but were thrust upwards through the crust. Really moonscape-like…almost no vegetation on them as the soil is too acidic for anything to grow.

D71 6360

D71 6374

D71 6379

The wreckage of the SS Ethie…a little of it is still in the water but most of the remaining bits you can see are on the rocky beach.

D71 6381

D71 6385

D75 2848

Lobster Cove Head lighthouse…the light tower is steel instead of masonry and is attached horizontally to the keeper’s quarters in the foreground.

D75 2852 Luminar2018 edit

Steps and hatch leading to the tower…they wouldn’t let me in.

D75 2854

We headed out to the Gros Morne Theater Festival for dinner and a play…dinner was pan fried cod, mashed taters, veggies, and cheesecake with Partridge Berries (what Newfies call Lingonberries) for dessert. The play was a historical comedy-drama based on the actual wreck of the SS Ethie I discussed above…including the saving of baby Hilda who went ashore in mail sack. The play was essentially about a play about the shipwreck…with the director keeping interrupting the action for various cast instructions and plot changes. Not the best play we’ve ever seen…but certainly entertaining with a cast of 6 playing about15 different parts…they started the play before dinner and announced no intermission but they did take a half hour break or so to serve the meal…and the actors were the waiters and waitresses.

After dinner we came home…and the house is really rocking and rolling…according to the weather app it’s only 17 knots but it’s really at lest 30 and more than that in the gusts. 17 knots my ass sez Neil…sitting in our recliners it feels like you’re sitting in Big Red towing the rig down one of the highways here.

Tomorrow we’re just lazing ‘round…nothing planned although we may go back to Neddy’s Pub for some more brewskis and dinner since it is Lobster Festival Weekend, eh…here in Cow head. Then Saturday morning we’re off to our next stop in Quirpon at the northern tip of the island…where the Vikings established the first European settlement in North America about 1000AD…or 1000CE if you’re not into the religious suffix for the date.

Interesting things found on the net.

Not really what I expected.

NotWhatIExpected

Beautifully put.

BeautifullyPut

Nuttin’s getting past this woman.

ATMSecurityLevelGrandma

Another headline somebody waited his whole life to write.

WholeLifeHeadline

And finally…wait for it…wait…

WaitForIt

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | 1 Comment

Western Brook Pond NL Boat Trip

Today’s fun Stuff was a trip over to Western Brook Pond…which is actually a lake despite the name. Way back during the last ice Age…what is now known as the extinct Western Brook Glacier gouged out a valley leading basically out to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence…at that time the glaciers went all the way to the Gulf. Then the ice age ended and the glaciers melted…and what resulted some 12,000 years ago was a fjord. For those of you who don’t know what a fjord is…it’s a valley that was gouged out as a result of glacial action and is connected to the ocean and hence is salt water. See Norway and places like that for further examples. So what happened was that 12,000 (or so…I’m not sure on the precision of that time estimate)…years ago there was this fjord. Unfortunately for the fjord…the land near the mouth of the fjord into the Gulf had been depressed by the weight of the glacier…so over the next some thousand years the land…no longer being depressed…rebounded and rose above sea level…thus isolating the fjord and turning it into a salt water lake separated from the ocean by about 3 miles of land…except for what eventually became known as the Western brook draining it to the sea. Over the next some thousand years…the salt water drained out to sea…the now lake being constantly refilled by melting snow and glaciers…and it became a fresh water lake known now as Western Brook Pond.

Some pond though…it’s about 10 miles long and 2 miles wide at it’s widest point. Sheer, almost vertical cliff walls…at one point we were within about 20 yards of the shore and the depth finder in the cabin still showed a depth of over 200 feet. It’s surrounded by sheer rock walls that average about 1,800 feet or so tall with a highest elevation of 2,200 feet…and the lake…despite being slightly below sea level…has depths ranging up to about 800 feet deep with most of it being in the 350-500 foot deep range. The temperature of the lake today was 4 degrees Celsius…about 41 Fahrenheit…due to the constant feeding of snow melt water into it. By the end of August the temperature will be all the way up to 20 Celsius or about 68F as the sun warms it after the snow quits melting…although Ima thinking the deeper parts will still be closer to 4C than 20C.

Anyways…we drove down about 18 kilometers (12 miles) south and parked…ready for our almost 2 mile hike from the parking lot into the boat dock. The only troubles were that the temperature was only about 50 F…and it decreased to the low 40s by the time we got to the lake due to the cold water in the lake…and the wind was blowing right off of the Gulf at about 25 knots.

The good news was that whenever we were in the trees on our hike…which was essentially down the gravel road that gets fuel, parts, food, and other necessities to the boat dock area…was that the wind died down and the walk was actually not all that bad. The bad news was that about 2/3 of the hike was out in the open. Fortunately…the wind was at our backs on the way in…which meant that it was in our face on the way back to the parking lot…but by 1500 when we were heading back it was a lot warmer and the winds were down…not much but less than in the morning.

So at the dock…we had a sausage dog for lunch…that’s very similar to a hotdog except it was much longer and fatter, cheaper, and actually tasted good. A little mustard on it and it made a pretty darned good lunch. After lunch we sat out in the sun…protected from the wind…for awhile and then got in line and boarded the boat…about a 60 foot standard tour boat.

We then spent the next two hours boating to the far eastern end of the lake, dropping off a couple of hikers that were hiking 5 days eastward through the park, and coming back to the starting point. Fortunately…once we got into the narrower portion of the lake…it was in between the walls of the former fjord and the wind died down. So we spent most of the time out on the bow of the boat taking pictures…Connie had to keep going in for a few minutes to warm up but overall we had a pretty good tour…the photos and views were excellent, we met a couple of people on the boat and talked to them, and it was a great day overall.

After the ride…we hiked the 1.65 miles back to the parking lot for a total of about 3.3 miles total on the day…and headed home. Being as it was now 1600…we declared it to be 5 o’clock in Tel Aviv and headed off to Neddy’s Pub…the only drinking establishment in Cow Head for a beer…and a fine and excellent place it was sez Connie…me and Neil too.

Short aside here…Neil invented a cocktail today…but then this is the second time this week he’s invented one so let me give you the details on both of those.

First one…everybody (well, almost everybody) has heard of a Black Russian and a White Russian. These are made of Kahlúa (which is a coffee flavored liquor), vodka…and in the case of the White version cream. The Russian in the name comes from the vodka which is the traditional Russian drink. So the other day…Neil made himself a cocktail of Screech Rum (standard golden non-spiced rum), Kahlúa, and cream…hey, we don’t keep vodka around…and it was delish. So good that we figured we would make it again…which means it needs a name…and since rum is a Caribbean thing we (actually…Neil) decided to call it a White/Black Cuban instead of Russian. We thought about calling it a White/Black Jamaica-mon (pronounced with a Jamaican accent of course)…I think we’ll let the two alternatives percolate a bit and see which one sticks.

But I digress…back to today’s invention. The only draft brew they had was Black Horse which is a lager style beer…and hence doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor…so Neil ordered a shot of Captain Morgan’s Dark spiced rum on the side. After a couple of sips of the beer…he split the rum between the two pints and it really, really improved the taste of the lager…making it taste much more like a craft brew than it did before. Now you’ve probably heard of a drink called a Boilermaker before…it was invented in the western PA steel mill area and is a draft beer with a shot of whiskey dumped into it. Since this was a very similar concoction…we thought on it a bit…and continuing the riff on Caribbean culture decided to name it the Sugarmaker. It was so tasty that we’ll do it again whenever we’re forced to have a light lager style beer.

After our brews…we made it the last 500 yards back to the RV park and had dinner…which consisted of leftover fish/bacon/corn/potato/orzo pasta/shallot/roasted garlic/chopped chili/cheese/cream concoction…we call it fish chowder but it’s basically a cream type soup with whatever leftover protein we have, potatoes, bacon, and corn soup. So I gotta tell ya about one more invention we’ve come up with…although this one is a long standing one and not recent. You’ve probably noticed…assuming you eat leftovers anyway…that soup, stew, or pretty much anything tastes much better the second day than it did on the day you originally cooked it…and if you’re of a curious mind you’ve probably wondered just why that is.

Well…the proper culinary term for it is oodling…yes, oodling I said…and it’s the process by which things always taste better the second day. Just thought you should know what to call it…almost anything improves with oodling we always say.

Ok…enough of that blather…let’s have some photos.

A couple more shots of that cute l’ill black bear from yesterday…

D75 2525

D75 2520

Panoramic shot taken from behind the parking lot…this is the Long Range Mountains…which again are part of the Appalachian range from the old Pangea days as you recall from yesterday’s post…just left of center you can see a notch between the left and right sides of the fjord with the back of the fjord in-between them.

D75 2554 Pano

What the well dressed Sweetie…that’s how Neil has addressed Connie for 40something years now…wears on her hike in 40 degree 25 knot wind weather…jeans, heavy hiking socks and boots, t-shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie, Scottievest, headband to cover her ears, and gloves. The couple in the background turned out to be one of the ones we (well Neil actually) met and chatted with on the boat…her husband along with Connie kept succumbing to the cold and going inside to warm up while she and Neil stayed out on deck because…of course…we could always warm up later but we wouldn’t be in the fjord on the boat later.

D75 2560

Mostly…I’ll let the photos from within the fjord speak for themselves…except for those that deserve a little better explanation.

Closer up view of the notch of the fjord with the center section being another 3-4 miles back…the fjord itself curves to the left after it starts and goes mostly to the left of the background piece you can see.

D75 2564

The bog on the way to the boat landing.

D75 2566

Our boats…the larger one to the right had about 2/3 of our group and the smaller one to the left was what we rode. Our tour guide Colin said that it was the Fun Boat©…and while I don’t know if there was any fun on the larger boat Colin and his partner in crime (sorry, didn’t get her name, Megan maybe is the best we can remember…Colin spoke with a Newfie accent and was a bit tough to make out)…along with our skipper Randy…made our trip fun and informative. I asked Colin shouldn’t his name be Gilligan since we had a Skipper…but he said the hat didn’t look good on him.

D75 2570

Entering the fjord proper…south side.

D75 2573

And north side.

D75 2574

Hanging valley…formed when a smaller glacier comes in from the side and joins the main glacier…in this case the Western Brook Glacier. The side glaciers are smaller and hence lighter and therefore don’t cut the land as deep…resulting in the hanging valley once they recede.

D75 2580

Looking inland on the fjord…our companion tour boat is at the bottom…those cliffs are 1,800-2,200 feet high. 

D75 2586

D75 2591

The wall of the north side…we’re about 20 yards max from it here and the water is more than 200 feet deep.

D75 2595

Taken immediately after the above shot about 30 degrees to the right…we were on the port side of the bow. You can see the steepness of the side as it enters the water…that slope continues quite a ways down resulting in the depth close to the shore.

D75 2596

The first of many waterfalls…they told us the name but I forgot all the names but one…I’ll get to that one later.

D75 2600

Overview of the above falls…remember the cliffs here are on the order of 2,000 feet tall…so this one is probably 200 feet tall…and it was really the smallest one we saw.

D75 2603

Result of a landslide back in 2010.

D75 2607

Another landslide from 1994…they told us the exact date and time but I didn’t write it down…anyway one of the tour boats was about 500 yards to the left (west) of where several hundred thousand tons of rock fell into the lake. Scared the crap out of them Ima thinking.

D75 2613

D75 2616

Probably 30 yards wide and 500 feet tall.

D75 2623

Same falls as the above but wider view…at about 2,000 feet from lake to rim you can see the size…it’s really hard to appreciate just how large these are…but this shot was taken from probably 4 miles from the falls.

D75 2627

Looking back to the west…better photo of this later without the boat wake after we turned around.

D75 2630

The other named falls that I remember…Pissing Mare Falls. I’ll explain the significance later.

D75 2641

Pissing Mare Falls showing both the top and bottom sections. The lake surface is just out of frame at the bottom…google says this one is 1,148 feet tall and among the highest in North America. I’m not sure whether the 1,148 covers just the main drop or also the lower portion…but given the height of the fjord walls I’m guessing it’s just the top portion.

While I’m not sure why it was named that…there’s a lot of spray coming off of the top portion as the wind hits it…my guess is that female mammals of the equine variety tend to spray when they dispose of excess fluid from their bodies.

D75 2646

The Old Man feature. Just left of center you see the rim curve downward onto the man’s forehead, followed by his eye socket and nose, then mouth. He’s looking up at about a 40 degree angle and you’re looking at his left profile.

D75 2651

Almost to the end of the lake…that’s our turnaround just ahead another mile or so. We dropped off two hikers at the far end, just to the left around the last point you can see on the left side there’s a little dock…they’re embarking on a 5 day hike across the park. It was about 1330 when we dropped them off and they still have a 2,000ish foot climb to the rim for their first campground…and there are no marked trails so they’re basically making it up as they go along.

D75 2654

D75 2660

D75 2667

This is aa different fall from Pissing Mare…but you can see how the wind picks up a lot of spray off of the fall as it comes down. Don’t know the exact height…but based on the rim elevation it’s probably 100 feet wide and 500 or so feet tall. 

D75 2669

Looking eastward after we turned around…by then the morning overcast had mostly cleared and it was a beautiful blue sky day. We have been amazed how blue the skies are here in Newfoundland on clear days…must be the lack of air pollution.

D75 2686

D75 2709

D75 2712

D75 2719

Our fearless explorers as we headed back towards the mouth of the fjord and the dock…one of the folks we met took this one for us.

D71 6284

D71 6302

Another hanging valley.

D71 6310

D75 2733

Another named rock feature…this one is Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. You’re looking at his face from his front left…and you can see his right eye socket, nose, upper lip and mouth. Look just left of center.

D75 2753

Closeup of Tin Man to help you make out the feature. The face is probably 400 feet tall.

D75 2756

One last shot of Pissing Mare Falls just before we rounded the corner and lost sight of it. Colin said it was the most famous one in the park.

D71 6246

With that our day was done…so we headed for the aforementioned Happy Hour, dinner, and a shower.

After dinner…Neil went out for a couple of sunset shots around 2115 as it was a nice evening.

The rig sitting in site 6 at Seabreeze RV Park…Neil was sitting on a rock at the shoreline to take this…Big Red is maybe 100 feet from the water.

D75 2780a

Downtown Cow Head looking east from the campground.

D75 2783

Looking west as the sun started to set.

D75 2784 Luminar2018 edit

East again…wanted to show the campground office on the right side and the road you can see just in front of Big Red 3 images back…we’re right on the water.

D75 2785 Luminar2018 edit Edita

Ahh…a great end to a spectacular day…one of the best we’ve had in awhile for Fun Stuff©. Sure…it was cold and windy but the DLETC did a super job today. Thanks Connie!!

D75 2790 Luminar2018 edita

Interesting things found on the net…just a couple today as it’s already an image intense post and we have slow internet.

I would laugh every time I went into the toilet room if we had this one.

GetItWhileStillAvailable

Is he still faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?

CanHeStillLeapTallBuildings

Rules is rules ya know.

RulesIsRules

 

Cyas.

Posted in RV, Travel | Leave a comment