(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)
Well, we did a first today – we had our first stay over since visiting with the Man and Lady’s friends in Bragg Creek. We entered Gros Morne Park yesterday afternoon and had a wonderful time exploring. Met a Newfoundland man with his family at a viewpoint and he HAD to tell the Man his moose story. He drives about 37,000 miles (60,000 kilometres) a year with his business and felt he was very moose aware. Two weeks ago he and his wife hit a moose that leaped onto the road. Their SUV was totalled, the engine pushed right into the passenger compartment and the front part of the roof ripped right off. They were bruised, shaken and suffered facial injuries. The Man was impressed and is being a little more cautious in his moose hunt.
About 10 minutes later the Man and Lady saw a wonderful moose specimen on the side of the road. Unfortunately, the moose chose a spot where the Man couldn’t stop which they seem to do on purpose unless they’re flashing their butts. Not long after we pulled into the trailhead for the Western Brook Pond boat tour and met two hikers who told us there were TWO moose just around the curve of the trail.
The Man went tearing down the path and, lo and behold, there WERE two moose about 40 feet (10 metres) away chomping on reeds. The Man managed to get three pretty good photos of apparently girl mooses. He says as soon as he gets a good photo of a boy moose he will take moose off his ‘hunt’ list. He thinks porcupines will be the next goal. We saw lots of dead porcupines in Nova Scotia as they seem to be the bête du jour for road kill there.
We were too late to do the boat trip up Western Brook Pond which is an incredible land-locked fjord but we will do it on our return trip. The Man and Lady have decided to take the ‘Viking Trail’ up the western coast of Newfoundland to see a site the Man has always wanted to see. On the northern tip of Newfoundland is L’Anse aux Meadows. This is where the Vikings landed in the new world 1000 years ago. The settlement has been restored and we hear there is a lot to see and learn. It will mean a 500 mile (800 kilometre) diversion but from what we have seen of Newfoundland so far, it will be well worth it. As our friend Lauri said, Newfoundland is like one great big national park. It is beautiful!
We found a great motel in Cow Head which looks like they just kept adding buildings onto one end as they expanded. You walk down one long corridor through about four doors. We were right near the end on a room about 50 feet (15 metres) from the high tide line. Last night we watched an amazing sunset that lasted more than an hour. The room is very quiet, all we can hear are seagulls and terns on the nearby islands.
We had such a good sleep and because we wanted to do some kayaking, we booked another night. This morning we headed up the coast 13 miles (20 kilometres) to explore the possibility of kayaking in an area called The Arches. The Arches are huge limestone arches sitting on the shoreline that are slowly being eroded by the ocean.
It wasn’t really a good area for kayaking so we headed back to Cow Head where there was a park area called Shallow Bay. It is large with 3 miles (5 kilometres) of sand beaches and sand dunes. Very pretty with a chain of small islands extending across the mouth of the bay creating a huge sheltered lagoon. While tempting, it was too far to portage the kayak so we headed to the actual Cow Head. Cow Head is a high, once upon a time island at the south end of Shallow Bay. It is now connected by a thin corridor and the town harbour and fisheries is located on it.
It was a good spot to put the kayak in and with a 10 minute paddle we were able to reach the small islands. We had a great time with beautiful clear, glassy calm but shallow water to putter in. The islands, which we thought from a distance to be sand turned out to be limestone covered with wildflowers and a coarse green vegetation. There were hundreds of gulls and terns who, by their reaction to us, were protecting their nests and chicks. We were probably a 1/2 mile (kilometre) offshore and had a great view of the mountains running up and down the coastline. Very dramatic and beautiful.
Cow Head used to be the summer camp of Inuit and early settlers where they would hunt seal and fish. As winter moved in they would move onto the ‘mainland’ to winter over there. The two sites are known as Summerside and Winterside. Lots of old, old history here.
So . . . that’s it for tonight – tired legs so I’m going to hit the hay – baaa, baaa, baaa. Heading north tomorrow.