Posts Tagged With: Rockies

Newfoundland Farewell – July 19, 2006

(For those reading this for the first time, you might want to look at “About” before continuing)

Cape Ray

Cape Ray

Well, we’re on the boat heading back to Nova Scotia after a sad farewell to Newfoundland. We had a great final two days seeing the sights we missed on our arrival.

Long Range Mountains

Long Range Mountains

Newfoundland is a place for all the senses. The beautiful green 1,968 to 2,600 foot (600-800 metre) high Long Range Mountains, the northern extension of the Appalachian Mountains, that run up the right side of the highway when you first disembark from the ferry to L’Anse aux Meadows. You can sit and watch the clouds flow over the peaks like water. Not far from Port aux Basques is Wreckhouse where, because of the wall of mountains, the wind can get up to 125 mph (200 km/hour). When the train used to run, boxcars were, at times, blown right off the tracks. And of course the wildflowers – lupines, wild roses, harebell, cow parsnip, yellow buttercups by the acre rolling down through the colourful saltbox houses to the azure sea.

Long Range Mountains

Long Range Mountains

The profusion of flowers creates a bouquet for the nose. Clover flowers so thick you can smell the blossoms (my mouth’s watering again). The smell of peat and warm juniper, spruce trees and poplar, the ocean shoreline and the not so pleasant smell of thousands of seabirds nesting on small islands just off shore.

Red Rock

Red Rock

Newfoundland is most remarkable for what you don’t hear. No industrial noises, few airplanes, little traffic. In the small shoreline towns at night you might hear the waves running up on shore or the wind in the trees. In the morning you are awakened by seagulls and terns instead of an alarm clock. You may hear the fish boats leaving the harbour or the bells on the buoys or occasionally a foghorn in the distance, the baaing of a blessèd sheep or mooing cow. With a population of less than 500,000 and an area of 43,008 square miles (111,390 kilometres squared), the ratio of cars to roadways is very small so traffic problems aren’t an issue.

Red Rock

Red Rock

It is also a land of contrasts from the high tabletop mountains and 800 metre Gros Morne to the flat limestone shelves of Phillip’s Garden. You have the rugged Oregon coast-like shoreline in Bonavista to the sandy beaches at Cape Ray. The dense (though short) spruce/birch/poplar forests of the interior to the windswept barren plains of the west coast. The heritage of cold blooded Vikings and hot blooded Basques. The sand dunes being re-sculpted every day and The Arches made up of some of the oldest rock in the world, rock that should be buried deep within the earth but due to cataclysmic forces have been forced to the surface giving geologists the first concrete evidence of continental drift.

Wreckhouse

Wreckhouse

And of course Newfoundland wouldn’t be Newfoundland without it’s special people. A quality of people not too dissimilar to British Columbia inhabitants. Perhaps it is the isolationism of Newfoundland being an island and British Columbia hiding behind the barrier of the Rockies. Friendly people who will stop to talk and within four sentences be willing to tell you their life story and often do. Waitresses who call you ‘my darling’ when they serve you and will often give you a reassuring pat on the arm. The men who like to discuss the fishing situation and, of course, tell of their moose encounters. These are people who have to make do and have struggled hard to subsist but instead of making them inward and selfish they are always willing to give you advise or help you out. As the sign in the small town of Bonavista says, “We have been welcoming visitors for over 500 years.” But, there is also a sadness to the people as we talked to many of the adults. Time and time again, when discussing children, we found the common thread was that their son was in Edmonton or their daughter was in Ontario. There is little or no work for the young people and they have to move away. There is concern now that many of the small outpost communities will not last much longer as fishing becomes harder and the young people don’t return.

When you talk about the people you can’t ignore their figures of speech and accents. Quite amazing to listen to little kids who often have a stronger accent than their parents. It was really strange the other day to be in a restaurant listening to an Oriental woman with a strong Newfie accent.

So . . . I am so glad that the Man and Lady persevered and made the last push to this wonderful island. The Man says that if there are any future trips it would be to fly directly to Newfoundland, rent a RV and stay for a couple of months. Even then there would be so much more to see.

Leaving Newfoundland

Leaving Newfoundland

By the way, the miles/kilometres we have driven from our doorstep to Cape Spear are 8,894 miles (14,824 kilometres). The Lady and I were looking at the Man the other day and realized that either he’s been in the car too long or he needs better quality shirts. Both of his favourite shirts have a dark diagonal line down the front where the seatbelt strap lies. The rest of his shirt has faded from the sunlight.

Today we’ll be in Nova Scotia. We will drive up towards the Confederation Bridge which we’ll take to Prince Edward Island instead of the ferry. Probably a quick tour of PEI and then the return home. Most likely faster than the trip out!

Leaving Newfoundland

Leaving Newfoundland

One last ‘funny’ before signing off. The other day as we were checking out we were talking to a female acquaintance we met where we were staying. She remarked to us giggling, “Isn’t it funny, all our rooms have started with the number 2.” The Man didn’t have the heart to tell her it was because they always stayed on the second floor.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

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Categories: Cross Canada Road Trip, Newfoundland | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Heading Southeast – May 30, 2006

Well, it seems all the emails I’m getting have caused a problem.  The Man and Lady are all pouty today because yesterday the Man got one junk email and the Lady just got one personal email.  I got twenty emails!  The Man says since I’m so popular I can just go ahead and do all the emails.  That’s okay though because the Lady and I would have spent our holiday watching the Man peck at the keyboard like a lethargic chicken while we waited our turn. So . . . I guess I’ll take over and let my owners have a turn now and then.

Yesterday the Man and Lady’s friends, Lauri and Mark, took the Lady and Man to a second hand store in Bragg Creek.  Lauri, Mark and I got on very well together, especially after they rescued me from the car that I had been sitting in for three days.  We were quite baffled by the Man and Lady when the Man bought the Lady an antique mousetrap and she actually LOVED it!  I spent the last evening staring out the window trying to spot mountain sheep.

This morning we said a sad goodbye to our friends and headed into Calgary to visit the Glenbow Museum where the Man gave the museum a fancy framed letter given to his great-grandfather when he gave up his medical practice in Calgary in 1887.  The Man got lost several times and kept going in circles down one way streets.  Fortunately I met three buddies in the parking lot so we shot the breeze for a while even though they were squeaky little things.

06-Gophers

Gophers in the Parking Lot

Once that was over with we only got lost twice more before we found the right road to Fort McLeod.  Big sky all around us with the snow covered Rocky Mountains far in the distance following us down our route.

08-Cloud Column

07-Rockies View

We found a motel in Fort McLeod and then took a tour of the Fort that started as a North West Mounted Police headquarters in 1883.  Rather than a village like Fort Steele, this fort is an actual stockade with walls and watchtowers.  Quite interesting but no sheep here so I got bored.

10-Fort McLeod

09-Fort McLeod

The Man then grumbled into a Salvation Army Thrift Shop with the Lady.  Once more we were surrounded by the familiar combination of mothball and old lady’s foundation garments scented air found in every thrift we have ever visited.  We escaped empty handed!

Tomorrow we are going to get up early and go to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump – lots of votes from the ‘kids’ for it!  Then . . . we’re going to the Alberta Birds of Prey Centre in Coaldale.  Makes me a little nervous – all those beady hawk and owl eyes.

Til later,

Miss Ewe

Categories: Alberta, Cross Canada Road Trip | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Braggin’ in the Creek – May 28, 2006

20-Salmo-Creston

Salmon-Creston Highway

Bet you thought I got lost in a sheep paddock, but no, the Man just couldn’t find an Internet connection for a couple of days (everyone else seems to be able to find them but . . .)  The second day out was not quite as exciting though we did see lots of beautiful countryside.

28-Fernie

Near Fernie, BC

I was quite excited when I saw a blessèd sheep warning sign after just leaving Grand Forks but we never saw any big horn sheep. Throughout the day though, we went up and down so many mountains I felt like a big horn sheep.  Three mountain passes over 1200 metres. We went through Trail, Salmo, Creston, Yahk and Cranbrook.  Since we wanted to see the old fort at Fort Steele (closed by the time we got there) we ended up staying in a very small place called Wasa.  It has one store, one motel, one pub and one cafe that closes at 6 pm.  The motel owners had chickens, horses, lovebirds, a cat, a dog and about five llamas.  They’re a goofy looking animal – like a sheep with too long legs and neck.

27-Ground Squirrel

The next day driving back to Fort Steele we saw a coyote.  I wouldn’t let the Man stop and look because coyotes make me nervous.  He grumbled a little bit but did as I said as he still has a lot to make up for after ‘the lamb dinner incident’!

Fort Steele is a historic town of sixty buildings dating back to 1890 (nobody lives there now).  I was doing well walking around and even ran into a flock of country sheep.  They aren’t quite as refined as us house sheep.  This guy was just standing there acting like a bird roost for the local birds.  You can see in his eyes that the door is open but nobody’s home (and look – no socks!)

37-Fort Steele

Then I went into the country store and saw why the sheep might have wanted to disguise himself!  They had CANNED MUTTON – THAT’S JUST A SNEAKY WAY OF SAYING CANNED SHEEP! What is the matter with humans?

38-Fort Steele

We looked around the fort for a couple of hours and it was very interesting.  You can go into the stores, blacksmith shop, school, barracks where the Mounties lived and slept, houses, etc. and they are all set up as they would have been in 1890.  The Man says that it looks like Calgary would have looked when his great-grandfather was the doctor there around the 1880’s.

We then had to hoof it towards Bragg Creek to visit the Man and Lady’s friends, Mark and Lauri.  We went though Fernie and Sparwood where the world’s biggest truck lives -that’s me sitting in the wheel rim – and then through the Crowsnest Pass, another province and another time zone.

32-Big Truck-Sparwood

That’s the Lady standing with me. The truck looks impressively high but actually the Lady is only 3 feet tall – baa, baa – just joking.

Throughout the day the scenery had changed from rolling farm valleys to evergreen forests with great granite outcrops to large man-made mountains of coal tailings (the stuff they leave behind when digging coal) to high alpine vegetation.  Once we got to the east side of the Rockies it was much drier.  We are in the foothills of Alberta with acres and acres of lush, green yummy grass.  The Man says that if I don’t stop drooling on the windows he’s going to use me as a washrag – it’s going to be a long trip!

48-Past Crows Nest

49-Past Crows Nest

Alberta Foothills

We then headed up Highway 22 and oozed over to Bragg Creek where we are taking a driving breather and having a good time visiting.  The house at Bragg Creek is surrounded by hills covered with dark green spruce trees and bright green poplar and birch making the view out the window look like a patchwork quilt.

05-Miss Ewe & View

There have been flakes of snow – good thing I’m wearing my woollies!

Til later,

Miss Ewe

p.s. The Man told me to tell you that so far I am getting far more email than the Man and the Lady!

Categories: Alberta, British Columbia, Cross Canada Road Trip | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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