June 16, 2015

We left at 8am to hike the tablelands. I can’t image a more beautiful hike [Insert David Bowie’s, “Life on Mars”, here]. None of the Bruce Trail hikes I’ve done so far tops this. It’s the type of trail one should come back again and again to experience all the changing variations the landscape can transform into. I can see how on different days the red of the earth would glow in the sun, sunset colours of fiery red ocher. I’d love to watch the climbing of the last of the sun’s rays as they get blocked by the hill. There’s even an all day hike you could do thought the ridge and down the hill.
From route 430, coming into the park you can see snow nestled in some of the ridges. That’s not to say we didn’t see snow on other mountains.

The tablelands seem like an extraterrestrial piece of earth. – Not extraterrestrial, rather prehistoric. We walked on the earths mantle a half billion years old! It was a perfect example of the final stages of Pangaea’s separation. The redness of the Tablelands is from a rock called Peridotite, which is high in Iron. Wiki says it “has toxic amount of heavy metals.” This however, did not stop some of us collecting a little piece of Tablelands to bring back.

Not halfway along the trail we veered off the path to a fair size waterfall surrounded on one side by snow. It was beaconing to us. There was no way we were going to pass it by. The girl at the Visitors center was right though. Things appear further away then they seem. I was able to test my new high-top rubber boots from Boggs. they have a foam elastic top which fit around my fat calves. I think hip waders would have been more appropriate for some of the places I wanted to get to. I’ve been wearing them more than my regular hiking sneakers.

Things one must do in June when there is snow……
1) Snow angel,
2) Throw a snowball at Rob and Pierre.

After the hike, some were not keen on going to my next port of call. As it turned out, everyone loved our stop at Trout River. Yet another quaint fishing village of its very own quaintness. It boasted a rare Newfoundland Pony in one the back yards. A line of brightly coloured fishing sheds, a beautiful black sandy beach with dramatic cliffs at the end and clothes lines of bright toques, mitts, socks and dish clothes. I chose the end of the beach close to the cliff to set up one of my 4×5 shots. I’m not hopeful of it turning out though. The shutter release remote stuck and I panicked, using the shutter release on the camera. Wish me luck.

No one wanted to eat at the reputed Seaside Restaurant, for supper having had lunch earlier in Woody Harbour at The Old loft. So we went home and went to bed early.

I would dearly love to spend a few days in Trout River.

Clash of the Toutons – www. Downhome.com – The Old Loft Restauran, Woody Point – Really buttery not in a good way. Doughy inside, crispy on the top. Overload with molasses. – **

June 15th, 2015

Norris point is nestled on the other side of the point 15 minutes from Rocky Harbour facing south into Bonne Bay. First on the agenda was the Bonne Bay Marine Station. Jessica, our knowledgeable guide, talked about how the bay was so deep, it held sub-artic temperatures. Because of this we have marine life living in its depth that would otherwise be living in the artic hemispheres. She showed us windows to tanks that had sea ravens, a sloth-like (in nature) fish that only moved when they were enticed with food and many other creatures of the ocean such as, sun fish, flounders, a blue lobster, though there’s one in Ripley’s Aquarium, and many more marine life.

The Bonne Bay Marine Station is a part of Memorial University in St John’s. This little section was put in Norris Point for its marine diversity, thus, one of the best places to learn marine biology. Jessica, however, was a phycology student. She took this summer job because she has a passion for learning this field of study. We all thought her a wonderful hostess and were delighted to see her again at Earls after supper. Her hair was let down and looked ready for an evening out. We were all touched when ask us how our boat tour was, spending the time to chat with us for a bit.

After the aquarium, we enjoyed a quick walk-around, some of us did a small hike up the hill. Rob had put on his 35mm tilt shift, capturing the marine station and other buildings for the quaintest look of model train landscapes. We had time to have a bite to eat and a drink before we set sail on the bay. Nary a whale could we see. But icebergs there were a plenty when we reached the mouth of the St. Lawrence.

LOL! This is how evil I am! Early in the planning stages of this tour, I contacted Bonne Bay Boat Tours to set up a Screeching In. I don’t know how, but almost everyone suspected what I had planned when the announcement came on to ask people to stay aboard after we docked to witness this age old tradition. “Are we staying on the boat?” Janet asked. “Maybe.” was all I said, but the game was up. They must have seen me talking to one of the crew.

We were each poured a shot of Screech, made to repeat an oath which many people attempted the Newfoundland accent with gusto. Unfortunately I can’t remember the oath, nor can I find it online. We then shot the Screech, danced a jig to “I’s the B’y” to the accompaniment of the traditional Newfoundland accordion, ended with the toast, “Long may your big jib draw!”

Clash of the Toutons – www. Downhome.com – Earls – So far my favorite why? Not too doughy on the inside, crispy on the top, but best of all, scruncions sprinkled on the top. – *****

June 14th, 2015

Who would have thunk it? A scheduled power outage at 7am this morning? The girls at the front desk at Mountain Range Cottage said they didn’t know about it. But when we went to Treasure Box, Lloyd had the generator going. He wouldn’t have food going, however, until 11am when the power came back on. Earls, same thing. The only place serving a limited breakfast was Fisherman’s Landing restaurant. Their limited menu seemed more than adequate however. A full breakfast, even fried bologna, [ba-low-na]. After our hike at Berry Hill and Berry Pond, we went back to Treasure box for lunch where I and others had the fishcake special (including the toutons).

Thanks to the map of Gros Morne I bought last year, Rob and I decided on an easy trail in a near by campground, Barry Hill and Barry pond. Besides there was a third with a waterfall, but was too long a hike for the morning. Especially when we were all getting very hungry.

I didn’t complete either of the two trails, much less attempt the third. I believe I made it half way up Berry Hill only because there were so many things in the first kilometer to photograph. The only mushrooms I came across (because it was still an early season for them in Newfoundland) were tiny orange mushrooms on a mossy log. I read in my new mushroom book (finally!), that this particular kind of mushroom cannot live independently, although it once did many years ago. You will always find them growing on a mossy log.

On Berry Pond Trail, I veered off the path to a tiny shoreline, too small to be called a beach. There were boulders and bleached dead trees in the water. The rocks were big and flat enough to sit or stand on. A great opportunity to get low and close to the water. Halfway across the footbridge on the other side of the pond was Tatania’s Bower in a beaver pond, a fly eating plant more like a venus Fly trap, an interesting rock that looked like a landscape reflected in the water. In the time it took John, Dorothy and I to take our photos in such a little distance, we decided it was too late to do the entire trail. Dorothy and I spotted the others directly across the pond walking at a good pace. I don’t regret not completing the trails. Not when there’s so much to explore.

This adventure wanted an afternoon nap. But once were had our batteries charged literally and figuratively, we all headed to Earls for supper, where a delicious meal of Jiggs Dinner awaited us. WOW! Was I wrong! Because of the power outage, they were not serving it. It made me wonder just how long my grandmother slaved over the hot stove, boiling the cabbage, potato, carrots and doing what ever is done to the salt beef. It was the only Sunday in Newfoundland! How we take our creature comforts for granted.

At Earls, we learned about the Clash of the Toutons [two-tones] or with the accent, [Taou-‘ens]. From here on in I will be rating the toutons I’ve ordered from each restaurant we go to.

Clash of the Toutons – www. Downhome.com – Treasure Box, Rocky Harbour, Cooked on through, crispy on top and bottom, nice with Molasses. ***

Day 1 – June 13th, 2015

The drive into Corner Brook was pretty much uneventful. We did see a moose on the hill beneath the power lines chomping on grass. First stop, Liquor store. My second stop would have been Mc Gowans meats and sausage makers, but Mom came back to report that it was no more. I’d like to say I cried, but, that wouldn’t have made them into existence anymore. So take your effing add off the yellow pages eh! Next Dominion, to get food for the night’s BBQ. A nice salmon steak was on sale, we bought small crappy US Corn on the cob, and a few other necessities. Hmmm I wonder if I paid tax on my sanitary napkins?

Deer Lake Airport. Half way between the size of the Halifax and Sydney airport. Picked up the rental van, and everyone else. I have hugs to everyone as they came in. John, I watched take photos of the airport, the plane and something else, aimed towards the airport. Full with greasy spoon lunch at the airport restaurant, we were on our way at last to start the adventure. But not without a stop to the liquor store and Coleman’s Grocer’s.

How bizarre is this! A boxer trotting up the hill in the middle of the road? WTF? “What do we do? Do we stop?” I asked Rob. “There’s nothing we can do. “ Then two more trotting down the road in the opposite direction. Say what? I’m sure some of us had a romantic notion of rescuing the dogs. Herding the into the car or the van. Gallantly Receiving much relived thanks from the owner for saving their dogs. *record scratch* Not a good idea. Dreams of grandeur, ain’t so grand.

As we drove through the vista of contrasting hills of green and snow, I could almost feel the collective thoughts of those in the van chomping at the bit to stop and take a photo. I thought about it, but I wanted to get to Mountain Range Cabins to get everyone settled. By the time we got there, people were more than willing to get dinner ready.

Steak, steak, steak kabobs, Marinated salmon steak, grilled vegetables including corn, salad and Birthday cake! Happy Birthday Janet! Wine, rum, beer, apple cider. Oh! And a game of Golf. probably now, the official Sarahndipity card game of the evenings. I managed to stay in the game with two points remaining. Janet, sadly ended with 108 points. Dorothy won her very first game. Good going Dorothy. Good Game everyone!

Day iii – June 12th, 2015

Allan asked us, “So what did you do on the ferry?” Cocking my head to one side, I replied, “Walked around. Discovered there was a sun deck on the top. Walked around some more. “Yeah, you killed 10 minutes.” “We had lunch. Played a card game. Napped.” We did all those things including checking out the gift store. Oh Yeah, we watched North Sydney and the rest of Cape Breton slip pas us as we entered the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There were 8 boats out fishing that day. Or perhaps there were out to hail the Blue Puttees off on her voyage, which is not an unusual pastime for one to do if you have a boat.

While were waiting to board, we were waiting for my cousin and her two girls to meet us at the terminal. Before I left, You might remember, or did I mention it, I had printed out two images for her and my uncle each. But before she got there the announcement came on for everyone to return to our cars. I could have met her in the end. We were in line for at least another 15 minutes. Oh well. I won’t have time to see her when I get home, nor at Christmas. Next summer I suppose.

Three quarters of the way we were meat by a bank of fog. Port Aux Basque was shrouded. SO picturesque. But that was nothing compared to when we left corner Brook. More of that later.

We drove through to Stephenville where we spent the night. All the hills were capped in grey clouds. There were may comments of how John Snow was going to come out in the gloom, his black shape, sward brandished to kill a dragon or something. Though the hills were quite lush blanketed in new Spring green. Hardly a place for John Snow to come out of nowhere. Joanne, I thought of you, our trip to Tobermorey with all the spring greens we saw there. You would have delighted in this. When the clouds lifted somewhat, you could see snow still on the mountains (hills). On our way to Stephenville, we, I missed the first exit because of fog, rain and construction. It was almost a blessing because we passed several marches that tool positively eerie in the fog. I vowed to go back this way on our way out because of one particular spot. It looked like tidal pools among the lush greens of marsh life instead of rock. Behind these small pools were the hills rose steeply into low lying clouds. So we did go back, I wanted to use my 4×5. OH! I realized on the flight from Toronto, I forgot to pack the rest of my 4×5 film. I came with 6 backs locked and loaded. 12, now 11 exposures, one for each day.

Newfoundland West Coast – Day ii

Didn’t sleep. Minimum 4 hours. Got up at 4:30, Because I woke up at that time, so why the heck not. You’ll forgive me if this entry is no as animated as it should be.

Car-2-Go was fantastic. We were able to put all our luggage in the trunk no problem. Traffic to the airport was really good. Dropped the car off at Four Points Sheraton,we walked the rest of the way to Terminal 3, took the terminal train to terminal 1 and started our count down of 90 minutes to boarding time. We got there in just enough time. What a laugh. Just when you think Check in at the kiosk is going well, whamo,the machine goes out of order. Ending up in the line up we originally wanted to get in but was sectioned off into a shorter line because our flight was leaving at 8.

Toronto to Halifax not a problem. Halifax to Sydney was another story. There was something wrong with the computers, but they were efficient enough to have a guy come right away to fix it. I spent most of my time staring out of the portal watching the topagraphical landscape slide beneath us. I pointed out to Rob the Canso Causeway, Iona with the b&b I almost worked at, the one that once fed the Prince of Whales at the time. As well as Alexander Grahame Bell, Mabel and Helen Keller, Among many other travellers passing through via boat and train.

My Mom’s cat, Micky just joined me for scritch-scrathches. Because I miss my cats terribly all ready, I can’t neglect him too long.

Picked up the Rental car a golden Malibu which reminds me of a car Barbie would drive if pink were not her favourite colour. Drove past the Drive-in which has revived after a season of inactivity. “Jurassic World” and something else. Went to the liquor store shoed Rob where the Glenora Rum and Scotch was while I got Propeller Porter. “You are now entering Sarah’s favourite drive home. That’s right, through Coxheeth, and down past Blackettes lake, where Rob spied a huge eagle. When I settled Rob into Christi’s, Genie was saying that the eagle was as tall as the picnic table!Can you imagine what its wing span must be?

Because we were antsy from the drive, I proposed a hike up Coxheeth hills, also known as the Firemen’s trail. It took us at least 2 hours return trip. The beginning of the trail is so damn steep, we were both huffing and puffing the first 5 minutes. When you get to the top, there’s a spectacular view of….. everything! To the East, a sea of trees as far as the horizon to the north, communities such as Membertou, Glace Bay, Sydney. North west, North Sydney and both ferries were in. To the south west, Georges River.

When we got back, we went to my favourite restaurant, Governors for supper. Had an amazing chicken burger and beer from Big Spruce, their seasonal blond which was very sprucy. As it should be.

Not much to report after eating. Didn’t go to Tasty Treat after all. Was way too busy. When we got home, gathered items together to put in the car tomorrow. Helped Mom to pack.

Sorry, What mistakes will have to stay tonight. I can’t keep my eyes open Getting up at 8am for Breakfast at Christi’s.


Newfoundland West Coast – Day i

June 10th, 2015

I suppose my time began when I slipped out at 4:30pm today because I just couldn’t sit still any more. I had caught up on everything at work and was a jack-in-the-box, never able to sit still. This happens to me every time I go home. So I slipped out, bought tokens at Shoppers Drugmart, deposited money at CIBC at the end of my street and went home.

We just had a magnificent thunderstorm earlier in the afternoon. As suspected, the air was incredibly muggy, I was glad to be wearing a sundress, but loathed the thought of changing into jeans to economize on packing space for the next day. When I was home, I did last minute packing, which wasn’t much to speak of, settled the cats, took my bicycle inside and did what dishes remained in the sink.

Luggage –
Large camera bag with – 4×5 Crown Graphic, 6 film backs, Canon 40D with new 50mm; 1.8 lens, battery charger for all types of batteries, speed light, Teleconverter, batteries, HDMI adaptor for Mac, HDMI cables and USB Cables both sorts, ,Walkie Talkies.

Small Suite case – Long sleeve shirts, Fisherman sweater, jeans, socks, undies, etc

Archery Bag – Which use to be for a TIFF advertising screen, then a tripod bag, archery bag…meh… multipurpose bag – heavy duty tripod for 4×5, light stand, studio umbrella, Black out blanket and Black bag.

Small Over the shoulder Camera Bag (which is doubling as a purse) – Wallet (tokens, hair elastics, bobby pins), “Finding Myself” By Toby Litt (recommend), Contact cases and glasses case.

Leave for the airport at 5:45 am tomorrow. Not sure if I’m going to get any sleep. Had a cocktail. Not sure if it’ll help. Will read if it doesn’t.

Listning to Electro Swing Revolution Radio Probably not the best music to listen to before going to bed. “If I knew you were coming, I’d bake a cake, backed a cake, baked a cake, howdy-do, howdy-do,howdy-do!”

OK. Good night.