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2009 July, Newfoundland Archives

February 23, 2009

Newfoundland...are we there yet??!

I am so looking forward to visiting Newfoundland this summer! I have never been to this beautiful province, but have long wanted to. The tourism ads on TV make me drool, all those winding roads along rocky coastline with crashing ocean waves, the stunning fiords and views of Gros Morne National Park, the steeped in history place of L'Anse aux Meadows, the myriad settlements and places I've heard of in folk songs like I's the B'y ("Fogo, Twillingate, Moreton's Harbour...") Actually I can remember as a little girl being incredibly tickled to discover that those were actually real places! And more recently, being slightly green with envy when M called home last year saying "Guess where I am, mommy? Twillingate!!"

I was looking through the Newfoundland and Labrador official tourism site and saw this:

"Once you’ve browsed these maps, be sure to order your free map of Newfoundland and Labrador along with your Traveller’s Guide – it will be a perfect souvenir when you get home."

Oooo, I love maps, so naturally I ordered one immediately!

Continue reading "Newfoundland...are we there yet??!" »

March 14, 2009

One of the four corners...

Came across this video, and isn't the scenery just spectacular?? And funny about the four corners "designation"!


I think this ad is cute (all the place names are real):


And here are a couple more videos for your viewing pleasure...because I'm just up too early and apparently have nothing better to do than drool over Newfoundland scenery this morning. So figure y'all should join me on my virtual journey, even if not my own videos (since I've not yet been to Newfoundland!) I can't wait for July when I get to experience this beautiful land for myself for the first time...and even better that I get to share this first visit with not only my husband and younger daughter, but also my best friend. ♥

Continue reading "One of the four corners..." »

May 23, 2009

Countdown to Newfoundland

I just added a countdown clock (over on the right side of my main page, under my blurb) for our upcoming trip to July. However, I don't yet have much in the way of travel plans to share. All I know so far is that we are...

...going for two weeks in July. We are taking an overnight Friday ferry to get there, but not yet sure what day we're coming back.

...staying at Valerie's house, the exact location of which still remains a mystery to me. Hmm, maybe this is a test to see just how good my stalking skills are...although truth be told, I'm pretty sure I could find it on my own!

...going to have an awfully hard time trying to keep track of who's who in Valerie's confusing and sprawling extended family. I may have to adopt that Newfoundland thing of calling everyone "my love", simply because I won't remember their names! lol Especially since Valerie keeps forgetting that I don't know everyone so doesn't always do introductions. Not that I'm complaining, it's actually pretty cool that she thinks of me as already knowing everyone in her life!

...all planning to camp at Gros Morne for a couple/few days. And planning to climb Gros Morne mountain itself - what marvellous views we should have from there, of the mountain, the fiords, the ocean...sigh. After that day's hike, look for us in the nearby 25 person hot tub!!

...all incredibly excited about this trip, especially me because it's my first time to visit Newfoundland and I can't wait to see this beautiful province. Everyone I know says it is absolutely gorgeous (and it does seem like everyone I know has been to Newfoundland so it's about time I get to experience it too!) One girl in my office said "once you've been there, you'll never want to leave!" (Uh oh, if that's the case, I better warn Valerie that she might not be able to get rid of me!)

...so looking forward to sharing all this wonderful time together away from work :)

Continue reading "Countdown to Newfoundland" »

June 7, 2009

Newfoundland ferry reservations - check!

Our trip to Newfoundland is edging closer to reality. I have to confess that, in spite of how incredibly much I am looking forward to this visit, I'm also unable to completely shake the feeling that something will come up for Valerie, and our plans will go out the window. I know that is extremely unlikely since she'll be on vacation herself, and also know with absolute certainty that she would never withdraw her invitation lightly, but...having our plans cancelled IS the story of our friendship, after all. So I will probably be holding my breath until we arrive on her doorstep - I can't wait for that moment to get here!! :)

I booked our ferry reservations this evening - whoot!!! Marine Atlantic has a very simple and easy to use online booking system. I booked a 4 berth cabin, so we'll have a place to sleep and a private washroom with shower. We're taking a Friday overnight ferry on the way over, and a Saturday afternoon ferry on the way home (not the same weekend, obviously!) When we chose the dates, I realized Valerie and I hadn't actually talked about when we would be leaving, and I've no clue what other plans or company she might have. But I went ahead with the booking anyway, emailed her the dates and said if she needs us to leave sooner, we'll wander off somewhere for a couple days before heading home.

When I first went on the Marine Atlantic site to book the reservations, I'd been thinking the cost would be in the range of maybe a couple hundred bucks...oh naive me! Try $512 (round trip). But then Dave said he was expecting seven or eight hundred, so at least one of us was pleasantly surprised. The cost includes $81.50 for our car each way, $28.75 per person each way, plus the cost of the cabin. A 4 berth cabin is $126 going over on the night crossing, but only $50 coming back during the day...we decided it was worth it, especially for the night crossing. At least with a cabin and shower, there's some potential for us to arrive at Valerie's moderately refreshed, instead of completely bedraggled and exhausted!

We'll have roughly a 4 hour drive from our house to North Sydney, a "4.5 to 8" hour ferry crossing to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, then another 6 (?) hour drive to Valerie's house. The location of which remains a mystery to me still. She says "all things will be revealed in time". Argh...I love to look at maps and find the places I'm going and have been or might go (heck, I just love maps!), so am fidgety with impatience to know where her house is. However, I might be waiting a while longer for this location to be revealed - I think she's rather enjoying torturing me with suspense... :)

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July 3, 2009

Twillingate

I'm happy, happy, happy dancing :) We leave for Newfoundland in just one week! One short week from this very minute, we will be waiting to board the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland. The ferry leaves at 11:30, but our reservation says to be there 90 minutes in advance, or else they will give away our spot. Hard to imagine they can do that, since we've already paid, but then again...I did check the "yes, I've read and understand the rules" box when I booked online, so I suppose I signed away my right to complain! Oh well...I'm so excited to get there, I'll probably have us arriving at the ferry terminal by supper time! lol The only downside is that Sara isn't coming with us. She's staying home because she's taking a course over the summer - a full credit course packed into just seven weeks, so no way she could miss two weeks.

When I was talking to Valerie the other day, she told me her place in Newfoundland is totally unplugged as far as internet (obviously she has a phone though or we wouldn't have been talking!). So I won't be blogging while away, but I am definitely taking a journal so I'll be able to write up a few blog entries when I get back. And no doubt I'll take hundreds of photos as well! But before I go...I'll try to give you a taste of some of the places we will likely visit, such as Twillingate...

You would be hard pressed to find anyone from Atlantic Canada who has not at least heard the name Twillingate. It has been immortalized in a song called I'se the B'y, which song seems to be a staple in elementary school music classes! I wrote in a previous entry that I was delighted as a child to learn that this was, in fact, a real place...as an adult, I am equally delighted at the prospect of visiting this place!

According to the website, Twillingate lays claim to being the iceburg capital of the world. Actually I have read of the area being called iceburg alley. Mark told me that sometimes iceburgs last into July, so possibly we'll see some, which would be very cool...I believe those big ole chunks of ice can be up to 10,000 years old. Impressive. There's also a festival in this area each July - The Fish Fun and Folk Festival - complete with a street dance and fireworks. Sounds like fun, although not sure we'll go to it, and even if we do I doubt we'll stick around for fireworks...from what Valerie tells me, one really doesn't want to drive around Central Newfoundland in the dark, if such can be avoided. Apparently the danger of hitting a moose is very, very real...in fact, there was a story on CBC just today about a young driver who was killed after a collision with a moose last night.

There are also museums in the area. One of the museums is the Boyd’s Cove Beothuk Intrepretation Centre, which shares the history of the now extinct First Nations people, the Beothuks.

Mark, K and M outside the museum last summer:
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Inside the museum:
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Continue reading "Twillingate" »

July 8, 2009

Frost warning??

Ok, I'm as flexible about the weather as the next person, and I truly don't need blue skies and hot sunshine to enjoy myself, but...a frost warning in July? Seriously?? Perhaps I better pack our parkas! I'm hoping this is an extremely rare anomaly and things will be much warmer during our two week visit. And in fact, the lows after tomorrow are certainly looking much more seasonable...phew!!!


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Oh well, whatever the weather turns out to be, we'll have the warmth of friendship to make our visit wonderful and memorable! ♥

July 10, 2009

And we're off...Newfoundland, here we come!

The bags are packed, the car's gassed up, our tummies are full...we'll be hittin' the road in an hour or two. I am psyched for this trip!!!! I can't wait to see Newfoundland for myself. And I can't wait to see Valerie again. It's been very strange not having any contact at all for the past two weeks, other than a short phone conversation on Canada Day...I really miss her! I felt like she was with me in spirit on Tuesday though, when I went to the breast surgeon (for a routine follow up to my biopsy, nothing new, was just to review the negative results and book a 6 month mammogram in case the biopsy changed the surrounding tissue, etc.)

As far as I know, I won't be online again until we get back, so...I'll talk to y'all again at the end of the month! Hope you have a wonderful couple weeks (I know I will!!) I was checking the weather forecast, and it looks half decent. Scattered showers I'm fine with, hopefully those won't turn into major rainstorms! The 14 day trend is likely a joke, but I'm posting it so that I can check afterwards and see if it was even remotely accurate. The temperatures are low, but again, doesn't look like any significant precipitation is expected over the next couple weeks - yay!

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Continue reading "And we're off...Newfoundland, here we come!" »

July 28, 2009

Song for Newfoundland

Before I get to the details of our trip, I must post this song for Valerie (I found the video on youtube, so not my own photos). One afternoon, she and her daughter K and I took a boat tour of Western Brook Pond (I'll post details later) and toward the end of the tour, the guide played some traditional Newfoundland tunes. When this song came on, Valerie sang along and her love for her home province poured out through her lovely voice...it was beautiful to hear. My soul soared from sharing her joy and, in that moment, I felt such an amazing connection to this wondrous province. As we were saying our goodbyes Saturday morning and getting ready to leave, Mark (Val's husband) said: "see you here next year"...yes indeed, my friends, I look forward to many more shared times together in this wonderful place! ♥


Lyrics:

Continue reading "Song for Newfoundland" »

July 29, 2009

Driving, ferry, more driving...hooray, we're here!!!!

July 10

The journey begins...M had the best setup, with her nest of pillows in the back seat!

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After a round of big hugs with Sara, we left our house around 4pm, allowing six hours for the drive to North Sydney. Check in was at 10pm for the 11:30 ferry, and we wanted to have time to stop for supper and stretch our legs along the way. Good thing we didn't cut it right close because our crossing was bumped up to 11pm, and check in moved to 9:30. Now I don't really know how strict they are with the "check in 90 minutes before crossing or we'll give away your reservation and you'll have to go on a waiting list for the next ferry" policy, but...I wasn't about to take any chances - I wanted to be there on time! In the end, we drove straight through to North Sydney without stopping, which was about a four hour drive. Saw a black bear on the side of the road near Pomquet, Antigonish County. Very cool. The rest of the drive was pretty uneventful though. We got to N. Sydney and went to the local Subway for a bite to eat, then joined the queue for the ferry. We were on board the boat by 8:30pm, so had tons of time to spare and were able to settle in for the night long before the boat sailed.


Farewell to Nova Scotia (North Sydney harbour from the ferry):
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The crossing took close to seven hours. I didn't really sleep, although suppose I likely dozed off a couple times during the night. M and Dave seemed to get a decent sleep though. But I was so full of excitement and adrenalin that the lack of sleep didn't slow me down at all!

July 11

M watching the sunrise from the ferry deck (around 5 am):
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Hello Newfoundland!! (Port aux Basques harbour from the ferry):
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Continue reading "Driving, ferry, more driving...hooray, we're here!!!!" »

July 30, 2009

Sermon and salmon

Before I go on, I forgot something when writing yesterday's entry...while sitting around the bonfire, I reached for my camera to take another photo of the sunset and knocked it off the table right into a bucket of water (which was there in case the fire got out of control)! Argh!! Now I had no camera, how on earth could I function on vacation with no camera? Unthinkable. Valerie joked that I was just trying to be like her...she'd left her camera out in the rain shortly before we arrived. We decided to go camera shopping if they didn't work in a day or two...

July 12

I didn't sleep much the first night in Newfoundland...strange bed, plus was awake at 6 am because of the light shining in the window (note to self: close the blinds in future!) How quiet and peaceful it was being up alone. I went down to the beach and sat listening to the clicking of the dragonfly wings, the call of the odd bird, the breeze rustling in the trees overhead and such very soft water sounds. This utopic moment was soon disrupted by blackflies, though! So I went for a walk down the road. By the time I got back, everyone was up and we soon headed off to church. Val's sister J is studying to become an Anglican priest, and was preaching this Sunday, so we went to the Anglican church. I was a tad disappointed not to be able to experience the United Church that Valerie grew up in but hey, I can't do everything in one trip! It was funny beforehand when Valerie, Mark and Kees were teasing J that they were going to show up with scorecards...or write scores on their palms and hold them up like judges during the service. Oh silly them! :) When we arrived at the small church, we more than doubled the size of the congregation. There were only three or four other people there, and we were a crew of six! Kees and Valerie each did one of the scripture readings. The service didn't do a lot for me, was largely responsive readings. Which I had a hard time following since, not being Anglican, I had no clue of the order of service so never knew which page they were on!

We came home and had beans and wieners for lunch, then Valerie suggested we go for a canoe ride. Her sister down the way (not J, another sister) had left her canoe available for family to use...the canoe was there alright, but no paddles! Oh well, we went back to J's house, and the three of us went down to the river for a wade and a swim and some sunbathing. Valerie and J chatted all the while, and I mostly listened, not contributing much to the conversation. Partly because they were talking of people I didn't know, and partly because I was feeling a bit unsure of myself. I knew that Valerie wanted me there, or wouldn't have invited us in the first place, and yet in the presence of the palpably close bond between these two sisters, I felt intrusive and unnecessary, like my presence was irrelevant. And I felt like my insecurity was glowing around me like a visible aura, which made me feel more awkward than ever...at this point, J was probably wondering why on earth would Valerie want to be friends with this idiot! I knew even at the time that I would (and did) adjust in a day or two and feel much more comfortable, but the first full day of our visit was a bit of a roller coaster for me emotionally. Of course, I was tired from not having much sleep and also PMS-y, so that didn't help either!

I was happy that Valerie really liked the butterfly wall sconce I gave her for her cabin. I told her it was a gift both for her and for me...I wanted her to have something in her Nfld home that reminded her of me. She hung it up right away in the front window. Looks wonderful there, and is so pretty with the candles lit. I had bought some apple scented tea candles to go with it, because they smelled soooo good in the store, although they don't seem to have much smell when lit. Oh well, they still burn!
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July 31, 2009

This is what we do around here...

July 13

Today was a bit of a lazy day of nothingness. I woke up around 6:30 again, but didn't get up for another half hour or so. Valerie was already up, but still in jammies, sitting in the living room doing stuff on her computer. I sat down on the couch in a vegetative state, content to just be here. She asked if I was bored...I said no, why? She was just hoping I don't find it very boring during my vacation, "because this is pretty much what we do around here...relax and do little projects." Sounds like a mighty fine vacation to me! I told her that I was here to spend time with her, what we do with that time is secondary. But, although I wasn't before, now I am restless...I pace around a bit, wondering what to do. Eventually we went for a walk down the road, down to a little brook, in the opposite direction from where I'd walked yesterday morning by myself. It is really lovely walking along here...

This is a section of the old Trans Canada Highway. (When Valerie gave me directions to her place, she said: You'll come to a road that looks abandoned. She was right, it does kind of look abandoned in places.) This photo is actually a decent stretch of pavement compared to the bit in front of her driveway, which is a patchwork quilt of patches, cracks and bumps!
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August 1, 2009

A new gazebo takes shape...

July 14

Once again, I awoke at 6:30 am, so got up and went for a walk. I inhale the lush earthy scented scenery as I walk, admiring the luscious greens and browns and bright flower colours of nature...slapping mosquitos all the while. (Val & J call them nippers.) Yikes, they are nasty and plentiful over here! When I got back, Valerie was up and wondered if I was up for another walk...yup, always! We went over to collect J, and then walked up to Rattling Brook. This is the brook I mentioned earlier that feeds into the Exploits - the mouth of which they call the channel. I saw kids playing in this part of the brook too, although we never did (why come up the road for a swim in the brook when we can just walk out the door and down over the bank to the much larger Exploits River!)

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Val and her sister J:
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August 2, 2009

Daytrip to Twillingate - 1st stop: Pike's Arm

July 15

I have so many photos of this wonderful day that I'm breaking into multiple posts. We went on a daytrip to Twillingate this day. Left the house around 9am, after a bite to eat. Valerie, J, Kees and I went in Val's car, and Dave, Mark and the two girls went in our car. At least we started out that way, after our first stop, the girls clamoured to change cars to escape "the daddies", so they switched with J and Kees...who didn't mind at all since our car has air conditioning and it was an unexpectedly hot day! As I recall, the weather forecast was for clouds and possible showers, but it turned out to be gorgeously sunny and hot - bonus!

Up through Lewisporte we went. Lewisporte is a small town near the mouth of the Exploits River, the port for one of the ferries between Newfoundland and Labrador. This ferry goes to Goose Bay, with a stop in Cartwright where one of Valerie's sisters and her family live during the summer, running an tour business.

According to Wikipedia: "After the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, Lewisporte hosted several hundred air passengers whose planes were forced to land at Gander. In subsequent press reports, the passengers praised the citizens of Lewisporte for their concern and hospitality." Anyway, that's just to give a sense of the area...we didn't actually stop in Lewisporte!

We continued along through communities such as Virgin Arm and Dildo Run - no, I'm not making that name up! J told us a funny story about a package that was sent to a little business called Virgin Arm Crafts (or something like that) in Dildo Run and the post office returned to sender, thinking the address was a joke! :)
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But our first destination was Pike's Arm, which J had to direct us to as she was the only one who knew how to get there. Wow, what a beautiful spot!!! A picture postcard for Newfoundland tourism. A tiny village on New World Island, with houses scattered over rocks that stretch out into the ocean like an arm (hence the name!) Icebergs just off the coast, amazing views, only a couple other tourists. Absolutely stunning. There is even a lookoff platform on one of the hills, with steps leading up to the top, and even an outhouse (which was much appreciated by that point!)

Here are some photos...

Continue reading "Daytrip to Twillingate - 1st stop: Pike's Arm" »

August 3, 2009

Daytrip to Twillingate - 2nd stop: Little Harbour

July 15

What a pretty little place is Little Harbour. It is a teeny tiny, very picturesque, little community on Twillingate Island. According to Wikipedia, there are only 13 families living here, not sure how accurate that is, but having been here, it sounds about right! Twillingate Island is reached by causeway from New World Island, which in turn is reached by causeway from Newfoundland (which is itself an island, of course...no causeway to/from the mainland though, one can get to Nfld only by sea or air!)

Valerie first stopped briefly at this spot. Carved along the bottom edge of the bench are these words: "Feel free to sit".
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As I looked at those welcoming seats facing out over the peaceful little harbour, I was reminded of a line from the Simon & Garfunkle song "Old Friends":

"Can you imagine us years from today,
Sharing a parkbench quietly"

And I thought how wonderful is is to be sharing this day and this place with my old friend. (Yeah, I know...we are not chronologically old friends, but it somehow feels to me like our souls are old friends.)


Then we drove around the bend...
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...and walked out on the rocks.
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Continue reading "Daytrip to Twillingate - 2nd stop: Little Harbour" »

August 4, 2009

Daytrip to Twillingate - 3rd stop: Back Harbour

July 15

When we left Little Harbour, we were getting hungry, so stopped into Mary Brown's Chicken, got some take out, and went to Back Harbour in search of a picnic spot. We pulled into the house of someone that J knew, from when she and Cal lived in Twillingate. J's friend wasn't home, but we had a picnic on her lawn anyway.
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What a wonderful spot to have lunch and enjoy each other's company!
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August 6, 2009

Daytrip to Twillingate - The End

July 15

We continued on from Back Harbour to Crow Head, on the northern tip of Twillingate Island. Oh my, evidently this is quite a tourist attraction! There were tour buses and people milling about and a gift shop...reminded me of Peggy's Cove in Nova Scotia. Valerie said it was popular because the tour buses can drive right up to it, so can include it as a stop in their sightseeing itineraries (as opposed to Pike's Arm, which involves quite the upward climb.) Crow Head certainly does have a spectacular view. We didn't see any whales though. :(

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The water is actually a lot farther down than it looks:
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Continue reading "Daytrip to Twillingate - The End" »

August 9, 2009

Another day of doing "what we do around here"...

...which is to say, nothing of any great importance, just puttering around. The chronicles of Newfoundland continue...

July 16

I slept in until 7:30 this morning - woohoo, I think that's the latest I've slept in since we arrived in Newfoundland! I got up, did a load of laundry, had some toast, yoghurt, coffee...you know, the things I would be doing at home. Except that I'm not home, I'm at Valerie's home in Newfoundland, but the really cool thing is that I feel at home here. The other cool thing is that, unlike at my own home, I can walk out the door, cross the yard, slip down over the bank and sit on the beach with my coffee! Nothing like the peaceful sounds of water, wind and birdsong to make a morning special.

Val and Mark returned around 9, with daughter Sara and her boyfriend, David, in tow. The ferry from Labrador had arrived earlier than scheduled (which J said happened a lot), so they picked up the kids and were home before they anticipated. And just a shade cranky from a couple unexpected events. The first being that Val had borrowed K's phone to use as an alarm clock. It went off ok, she got up, dressed and started packing up the car with Kees' stuff before realizing that it was nowhere near time to rise...one of K's friends had texted her at 12:40 and that was what first woke Valerie up. She was not impressed! And hardly got back to sleep before 3:30, when it really was time to get up and take Kees to the airport. Only to find that they really hadn't had to leave so early because Kees flight got rescheduled to 9:10am instead of 6:30! (Oh didn't you get the message? the airport staff asked...) She's very tired today...poor dear.

Shortly after they got back, she said "let's put up the rest of the screening on the gazebo". I replied petulantly, "oh so my help is acceptable this morning when there's nobody better around?", still stinging from the night before. She replied (in a particular tone of voice she always uses when clearing up misunderstandings) that she hadn't wanted anyone's help, but that some people just barge in anyway. Alright...my inner child decided I could live with that explanation so out we went and together put up the rest of the screening.
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Funny that having a minor hand in the building of the gazebo could make me feel like I too am part of this place, but it does...we even all signed our names somewhere inside.
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Continue reading "Another day of doing "what we do around here"..." »

August 13, 2009

Gros Morne...day 1

July 17

On which we went to Gros Morne to spend a couple nights camping and hiking...

My day didn't get off to the greatest of starts...awake at 3:30...again at 6:00...lay in bed until eight-ish, feeling tired and slightly out of sorts. A shower helped. Eventually everyone was up, dressed and fed, and we packed our gear into the cars and headed off on our camping adventure.

Valerie and I went in one car with K and M, while Dave and Mark, Sarah and David went in the other car. The drive from Valerie's house to Gros Morne was about three hours, plus pitstops for gas and again for lunch (we'd packed sandwiches, etc.) As we drove, Valerie told me more about her family and various connections. I felt both closer and more distant as I listened. Closer because it was an absolute joy to share her history, in a place where she's so relaxed and far away from the 24/7 demands of ministry. More distant because I sometimes feel lost in the crowd of her life...as if I could slip away and she wouldn't even notice I was gone. (My heart tells me that is ridiculous, but my imagination does go off in unfortunate directions bytimes!)

It was a beautiful day, sunny and warm...at least it started out that way, the rain came later in the evening. Just past Deer Lake, we pulled off at an abandoned gas station and ate our picnic lunch. Sarah complained that we hadn't stopped to visit the Insectarium (which sounds pretty cool actually, but not so much $75 worth of cool, as the admission would have been for the lot of us, based on the website prices.) Onward ho to the park itself. The tourism ads don't lie, the scenery is breathtakingly, stunningly, gorgeous! We checked into the Visitor Centre, got our park passes and carried on to the campground. There are several campgrounds in Gros Morne National Park, but we chose Berry Hill. We picked out two adjacent sites, that were more like one big site with two driveways, because the space in between was open instead of separated by trees as were most of the sites. It was a lovely campground, with relatively clean washrooms, lots of dry firewood, decent sized sites, and some adjacent walking trails.

Continue reading "Gros Morne...day 1" »

August 16, 2009

Gros Morne...day 2

July 18

The big day. We planned to climb the big mountain, Gros Morne itself. There had been a wicked rainstorm overnight, complete with thunder and lightening. But thanks to our new tarps, we all stayed dry in our tents - yay! Dave and I got up around 6:30 and went for a mini-hike up Berry Hill, the campground's namesake. It is a very round and compact hill with a gorgeous view (that I cannot share since I didn't think to take my camera on our walk.) It took about an hour to hike up and back, and was quite steep, but with good resting spots along the way. According to Parks Canada: "Berry Hill is a low rock knob that was an island during higher sea-levels just after the last ice age. Rocks polished by waves 10,000 years ago are still visible on its flanks."

By the time we got back to the campsite, Mark and Valerie were up. We had brought those individual cereal boxes for breakfast (one package had healthy varieties, one package had the sugary stuff). In an attempt to rouse the kids out of the tents, Mark called to them that we were only opening the healthy package this morning, so they best hurry up, 'cause last one to the table is stuck with the All Bran. (One of those you had to be there moments of silliness, but totally cracked me up!)

The morning skies were overcast, but looked to be clearing, so around ten o'clock we headed off to the Gros Morne Mountain / James Callaghan hiking trail...the most challenging in the park. It's a 16 km loop, rising 400 metres gradually over the 4kms to base camp, and another 400 metres straight up the mountain to the top. It was a beautiful hike to base camp, up through the woods and across wide open spaces.

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Continue reading "Gros Morne...day 2" »

August 18, 2009

Gros Morne...Western Brook Pond

July 18 cont'd

We left the Gros Morne mountain hiking area, and drove up the coast about 30 kms to Western Brook Pond...stopping for ice cream along the way, of course! :) The WB Pond trail itself is a gorgeous 3km hike to the landing where you catch the boat tour.

The sign and box on the right of the following photo is the drop box for back country permit returns. Serious hikers can get dropped off at the far end of Western Brook Pond, and backpack through the Long Range Mountains to the base camp at the foot of Gros Morne. The hike takes three+ days, with primitive campsites along the way and is entirely map and compass. Hikers have to register and prove their map and compass skills before being issued a back country permit. We obviously were not interested in this extreme experience - the campground with washrooms, showers and a wood stove was far more to our liking, at least on this occasion!

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Continue reading "Gros Morne...Western Brook Pond" »

Gros Morne...the big climb

July 18 cont'd

Here are the photos that M took while climbing Gros Morne mountain. As I wrote earlier, she and Dave, Mark, Sarah and David all climbed the mountain, while Valerie, K and I took the boat tour of the Western Brook Pond fjord instead. Personally, I feel like I lucked out with how this all fell into place :), but I know the five hikers found the climb extremely rewarding.

Here are the signs that were posted at base camp. There were additional notices and warnings posted at the parking lot, before one even sets out, but I didn't think to take photos of those. One warned about not straying from the trail, stating emphatically that hikers have wandered off the path, fallen over the cliffs and died. This is a serious hike, no fooling around.

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And here I am, at base camp, just about to head back to spend the afternoon with Valerie and K. As you look at the photos of the climb, keep in mind that they are making their way up that deep, rocky gully on the right hand side of this photo.
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Continue reading "Gros Morne...the big climb" »

August 22, 2009

Time to paint the gazebo

July 19 & 20
(more chronicles of Newfoundland)

We left Gros Morne in the rain, stopped at the Big Stop in Deer Lake for brunch, and arrived back at Valerie's place around 2 o'clock. We didn't unpack the tents since it was still wet. Instead we decided to leave them until the next day and pitch them in the yard to dry out. The girls settled in to watch movies and chill after all the activity of the camping trip. K's cousin joined them for much of the afternoon.

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Valerie and I got some laundry done, but otherwise just had a relaxing day. We had an easy supper of spaghetti, then went out to the gazebo and had a few drinks to end off the day.

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I was awakened around 3 am by an intense itching on my elbow. Ugh, mosquitos had gotten in my bedroom during the night. I sprayed on some Benadryl (for which I am eternally grateful!!) As I stood by the window, I noticed how bright the stars were so I popped outside for a better look. Wow. Stunning in their brilliance, blazing diamond points of lights against the velvet black sky, the Milky Way a ribbon of white running through the middle. I was mesmerized...for about five seconds. And then the horde of mosquitos attacked my legs. I felt the brush of them on my skin and then - ahhhh, bites, bites and more bites. I hightailed it back in the house, but in the space of a few seconds, I was bitten at least a dozen times. I sprayed on the Benadryl and lay in bed...vibrating in an agony of itchiness. Thinking that if anyone ever wanted to get information out of me, nevermind painful torture, just threaten me with mosquitos and I'd confess to anything! Eventually though, I drifted off to sleep.

Continue reading "Time to paint the gazebo" »

August 29, 2009

More from Newfoundland...

July 21

I actually slept in this particular morning. By the time I got up, Valerie already had coffee on. She and I and Dave lounged around for a while chatting. The girls eventually joined us, and K asked me if I would let Valerie braid my hair so K could watch and learn how to braid. Worked for me, I love having stuff done with my hair. After breakfast, Valerie felt like going for a hike...finding it hard to sit around after all the activity of our Gros Morne trip! I suggested Eel Brook trail in Norris Arm, which I'd noticed one day while driving. J and Cal were going for a bike ride instead, so Valerie, Mark, Dave and I headed off ourselves.

What a beautiful hiking trail through the woods, along Eel Brook and its pretty waterfalls.

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Continue reading "More from Newfoundland..." »

November 30, 2009

Pop up photo test

Just testing how to pop up larger versions of photos. Marta wrote up some instructions, let's see if I can follow them!

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Yay, it works - just click on the photo and a larger version will pop up in another window - cool!! Thanks Marta :) This will be great for detailed photos.

December 4, 2009

Gratitude Friday...collages

Apologies to anyone who tuned in looking for deep thoughts today...cause you're going to be disappointed, I'm afraid! Oh well...too bad, so sad! lol

Today I am (frivolously) grateful for... Google's free downloadable photo application Picasa! I never used to do anything much with photos when I first started saving them in electronic format, but with Picasa, it is incredibly easy to resize or crop or adjust lighting and/or colour on those photos that are otherwise too dark to enjoy. And so simple to create wonderful collages, which make great desktop wallpaper backgrounds! I love this feature!! ♥


Here's a groovy cool collage of hanging out around Val's place in Newfoundland:

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And another of our daytrip to Twillingate:

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(And thanks again to Marta, who wrote up simple instructions that enabled me to show off my collages in larger pop up versions! Just click on either photo and it will pop in a much larger size.)

As always, each Friday I invite you to click over to Diana Strinati Baur's blog and check out the other Gratitude Friday Club blogs...

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Let us go then, you and I in the 2009 July, Newfoundland category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

2008 October, Italy is the previous category.

2013 France and beyond is the next category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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