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Report 1901: A Month on the Rock
By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2010
Page 4 of 31: Bottle Cove, Lark Harbour and Blow Me Down Provincial Park
The next morning was bright and sunny, so we decided to spend the day around Lark Harbour and surrounding area.
It was a nice run along the south side of the Humber Arm through a string of small settlements which all ran into each other. It felt like the commuter area for Corner Brook, with well cared for houses with plenty of ground round them.
The drive took us through mixed forest with birch, alder, rowan and coniferous trees. Golden rod, Michaelmas daisies (mauve and white) and fireweed provided a splash of colour along the verges.
We had a brief stop at Frenchman's Cove to look at the fishing boats in the harbour. There were small slipways made from cut trunks lashed together with wooden sheds beside them.
Our first stop was Bottle Cove, which is a lovely setting in a large, round sandy bay with substantial cliffs on either side. There were a few scattered houses on one side of the bay with slipways. We drove along the unmade road past the beach to a large car park which had a map showing the “Bottle Cove Trails.” We followed the trail through coniferous forest with bunchberry growing under the trees. We took the branch to Island Cove, which ran out of the forest and across a large flat area above the cove with very lush vegetation - dwarf juniper, small pines, shrubby cinquefoil, Canadian burnett... It was a lovely place to drop out and admire the views. There was even a seat provided. The trail continued up the side of the cliff face. It was rough and looked very steep. I might have got up but knew my knees wouldn’t manage coming back down.
We retraced our steps and took the trail to Sunshine Rock, a large rocky lump between two bays. It was a fairly steep climb up through the trees on peat. We came back the same way as the other route involved a steep drop down a rocky path with a rope to assist...
We then walked to Captain Cook's Monument at the end of the trail, on a wave cut platform overlooking Bottle Cove. It was then back through the trees to the car.
We drove to Little Port at the end of the road. There were a few houses along the road but none at the end, where there was a narrow bay with parking area, pier and a few boats. We looked at the start of the Cedar Cove trail but decided it didn't look worth the effort. There was a steep climb to begin and it looked as if it might be boggy.
We drove back to Lark Harbour, a pretty settlement with small wooden houses strung along the water, for a cup of tea at Marlaine's Tidewater Cafe. We had seen billboards advertising this along the road. It is on the edge of the beach and has a small craft shop attached. This really is five star. We visited on a Sunday afternoon and were amazed by the range of different homemade cakes, including some sugar free cakes. Sandwiches (which were made to order) were huge. Bowls of chowder also looked thick and filling. We regretted having already eaten our picnic lunch.
Then it was on to Blow Me Down Provincial Park. There is a $5 per car entry fee. Ask for a map at the pay desk which marks the walking trail. We were advised to take the boardwalk to the top and return via the Governor's Staircase.
We followed the trail (boardwalk and steps in good condition) to the observation tower. It was a steady pull up through low coniferous forest to a view point on the top of the ridge with 360 degree views which gave an idea of the geography of the Humber Arm and islands. The trail continued along the ridge but was becoming overgrown and involved scrambling over rocks.
Coming down we took the Governor's Staircase which is a shorter route with a series of steps running below the undercut cliff face to the gravel beach. It was a bit low in places and we had to watch our heads. The tide was well up and lapping round the base of the steps so we had to be nimble to avoid getting feet wet. We didn’t think this bit of the trail lived up to the hype.
On the way back to Steady Brook we stopped off at the Copper Mine Trail Car Park (serious stuff across the tops) and did the short, easy walk to the waterfall along a newly made gravel trail with a few staircases. This dropped down a steep sided valley to a long, thin waterfall which tumbled down from the top of the plateau high above. This was worth doing.
Back in the car park were the remains of two mine trucks discarded in the woods at the start of the waterfall trail. The remains of the York Harbour Copper Mine was marked by a large sign. This was last worked in 1913 although it was reopened in 1955 (but not worked) to keep the mining rights. The cliff face above the mine entrance was stabilised by metal bolts and the entrance blocked by concrete.
All in all a good day and we enjoyed it.
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