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Report 1901: A Month on the Rock

By Eleanor from UK, Fall 2010

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Page 6 of 31: Cow Head, Arches Provincial Park and St Barbe

photo by Michael

Arches Provincial Park

After Broom Point, we drove to Cow Head and across the causeway for the Lighthouse Trail. We parked by the community theatre (an open air stage surrounded by wooden terraces of seats). It was a well made trail up through the trees to the top of ĎBig Hillí which had views back to Cow Head and the attractive coastline, which was low and flat with rocky outcrops. We dropped down to the lighthouse which was a small iron building and in need of some TLC, with rust and peeling paint. There were very restricted views of the coast through the trees.

We then picked up the Point of Head Trail. The local community were working to improve this, making a proper gravel path with boardwalks over the wet areas and staircases.

The trail ran through the trees (boring with no views) to the end of the island where the trees were replaced by lush grassland with dwarf juniper, wild strawberries, silverweed, vetch, harebells, sea asters... There were lovely views along the coastline and back to Cow Head. It was warm in the sunshine and this was a nice spot to drop out.

It was then back through the trees to the car park. Overall verdict - interesting, especially at the far end but not worth the 90 minutes invested in doing it.

We continued to drive north along the coast. There were good views of the pebbly beaches, some with low cliffs. It was very flat with lots of water inland and low scrubby forests. We saw our first moose which ambled across the road ahead of us and into the forest.

We stopped at the Arches Provincial Park (lots of cars and people) and did the short walk down to the beach to admire the massive block of rock with grass growing on top and three arches carved out by the sea. There are several other rock stacks in the sea.

There was little settlement along this stretch of coast but there were lobster pots on the roadside and small fishing huts on the beach. There were huge piles of beautifully stacked logs and, in places, small areas of land had been fenced off to grow crops. It was a nice drive with good views of the Highlands of St John, with their bare rocky tops, and the off shore islands.

St. Barbe, a short drive off route 430, is a small settlement with motel and petrol station with a small shop. There are a few houses around the ferry terminal which is a ramp shared with the tankers. The ticket office is attached to the motel building.

We had booked into St. Barbe Motel, a basic no frills motel. It is expensive for the facilities provided but the only realistic choice if catching the early morning ferry or late ferry back. Check in for the 8am sailing was from 6am.

We ate in the restaurant in the evening, It was busy and service was excruciatingly slow. Food was freshly cooked but quite expensive. We decided to miss out on breakfast and had bread, cheese and an orange in our room.

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