Rich and Val's
Newfoundland Trip

Of all places why go to Newfoundland? No, I'm not particularly fond of rain, fog, moose, or mosquitoes. It was the allure of the unusual natural beauty. And no, everyone there isn't trying to sell you something, they're just naturally friendly.

If you're wondering exactly where Newfoundland is, it's in Canada (since 1949), and is the easternmost part of North America. In fact, St John's, the capital, is closer to Greenland than to New York. And closer to Ireland than to Chicago. Check out this link for a nice Map of North America. Here's another link for a nice Map of Newfoundland. Anyway, enjoy the pictures.

Fjords of Western Brook PondFjords of Western Brook Pond on a windy day.

Fjord of Gros MorneWhat is a fjord anyway?

Western Brook Pond boat rideVal was a little nervous during most of our boat rides.

Moose CrossingGros Morne National Park, which is "infested" with moose, even under your bed and in the back seat of your car. They actually sell moose repellent (no joke). A park official told us there are 6 moose per square kilometer for the island of Newfoundland. This is an island about the size of Ohio.

Signal HillSt. John's, the capital and largest city in Newfoundland. St. John's claims to be the oldest city in North America, founded approximately in 1497, as opposed to St. Augustine, Florida, which was founded in 1565 and claims to be the oldest city in the United States. Mexico City (Tenochtitlan) has them both beat, it was founded by the Aztec Indians in 1325 or so. Anyway, the city burned down so many times it doesn't make much of a difference anyway. The worst was the Great Fire of 1892, which has left the city with too much 20th century architecture. By the way, what's the best way for a city to commemorate it's worst disaster? With a tasty beer of course.

Plane over Signal HillA Coast Guard plane flying very low over Signal Hill, nearly giving all the clueless tourists (myself included) a heart attack.

Atlantic Ocean from Signal HillWild violets and the Atlantic Ocean, as seen from Signal Hill.

The BatteryCabot Tower and The Battery, as seen from St. John's. Apparently, years ago criminals were hanged up on Signal Hill and left there for days so the entire city would be reminded what fate would become of wrongdoers. Then the body would be taken down, placed in a barrel, and rolled into Deadman's Pond.

Cape SpearCape Spear, the easternmost point in North America. Also a great spot for whale watchng.

IcebergAn Iceberg in the Strait of Belle Isle. These break off of Greenland each spring and float down to Newfoundland, sometimes carrying Polar Bears.

Quirpon IslandQuirpon Island, on the northernmost tip of the island of Newfoundland. Nothing grew there but spongy moss and arctic plants. Lots of fog, lots of rock, and even some August snow. We could hear whales singing all night long.

Whales off Quirpon IslandHumpback whales off Cape Bauld, the northern tip of Quirpon Island. This island was only accessible via a 1/2 hour boat ride, which we did in high winds and sea swells with the boat surrounded by the feeding, groaning, jumping, and spouting of whales three times the size of our boat. Knowing how dangerous the North Atlantic Ocean can be, it didn't help when the crusty old captain of our 5 seated craft told us in his thick brogue that he was the most nervous one in the boat.

Moose on side of roadA cow moose just outside Griquet, Newfoundland. On this particular morning we spotted 15 moose on the roadways within 20 minutes. Hitting a moose with your car is worse than hitting a deer. Aside from being much heavier, they are also much taller, and so are prone to go through one's windshield. Interestingly, moose were introduced to the island of Newfoundland little more than 100 years ago, now they run the place.

Cabot TrailThe Cabot Trail is in Nova Scotia and was one of the most beautiful roads I've ever been on. It's basically carved along the sides of mountains aside the ocean. By the way, to drive to Newfoundland, it takes a 6 hour ferry ride from Nova Scotia.

St. PierreValerie in St. Pierre, an island off the coast of Newfoundland that has through the centuries remained a part of France. We looked and looked for traces of the island's Basque influences, but alas could only find boys playing pelota vasca. I would have preferred jai-alai, but it would have to do. Here's a picture for you.

TrinityTrinity, Newfoundland was a nice town. They filmed The Shipping News nearby in New Bonaventure. There are so many picturesque towns dotting the coast. In addition to it being incredibly quiet, there are no trees, just rock and peet moss, so what goes on in your house must be the whole town's business. Then again, the wind blows very hard. I loved the names of the towns on the island. There's Gripe Point, Bad Bay, Bleak Island, Misery Point, Wild Bight, Breakheart Point, Famish Gut, Savage Cove, Confusion Bay, Bareneed, Empty Basket, Dead Man's Bay, Dead Man's Pond, Bay Despair, Heart's Content, Comfort Cove, Nick's Nose Cove, Come-by-Chance, Blow-me-down, Lushes Bight, Ha Ha Bay, Run-by-guess, Bleak Joke Cove, Snake's Bight and Dildo. No, we didn't go to all of these places, and by the way I borrowed this list from The Guardian.

L'anse Aux MeadowsVal peeking out of a sod hut at L'Anse Aux Meadows. This is where 1000 year old Viking Ruins were found, proving that the Vikings beat Columbus to the new world by almost 500 years. Did I mention we encountered a lot of fog on this trip? Actually, at one point I came to the realization that I had never truly seen fog until I had seen Newfoundland fog. By the way, this place was so cold and damp in August, I think of spending a winter here, let alone in a sod house, 1000 years ago, with hostile natives. No wonder the Vikings left.

Red Bay, LabrodorA sunk boat in the harbor of Red Bay, Labrador. Labrador was really out there. I'm convinced they never removed that shipwreck from the harbor because of a fear of being eaten alive by black flies and mosquitoes. At one point I thought we were done for. I noticed that locals have a swatting tick, whether they are inside or out.

View from Skyline TrailView of the Cabot Trail road from a hike on the Skyline Trail.

MooseI spotted this Bull Moose on a hiking trail in Cape Breton Highlands National Park. It was sitting down about 20 feet off the path, and I crept a little closer to take this picture. Soonafter it stood up, and I ran.

Nova ScotiaIngonish, Nova Scotia. If you wish to brush up on your Gaelic language skills, nearby is the Gaelic Collge of Celtic Arts and Crafts. Speaking Gaelic is of course so very important in today's global village.

Fort Amherst LighthouseFort Amherst Lighthouse, as seen from Signal Hill.

TablelandsThe Tablelands of Gros Morne National Park.

Point L'Amour LighthousePoint L'Amour Lighthouse, on the southern coast of Labrador, with an iceberg in the background. There's an interesting dispute going on that could only happen in Newfoundland over iceberg property rights. Apparently, people want to drink iceberg ice because it's 20,000 years old and therefore must be pure, not to mention expensive. I gave it a taste, but as I sipped my ice water I could only think about all the birds, seals, and polar bears living on the icebergs, and contributing to the ice's consistency.

Cape Spear LighthouseCape Spear Lighthouse.


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by Richard McKenna

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