Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Canadian National Parks’ category

Green Gables

Thursday, September 12, 2019

As we drove into Cavendish, it got more and more touristy with cabins, shops and some very nice golf courses. There is still a lot to be done cleaning up after Hurricane Dorian, so crews continue to work hard.

Our Parks Canada Discovery card got us into the visitor’s center at Green Gables Farm, where Lucy Maud Montgomery spent much of her childhood. She is one of the most notable authors of Canada, writing Anne of Green Gables, 20 other novels and 530 short stories. It is a beautiful spot, a beautiful farm on a beautiful island, very close to the ocean beaches. 

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It is all very nicely preserved and presented. She wrote all her life from early childhood, and always wanted to be an author. Anne of Green Gables was refused by 5 publishers. After two years, she got it back out and sent it to Page Company of Boston, who accepted it. Mark Twain described the character, Anne, as “the dearest, most lovable child in fiction since the immortal Alice.”

As we left, tour buses kept coming in. I can’t imagine what it’s like in summer. We drove over to PEI National Park along the beach fronting the Gulf of St. Lawrence. It has the classic red cliffs, which lose a meter of land a year, but Dorian may have sped that up a bit. It is surely a popular spot in summer. We walked up a trail and found a young man flying a tiny drone. It was so cool, fast and with no more noise than a big bee. He was having a big time. His wife, probably not. Not far ahead, the path was closed, so we went back to the car and drove along the beach road. 

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We went into Charlottetown and walked around. Cities don’t do much for me, and this one was no exception. What is exceptional are the farms. A couple of times on the way back, I stopped to take pictures, although it’s hazardous on busy Highway 2. Potatoes account for 20% of the crops, the red, iron-rich soil perfect for potatoes. There is a lot of corn, grains, beans sorghum and cattle. Some fields stretch far into the distance on rolling hills, while others are beautifully divided by trees, separating different crops. 

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Lunch at Chucky’s Seafood and Wildgame Restaurant

 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

My leg being sore, I opted out of hiking for a few days. I offered to take Martha anywhere she wanted to hike, but instead we decided to go to the Burnside Archeological Society. I love driving around all the little coves and harbors. We drove all around cute, little Burnside before finally finding the building that was now defunct and withering away. These little outports (small harbors, not the main harbor) need things to keep them going, but this one didn’t work out.

I like to research places on Google maps, then press the ˆNearby” button for restaurants, campgrounds or other points of interest. In searching restaurants nearby Terra Nova National Park, I marked Chucky’s Seafood & Wildgame Restaurant. I’m not big on eating out, but I love wild game and seafood, and it is rated 4.8/5 by 91 people. We went looking for it in Happy Harbor, but couldn’t find it. We had to Google it and get directions. You know you’re good when there is no sign on the street, and it’s not easy to find even when you know where it is.

Driving into a small parking lot at The Inn at Happy Adventure, we headed for the door. A lovely young lady with a gorgeous smile stuck her head out the door to tell us they don’t open until 12:00. Martha said, “OK, can you save us a spot?” With that great smile, she said the classic Newfoundland response, “No problem.” 

We drove to nearby Sandy Cove to check it out. Traffic was crazy, with frantic drivers desperate to get to the beach at Sandy Cove. The parking lot was filled with more cars coming. It was Sunday, after church, and a warm, sunny day – perfect for the beach. We wanted to see, but it was 12:00 and there was too much commotion. Later I took this picture from the internet.

Sandy Cove

Back at the Inn at Happy Adventure, we went in. A nice lady asked if we had a reservation. Then the pretty, young lady came up, smiling, and said she had promised us a place. At 12:15 there were 5 couples already ordering. I guess they don’t have wild game at lunch, and they are famous for their fish and chips, so we both ordered that. 

Clay was our waiter. He is from a town near Happy Adventure and is studying literature and writing at Memorial University in St.John’s. They work 72 hours a week at the inn from June-August. Then they close. I learned later that the owners, Chuck and Brenda Matchim. Chuck grew up here, then went to St. John’s where he had a restaurant by the same name for years before moving back. He also ran Smokey Hole Boat Tours, and the inn still offers tours. Brenda has a diploma in Food Technology, and has been a valuable contributor. She is also an excellent artist, and her paintings decorate the inn. I found a painting of Clay right beside one of Anthony Bordain, my favorite travel guy. I am so sorry we have lost him. I loved his shows, and I’m sure he would have loved a place like this.

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The fish and chips were great, maybe the best ever. Clay talked me into trying bread and gravy topping. It tasted great, but is just too heavy for my taste. Martha ordered plain fries and saved a fish and half the fries for tomorrow night. $14 Canadian for fish and chips. I gave it 5 stars on Google.

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On the way back we drove up to Blue Hill for an incredible view of the whole park with TCH 1 going right through the middle. A young couple sat in two Adirondack chairs having their lunch. As she moved over to sit on his lap, I said, “OK, we’re leaving.” She smiled.

View from Blue Hill

View from Blue Hill

We had a relaxing afternoon planning where to go after St. John’s, and just had soup for dinner.

Hike Ochre Hill Trail and Sandy Pond

Saturday, August 10, 2019

In the morning we hiked the Ochre Trail, a 4 km easy to moderate trail. It first went beside a pretty pond (natural, as opposed to a lake, which is man-made). I always wonder if there are fish in these pretty ponds that are everywhere. 

The hike was a bit boring at first, especially after reading a sign telling us the pretty Kalmia, which is like a rhododendron, is poisonous, killing livestock. It also poisons the soil so other plants can’t grow. Fires used to destroy the plant, but fires have been controlled in recent years, but they are now doing controlled burns.

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Once we climbed to the top of a big hill, everything changed. The views were impressive in every direction. A young German couple was just leaving the peak. With their binoculars, they were able to see their first moose. 

We went on to a second overlook with even more impressive views. Looking at a lake below, with a stream leading to Clode Sound, I thought how cool it would be to camp and fish that area. There is so much land that is not easily accessible. Hiking down there without a trail would be tough.

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Turning back, the trail joins a loop along another pretty pond, then back out to the parking area. A young man and his son were studying the map. He had on a trout fishing vest, the first I’ve seen. He said the Information Center told him there are salmon in these lakes, along with Brown Trout. I wished him luck, and he said, “It will be great if we catch something, but at worst it will be a relaxing day in a peaceful place”. 

I wanted to go back to camp for lunch. The solar keeps cutting out on me. I keep fiddling with the settings, but really don’t know what I am doing. I took a little nap while Martha paid bills, then read several websites on recommended settings. You would think there would be a guideline from the manufacturer, but they are very vague. I guess there are many variables, depending on your system.  I have read many times, but haven’t grasped it yet, but this time it became more clear. I changed the settings again while Martha took a nap. I watched it for a while and it was bulk charging, and didn’t cut out.

We wanted to do one more hike, but an easy one, so we drove to Sandy Pond. The parking lot was full, and families in bathing suits were headed to the beach on a hot day – 28C (82F). That is very hot here, and the humidity was high. The hike, rated easy) went around the pond, which looked like a long way, but was only 3km. It was so shallow, I think you could probably walk across. At the top of the lake, it was quite pretty. Signs told us of the animals we might see, but we saw nothing. It was too hot. They were probably sleeping in some cool, shaded place. I was sweating like a dog when we got back, but it was a good walk. 

Sandy Pond

Sandy Pond

We went to the Visitor’s Center, which is going to be very nice when they finish a big upgrade. Kids and adults were gathered around a big, open fish tank with crabs, starfish, muscles and other creatures. You could touch or pick up these creatures. One little girl was timidly reaching for a starfish. I wanted desperately to scare her, but I resisted. 

Driving back to camp, we followed a road past the campground. It led to the docks where two young ladies and a man were fishing in Newman Sound. They said sea trout could be caught, but no one had a bite yet.

Back at camp, Martha fixed a delicious meal of pork chops, potatoes and onions and sugar snap beans. It was Saturday night and the campground got crazy. A big group was having a loud party at the shelter until 12:00. Many cars kept coming and going late into the night. Kids were still up until late. I stuffed my ears with tissue and tried to sleep.

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Move to Terra Nova National Park

Thursday, August 8, 2019

We didn’t have a long drive, so we got some things done before departing Dildo Run Provincial Park. I went up to the shower house and caught up on posting. We did several loads of wash in their nice laundry, then packed up, hooked up and got on the road about 11:00. I thought about going to the hospital in Gander for a lyme disease test, but it was rated 2.9, so I opted out. We did some grocery shopping at the Co-Op, the cashier luckily using her card to check us out. 

We stopped to have lunch at a forestry overlook of Gander Lake, then drove on. TCH 1 goes right through Terra Nova National Park, which is weird, but good because cell phone reception is great, also weird for a national park.

We settled into a nice campsite, surprised that our loop was only half filled. This is an unserviced loop (no water or electric), and no generators allowed, so that is probably why it is not full on a weekend. That’s just the way I like it. We were surprised to hear you couldn’t have fires except in the shelters, where there are wood stoves, and you can’t use charcoal. We had planned on steak for dinner, and that severely limited our cooking options. Thankfully, we have a gas stove, so we cooked them in a frying pan along with sautéed spinach and leftover onion rings.

We have been watching a DVD we bought from the Great Courses, The Everyday Gourmet, Rediscovering the Lost Art of Cooking with chef Bill Briwa from the Culinary Institute. There are four discs and 24 lessons, lasting about 30 minutes. It’s a great way to end the day. He does a great job of simplifying things. Then I will read 3 pages of Killing Patton before falling asleep. I could finish it on a relaxing morning, but we are in a national park and there are things to be seen. Tomorrow it will be partly cloudy with a high of 66 degrees (19C), perfect for hiking.

Drive Back Down Coast to Shallow Bay Campground

Friday, August 2, 2019

It had been rainy, cloudy and cold in Pistolet Bay for three days, and it was getting to Martha. She talked about how cloudy and cold makes her sad. 46 years of marriage, and I am still learning.

I went to Woodward GMC in St. Anthony’s to have the oil changed. Mike checked me in, then I went to the visitor’s area hoping to catch up on my posts, but I could go nowhere on their WIFI. I couldn’t even get my phone to work there, so I took a nap. 

At 3:00 we arrived at Shallow Bay, set up and went down to the beach to see what it was all about. The sun had broken through, and it was a warm, beautiful day. This beach is one of the prettiest, beaches I have ever seen. Shallow water keeps it relatively warm. Several people were swimming, while others walked the huge, semicircular cove. Pristine sand without a bit of trash and no rocks make it unique in Newfoundland. It is a part of this diverse, incredible National Park, Gros Morne. If you come to Newfoundland for nothing else, come to Gros Morne. 

We walked for about 45 minutes and came back to camp. Martha wasn’t feeling well with an upset stomach, so she took an hour nap, instructing me to make wild rice in the InstaPot. Then heat up lobster claws in butter and wake her up in an hour.

The InstaPot takes a bit of power as it heats up, but after that, it uses very little. Dinner was wonderful, but Martha didn’t feel like eating. I cleaned up, got in bed and read Killing Patton.

Hike Lomond River and Anniversary Lunch

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Looking for an easier hike, we went to the Lomond River Hike. It started through a forest with orchids everywhere.

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Martha found a patch of wild strawberries

We went into Woody Point for our Anniversary lunch at the Old Loft, which was OK.

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Moose pie

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Martha had fishcakes baked beans

Tablelands Lecture/Hike to Green Gardens

Saturday, July 27, 2019

There is a great overlook of Bonne Bay, where we sat in Adirondack chairs in the morning, watching for whales. There is a beach next to the dock, where people go for a swim.

Looking for whales

 

We went up to the beautiful, modern visitor’s center for some WIFI, but the speeds were very slow. I could upload a picture every 3 minutes. We had taken the tour of the center yesterday, and it explains the area quite well, but to learn more, we went up to the Tablelands for a geology lecture at 10:00.

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Gros Morne National Park, where the mountains meet the sea

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Model of the Pitcher Plant we see so often

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Guide, Chris Rohrback is simply the best!_1GW2059

We were thrilled to see our guide from a previous lecture at Green Point, Chris Rohrback. She is a geologist, who has a great way of simplifying complex things. Gros Morne was made a national park in 1970’s to protect it’s beauty. Later a geologist, whose name escapes me, studied the area finding it so unique that he developed plate tectonics theory. 

At the Green Point site there is a walled cliff of rock that is turned up on end when two plates pushed up. Usually these are horizontal, but the verticality of this spot makes it so different. First the point is covered with big, round boulders, plowed here by glaciers. All the different layers of shale (mud), limestone, sandstone and a conglomerate, like aggregate. Because of these studies, Gros Morne was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At Tablelands, this desert-like area was the Earth’s Mantle pushed up. It is composed of cadmium, cobalt, chromium and other toxic metals, so no vegetation grows here. Well, some does, but very little. Across the U-shaped valley is another mountain composed of sediment, so there is plenty of growth, and a beautiful trout stream runs through it. The U-shaped valley was caused by glaciers, one 500,000 years ago and one 10,000 years ago. Each left a line of boulders like bathtub rings along the sides.

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After an hour and a half talk, we had a 30-minute walk back to the car. We drove to Trout River, having heard of a good restaurant there. first we drove through Trout River Campground to check it out. There was a great view of Little Trout River Pond.

Bonne Bay

Little Trout River Pond

Trout River Harbor

Trout River

Trout River

Trout River

Trout River Post Office

Trout River

Seaside Restaurant

Seaside Restaurant

We found Seaside Restaurant and enjoyed a good meal of Scallops, salad, seafood chowder, fish sandwich and Partridge berry pie. 

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We were tired, but wanted to do at least part of the Green Garden Hike, which can be 9km or all day, and is rated moderate. You have to earn your keep in Gros Morne. It is a long, rather boring hike across a small mountain and down the other side down to the ocean. There are rocks and many stairs along the way. It took us an hour and a half to get there.

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Finally breaking out to a cliff overlooking the ocean and beach, the views were spectacular. Martha sat on a picnic table while I explored for a short time. We knew we had a 2-hour hike, mostly uphill, to get out, so we didn’t want to stay long.

There are natural meadows along the cliff. I was surprised to see lots of poop. This grassy area must attract lots of moose in the evening and maybe caribou. There are campsites along the coast, and I can see why you would like to stay here a while, hiking the beautiful coast. I would have to be younger to carry a 35-pound pack down here, but it would sure be fun.

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On the way back up, we passed a young couple with three small kids. How they were going to manage getting them back up that mountain concerned us. We were exhausted by the time we got back to the top, and rested at a platform with bench seats. We talked with a family who had just done the same hike. They were from Corner Brook and had a cabin near here, where they would stay two weeks. 

After a quick dinner and an episode of a cooking show, we were soon asleep. Of course our neighbors had a Saturday night party that went on until 12:00. I closed the window and stuffed my ears with tissue.

Granite Coffee House and Laundry

Granite Coffee House and Laundry

Granite Coffee House and Laundry

Friday, July 26, 2019

 We loaded the washing machines at Granite Coffee and Laundry, and went next door for breakfast. I had the works, eggs, sausage and pancakes, while Martha had eggs, bacon and toast and a pancake. They also had WIFI, slow, but it was WIFI. In fact it would be the last WIFI I would see for a while.

Granite Coffee is my favorite place in Woody Point, for the laundry, for the people, the WIFI and the food. There is a liquor store that also has food and a variety of other things, and a nice young lady running it. There is an ice cream shop with a craft store and nice restaurant upstairs. This is regatta weekend with all kinds of events going on, and it was getting busy.

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We went to the lovely Visitor’s Center, where I tried to learn more geology. Behind the Visitor’s Center, there is an Lookout Hills Trail, which translated, means climb up this bigass mountain for a pretty view, and a pretty view it was! Bonne Bay, no matter where you view it form, is a spectacular piece of water.

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Tablelands

Woody Point

Thursday afternoon, July 25, 2019

After hiking to Baker’s Brook Falls, we showered and packed up to move to Lomond Campground on the south side of Bonne Bay. Once we got set up in a nice campsite, we decided to go searching for a laundromat. A Google search was not good. The closest was in Corner Brook, two and a half hours away. We drove north along Bonne Bay through several little towns, stopping at a nice cabin rental facility with a laundromat, but it was not public. A couple of ladies told Martha of one in Woody Point, just up the road.

Turning right at a stop sign, we drove into Woody Point to find the Granite Coffee House and Laundry. They had two washers and two dryers next to a cafe with breakfast specials – perfect! We would return in the morning. Meanwhile, we checked out the little town. It has everything you need, with a liquor store and grocery, several restaurants and a big fishing business. there was a cute, little lighthouse and some very nice houses with well-kept yards. 

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Granite Coffee House

There was a regatta this weekend with lots of things going on. We bought a hotdog from a man cooking them on the street for children’s charity. Bonne Harbor has some of the prettiest water on the planet, similar to the Saguenay River that flows into the St. Lawrence.

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Hike Baker’s Brook Falls and Move

Thursday, July 25, 2019

It was moving day. We hated to leave this perfect site in a perfect campground, Green Point, that is so well-cared for. We wanted to take a hike before we left, so we drove to Baker’s Brook trail head and were hiking by 8:00. It is a 9.2km return hike (out and back), taking 2-3 hours. It wanders through several different growth areas, but wildflowers surrounded us everywhere. Orchids, lots of orchids grew in the first section. Then buttercups, blue flowers, white pinwheels and many more. 

We kept our eyes open for moose, but never saw one. There are coyotes in this area, but didn’t see these either, although there were lots of birds in the first section. Many signs told us of the history and habitat. It was a logging road years ago

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