Airstream Time

Exploring North America in an Airstream

Damnable Trail

We went from Parking to Net Point

After hiking a section of the trail in Salvage, Martha picked up a brochure on Damnable Trail. The main hike from Eastport to Salvage is one of the prettiest hikes in the world, and also is very difficult, which made us believe the use of Damnable Trail. However the brochure reads:

As far back as the 1800’s “Damn the Bell” (Damnable) has been etched in the vernacular iof the Eastport Peninsula. Whether it’s a pirate who accidentally hits a bell notifying the British of their hideout or a sailor trying to to navigate through treacherous shores. “Damnable” describes the perseverance of the people who live here – a resilient determination to face any obstacle with your head held high. Ranging from rugged and challenging coastal trails to leisurely strolls along beaches and through our communities, Damnable Trail, in the Road to the Beaches Region, has something for everyone!

We went from Parking to Net Point

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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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Southwest Brook Trail and Salvage Coast Trail

Friday, August 9, 2019

We said we would do a couple of easy hikes today and opted for Southwest Brook first. It’s an easy “Sauntier” along a perfect trout stream until it meets the Southwest Arm of the sea. It’s a nice, easy walk with boardwalks and bridges. Picnic tables and benches along the way to rest and have lunch. There are even a couple of covered ones. 

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We then drove to the little town of Salvage, stopping to fill up the gas tank. Salvage is outside Terra Nova National Park, but is gorgeous. Its name is derived from the French name, Salvaje, meaning savage. The Beothuk natives were not receptive to Europeans. 

As our friend, Jim Tulk on the ferry said, “Things are changing. We all used to be pretty much all the same, but now there are more rich people.” There is the still-alive fishing business, but it is highly regulated and a dying industry. The salmon don’t come the way they used to. Now there are newer houses with expensive boats. In 20 years, this will be a very different place. Who would come here, you might ask? It’s a 5-hour flight from London, 3.5 from Toronto or Montreal into Gander International Airport or St. John’s. Salvage is 200km from St. Johns. Richmond, VA to St. John’s in 9 hours for $475 on WestJet.

We hiked up to Net Point, about an hour out and back, easy to moderate. These trails are well-maintained with boardwalks and great signage. Stopping for pictures all along the way, Salvage photographs well from any angle. Newfoundland has the best cemeteries, and the Salvage cemetery is in such a pretty place. 

_1GW2244We went from Parking to Net Point

Arriving at a platform overlook of the entrance to Salvage Harbor, we ate lunch and enjoyed the view. Martha took her sandwich and walked down the rocks to the point to watch for whales, then waved me down. Three islands form their own interesting cove. No doubt a great place for whales, but not seeing any, we headed back up to the platform. Just then I saw a big whale right in the harbor, then another and maybe a third. We watched and listened to them blow and round their backs, happily feeding along the other side. A pair swam in perfect harmony, side by side. 

As they left the harbor, we hurried down the rocks to the point to watch them right out front. It was a great show for about 30 minutes or so. Twice they came all the way out of the water. Of course I had a 70mm lens for the scenery. Too late, Martha said shoot a video to capture the sounds of the spouts and splashes. It would have been great in the harbor, but they were too far away now, and the wind too strong, so we just watched. Then there were two more to the left of the islands, but we never saw them again. The original 3 worked their way around the point to our right and were gone, but what a show they gave us!

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It was just as pretty walking down, as you notice things from a different perspective. It is just a beautiful, unspoiled place.

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Back at camp, Martha made her own version of Seafood Chowder, and it was delicious. With a little lobster and some muscles in addition to the cod she put in, she might win a prize in a local contest!

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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.

Dildo Run Provincial Park Campground

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Change Island, Newfoundland

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

We took the 8:45 am ferry to Change Island for $11.50. It’s an easy 30 minute ride, and only 8 cars were going, Fogo getting most of the tourists and traffic. One road runs right up the middle of the small island, then branching out at the north end of the island in the town of Change.

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That was a trick trusting the ferry man to back us into that spot!

We passed the little visitor’s center before we saw it, and turned around in a tiny settlement in a beautiful cove with a street named Parson’s Lane. Returning to the small Visitor’s Center, we met Kimberly, a cute, young lady who is on a student grant from the government to work there. Her family has lived here for generations, and she was great about telling us all about life here. There are few jobs, most people still making their living fishing.

They had many craft items, mostly made on Change Island, but some from other Newfoundland places. The cold winters are great times for people to do crafts. They are quite good at knitting wool and making quilts. The prices were very reasonable.

We drove around, taking as many pictures as Martha would allow. This is a rich photographic place, especially as the sun came out in the afternoon, turning the waters blue, the grass more green and the buildings more bright. There are so many little coves at the top of this little island, and every one like a private place for just a few houses.

Then we went out and hiked the Squid Jigger Trail, which starts in a neighborhood and winds around coves and points with great views everywhere. We stopped for lunch at a half-collapsed picnic table. Soon enough, a lady came up the steps on her walk. She introduced herself as Wendy, and was born and raised here. She now lives near St. Johns, but was home for a visit. She talked for a half hour about what it was like to grow up here, and how rough the winters are. She said her father drove had an oil delivery business and used to drive across the winter ice to the mainland or to Fogo! She told us the millions of berries we had seen are blackberries, but they weren’t quite ripe yet. They are black and grow on what looks like a dwarf Juniper. The others we had seen were bake-apples. Her father loved them, but she remembers her mother cooking them on the stove and they smelled like sweat socks. She suggested more places to go and see and a restaurant in St. Johns called Chaffs I think. I should have been taking notes.

Change Island

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Blackberries

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Bake apple

 

We walked back to the truck and drove around the coves some more, but we wanted to take the 3:00 ferry back so we could go to Sansome’s for dinner. We did take one more quick hike around a pretty lake on the way back. I fell in love with Change Island.

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Sansome’s is quite a unique place on the water, where the family catches the seafood, cooks and serves it. Martha made the right choice with lobster, which she said was so sweet. I tried the fishcakes again, and they were good, but I don’t think I will do it again. With so much lobster, crab and mussels, I’ll stick to the pure thing. We shared a seafood chowder and moved it into first place – not so much cream and cheese, no potatoes and lots of seafood – lobster, crab, cod and muscles – yum!

 

Fogo Island

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

We got an early start to make sure we caught the 8:00 ferry to Fogo Island. Two pickups were tailing me closely, like they were late for work, so I pulled over and let them pass. Just around the corner was the lineup for the ferry. We were sure they would get on and we wouldn’t, but there was plenty of room on a Tuesday.

I didn’t get much sleep last night. My right leg has been bothering me for a while. I can do anything, like hiking, and it doesn’t bother me, but at night it has been getting more painful. Nothing seems to affect the pain – not Aleve, Advil, Butazoladine or aspirin. My differential diagnosis was either sciatica or Lyme Disease. Something bit me right before Martha came and my thigh turned bright red and burned. I didn’t see a bite mark or a tick, but figured something bit me while I was working on the trailer roof the day before. It took about a week to go away. There was no target look to it, so I guessed a spider bit me.

I was planning on sleeping on the ferry, but a man stood nest to our table, looking out the window, and we got to talking. Jim Tulk was his name, and he was a Newfie. He told stories of what it was like growing up. His family came originally from England in the 1800’s when there were no roads and they walked everywhere. 

He had no real education, so the language evolved so it doesn’t sound like English any more. They drop the “H”, so Martha becomes Marta, and they have a lot of colloquial terms that make it hard for visitors to understand. Jim said they all had big families. “What else were you going to do in the winter?” He and his wife and daughter were going to Fogo to visit some of those relatives. 

He used to work for the electric company for 35 years, and traveled all over Newfoundland, so he was telling us where to go and what to do. He told the story of having appendicitis when he was a young teenager. They had to drive somewhere and then pull their way on a river ferry before they could get to the hospital in Gander. I enjoyed listening to this nice man, and before I knew it, we were docking.

Jim Tulk

Stopping at the visitor’s center, it was 10 minutes before opening. I saw a girl riding a 4-wheeler drive up to the back of the building. Soon the lights came on and the door opened. We knew very little about the island, but the nice young lady circled places on the map, showed us where the hikes were, where the ice-cream place was and where the museums were.

We decided to go to the east end of the island and work our way back. Newfoundland is the end of the Appalachian mountain chain and some of the oldest mountains in the world. There are so many islands at this end of the country, I wondered how anyone could sail their way around this part and not get lost. These islands were just the tops of the mountain chain, sticking out of the water. 

We drove to the east side of the island first and walked Joe Batt’s Point Trail, but not all the way. There was a lot to see and do in one day. We had a view of the Fogo Hotel, built by a successful person who wanted to provide jobs for their home. It’s a pretty expensive hotel, and they wouldn’t let us walk through it. In fact, you can’t even drive up to it. You park and take a shuttle. Maybe that translates to more jobs.

We came back to town and had a nice lunch at a restaurant I still don’t know the name of. Then we went to Fogo and went to the Visitor’s Center. This is the site of a Marconi radio station, which took the Titanic’s distress call. It was also important in both wars. I was surprised to learn that Newfoundland was independent until 1949.

Out back we took another trail leading to a beautiful overlook. Fogo is indeed a beautiful harbor and town. By then it was time to get back to the ferry. Two days would have been nice here.

Twillingate

Monday, August 5, 2019

Driving 35 minutes to Twillingate from Dildo Provincial Park, we drove through town and out the the northwest point. Everywhere we go, the coast of Newfoundland (pronounced NewfoundLAND) is dramatic and beautiful. They call it The Rock, and you can see why. With beautiful, clear, blue-green water washing the shore and mountains or cliffs meeting the sea, it is so beautiful.

Driving back into town, we went to the Wooden Boat Builder Museum. Chris greeted us and sent us upstairs for a talk on how wooden boats are made. A young and enthusiastic man had just started giving his talk on how it was done. His grandfather was a boat builder, and now he builds them at this museum. The whole second floor is a workshop where they were building a punt, a smaller, wooden rowboat that can be used in harbors and coves. It will only weigh about 200 pounds when finished.

It is quite a process, taking them two months to build one. they have electric tools, but still there is so much fitting and shaping to be done by hand. He said his grandfather could probably have built this boat with hand tools in a month because he did it full time all his life. There was a new language of parts for us to learn. How they fit all the complex curves was interesting. They use fir trees, getting pieces that look like knees where the roots join the tree trunk. These take a lot of stress growing in windy Newfoundland, so the grains are very tight and strong. They use these to cut the ribs, which he called a different name. He showed how they use wood different patterns to help define the width and shape of different boats. Then when they put it in the water, it will leak, so they fill it with water for a day until the wood swells to close all the seams. It was all very cool. On the way out, Chris suggested places for lunch, a seafood market and Sansome’s for dinner. 

After lunch at Annie’s, we drove out the other arm of town to the tip, where a trail goes all the way around the peninsula. You would have to be young and in very good shape to make your way all the way around, but I’m sure many do. We walked out to the end, finding great vistas. I am always amazed by the abundance of lakes everywhere. On the way back in, a girl was busy picking berries of some sort. She was too far away to tell what she was picking, but there must have been plenty.

We went to a grocery store to get a few things, filled up the truck, then went to the seafood market. There were live wells with running water keeping lobsters of all sizes fresh. We wanted fish for dinner, so we went into the next room, picking up three cod fillets for $5.40 Canadian. The nice woman at the desk helped us sort out our change, saying she used to work at a bank, so she was good at it. She said we could come in and pick out a lobster and they would cook it for us, crack the shells and have it ready at any time. $11/lb Canadian 😊

Back at camp, I drove up to the shower house, where the WIFI is strongest, to see if I could post. I couldn’t even get on yesterday, but today I could upload pictures to my amazement. It was about 3:00 in the afternoon, so I guess there weren’t many trying to get on. Several people came up, asking if I was able to get anything done, as they couldn’t get on. I knew I was hogging the network, and tried to be quick with my work.

A couple had just arrived and came to check out the showers. “Five showers”, she exclaimed to her husband. “Can you believe it? And you can adjust the hot water! Curtains, they have shower curtains!” I couldn’t help but laugh out loud. It was a very nice shower house with lots of room.

As they walked away, she read my license tag and came back. “Are you from Virginia?” They had just moved to Edenton, North Carolina, where my brother-in-law was raised, so we got to talking. It turns out she grew up in Richmond, Virginia, an hour from where we live. They said Edenton is a great place to live, but it gets very hot in the summer, so they loaded their Mercedes conversion camper and came to Labrador for 5 weeks. We exchanged stories of where we were going and where we had been. Then they headed back to their campsite, and I tried to finish up my work as quickly as I could.

Martha fixed the cod fillets in foil over a fire, having learned some techniques from the cooking show we have been watching. It was great!

King’s Point Pottery/Drive to Dildo Run Provincial Park

Sunday, August 4, 2019

About a 30-minute drive from George Huxter Memorial Park is King’s Point where the highest-rated craft store in Newfoundland can be found. King’s Point sits on beautiful Notre Dame Bay.

Kaitlan greeted us, and we were the only ones in the store on a Sunday morning. She said they had the busiest July in their 28 years of being in business. There is so much in this little store, the longer you stay, the more you notice. It’s hard to take it all in. Everything is made in Newfoundland by maybe 300 artists. There were paintings I loved, Labrodite jewelry and stones, knitted, wool socks, wood utensils, bowls and decorative things, lots of pottery, bowls and mugs. 

We had a nice running conversation with Kaitlan, who was maybe 22 years old. She suggested places to go and bits of Newfoundland history and what it’s like to live in King’s Point. We bought a cute moose mug, some partridgeberry jam and a hand-made card with a puffin on it. We drove through the little town, then headed back.

We packed up and got on the road east on TCH 1 (TransCanada Highway 1), then north toward Twillingate to Dildo Run Provincial Park. We pulled into a great site with a beautiful view of a bay with islands all through it. As soon as we got settled, the rains came. I put the awnings out and we sat out for a while until the mosquitoes got too hungry.

We talked to Diego, who will be joining us for a week in St. Johns. With thunder and lightening, the rains got harder. The roof didn’t leak 😊