Looking for dinosaurs in the Badlands, AB Kayaking in Caliper Lake Provincial ParkMining for Amethyst in Thunder Bay, ONThe amazing sunsets in Sleeping Giant NPExploring Beautiful MontrealSwimming and Sunbathing in Shediac, NBLighthouse trail on Gaspiesie PeninsulaExploring the Maritimes in Nova ScotiaDriving the Cabot Trail on Cape Breton IsExploring Grassy Point in North SydneySeeint Whales and exploring St John’s, NFTracing heritage and hiking on Fogo IslandExploring Gros Morne National Park Ancient Pictographs in Lake Superior.Passing the centre of CanadaThe beautiful Prairies of SK & Manitoba
I made breakfast again and served it to Fergus in bed, again. Lucky boy! It was a cold morning but the clouds were clearing and I had been told it was going to be a nice day by the campsite lady. We entered Gros Morne National Park around 10am and it was quite a stunning drive in. The road twisted and turned up and down through heavily forested high valleys and beside dark blue lakes and small coastal townships before turning onto the West coast and heading North where it was flat until the landscape dramatically turned to high sided glacial tablelands.
Our first stop was Western Brook Pond which is a huge fiord like formation with a lake at the base. It’s basically a fiord that doesn’t make it out to sea. The cliffs above the lake are taller that the CN tower in Toronto in parts and it’s a magnificent sight from the motorway. You walk 45 minutes from the car park through forested paths and boardwalks over boggy ponds to get to the boatlaunch and cafe beside the lake. There is a boat cruise but it was $60 each, unfortunately too expensive for us this time. We had a look around the souvineer shop and cafe and surrounding area before walking back to the car. I was a bit dissappoimted with Western Brook Pond really, when you Google the images of it you are met with people overlooking the lake from up high not photos of the boatlaunch which is on the opposite end of the fiord! I assumed this would be the place we would see but that is a 8 hour long hike from another part of the park. Gutted!Carried on up the coast to Shallow Bay which my Lonely Planet described as ‘seems out of place as if transported from the Carribean’, but annoyingly both the roads leading to the bay were on the map but didn’t actually exist….bugger.
Drove around Lobster Cove where we visited a lighthouse briefly and looked for a lookout in Norris Point, another recommendation from the Lonely Planet we were unable to find. It was lovely seeing all the small bays as we headed inland and joined the motorway again via the blue waters of the East Arm and Lomond. Passed the ski hill again and followed the setting sun all the way to Port aux basques. Still didn’t see any Moose. There are no Moose in Canada, I’m sure of it! Had some dinner before lining up to get on the overnight Ferry. It was a quick boarding compared to our trip over to Newfoundland and by 10:30pm we were relaxed in front of the big TVs on board watching The Discouvery Channel.We turned around, headed South again and stopped briefly at the wreck of the S.S Ethie a ship that ran ashore in 1919. There isn’t much you can see above the water but it’s a good photo spot and a nice pebbly beach.
Woke up to a very dreary, rainy and windy morning, a total contrast to the day before which I was slightly relieved of as I had gotten a little sunburnt on our afternoon hike. Sorry Mum!
I made breakfast on the stage to get away from the howling wind and to let Fergus sleep for a while longer before taking him his breakfast of egg, sausage & mushroom roll in bed. Stopped by the big church in Fogo (there were about 4 churches in town) to see the plaque high on the back wall dedicated to the Slade family. There was also a Slade tombstone in the nearby cemetary. One thing I did notice about the Island is the amount of churches and cemeteries. It seems there is a church for every denomination plus a cemetary! I’ve never seen so many in one small area of land!Visited the F.U Trading Co Museum in Seldom-Gone-By and went on a short tour run by a local teenager who worked there. A lady from London, ON we had chatted to earlier that morning at the campsite was also there. Her blankets had gotten wet due to the storm the previous night so she was using the dryer at the museum. They had a laundromat on site, odd I know! She joined our tour but kept asking loads of questions about why the Island’s fisheries were in decline and what could be done to make it thrive again. Learnt a bit of history about the shop before going onto the shop floor and managers office. Went for a coffee and a nosey around the ‘Museum of the Flat Earth‘, an interesting place with a weird and wonderful collection of Flat Earth bits and bobs including old photographs of the island’s Flat Earth society members and their membership certificates.
Went for a takeaway lunch of Chicken Nuggets and chips at Vanessa’s Take out & convenience and headed down to the 2:00 ferry back to Newfoundland. Another very quick trip on a calm sea, thankfully the wind from earlier had disappeared.
Headed back down the peninsula on the 331 which was full of potholes and made for a very bumpy and nervous trip. Passed coves, bays and small coastal towns containing multicoloured wooden houses, craft shops and roadside veggie stalls during which time the rain fell and large trucks passing sprayed a barrage of water onto our windscreen.
Once back on the Trans Canada the potholes receded and we were able to make some leeway. Passed a big concert in progress in Grand Falls-Windsor and more roadworks dotted about the place.
Arrived in Deer Lake just outside of Gros Morne National Park and due to not having any accomodation booked we went to Tim Hortons to use the wifi, also had a cheeky burger. Fergus found a campground on the lake for $25 so we booked in there.
On arrival at our lakeside site I wasn’t too happy, the internet was only available near the office and we were at least 15 minutes walk from there so no internet. Also, the one and only washroom/shower block was a 5 minute walk away. It doesn’t sound a lot but if you frequently go in the middle of the night like me you don’t want to be walking for 5 minutes in the cold, wet, pitch black night!
Walked with Philippa in the morning to The Roomswhich is a Museam and archives facility overlooking the city.
Fergus wanted to ask about some family who had ties to the shipping trade in Newfoundland and Poole. Found out his family once owned a very large shipping company who had their headquarters on an island called Fogo, we plan to visit the island on our way back to Banff. There is more information about the company Here. Took some photos of the view and carried on into town.Wandered the streets of St John’s looking at souvineer and craft shops and viewing the massive ships moored in the docks. It’s a very busy and lively city, smaller that I’d expected it to be but very pretty, just like a small fishing village just on a larger scale. Met up with Ben for lunch and he took us to a funky little cafe called Rocket Bakery where we had a chicken burrito each. It was a nice place, quite hipster and lots of city types and young families enjoying speciality coffee and slightly overpriced food. Fergus and I headed through town to walk up Signal Hill which is St. John’s most popular landmark. It offers coastal hikes and sweeping views overlooking the Atlantic and is the site of St. John’s harbour defences.We did the North Head Trail which is the oldest and most popular of the trails on Signal Hill. It follows a trail along the narrows to the North Head.
The trail started off relatively easy, walked around the hills on steps and boardwalks, lots of runners passed us and we passed others going at a more leisurely pace. Stopped to look at Whales a couple of times and watch a ship entering the harbour. The trail winded around the cliffs and at one point the path was so narrow a chain was attached to the rock face for safety, the stairs climbed up to the point where the track dissappared and you could wander around the rocks.We walked around the point and as we did the wind died down and the heat really increased. Watched more whales off the point before climbing a huge staircase to the top of the hill. It was tough going!I went up Cabot Tower, the fortification on the top of the hill where the final battle of the Seven Years’ War in North America was fought in 1762 in which the French surrendered St. John’s to a British force. Walked back down the trail on the opposite side of the hill towards Quidi Vidi, a small cove with a brewery. That path was not as steep but still had great views of the ocean before descending into forest where Bald Eagles nest and then onto the cute little cove.There wasn’t a bar at the brewery and I didn’t really want to do a tour so went to a very quirky pub called Inn of Olde. It is a funny place, stuff is all over the walks and roof, number plates, hockey sticks, newspaper clippings, Christmas decorations, you name it. I’ll definately return there when we come back to St John’s as I hear it’s quite a lovely place. Just had one beer before the long walk back to the house.once back at the house we packed up the stuff we wanted to take and the stuff we wanted to leave in Canada and cleaned and organised the car.
We then had a lovely dinner with Ben and Philippa of Salmon, sausages, salad, chips and pasta salad. It was such a nice meal and had a good chat while enjoying an Old Fashioned. Caught a cab to the airport at 9:45 and flew out around midnight.
Bye bye Canada!
We are both so tired. Tired of waking up early, Fergus is tired of driving, tired of living out of the car, tired of the heat.
This has been a trip of a lifetime but to do it in a month has been really draining, we are on the road almost every day and haven’t had a lot of chill out time so we decided to head straight to Sydney to relax before catching the ferry to Newfoundland, driving 9+ hours across it and flying to London. Had some very watery Walmart vege soup for breakfast and got on our way around the Cape Breton peninsula.
Past Ingonish the terrain turned to steeper and more scenic as we climbed the coastal road to the Highlands.The skywas blue, the Atlantic was calm, the flora varying and the road wasn’t too busy, the road surface was still horrible though. Canadian roads are the worst due to the extreme weather, Manitoba and Quebec were the worst.
Headed through the cantre of the Cape to the West side past a lot of roadworks, small towns and highland plains. (still no Moose) The West was even more dramatic and we twixted and turned down the windy roads and had amazing views of the now very choppy ocean. Stopped briefly at Lone Shieling, a tribute to Donald. S. MacIntosh who gave a lot of land to the province upon his death and asked that a small area be set aside and on it build a cabin in the same design as the Lone Shieling on the Isle of Skye. Stopped for lunch at an area overlooking the ocean and had chicken, coleslaw, mask and macaroni cheese rolls. After finding out yet another friend is pregnant we went on to discuss marriage and babies and what we want out of life. It’s hard to choose when you have chosen a life of adventure and travel so far, my freedom to travel is very important to me. Carried on along the Cabot Trail and eventually arrived back at the turnoff we had taken the previous day. Headed back to Baddeck for an ice cream and a rest before crossing the impressive Seal Island Bridge onto Boulardeire Is and then on to North Sydney and Sydney. Arrived at our Air B&B host’s house and had a good chat before being showed to our room and doing some laundry (we had both run out of clean clothes!)
Ordered Chinese for dinner and chilled out.
Today was a definatately a highlight for me, I had really been looking forward to Nova Scotia. 1, because it’s in the heart of the maritimes and having grown up on the coast, boating and fishing were a big part of my life, 2, my manager at work, Adam, grew up here and has shown my incredible photos of his hometown on the internet during many a long night shift. 3, surfing, I wasn’t to see Fergus surf finally, and maybe I’ll get out on a board too.
Awoke early again due to it being light, freshened up in Walmart and bought some bits (I always feel guilty staying there and using their facilities without at least buying some food) and headed on our way about 9:30am.
Decided to head to Prince Edward Island for lunch but when we arrived at Confederation Bridge there was a sign saying the toll is $46. $46!! No way, not for a few hours, so we decided to visit on our way back and instead cooked our breakfast of spam, scrambled egg and avacago rolls in the information centre car park. Carried on into Nova Scotia and stopped at the information centre for maps and pamphlets. The car is starting to get bogged down with pamphlets I’ve collected! Got a photo with the sign, it’s pretty neat and you can drive to it.Drove the Glooscap Trail South to Parrsborro, a small town on the Bay of Fundy famous for its fossil and rock hounding attractions. The Bay of Fundy has the world’s biggest tides, 14 metres in places and due to this you can scowl the beaches for coloured rocks and fossils.From Parrsboro we travelled East into Truro then South again, through lush rolling hills and small rural towns and turned South West to head down to Peggy’s Cove. Peggy’s Cove is one of the most visited sites in Canada and I had read about it in my Lonely Planet. It’s most famous for its lighthouse but the surrounding fishing villages, beaches, calm bays and ornate houses are just as stunning. The huge bayside mansions kind of ruin the vibe as well as the huge tour buses parked near the lighthouse. I actually say one woman climbing the rocks with high-heeled wedge sandals on! Crazy! The fog had rolled in as we arrived and was quite a sight, how quickly, bright blue sky had turned grey and damp was astounding. Seeing a storm out here must be interesting. It was a lovely place, not a lot to do for young locals I’d imagine but plenty to entertain older, retired folk.It was getting late by then so we headed offf and drove another 45 minutes to our Air B&B accomatoon in Hubbards. Fergus had found someone offering a Rustic cabin on a pond for $32, sounded right up our street so we booked it immediately. Arrived at Joel & April’s beautiful home around 7:30 and had a chat with them before settling in. The cabin is beautiful, just like you’d see in a movie, actually thinking about it, it looks like a smaller version of Johnny’s cabin in Dirty Dancing, although, Fergus and I did not try ‘the lift’ in the pond outside! The cabin is mostly made up of screens so you can hear the birds, frogs and insects outside so if you are not a nature lover it’s perhaps not the place for you but I think it’s very soothing. The cool, ocean air on your skin as you sleep is nice and refreshing too.Wandered around the pond for a look at the path and deck before making a dinner of sausages, veges and cous cous. Watched Game of Thrones, season 7, episode 1 (so excited to finally see it) and went to bed after murdering a few mozzies around 11pm.