Monday, August 28, 2017

"Havin' a Toime" at the Cabin

This past weekend (an extra long one for me) was chock full of fun. So much so, that I need to rest and live a totally boring life for at least a week! I'm not as young as I used to be! Let me tell you about my time at "the cabin".

Newfoundlanders love their weekend retreats - cabins, cottages, sheds, whatever. Lots of people go the usual route: buy a piece of land on a lake, build a cabin, fill it full of hand-me-downs and go there every weekend with the family and friends. But even the poor can have a "cabin" here in NL. If you've got a dwelling, a tent to pitch or a vehicle that has enough room for you to sleep in, then you've got a ready made "cabin". Just take practically any of the many woods or logging roads, find a spot (where there's preferably at least there's one other human), and there ya go! Set up your camp! If the logging companies don't want you on that particular piece of land, they'll not only let you know you aren't allowed, but they'll also show you where you can pitch your tent! Amazing huh, that there are still places like this in the world.

Anyway, my sister's "cabin" is an old travel trailer that's not roadworthy any longer but has certainly got lots of dry, weather-proof life left in her. We packed some food, drink and both cool and warm clothing, and off we went shortly after supper. 10 km off the highway -- past I don't know how many other side logging roads -- we finally reached our home for the next 2 nights. 

The logging companies clear cut areas in NL, leaving the birch trees and the brush where they are. This leaves the area looking like some sort of alien landscape or post-apocalyptic scene. It's quite sad really while at the same time quite beautiful in it's starkness. 

Important things first: make a fire in the pit outside, put the fresh corn on to boil, and make our beds. Then the fun could begin. 

The nights are chilly here in NL. But Linda always has extra hats and woods jackets on hand. We wouldn't win any best-dressed titles, but we were warm, watered and fed, the fire was crackling, the ancient radio was doing the same, and we danced in front of the flames. (Well, maybe that was only me.)

The next day dawned bright, sunny and warm. We took a drive to Pinchgut Lake for ice cream and a short walk round. We drove down several alien roads looking for moose which are usually plentiful. And on our return trip, we chased a caribou. Well, actually we were following him as he had to wait for the right spot to get off the road onto the scrub land and he refused to "pull over" and let us pass. Poor little guy!

Some favorite Newfie sayings.
Friday evening round the fire was cut somewhat short because of rain. But white wine, cheesies and a good book were just fine in the trailer.  We were home before 1 pm Sat afternoon; and even though I had a wonderful time, how good it is to sleep in one's own bed, huh! 

Monday, August 14, 2017

Weekend Wanderings

This weekend's hike took place in Gros Morne, our amazingly beautiful national park and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The Park is full of hiking trails, from flat, easy walks to Gros Morne mountain itself (which we have on our agenda for the fall)

After Marble Mountain last weekend, this time we choose 2 fairly easy hikes with only slight elevations, ate lunch in between and dinner together afterwards. 

The first leg of our hike was Lomand River. It was a lovely day, not too hot with a slight breeze. We walked 6 km (about 2 hr) along a very pretty woodland path surrounded by ferns, wildflowers and lots of berries. We saw moose footprints and bear droppings, but our chattering group of 7 kept them at bay. At one point, we walk along the Lomand River; and we stopped for a picture at the river with the mountains on the other side. 

The last leg of this 1st hike took us through a well-known children's camp (Killdevil) and down the road to Lomand Campgrounds and the trail for our 2nd hike Stanleyville. At the campgrounds, we stopped for lunch, much needed rest and, thankfully, flush toilets! Hurrah!
Hot, sweaty and happy!
What a view!

The 2nd leg of our hike was a fairly steep climb up, a little flat terrain and then down again (which was then repeated in reverse order for our return). And despite the warnings of a bear in the area, we didn't see any scat on this trail. Just more beautiful flora and fauna and, of course, the wonderful smell of spruce trees. 

The Stanleyville hike was 4 km (1.5 hr), and we were all a little slower on this leg, especially with the elevations. In the early 1900's, Stanleyville was a small logging town but has been deserted for more than 80 years. There was never a road into Stanleyville; everything happened by boat. Park authorities placed a couple of Adirondack chairs on the beach which changes every year due to winter storms; and because of a pool of standing water, the black flies were brutal! So, despite the beauty all around us, we didn't stay too long ...........

..... just long enough to have a rest, and dip our toes in the water. 

Once back at the cars, we said goodbye to two and the remaining five of us drove into the picturesque town of Woody Point for dinner on the deck at the Merchant Warehouse & Retro Cafe. The fish and chips were delicious and the beer ice cold. Ahhhhh!

It was a long day -- we left at 9:30 from Corner Brook and didn't return until just before 8 pm. But what a day it was. Another lovely hiking experience with the group. 

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The View from Marble

I'm in fairly good shape: a little overweight but fit enough to hike 8-10 km, run after my grandchild, and dance several hours (with or without music!) But at this stage in my life, I know that I'm slowly losing my agility and ability. So when my hiking group said they were hiking Marble Mountain, I thought "I must go! Heaven knows if my body can wait another year." 

The Mountain itself is a popular skiing resort, but hiking, zip lining and swimming above the falls are all popular summertime activities. The climb to the top of the ski hill's highest peak is about 1,800 ft ...... and we climbed further and higher to the radar doppler. AND wouldn't you know, it was a really, really hot day to climb. Oh dear! What a bunch of dorks!

There were about 11 of us who started together, everyone going at their own pace. Two of us (and our wobbly knees) acted as caboose, not reaching the summit for 30 min after the first long-legged ones got there -- our 2 hr to their 1.5 hr. But what a magnificant climb! The beginning was through the woods over rocks and tree roots, but the greater portion of it was done on a steep, rocky service road with narry a bit of shade to be found.

In no time, we were at the wooden stairs and the lookouts. There were people ziplining over the falls when we reached one of the lookoff points. Right at the top of the falls (your far right), there's a deep, recessed pool; and there must have been over a dozen young people swimming. It sure looked good to us on our way back down the mountain, hot and sweaty as we were!

And there was such an abundance of wild flowers -- Yarrow, Bog Orchids, Ox-Eye Daisies -- as well as wild strawberries (about 3-4 days from perfection), raspberries and these little dew berries -- tart and so refreshing. At one spot about 3/4 of the way up, there were butterflies everywhere. It was so beautiful.
Fire Weed & Devil's Paintbrush

My hiking companion and I took lots of water breaks and would often stand in the ditch to get out of the sun. Half way up at the top of a few of the ski trails, this was our view:
We are looking down towards Steady Brook along the Humber River heading north to Deer Lake.

"Hey! What took you so long?"

Finally .... after many more rest and water stops, we reached the top. What a feat for my feet! Our companions were waiting for us, already finished their lunch and some of them actually on their way back down. But there were a few of us to savor the view. 

Cheese and pickle on rye never tasted so good!

And here I am looking down on the Humber River andCorner Brook in the background. WOW!

The climb down was, of course, much easier. And the iced capp and honey crueller at Tim Horton's at the bottom helped revive our energies. Next time though, I think I'll wait until Autumn to climb so far.


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