Monday, July 30, 2018

Gros Morne National Park

I'm so fortunate to live just a 1.5 hr drive from Gros Morne National Park. I've done many day visits, but this was the first time I'd actually camped there. My Nova Scotia sister and her family were visiting which more than doubled my enjoyment.

Kim and family were there for a whole week, and I got to stay with them for 4 of the 7 days. In spite of most days being a mixture of sun and clouds coupled with periodic showers, it didn't dampen our enthusiasm and joy at being together in such an amazing setting. Gros Morne is spectacularly beautiful and rugged with 'umpteen' trails and walks. At our age, we mainly stayed on the easy trails with the most challenging being a 9.5 mostly flat walk to Baker Brook Falls. 
It was the perfect time to hike Baker Brook Falls as most of the wild flowers were at their peak: Beginning at the top left and going in a clockwise direction, we had Devil's Paintbrush, fields full of wild Iris, many Pitcher Plants (NL's provincial flower), Cow Parsnip (I think) and the most amazing wild Orchids. The boardwalk wound its way through meadow, forest and 'tuckamore' until we began to first hear and then see the falls. It was a warm, muggy day, and dipping our toes in the icy water at the end was a treat. 
Clarence improvised
when there was no
room on the bench
to rest.
We visited Norris Point and took a short hike overlooking the bay. While enjoying the scenery in Norris Point, a large black luxury SUV stopped, rolled down the window and casually chatted with us about the weather and how nice it is to be able to visit occasionally. "Was that a friend of yours?" Kim asked me. "Oh! That was Mr Dwight Ball, the premier of Newfoundland." I replied. "Jeeze!" said Kim. "You have connections!" Hahahaha.

We drove around Bonne Bay to the other side and lunched in pretty Woody Point; then continued on that side past the stunning Tablelands where you can walk upon the earth's mantle. We stopped at the end of the line at Trout River and took a short hike up 136 stairs to take pictures.

Kim's favorite spot was Rocky Harbour, just 10 min from our campgrounds. It's not just cute and picturesque, but it has a grocery and liquor store and lots of great cafes and quirky souvenir shops. We ate breakfast there at Java Jack's: everything is home made and absolutely delicious! Then we followed that with a walk on the beach collecting beach glass for Jessie's collection. That afternoon, we drove down the coast road a little looking for more sandy beaches (very difficult to find in NL). We found a couple of boulder and driftwood strewn beaches (very easy to find in NL), and gave our legs and butt a good workout "walking" them and collecting other treasures. 

My driftwood dragon has built-in
scales and is sitting on an
enormous white egg (rock) w/
beautiful Sea Heather, colorful
spotted rocks as well as (my
favorites) heart-shaped rocks.

We played many, many games of cards -- Auction 45's and Cribbage being our favorites -- and laughed and reiminised about our younger days. 
And as our last night together round the fire was a special one, we drank Newfie beer and tossed on some 'magic crystals' so the fire was extra special too. 
It was a wonderful vacation.

Monday, July 16, 2018


One of the most frustrating things for me in this aging process is the way I discover my limitations. Sometimes, it's a simple matter of doing what you've always done but finding out that you aren't as good or as flexible as you used to be (i.e. yoga poses); or perhaps your stamina is lacking and it takes you longer because you need to rest more (i.e. gardening). And other times, it's as simple as looking at something you would have done before and knowing that you don't want to take a chance this season (i.e. jumping into the river from that bridge). Okay! as much as I don't like losing these things, I'll adjust my lifestyle and keep soldiering on.

However, most of the time, I find my limitations by unintentionally hurting myself. There's nothing gentle about it; no gradual decline in ability; no warning bells or alarms saying "Danger, Will Robinson!"; no little voice in my head saying to be extra cautious.

AND to add insult to injury, the memory banks are so full that I often forget things like the need to adjust the time I've allotted to something, that I can't do more than one "extra" per weekend, and that my recovery time will be longer and that's it's absolutely necessary. After 60+ years of living one way, it takes a lot of time, love and patience with oneself to relearn or to even let go. (So I keep reminding myself!)

I walk and hike because I love it; nature feeds my soul and gives me renewed purpose. But I also do it because it's good for me: it keeps me flexible, my sleep and digestion are better, I'm happier and it helps me lose weight. But when I'm actively trying to take care of myself and my body rebels by telling me after the fact via prolonged pain and distress that I made a wrong choice, it feels like betrayal. I have met the enemy ...... and it is ME!

Yep, I overdid it last weekend; and then put my back out just by picking up a tissue Tuesday. There was no hike. There was no walk. There was no picnic at the beach with friends. Boo hoo! The smallest violin played for me in my own mind as I rend my clothes and poured ashes on my head!

I spent this weekend fairly inactive. I did go yard saling with my BFF, and afterwards we had tea and sarnies on her back patio in the sunshine. But I spent the majority of my weekend resting with a heating pad at my back watching Netflix (Hello "Last Kingdom" and "Orange is the New Black" ) and looking longingly out my window at the green hills which were calling me.  But then later Saturday afternoon as I was lying outside in my lounge chair, I was struck by the beauty all around me. I was reminded of how privileged I am to live where I do and enjoy the luxury of a sunny day, a comfy lounger, and the joy that can be found in simply existing on such a day in such a place. 

I may be slowing down quicker than I like, I may have to wear more strings on my fingers as reminders, I may have to adjust my lifestyle, and yes, sometimes I may be house-bound just because of my own stupidity. 

But life is still beautiful! And I will continue to pursue it and grab whatever beauty I can in whatever way I can. 

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Still Crazy after all These Years!

The weather here in western Newfoundland has been wonderful for the past couple of weeks: sunny day and cool evenings are perfect for my tastes!

I'd been nursing a sore calf muscle that I believe was the result of walking twice in one day; neither walk was particularly strenuous, but I'd been suffering chin-splint discomfort in my right calf: so I decided to stop walking for a week. Then after doing the hike with my brother and my usual easy walks at home, I felt I was ready for a more challenging hike this past weekend.

My memory bank told me that last year's Corner Brook Stream Trail hike was a really easy one because it was one of two done on the same day. So, I thought I'd add the Ginger Root Trail to my hike because it actually which meets up with the CB Stream Trail. And according to the map trail map I found, it was a 4 km return hike. 
I think I misread, and it was actually 4 km ONE way! Just before I reached the falls, I began to suspect it was longer than I'd anticipated ...... but of course, it was too late to turn back then.  

It was pretty difficult, uphill almost all the way over rocks and tree roots; but I knew the falls were waiting for me. I ate lunch at the top, all alone, the sound of the falls in one ear, birds singing in the other. I stayed for about an hour, and it was blissful. The weather was cool at the start -- perfect for climbing -- and the woods were alive with bird song, squirrels and a number of friendly toads. It was warmer on the descent; so I spent some time talking to those creatures on my way down as I needed someone to commiserate with over my folly (and none of those creatures judged me). Here are some of the highlights of my hike. 

Here I am 4 days later and only now beginning to recover from what turned out to be 9.5 km (6 mi) of walking! Egad! 

My feet didn't suffer as I have good hiking sneakers. But my legs, butt and lower back were been seized up tighter than an 8 day clock, and I've been waddling around like Jemima Puddle Duck! 

Oh the follies of the growing-elderly!

I should be recovered enough to take on a small hike this weekend .... fingers crossed and brain engaged this time round!


Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Canada Day Adventures

Logging is one of Newfoundland's oldest industries, and that means that there are old unused logging roads everywhere. With our great love of the rugged outdoors, these roads are still well used; and many people have set up their weekend cabins (cottages) in these places. The government accepts applications to rent a piece of land at a nominal fee, and because some of these trails are part of the Appalachian Mountains Trail and are used by the local snowmobile and ATV clubs, they work to keep the trails and roads in 'good' condition ..... well, good for off road vehicles and 4x4's.

I spent the Canada Day weekend at my brother's cabin, and it was so wonderful! His comfy but rustic cabin overlooks a pond (we don't have "lakes" in NL -- only ponds); and the front garden and deck are always open to squirrels, chipmunks, Blue and Grey Jays and the
Toast and fruit are on today's menu.
occasional moose or caribou (although not during my stay). I spent lots of time just relaxing with my book of NY Times crosswords, got in a great hike and ate sporatic but wonderful meals. Barbequed steak, baked potato, grilled asparagus and strawberry shortcake on Sat night means steak 'n' home fries, an asparagus omlette and fruit salad on Sun morning! Yum yum! 
And evening visits to and from friendly neighbors means lots of Newfie music, cold beers and big, blazing fires!  

💛Ahhhhh! Fresh air at yer bum
 .... sky at your head
 .... and bird song
all around you! 💛 

My brother has a generator, so there were lights, a small refrigerator and, depending on the time of day, even a few channels on the satellite TV. And although his cabin has a bathroom with a composting toilet, my favorite 'room' was this one.  

It was clean, fresh smelling and ........... drum roll .................. it boasts a clear, plexiglass roof which provides the most beautiful view! Plus you get a heck of a lot more privacy. But yeah, that view!   
                                💖 💖💖 

I hope your Canada Day was a good one. And to my American friends, I hope your July 4th gives you something great to celebrate tomorrow.



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