Tag Archives: Canada

6 Amazing Things I Learned About Newfoundland’s West Coast and Ashamed That I Didn’t Know

I am one of those weirdo’s who loves history,.especially Canadian history. I have always taken pride in having, what I believe to be,  a better than average understanding of Canadian geography. Well it only has taken two weeks in Newfoundland to prove how woefully inadequate I am when it comes to knowing anything about this very special and amazing province. Sadly I’m not alone. I informally asked other gray haired first time visitors if they were aware of many of our discoveries here. Like me they muttered something about the sorry state of Canadian Education and then ashamedly admitted they did not.  So that you do not have be as challenged as I am in my golden years, here are 6 things I learned while traveling Newfoundland’s West Coast. 

Tabletop Mountain. Photo Credit: Martha Morin
  1. Climb Every Mountain:  When we think of mountains in Canada our thoughts turn to the Canadian Rockies of the West, central Canada’s Laurentian Mountains or the Cape Breton Highlands of the east coast. Well the Long Range Mountains of Newfoundland more than deserve  to be a part of this illustrious group. As as an extension of the Appalachian Mountains Range of North America’s east coast, these amazing mountains run up almost the entire west coast of Newfoundland. Rugged and majestic they reach for the sky at times at the ocean’s edge. Their shape and structure varies significantly throughout the range. Key features are a part of Gros Morne National Park and include the Tabletop Mountains near Trout River and Fjords of West Brook Pond. Definitely a must see part of Canada. See more here:   https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Range_Mountains 
    West Brook Pond Fjord? Photo Credit: Martha Morin
  2. Salt Required:    While on the topic of Mountains, who knew that Newfoundland had a fjord. Well actually it is not currently a true fjord but it once was. To be a true fjord it must be filled with saltwater and although the the fjord at West Brook Pound was once filled with saltwater, glacial movement and changing seas levels has left it land locked and filled with fresh water thus loosing its authentic fjord designation. Salt or no salt this is a Canadian treasure. The two hour boat tour of this lake will be a highlight of any trip to Newfoundland.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_Brook_Pond 
    Whales at St Anthony’s NFLD. Photo Credit: Martha Morin
  3. Have a Whale of a Time: I have been on two so called “whale watching cruises” in my life prior to coming to Newfoundland and never go a glimpse of a Whale until coming to this province. If you want to see whales Newfoundland is the place. You can see these beautiful giant mammals from shore with binoculars or you can spend a little cash on a cruise to get up close and personal. One word of caution. No tour guarantees seeing whale. But the chances of seeing them here is exponentially higher than anywhere else. If you do choose to do a tour, pleases so your homework to ensure the operator in ecologically ethical and will not use tactics that will anyway terrorize, disturb or harm the whales. The touring business can be very competitive so there are times when some operators will chase or approach seas mammals in a manner that may be harmful to give paying customers a cheap but damaging thrill. See this link below for more info about whales of Newfoundland.  Https://newfoundsander.wordpress.com/whales/ ,   
    Anchors Aweigh Live Rocky Harbour NFLD. Photo Credit:Martha Morin
    There are whales and then there is whaling of the party variety.  So if you want a whale of a good to time take in one of the many live shows around the province. Quality entertainment and talent at rock bottom prices. See the link below for more information about Anchors Aweigh in Rocky Harbour NFLDhttp://www.tripadvisor.com/3309403?m=19905
  4. Rocks Alive!: Flower‘s Cove NFLD is home to thrombolites, very rare fossils which can be seen on the coast in the southern part of the town, remnants of bacteria and algae. They are about 650 million years old. The only two places where thrombolites were found are Flower’s Cove and Western Australia.How amazing is that. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flower%27s_Cove
  5. Historic MeetingL’anse aux Meadows National Historic site where archeologist discovered a Norse village that proves that Europeans actually reached North America around 1000 AD almost five hundred years before Columbus. The site recognized as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1976 provides a peek into what life was like in this small settlement established by Lief Erickson as a staging point to allow further exploration of a territory referred to as Vineland.The site is also said to be where human migrants who originated in Africa thousands of years before met again for the first time after circling the globe. All humans are said to have evolved and got their start in Africa. In time some started migrate East and others west. So when Lief Erickson landed at L’Anse aux Meadows and made contact with the local natives, the Beothucks, it is likely that human migrants from the east and west met for the first time concluding human circumvention of the earth. Pretty cool stuff that happened in Newfoundland. Read more at the following link.  https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/L%27Anse_aux_Meadows 
  6. Land of Plenty: Meanwhile another interesting story was playing out further south on Newfoundland’s western peninsula at Port aux Choix. This is one of the richest archeological areas in the world.  Three distinct groups are said to have occupied this area for over 5500 years. The area attracted migrants because of it’s rich resources such as fish, seal and furs. Maritime Archaic Tradition, Groswater and Dorset Palaeoeskimos, and Recent Indians occupied the area before Europeans arrived. Beginning in the late 1500s, Basque, French and English occupied the site.   Read more here: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Port_au_Choix

Too Old for Adventure? Not!

Today we embark on the travel adventure or misadventure of our lifetime. The ultimate road trip across Canada. We have driven across Canada before but not like this.

My wife Martha and I retired earlier this spring and are fortunate to begin this phase of our life before our sixtieth year. We shared a vision of retirement filled with travel and in particular extended travel a across our beautiful homeland of Canada. We have travelled to most parts of Canada over the years but this trip is the is going to be totally different….

About five years ago we decided that we wanted to spend the our summers exploring Canada once we retired. We wanted to do it in a way that was more than sightseeing. We wanted to spend time in communities across the country exploring and having conversations with locals from sea to sea. We want to have a true experience of small town Canada beyond what we read in travel brochures or on the internet. We quickly decided that the way to do this was by travelling by recreational vehicle. This is where things kinda got crazy.

Other than a small pop-up tent trailer we have no experience travelling with a recreational vehicle so there was a huge learning curve just determining was type of RV would be best for us and our plans. We eventually made decisions and only time will tell if we made the best decisions. 

We settled on a truck and a fifth wheel trailer combination. In future blogs I will detail how we came to our decisions and why we settled on this 51 foot long and 14,000 pound behemoth of an RV and truck combo. 

So here we are senior  citizens embarking a trip of a lifetime with no experience chauffeuring a vehicle this huge vehicle to our first destination: Newfoundland and Labrador. So keep checking in to see how our adventure or misadventure goes as we push our limits well beyond our comfort zone ensuring that everyday will bring something new and exciting. 

Trans-Arctic? Yes please!

Our flight between Toronto and Beijing followed a Trans-Arctic flight path. Below are a couple of photos I took of the Arctic landscape near Resolute in the Canadian Arctic. Without a doubt a beautiful piece of our planet to behold.

The Arctic has always been a fascination for me. As a young person I often pointed to the North Pole as the one place I would like to see and any movies or documentaries set in the high Arctic usually get my attention.

Most of our flight was above the clouds but there were short periods where there was a clear view below us where I was able snap a few pics. I must say that being able to view the Arctic even for a few moments was a real thrill even if it was from 30,000 ft.