Saturday, July 3, 2010

The End of the Road

As Route 430, the Viking Trail, is the only road in or out, the Northern Peninsula is a great place for anyone like me who wants to drive to spots that are at the end of the road. You can get a lifetime's worth of end of the road experiences down North. Just scanning the map I counted over ten and I'm sure there are countless others that are off the beaten path in each little village. At many of these points there are paths leading to high overlooks where you may see a lighthouse, icebergs or a spouting whale. In St. Anthony you will find all three at Fishing Point. The lighthouse is a shorter one which you are allowed to climb but we opted for the trail that is really a stairway as there are 476 steps on the 550 foot climb. We saw a distant iceberg, many sea birds and one spouting whale. The 360 degree view from the top makes it a worthwhile hike.

St. Anthony is also the home of the Grenfell Historic Properties. Dr. Wilford Grenfell, an Englishman, was the first doctor in this part of Newfoundland and Labrador when he arrived in 1892. He worked for The Royal National Mission to Deep Sea Fishermen and helped the area with hospital boats, cottage hospitals, schools, an orphanage, co-ops, industrial work projects and social work. The Interpretation Center tells his story and his home, known as the castle, has 85% of the original furnishings. The story of how he helped the people of this remote area (the road north was not built until the 1960's) is very interesting and because of his dedication and accomplishments he was known as a hero to all.

Another end of the road must see is Cape Norman, the northern most point of the province. This trip involves a bit of dirt road driving but is well worth it. The Cape Norman Lighthouse guides ships into the Strait of Belle Isle and the two fog horns, which were not needed the day we were there, each stand about six feet tall. We just did a short walk on the trail here as it was a windy, blustery but sunny day and were rewarded with a view of a HUGE iceberg across the strait near Labrador. Near Cape Norman is Cooks Harbour, a small fishing village named for Captain James Cook who charted this coast for the British in 1764.

We moved on to Cape Onion to see Ship Cove, a town known for its Icelandic poppies and the whimsical yard art of the residents. Here we had one of those Newfoundland experiences we read and heard about. As we turned around at what we thought was the end of the road (we thought it was a private drive), we were flagged down by Leonard and Kathleen Tucker and told we had turned around too soon and must go back and drive to the top of Cemetery Hill to enjoy the view. After twenty minutes of talking to the Tuckers and with an invitation to stop back after we saw the view, we drove to the top where we could see the strait to the north and L'Anse aux Meadows across the bay to the east. It was such a beautiful spot that Leonard wondered why the Vikings had not chosen it for their settlement. The main reason we were asked to stop back was to try a drink with iceberg ice they had collected from a berg that had grounded almost in their front yard a couple of months ago. The 10,000 year old ice, the purest on Earth, was wonderful but not as wonderful as the hour we sat together by the water sharing stories with Len and Kathy about their life in Newfoundland and our travels. The Newfies really are some of the friendliest people we have ever met.
Nanc going to the summit at Fishing Point.
The lighthouse at Fishing Point.
Statue of Dr. Grenfell. The stained glass window is from the National Cathedral in Washington, DC and honors Dr. Grenfell for his humanitarian work.
The living room in the castle. The Grenfells did not live like the average Newfoundlander.
The Cape Norman Lighthouse sits at the northern most point of the island.
Typical summer dress up north. That is a huge iceberg over my shoulder. It is about twenty miles away.
A fishing hut in Cooks Harbour.
Leonard and Kathleen Tucker, Nanc enjoying her pure iceberg ice. Some companies actually collect and bottle the water for sale and one brewery makes iceberg beer. I will report on that in the future.
Poppies and yard art in Ship Cove.

1 comment:

johnanannx2 said...

hi guys, you guys sure are enjoying yourselfs. we probably should of gone farther when we were in maine, o well. can do it another time. keep on enjoying . PRETTY DAMN NICE.