As we turned onto the Trans Canada Highway starting our journey back across the “Rock” we had conflicting emotions. We were happy that we had seen most of what we set out to see but sad as we knew there was plenty we would be leaving unknown/undone.
There were still a few stops we saved for our return trip, one being Terra Nova National Park. We really didn’t know what to expect from Terra Nova and went into it with lower expectations so we wouldn’t be disappointed. We decided to stay in the park at Newman Sound Campground and were pleasantly surprised. Without reservations we lucked into a great site with lots of room and power. After we got set up we actually hopped on our bicycles and took a ride through the campground.
Our assumptions were on point as there wasn’t much to Terra Nova as far as National Park standards. There were however several hiking trails we could take right from our campsite (actually most of the limited trails could be accessed from our campground). We had been going pretty nonstop so it was nice to just hang around and enjoy a nice campground. We took the Coastal Trail along Newman Sound which brought us to a cute little waterfall with a golden retriever sized swimming hole…
We made our “summit” the visitor center where we turned around and made our way home after the girls checked out some whale bones. It was a really relaxing day and we actually stopped several times and had some nice conversations with people along the trail.
The next day we decided to explore the surrounding area on the motorcycles. Not really sure what to expect we headed north to the next peninsula. At the end of the line was a small cove and the town of Salvage. We stopped at the little town museum to get information about some trails we saw mentioned on a sign. The lady was very chatty and nice and gave us suggestions for what trails and lookouts to shoot for. She even invited us back for a drink after our walk.
After a wrong turn and some brush to scramble through, we found the trail to the first lookout, Round Head. This overlooked a cemetery that dated back to the 1700’s and an abandoned property that was cut off from Salvage proper when the bridge washed out. It was also a great vantage point to see the whole Salvage community.
On the way to the next lookout, South Head, there was another old and very overgrown cemetery… It was a bit creepy but we had to wander around to read the headstones.
From South Head Lookout we were able to see almost 360 degree views. We could actually make out Cape Bonavista, 60 kilometers away where we had visited just a few weeks before. We stayed for awhile contemplating the views and watching a few whales in the distance. On the way home we followed the coast touring a few more little seaside villages…
During one of our walks in Terra Nova we had a conversation with a local couple who made some suggestions about an area near where we were planning to stop. They recommended a nice campground in Roberts Arm, a few hikes, food, and some sights. We decided to take their suggestion for camping and happened upon Crescent Lake RV, home to Cressie the lake monster.
The first night we set out for a short dog walk and found the Hazelnut Hill Trail turning our walk into a hike… Very pretty and there were several information placards that shared local history. One told the story of Cressie… Apparently there have been sporadic sightings of this lake creature through the years, although many still remain skeptical. The owners, Doug and Roz, were very friendly and we enjoyed talking with them while we were there.
Our first day in Roberts Arm we headed out on the motorcycles with a loose plan. We started our day by taking a ferry to “Long Island” (not to be confused with “the” Long Island). This was a very small island with only about 15 kilometers of road in total… We followed the road to the end of the line and found the Beothuk trail. There was historic information along the trail and in the distance there was a cave where remnants of a Beothuk community were found (apparently rare). The Beothuks were the indigenous people on Newfoundland who resided along the coast. The incoming Europeans took over their land along the coast forcing them inland. This move had a serious impact on their way of life and they eventually all died off as did much of their history. This trail brought us to the highest point on the island where there was yet another view… We spent the rest of our day riding through Triton and Brighton more coastal towns.
Way back in the beginning of our trip, while hiking on Gros Morne mountain, we bumped into some local ladies who suggested visiting Kings Point and Springdale. The last day in this area we decided to head in that direction. In our research on Kings Point we found the Alexander Murray trail, which is apparently a main attraction for the outdoor enthusiast. This trail climbs about 1400 feet with over 2200 steps… Not a bad view from the summit…
There were several waterfalls along the trail, one being quite impressive with a swimming bowl under it. We couldn’t get the best picture as there were two people there hanging out right at the base of the falls… Oh yeah, there was a fourth fall when I sprained my ankle 3 steps from the highest point on the trail… Chris once again finds the perfect walking stick so I can make it down (anything to not carry me!)
A couple more stops before we set sail for the mainland… We found our Zen at Zenzville campground just outside of Stephensville in St. George’s Bay. The weather was a bit iffy so we got caught up on the blog and some chores. Chris got to run away for a while and took a motorcycle ride on his own. The next day we headed out together and looped Cape St. George. First stop was Blue Beach at the end of a long dirt road… The water was crazy blue next to the white rocks…We stopped for a leg stretch and checked out an American war plane crash site/memorial from WWII. Nothing really worth a picture but interesting story.
It wasn’t until we found Boutte Du Cap Park that we felt today’s ride was worth it. Wow… What a view. There was also a kiosk where some local kids were giving away french bread, cooked in a traditional wood oven on site. Yum!
On the way back we happened upon a sign that said “Hidden Falls”. We were pleasantly surprised by this hidden gem…
It was time to move on down the road again. We found ourselves back in the Codroy Valley where our Newfoundland journey started with our free first night n the beach. Not much to it… You could see the Long Range Mountains in the distance and lush fertile land in the valley. We stopped briefly at the Cape Anguille lighthouse. At this point we were starting to feel about lighthouses what we felt about churches when we were in Europe… so no picture of this one (ABC-Another Bloody Church… ABL-Another Bloody Lighthouse).
We decided to make it a longer day and headed to the southern coastal drive by Port Aux Basque. Soooo glad we did as it was another wow… This area wasn’t really highlighted by people we spoke with and we were surprised it didn’t get more PR. The ride was beautiful with a few small seaside towns to explore. The town of Rose Blanche at the end of the line was awesome. Striking white cliffs along the ocean and blue skies…The reconstructed granite Rose Blanche Lighthouse kept our attention for a few hours.
Then there was the Barachois Falls which we caught out of the corner of our eye on the way in. We had to stop and check it out on the way home. A quick 1 mile out and back with a big pay off! Awesome next to last day on the rock!
August 22nd was our last day in Newfoundland. We didn’t make any plans for camping since we had to be at the ferry terminal by 4:30 in the morning. We decided we would just find a place along the road or stay in the ferry parking lot. What to do for the day? We stayed at the campground as late as we could then headed out around 2. The owner of the campground made a few suggestions to kill time and enjoy a few last sights so that was where we headed. First stop, yup ABL… where we found a nice little trail along the coast. Nali enjoyed the view!
Last stop was just outside of Port Aux Basque where the ferry was. We took part of the Grand Bay West Trail along the beach and coastline. Nice relaxing stroll and another good time killer. We sat in some “Red Chairs” by the sea for awhile then decided to find a little seafood restaurant we passed the day before. We found a decent parking spot in the middle of the little town big enough for our rig and ate piles of fried fish to commemorate the trip. We eventually situated ourselves in a pull out on the side of the road 2 minutes from the ferry where we slept (albeit restlessly, especially me) until the alarm at 4! Back to contiguous North America! It has been a great 5 weeks, looking forward to visiting again one day!
Some parting thoughts on Newfoundland…
- It is beautiful… with majestic mountains, fresh water lakes and ponds, expansive ocean views, quintessential seaside towns and villages, and a history dating back to before the Vikings!
- There are icebergs in the summer!
- Several species of whales play along the NL coast in summer!
- People are very friendly and generally easy to understand, some old school heavy accents can be tough…
- Lots of history!
- Tourism is not super developed yet and restaurants, shops and lodging in remote areas are limited.
- There are LOTS of lighthouse! Of course it’s and island…
- Diesel is expensive
- Alcohol is expensive and the beer sucks! Chris was sad about that!
- Fresh veggies can be hard to come by in the small outlying towns…
- Potholes are canyons, many bad roads…
- The fresh cod is outstanding!
- Fresh fish was a bit harder to come by then we thought… considering fishing is one of the main industries.
- Lots of fried and pan fried foods… some traditional items like Brewis, cod tongue, cod cheeks and stews…
All that being said we had a GREAT time! The weather was awesome and according to the locals we lucked into one of the best weather summers in a long time.