"We live on a blue planet that circles around a ball of fire next to a moon that moves the sea and you don't believe in miracles?!" -Anonymous
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  • Day33

    Margaree Gifts

    July 7, 2018 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 57 °F

    This is likely the last chapter of this trip but, as with my big trip a couple of summers ago, the end is like a bit of a fireworks show. I woke up at the national park beach-side campsite feeling that strange thing I'm starting to feel in Nova Scotia where things seem so familiar. I drove south for 2k and used the ole "sneak a shower at the next campsite" tactic. The beachside campsite had no water, but the next spot up the road did. So I parked the truck and bathed, and reorganized a bit, and then drove south toward Margaree. I txted my friend and told him I'd be headed to the fly shop to get my licence before I headed his way.
    Just as a refresher, I had rolled randomly through this section of Nova Scotia last year only to then learn about the fishing magic that was here. Still such a novice to all this fish stuff! I had stopped at the fly shop (The Tying Scotsman) knowing that I didn't have time to take day to walk the river, exploring on my own. I asked the owner, Alex, if he could connect me with a guide and he said he thought everyone he trusted was booked up. He suggested I stop by the next morning just in case. When I got there the next day, he had roped his cousin-in-law, Patrick,(not a guide but a fisherman) into taking me around. He took me to all the spots I could possibly hit. There were around a dozen places he showed me and we got out and fished about five of them. It was pouring rain, but not too cold, and we didn't catch any fish. Still, I learned how to find my way on this river if I ever came back. And obviously, I came back. A month ago, I stayed at Patrick's house(remember he was away), I was able to go fish in lots of the places he had taken me to. But I didn't hit the magical Seal Pool....back to the present...
    Within minutes of me arriving to Patrick's, it seems we were geared up and headed out his back door. His house sits high on a hill, above the famous Margaree River. There were makeshift stairs helping to navigated the really steep embankment. On the way down he pointed out a flying squirrel nest just as a passing eagle screeched a greeting. I was already enthralled with this place and I hadn't even put my feet in the water. At the bottom of his hill, a canoe was tied to a tree. We hopped in and paddled across the river to the opposite side where we beached the canoe and clambered out. I got into the water with my little trout rod and started to fish. There was another gentleman there, too. All of a sudden, this other man hooked a fish. And it fully left the water with the power of a rocket. The "We're gonna need a bigger boat" line from jaws came to mind. What was I doing with this little fly rod? Patrick saw the look on my face and handed me an extra rod he had brought down. It was basically a telephone pole but it was, I would find out, much more appropriate. These Atlantic salmon are, as my old friend Al would say, "a whole other side of the fish" (his mish-mash of the two sayings "kettle of fish" and "side of the coin") In the past, I've had fun catching pacific salmon but it wasn't hard. I remember days where you'd catch your limit of salmon in less than half an hour. These guys, the Atlantic Salmon, are stealthy. And elusive. And completely unpredictable. The phrase "fish of a thousand casts" was thrown around. The anticipation of a big, strong fish chomping down on the line made for this weird, hyper aware experience. It's kind of like hearing a strange noise when you stop still and listen intently. Listening somehow with more than just ears. More like listening with your whole body. That's what it felt like for me when I hit a good cast. One that looked like one a fish might take. And when one actually gets on a line? It must be an amazing feeling. I didn't get to experience a "hit" but knowing I hadn't fished for this species before, Patrick handed me his fly rod after he had a fish on, to let me experience the trying to bring it in. Not keeping the right tension on the line means losing a fish. I got to experience that. And then learning from that mistake I was actually able get a fish to the net next time. Losing the first one made this even more fun! I'm, pun intended, hooked. These are some fun fish! And it has been a long time since I was in a place where I wanted to fish at the crack of dawn and, again, until the last glow of sunset. The Margaree does that to you!
    The thing was, however, even as amazing as the fishing is here, the beauty of the place is just as special. The beach in photo one is just down the road in Margaree Harbor. The Margaree Valley(photo 3) is this beautiful range of rolling hills. We walked across this farmer's field to fish another pool down from the Seal Pool. Walking back across this field as the sun was going down, the low angle of the rays back lighting the tall grass and the never ending waves of lupine, was breathtakingly beautiful.
    (Little aside: As I said good by to Alex at the fly shop on my way out of town on my final day, there was a little flurry of people coming and going from the shop. One was a woman, who comes here frequently who lives in Newburyport.(What?) And a couple. On their honeymoon. Who had both graduated from Governor's. Last name Phelps. "Of course we know Dave Hudson!". They now live south of Portland. This is a giant and tiny world. Yin. Yang.
    Leaving Margaree to start heading home left me with a feeling, one that is now familiar on these big trips. Its as if something in me has been permanently altered. That I'm a slightly different person than the one who left Exeter in early June. It's a strange and confusing and wonderfully rich soup of emotion. And as I drove, and thought about my experiences and then felt the accompanying wave of 300 different levels of consciousness or awareness, the sky reacted as if in perfect synchronicity with what what going on inside my being. At one point(photo 4)the sky was literally, again, yin and yang. Half blue, clear, calm and half dark, swirly and stormy. I marveled at the visual depiction playing out in front of me. And after driving through that storm, with the water droplets still pooled up on the hood, the sunset was all glowy and sunbeams and the colors of pinks and oranges and purples and blues. Almost as if to reassure me that I was on the right path. (inside quote for Kelly and Vaughan: "Roberta is following the Silver Stream home.")
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    Kelly Coder

    Thanks for sharing your amazing trio mama! Love you, glad to have you back, and so is this now fully mobile grand daughter of yours!

    7/8/18Reply
     
  • Day28

    Off "The Rock"

    July 2, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 52 °F

    During one conversation I had with someone the topic of pronunciation and accent came up. She admitted that when she stumbled over the proper pronunciating of "Newfound-LAND" she sometimes caved and just used the nickname people have for this place. "The Rock". And as I was having that conversation I got a message from my friend in Margaree saying, "The fish are in!". So since I had already admitted that I was feeling just about complete with this Newfoundland trip I thought that maybe I'd just roll with it and try to get a fishing day or two in on my way back. I was able to book the ferry on the fly. Even with the truck. In the middle of summer, no less. It was a midnight ferry that arrived in Nova Scotia early the next morning. A little aside: I drove down to the ferry port to buy the ticket since I was right there in the neighborhood, so to speak. Newfoundlanders apparently don't like to bother with too many road signs, I've found, and this port area was no different. I got myself to the booth and stopped. No human. I paused for a minute. Still no human. And it was in between ferrys so there wasn't any other traffic. Maybe I was suppose to drive to the next part, to the building I could see? So I put the truck in drive and rumbled through. All of a sudden there were flashing lights of two vehicles! One vehicle did a pretty impressive skid in front of me to block my way while the other vehicle stayed behind me. "What the Nick!?" Apparently I wasn't suppose to move on from that initial building. Ooops. International incident to leave the province! I eventually righted myself and bought the ticket but now I had a few hours to kill. I popped into the ubiquitous coffee place and plopped into a booth. At the next booth, where there was a man and two women sipping hot drinks, I heard, "Ish-diddly-oshidoak-skinshiddle". Or something like that. I literally had no idea what I had heard. It was english. Newfoundlander-english. Sounded a lot like the deep cajun accent that is spoofed in the movie, "Water Boy". Shockingly interesting.
    Back to the ferry...this ferry, the one from Port aux Basque, covered half the distance of the ferry I had come in on. And the shorter distance mean't fewer amenities on this smaller boat. No raucous entertainment. No nice benches to stretch out on. And it was freezing like the bus ride Kelly and Vaughan reported from Argentina back to Brazil. The difference was I had a sleeping bag. I dozed on and off in the uncomfortable seat but at least I was warm. I arrived back in Nova Scotia to a peninsula that looked really different from the one I had left. Everything was now mid-summer green and the heat wave that you guys at home have been dealing with was reaching this far north. For the first time since June 7th I took off my down coat and reached for the lightweight clothes. Hmmm. Not sure how I feel about this! I drove through the Cape Breton NP in deep fog for the first half and then things opened up. The air was warm. And still. The water was glass. And I was able to find a spot in the six site, beach side campground I stayed in last year. I was welcomed back with the treat of a spectacular sunset. The breeze kicked up after sunset to make for a nice, comfortable sleep.
    Today, I'll head back to Margaree and maybe a fish or two.
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  • Day25

    Facebook Syndrome

    June 29, 2018 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 48 °F

    I left Blow Me Down and started to drive south with the feeling that I was starting to wind this part of the trip down. The travelling thing, that everyone experiences, is that when telling the story to others, it is all the highlights. I'm no different. Social media is not filled with everyone's hard stuff. Traveling is awesome and I love it and I'm thankful I'm getting a chance to do it, but there is a flip side. The uncomfortable times. The wanders that turn into dead ends. The lonely times that seem to get closer together as the travel extends. The eating differently. The missing of sons and a daughter-in-law and a certain grandbaby. And the tapping on ones' shoulder of work responsibilities. Those things don't disappear completely so it makes me want to be really focused on enjoying the times of good weather and interesting places. That didn't necessarily happen on Thursday.
    Thursday was a driving day. I decided to check out Stephenville. That took a few minutes and I had a great bowl of turkey soup there. The rain was on and off as predicted. Nearby Harry's River is a famous fishery and I had a goal of getting to the river, watching some people fish and maybe finding someone to guide me for a bit. (Fishing is prohibited in NFLD without a guide). From Stephenville, I drove back down the highway and turned off toward the intersection of the river. A really good comedian came on the radio and I started to laugh. Loudly. Raucously. (https://www.cbc.ca/listen/shows/laugh-out-loud/episode/15551826 scroll to about 12:25 in this 30 minute clip for Charles Haycock) So I was howling, crying laughing. No idea why he strikes me so funny, but as I turned off the highway and started on the side road to Harry's River the road suddenly turned into the Amphibian Death Road. Suicidal frogs were suddenly EVERYWHERE!!. I tried to dodge the first one. "No!", I screamed out loud. I tried to dodge another one. "Jesus!". Good lord, they where everywhere. They would be crouched, sitting still and just as I swerved away they would sproing right toward me! What the heck?!!! Meanwhile, Charles Haycock was saying things that were so funny. I was laughing and swearing and bouncing over potholes. Well THIS was a memory. When the river appeared it was super anticlimactic. A bridge. A couple of houses. One little store. With a house attached. It was like someone had turned their front room into the town convenience store. Chips, candy, bread, milk, lotto tickets and beer. All one would ever need to get through(yikes). No fisherman. So I got out, walked a bit of the river. In the rain. Then I steeled myself for the return trip on Squished Frog Road and made a plan B. I decided to head toward Burgeo to finish off this southwestern tour. I headed down the highway, gas tank at 3/4 full and took the turn off to Route 480. Through the mist I could see that the landscape was turning tundra. I drove. And drove. And started to feel a little skeevy. About an hour and half in, having seen one car and no sign of anyone living here, and, more importantly, not a single gas station, I realized that I was either going to turn around or go for it. I kept driving. And then things got sketchy. The road was horrible. Huge potholes everywhere. The rain and fog came in HARD. I had about 25-50m of visibility and was only driving about 45mph. It was the first time in Newfoundland that I've felt alarm bells. About two hours more, with the gas tank needle dropping, I rolled into Burgeo. Population: under 1000. It was pouring. I could see nothing except a little neon "open" sign in the window of (you guessed it) a small, white building. I parked, walked in to find another classic NFLD house/restaurant/convenience store. I took a seat at the aluminum table with metal chairs. A woman came out of the back with a candle in a cupcake and I could hear the one other group in the place start to sing happy birthday to a five year old. There was a tv mounted on the wall above me. It wasn't a flat screen. In fact, it was a big, square, heavy tv like the one Mom and Dad had in their bedroom in Attleboro. It was tuned to a local station and the news was being broadcast in that old-school font I remember from the beginning of computers. Black background. Blue letters being scrolled across. "Residents are being asked to do a better job with their dogs. Feces on the dock is making it unpleasant for our fisherman." "Happy 75th birthday to Bobby O'Neil" "Please note that the driving test instructor will be in town on July 15th to offer licence opportunity for the summer season". I'd never thought of how that worked in a small town! What if you failed your test and the DMV person wasn't going to be back for another couple of months?!
    I ended up having a beer and another bowl of soup before heading out to find a camping spot. There was, conveniently, a provincial park and I stopped at the office. A little note was taped to the window which said, "Gone for a bit. Feel free to look around". I got back in the car, now feeling soggy, and drove around the campground. There were a couple of big rvs that looked like they were parked for a long stretch. Lots of open spots. I picked one, parked and climbed in the back. The torrential rain had proved too much for my set up. The end of the bed was wet. There were puddles on the floor. Even the window by my head had leaked. First time I can remember for that. And then the weather turned bad.
    Thunder and lightning. Even more torrential, torrential rain. Sheets of rain! I grabbed my yoga mat, laid it over the wet part of the bed to keep my sleeping bag dry. I grabbed my bath towel and scrunched it up to stem the drip near my head. I clicked the nightlight on and picked up a book to ride it out. As the storm abated, I could hear the waves crashing. I had no idea I was this close to the beach. When I woke up, despite the weather still being pretty foggy, I (once again!)found a really pleasant surprise. I was near a beautiful sandy beach. I made a big breakfast burrito with eggs, avocado, salsa and a little cheese. And then I went for a walk on the beach. Later, with the fog still thick, I decided to drive out of town and stumbled on my favorite little fish shack so far this trip. Maybe I'll make a house like this someday!
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    Kelly Coder

    Crazy! We still can't believe you're doing this! We love and miss you so! Be safe in your way back down and keep finding highlights!

    7/1/18Reply
     
  • Day24

    Shiver Me Timbers!

    June 28, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 64 °F

    "Sometimes I think that they let a group of Grade 6-ers name the towns in Newfoundland". That's a quote from a book I'm reading. For evidence, I present exhibit A (and B,C,D...) Heart's Content. Heart's Desire. Heart's Ease. Tickle Harbour. Happy Adventure. Come By Chance. Brunette. Cupids. Dildo. Goobies. A family favorite is sure to be "Nicky's Nose Cove"! And my personal, recent favorite, Blow Me Down. Blow Me Down is at the end of a peninsula on the opposite side of Bonne Bay(Gros Morne is the other side). This felt like a little secret place. Just as beautiful as driving toward Green Gardens but through little towns. The difference, was the wind. I'm realizing that this is a windy province. It's been blowy most of my time here. (Yippee for no bugs!). But this peninsula took it to a whole different level. It was "two hands on the wheel" kind of driving with the wind buffeting the vehicle. It sounded a little like going through a car wash.
    At the end of the drive, despite the less than perfect weather, I could still see the beauty. Water with rolling hills to my right and steep mountains with waterfalls to my left. It looked reminiscent of the pacific northwest. I found the Blow Me Down Provincial Park without a problem. I checked in, set up camp and snuggled in for the night. I woke up and noticed that the cloud cover was high. A little dry window in a day that was predicted to be on and off showers. I decided to go for a walk before the weather changed its' mind. And photo three is what I found. A beautiful little beach. The sneaky thing was how to get there. There was this special little staircase called the "Governor's Staircase" built into the rock formation that hung over the beach. It lead down to a little sea cave. It would have been so fun to have been part of planning this. Those involved must have been considered nuts!
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  • Day24

    16 Moose, 5 Bear, 1 Fox and Huh?!

    June 28, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 55 °F

    (Please read post "Not Always Green Garden First!!) Green Garden continued....As I neared the coast I could hear the waves and the gulls and the screech of an eagle. I knew I was close and as the trees parted, I was rewarded with the view in photo one. The trail took me along the coast, past trees doing the "gangsta lean" away from the wind, toward two tent platforms for those who wanted to sleep out here(yes, please!). That would have been fun if I had timed it right. I'm always kind of scanning for animal signs on a trail. A moose print in the mud or a gnawed on branch or a poop or two. The trail had been pretty devoid of that so far. But then, what is that? A hunk of fur caught on a twig. Looks kinda fuzzy. Bear-like? No. Fox-like, maybe. And then, up ahead, I saw a tiny little face peeking out, ahem, dare I say "sheepishly", from beneath a pine bough. What the heck are they doing here? As I got close, with the aforementioned tell-tale poops becoming more prevalent, I saw that the one little face was attached to a whole flock of random grazers. By the length of their wool it looked like they had been out wandering for awhile. Now I know why the Garden is Green. Sheep poo will do that!
    As I drove away from my walk I came to a little town of Woody point and a wool artists shop. I stopped, just to complete the circle. I had to share her sign because of the distance marker at the top of the sign. Cute, right?
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    marcy kane

    This blog is now my favorite way to relax and be entertained. Some very special moments, and it is outright spectacular with the writing, pics and stories!! Right up there with Mabel. He would love it. XOX.

    6/30/18Reply
     
  • Day24

    Not Always "Green Garden"

    June 28, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    This was Green Garden day. Literally everyone I have spoken with on this whole trip has said that this is THE walk of the many one might to do in Gros Morne. I was up early(big surprise) and drove from the Berry Hill campground where I had spent the night to the trail head for Green Gardens. The hour long drive took me through what is called the Table Lands part of the park. It is reminiscent of the Badlands in South Dakota but this place is made from the earth's mantle being pushed all the way to the surface during a collision of the earth's plates several hundred million years ago. Yup, several, hundred million years!!! I told you geologists would love this place!
    The rocky surface and steep cliffs create this wind tunnel that is phenomenal. I parked the truck and was literally scared that the doors and back window of the truck were going to be damaged. It took two hands and my body weight to shut the car door. Not joking, So I bundled up, hoping I wouldn't become a human tumbleweed, slathered my face with protective goop and ventured forth! Was the name "Green Gardens" a joke? The first two miles of the walk was across the barren mantle. Up and over a little hillock. Once over the top, the landscape totally changed. As did the wind. I dropped a bunch of layers that now felt claustrophobic, and realized I could see the ocean in the distance. I also could see the forested bumps I would need to climb up and over to get there! One cool surprise on the way was finding one of the season's first lady slippers! My first time seeing a yellow one. It was a nice long walk, mostly, I noted, downhill and sometimes on staircases that looked like they had been built by Kelly. Downhill there meant for a likely sweaty return trip! (To join me, Kelly and Whitney can imagine a 2.5 hour walk up from their river!) What would I find when I reached the ocean?.....next post
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  • Day23

    Walk, Sail, Dance

    June 27, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 54 °F

    Much as I hate to admit it, sometimes ya gotta do what everyone else is doing. Maybe it's the Aquarian in me that wants to go left if everyone else is going right. But, for today, I followed the stream of humans to the Western Brook tour. One of the iconic "things to do" in Gros Morne National Park. Here's how it goes: You park at the trail head, walk an easy, flat two miles into the head of Western Brook where you hop on a little boat for a tour through the gorge. My one twist was to arrive to the trail head really early so I'd have the walk to myself. It was a beautiful morning walk with howling winds. The extra treat was to see the caribou herd off in the distance. About three quarters of the way there was a chance to add an extra mile loop that I took. I didn't see another soul until getting to the boat where I was surprised to see a whole operation. There was a substantial building and two boats. The boats had been brought in, in sections, on sleds over the tundra on a winter day years back. Day-to-day they drive ATV's in with supplies and then trash removal. Onto the boat I hopped and was treated to some spectacular sights and factoids. Lots of people. But still fun!
    The western part of Newfoundland is a geologists' dream! There is ancient, ancient rock formations everywhere. Imagine the gorge in photo four being filled to the brim with ice. And then how much water there must have been at the melting point. On the return trip back to the dock the narration was replaced with traditional Celtic music that seems to be everywhere! People sang along and wiggled in their seats. Sometimes you just gotta do what everyone else is doing!
    After the boat tour I went to a place called Green Point which is a geologic section, right on the beach where you can see the layers of rock which were pushed up into a lateral formation. You can count the layers back forever and ever. Fossils, like the sea urchin one in the photo makes me realize what a dot in time one human life is!
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  • Day21

    Viking is a Verb?!

    June 25, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ☀️ 39 °F

    L'Anse aux Meadows. Four hours north of Gros Morne National Park. A World UNESCO site dedicated to the history of the first North American landing of non natives, around the year 1000. Lesson number one: These people that came from afar were "Norsemen". Not Vikings. Norsemen who go "Viking" or warring. That was news to me! Buoyed by the drive by all the glaciers and the amazing bright blue, cool day, I was lovin' this place!
    Look at the architecture of the visitors center...This was a big building built to handle large crowds but it snuggled right in like it belonged. After seeing how the Norse homes were built into the hills, this choice of building impressed me even more.
    The classic fierce head depicted in the sculpture photo is what people know from the front of the Norse boats. Particularly the ones built for viking. They were mean't to ward of the evil spirits so they usually had a head facing their destination and another at the aft of their ship to ward off the spirits who might want to follow them out of whatever harbor they just raided.
    The houses were built from peat that was cut into brick. Thirty people would live in one house with the highest ranking man and his wife getting a separate bedroom. Everyone else would sleep on benches, on planks all cut from hand, around the low, long fire that was perpetually burning in the middle of the dwelling. The photo of the woman walking shows how open the area is. This place was covered in trees when the Norsemen landed but the trees cut here don't grow back because of the soil. The other part of the tannic acid is the fact that it makes a prime situation for making iron. The blacksmith, who made weapons, and maybe more importantly nails for building and/or repairing ships, was a major player in the society. it was determined that this site was never mean't to be a long term stay for this band of people. It was really just a supply run. Wood, metal, and grapes appear to be the major targets. Another site was found as recently as 2015 in southwestern Newfoundland so I'll be keeping that in mind as I travel.
    Today(Wednesday) is my first full day in Gros Morne. It rained hard last night and I lost the integrity of the back window....2a.m...drip, drip, drip. Will duct tape do the trick? I'm sure I will have a rain in the not to distant future to test it out!
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  • Day21

    Ga-ga-ga-GLACIERS!!!

    June 25, 2018 in Canada ⋅ ⛅ 41 °F

    You know the part in cartoons where there is a big screeching noise? The part where the character skids to a stop, backs up and then its' eyes pop way out of its' head? And maybe they try to say something but they just stumble over their words? That was me yesterday as I drove out to Quirpon and beyond. All of a sudden glaciers were around every corner. The second photo is the view from the elementary school playground where the kids were playing just like ordinary kids, oblivious to how unique their setting was. Can you imagine not noticing a harbor filled with glaciers?
    The other oddity here can be found in pictures five and six. As I've mentioned in the previous post, the land here is boggy peat. With a high tannic acidity. The result is that when trees are cut, they don't grow back. Every home here has a wood stove and it is used almost year round. Each family is allowed to harvest a certain amount of wood from the forest that sits further away from the coast...where trees DO grow back. As you drive down the highways you see piles of wood that I learned sit there to cure. The families eventually come and take a load or two of wood and the process starts all over again. There is no theft here. The joke is that everyone knows everyone else so it is impossible to get away with bad behavior like stealing. Besides, they say, 'It's and island. There is no escape!"
    The other photo, the one of the garden, has a similar story. These pop up next to the highway as well. Highways are under constant construction here. Not the roads themselves, unfortunately for the pothole issue, but the land beside the highways. First of all there are big ditches on either side of the highway to handle the snow and the run-off. BIG ditches. And additionally, the land is cleared for about two lanes wide on either side of the road to give motorists a chance to see moose as they leave the woods.
    That tannic acidity I referred to already makes for tough growing conditions. When the highway is worked on, and the big machines turn the dirt over, the acidity has a chance to leach out making for good, fertile soil. People drive down the road, spot a patch of land and build a garden. Americans do pop-up retail. Newfoundlanders do pop-up gardens. I like that better!
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  • Day20

    In Texas it's Football

    June 24, 2018 in Canada ⋅ 🌧 46 °F

    I made the decision to blow through Gros Morne National Park, for now, to spend a couple of days way up north. It was a weather decision. More rain predicted for the south with much less of a chance north. People are talking about the weather. There is a mix of snow predicted for tonight in lots of locations. Below freezing predicted tonight here in the north. This is, even for Newfoundland, a late and cold beginning of summer. If you look at the first photo, which to me looks like a "hook'em horns" gesture, you see that the little finger is the north wing of Newfoundland. I'm way up in the fingernail! I drove through a cloud/fog/rain obscured view of crazy mountains (with snow still visible in lots of patches) to get as far north as possible. I got hungry and tired around Port aux Choix and boy, am I glad I did.
    The sun was getting lower(it was about 7:30pm) and I was doing my scan for a safe place to sleep. There was a sign for an information station and I followed that through town. As I rounded the bend at a little harbor, I noted a couple of fishing boats. As I headed up a hill, I saw vehicles lined up overlooking the harbor. I pulled in and here's what I found: In this town of 896 people, give or take, it felt like half of them were on this hill or across the bay on the opposite point. Mostly trucks. Everyone with binoculars. Old people. Young women with babies. Whole families. I counted 37 vehicles at one point. And the object of everyone's attention was a little fleet of fishing boats. Four of them. And three small skiffs.
    It was like a Friday night football game in Texas. I found the whole scene fascinating. A boat would drop a huge net and the skiff would take the end of it and loop it back around to the boat where it would be attached to the arm that would reel it in when the fish were caught. It looked like there were three or four crew on each boat, plus a captain. There was a single fisherman in each skiff. I learned, when fishing for salmon in Alaska, that when there is a river with people lined up, the lead person had the best chance of catching a fish. Once that person caught one, it was etiquette for them to retreat and move to the end of the line. At this point everyone would scooch a few steps toward the sweet spot to take a turn at higher odds. It looked like the boats were adhering to something like the same system. It was then that a woman pulled up next to me in a maroon colored truck(that's her in photo 2). I put my window down and asked if she knew what they were catching. She said 'capelin'. Which are the beautiful herring-like fish that are the target for the whales that love this area of the world. I told her that I was figuring that everyone on the hill must know the people that are fishing in front of us. She said, "Yes! That's my husband down there." Her guy was one of the people in the skiffs and the fish are not usually right there in the bay where everyone can see them. That made this a big event. She said that they had been fishing since four that morning and we talked about how tired and hungry and sore they must be after a day on the water. I asked if the four boats were working as a team or were they in competition with each other. She said that they all helped each other to the point that they share catch at the end of the day. Meeting her, hearing the story, made me appreciate even more, where the fish I eat come from and what effort is expended to make that happen. The other aspect I thought about as I sat there and watched were the conditions. It was 30 degrees on land. And it was summer. These people are doing cold, dangerous work every time they go out.
    I sat and watched, with everyone else, and they just kept at it. The sun got very low, a rainbow appeared(!!) and they just kept fishing. At one point, one of the boats had their nets out so their engine was off. It started to drift dangerously toward the rocky shallows. The skiff, with a tow rope attached, tried to pull it into deeper water. With a full haul in it's belly, the boat was too heavy. Now you could sense the energy change. There was a lot of animated movement and the other boats in the group started to react. On one of those boats, the small skiff, and it's skipper had already been loaded out of the water and onto the boat. We all watched, now holding our breath for the ship that was in danger, as fisherman scrambled to get that docked skiff back into the water with it's human. And then we all watched as they motored hard and fast to the foundering ship to add additional tow power. Just in the nick of time! Crisis, for the moment, averted.
    At about 10:00, as the sun was setting, I finally left with three trucks still there. I slept in a spot overlooking the beach bundled into down coats(2) and a hat and my hood up. I soon got toasty and slept hard until just before sunrise when I got up to head further north. Next stop is St. Anthony's which is the northern tip of Newfoundland. I could see Labrador, across the ocean, to my left. And I saw eight moose on this ride after not seeing any yet in Newfoundland! The last two photos are just weird tidbits of info: You might see the moose in the road way off in the distance. In the foreground is a small pothole. The roads here are mostly terrible. HUGE potholes everywhere. So happy to have a truck. The last photo is this weird phenomenon I keep seeing everywhere. The random, floating-in-space door. I asked some people about it this morning and they laughed and said, "It's a Mother-in-Law door." Seriously, it gives you an idea of the amount of snow that is possible. When the ground floor door is buried, you don't have to climb out a window.
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    Kelly Coder

    This was a fun one! Insider info galore!

    6/26/18Reply
     

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