Let me introduce you to my new love. As some of you have already guessed. I fell in love with Newfoundland. And it was darn near at first sight.
- Within the first few days we realized this Canadian province (known as The Rock) is in a category of its own for RVers like us. Why?
- The landscape – unique, wild, amazing.
- The people – friendly, down-to-earth, hearty, outdoorsy, fun-loving, welcoming, honest, and trusting.
- The hiking – many interesting and well-maintained trails.
- The scenic boondocking – permitted and encouraged at almost all public places, boat docks, trailheads, beaches, municipal parks, and yes, gravel pits.
- The stories – we’ve heard a few good ones but we’re adding a few of our own daily.
Our first “real” hike of the trip. Starlight Trail – chosen because it’s directly off the TCH, in these mountains we’re already in love with, promises a great view from the top, and was listed as a 6-km return hike rated moderately difficult. We’ve been driving for 10 days, sitting too much, and need to get in shape for longer hikes in Gros Morne National Park so a 6-km uphill hike is a good start.
We learned a few things from this first hike that proved to be true on subsequent trails we hiked later in the week.
- The word moderate may as well be left off in the description if a hike is labeled “moderately difficult”.
- Newfoundlanders like to get to the point; I don’t think they believe in switchbacks.
- Think you’ve seen wind? You haven’t got any idea until you experience it here.
At a lookout from the trail before we broke out of the tree line. We never made it to the top because…..
As we climbed higher, the breeze was welcome at first. We were hot from the hike. But it picked up. And soon, it was picking us up – literally, knocking us over. If we didn’t have hiking poles, we would have turned around sooner for fear of being hurled down the side of the mountain.
But we’re not ones to quit, so when I could no longer actually put one foot in front of another to move ahead, I sat down (less wind resistance) while Randy hiked a bit further to see if going over the next rise would show us a new view or just how much farther it was to the top.
This is his report when he returned: He stopped to take a photo, was knocked over – flat on the ground – by the wind, and his hat, which was securely tied under his chin, was ripped off. He shouted, which made me glance up to see the hat flying across the low-brush plateau. I ran but realized I could never catch it. Somehow, it caught on a twig and I rescued it. As you can imagine, we were both too busy to capture any of it on camera but it would have been a fun video to watch!
Later, we found this boondocking site (at a beach at the mouth of the Little Codroy River), where a local man and his son stopped by to chat. He pointed out that we could see the area of the coast called Wreckhouse from here. “Where did it get that name?”Turns out this is known as an area of extremely high winds.
We’ve heard several stories since then, about a train that was torn from its tracks, a U-haul trailer being lifted and toppled from the highway, and there are often warnings for trucks and RVs to stay off this part of the Trans Canada Highway during high wind conditions.
But it’s so peaceful on our little beach where we settle in for our second evening in Newfoundland (affectionately called “The Rock”).
It was such a beautiful evening and such a nice spot, that despite watching the local fishermen haul their boats to dry dock, we thought nothing of spending the night parked here.
By midnight, the winds were rocking us back and forth. Perhaps naively, and because we’ve been in New Mexico’s winds, we felt safe, but started questioning if our solar panel or awning were attached securely enough. That expensive 3-M tape they recommend for installing solar panels had it’s first real test. Whew – it passed! It’s possible that we narrowly survived being added to the list of stories the locals will tell about what can happen in windy conditions at Wreckhouse!
Today, as I’m about to publish this post, it’s a week later and if you’ve paid attention to the news today, you may be wondering where we are right now. In fact, we ended up backtracking, moving inland to safety. The Hurricane Dorian effect is expected to hit Newfoundland tonight with winds of up to 150 km per hour predicted along the western coast (which is where we were until today). It’s supposed to last through tomorrow.
We have been enjoying Gros Morne National Park the last three days, but all services in the park, including the campgrounds, are shutting down tonight until the storm passes – an unprecedented decision. So, we drove back to Deer Lake for the night and will stay all of tomorrow. You guessed it, it’s nowhere near Wreckhouse. We’d like to be able to tell the story, not be the story!
Hunkering down for a day means I should be able to catch this blog up to date for once! We’ve had a ton of fun this week and there’s lots I want to share. So that’s the silver lining to this cloud.
In fact, it’s beginning to look like a pretty dark cloud is currently gathering above our little camper. You can be sure that it will take more than wind and rain to dampen my love for The Rock.
- Days on the road: 14
- Camping cost to date: $0