Walter and Sara On the road to who knows where
On Tuesday July 11th we arrived at Terra Nova National Park and Newman Sound Campground where we had a reservation for a electric only site (no water or sewer hook ups in this campground) for 4 days. We checked in and followed the signs through the campground to our site only to discover that they’d put it in at the wrong angle so we wouldn’t easily be able to back into it. So we drove the loop again, found a cul-de-sac to turn around in and then drove in the wrong way on the one-way road so we were lined up nicely and got into the spot first try without a hitch. By this point it was 82 degrees outside and about 50% humidity—so it felt warmer than it had the day before when it was only about 35% humidity. There was a butterfly flitting around on the ground and she stayed still long enough for me to capture a decent photo of her.

Butterfly Terra Nova NP NL

We set up camp and had lunch and then set out on the Campground Trail to find the WiFi and take the loop out to see the Big Brook. There was a little path from the back of out site that led out to the trail. Not a bad view. That’s Newman Sound.

Newman Sound from Campground Trail

The reindeer lichen along the trail was really fluffy and healthy looking—huge piles of it.

Reindeer lichen

Caribou are native to Newfoundland but they aren’t doing very well at this point and they don’t know why. It certainly isn’t because there isn’t enough lichen for them.

And just to keep up the many-week string of them, yes, there were bunchberry (Cornus canadensis) in bloom along the way too. (We had them in our campsite at Nortre Dame but they weren’t in bloom any longer). This gives us well over a month of seeing bunchberry on this trip.  

bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)

There were also Twinflowers (Linnaea borealis) here and there.

Twinflowers (Linnaea borealis)

And lots of Labrador-tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum) --especially out in the bog out by the brook.

Labrador-tea (Rhododendron groenlandicum)

We followed the trail back to the entrance of the campground and found the little general store (and Laundromat) where they have free Wi-Fi. Having taken care of that important task we wandered around a bit trying to find the rest of the trail and then followed it down through the woods. There were lots of piles of what we think is moose scat. “My God, that’s moose turd pie!” U. Utah Phillips.

Moose scat

We moved at a pretty good clip while we were in the woods because there were lots of bugs. In time we came out along Big Brook. Can you see the beginnings of the beaver dam across the brook?

Big Brook

We followed the trail along the brook where there was tons of Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia).   

Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)

Eventually, we came to a really nice look-off of the brook as it turned a corner.

Big Brook Terra Nova NP

From the brook the trail cut across a bog and was really muddy and wet. We both got our shoes pretty gooey in the process. Then we got to climb LOTS of very nice new stairs back up the hill. At the top there were a pair of red chairs waiting for us.
Walter Cooke Red Chair Campground Trail Terra Nova

With a nice view of the bog to sit and contemplate—but not for long because they bugs found me!

Campground Trail view Terra Nova

I took a shower in their nice new shower house late that afternoon—unlimited HOT water and nice new pretty tile.

In the evening after dinner we went over and used the Wi-Fi. It wasn’t real fast but it was good enough for us to pick up our email and have a look at the news and at Facebook. There’s no over the air TV in most of Newfoundland. There’s one station in St John’s that used to have repeaters all over the island but when it all shifted to digital they didn’t bother to upgrade and now the analog repeaters have been retired. So anyone outside of St John’s who wants TV has satellite, I guess. Our Canadian Virgin Mobile had lots of bars here.

Wednesday July 12th, the forecast was for mostly cloudy with showers. But when we awoke it was mostly sunny with a few high clouds—yippee! So instead of doing laundry (the rainy day option) we drove north a few clicks up the TCH to the turn off for the Saltons Brook Visitor Center—which surprise surprise is right next to Saltsons Brook!

We went into the Visitors Center and got a map and brochure for the park (including the trail descriptions) and watched their lovely movie—complete with wonderful Newfoundland folk music. Then I played in the ocean touch tank—I do so love playing with sea anemones. We went out the back door for a view of Newman Sound and found a whale skeleton in the grass.  

Whale skeleton Terra Nova NP

The disks lying about are spinal discs. They were really light and kind of porous.

The view was lovely too, from the mouth of Saltons Brook on out into Newman Sound.

Newman Sound from Terra Nova Visitors Center

We noticed a pair of red chairs over across the way, so we took the bridge over past the children’s playground. There was a family trying to take a photo by propping a phone up in the rocks so I took their picture with the red chairs and then took one of Walter with the view.

Red Chairs near Terra Nova Visitors Center

We sat and enjoyed the view and looked at the maps and brochures.

Terra Nova VC red chair view

And I walked out to the edge to see what I could see—a nice little view down the coastline.

Newman Sound coastline

Walking back I noticed that these red chairs had the Canadian National Parks logo routed into their backs. We hadn’t seen that before.

Canadian NP logo on red chair

The Heritage Trail starts right next to the bridge so we walked the little ways back to take the short loop along the Salton River and through the woods. There were signs talking about the logging community that lived here in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s in the winters before heading out along the shore in the summer to fish for cod.

There were bunchberries aplenty and Labrador-tea and more Twinflowers (Linnaea borealis).  

 Twinflowers (Linnaea borealis)

And moose droppings right on the boardwalk. But no moose.

Moose droppings on boardwalk

We got a nice view of the brook along the way.

Salton's Brook Terra Nova NP

And more reindeer lichen that were incredibly tall and fluffy.

tall fluffy reindeer lichen

Here and there I found this plant with lovely little white flowers. I think that it’s Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum pubescens).      

Tall Meadow Rue (Thalictrum pubescens)

We finished the loop after learning that the kids in this area went to school in the summer while their fathers were out fishing. Much easier than dealing with the snow I guess.

From the Visitor Center we drove north on the TCH again just a short ways to the turn off to Blue Hill. We stopped part of the way up the hill to read the interpretive signs and take a look at the view of Newman Sound.
Newman Sound from Blue Hill

I think that is Blue Hill Pond in the foreground and then the big hill in mid field is Mount Stamford.

There were Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum) in bloom in the turn out. We’d seen masses of them along the highway the day before.

Orange Hawkweed (Hieracium aurantiacum)

And more Three-toothed Cinquefoil (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata) like those we’d seen at Cape Breton Highlands.

Three-toothed Cinquefoil (Sibbaldiopsis tridentata)

We drove on up to the top of Blue Hill and as we were getting out of the truck some folks who were just leaving said that there was an iceberg and the telescope on the viewing stand was pointed at it. Sure enough they were right. In fact there was one large and two smaller icebergs out in what I think is Bonavista Bay.

Icebergs in Bonavista Bay NL

Here’s the view looking out towards the iceberg (just not zoomed in).

Newman Sound from Blue Hill Terra Nova NL

And here’s the view looking southward. As you can see, Mount Stamford is a pretty sizeable mountain. It’s such a popular climb that there’s a water taxi you can take out there and back just so you can more easily climbed to the top.

Newman Sound from Blue Hill

There were Red Chairs here too with a great view.

Blue Hill Red Chair view

A young couple from Ontario arrived just as we were leaving and I got to take a photo of them in the red chairs too. He’d had his free park pass since January and was just getting to use it for the first time. We had a nice visit before we headed on back down the hill and home for a quiet afternoon.

The sun stayed out the rest of the day and we had highs in the mid 80’s. That evening when we were using the internet a snowshoe hare came out to feed on the weeds next to our truck.

Snowshoe hare Terra Nova NP

Thursday July 13th, it was a bit cooler but still mostly sunny when we set out to drive to the town of Trinity on the Bonavista Peninsula. Trinity was a major city in the 1800’s shipping thousands of barrels of salt cod to England every year. As the salt cod trade dwindled the town slowly died away but the buildings remained. In the 1990’s they began the process of restoring many of the buildings and it’s now the best example of preserved buildings from before 1900 in the province. We had a nice drive south along TCH and then out along the Bonavista Peninsula. The streets in Trinity is narrow and there was a lot of traffic because of the tourists but we found a parking space okay and I made my way out to the edge of the harbor to take a photo.

Trinity Harbor NL

The big red building on the left is home of the local theater group who puts on a show 7 nights a week during the summer. We found our way to the Visitors Center and bought our tickets to visit the restored buildings in town ($15 a piece for seniors). Inside the Visitors Center Walter found a dory to play in.

Walter Cooke Trinity NL Visitor Center

Just up the street from the Visitors Center is the Lester-Garland House.

Lester-Garland House Trinity NL

This was THE house in the old days where the folks who owned the salt cod business lived (The Lesters) and the Garlands after them added the 3rd story. It was built in 1763-4 and lived in though much of the 1800’s. By the early 1900’s it stood empty much of time and fell into disrepair and by the 1990’s was just a shell with fireplace.

Original hearth Lester-Garland House

The Provincial Historical Society bought it and rebuilt it based on the original plans. The even managed to obtain some of the original furniture including a marvelous mahogany dining table.

Lester-Garland dining table

Complete with shipworm holes.

Shipworm holes Lester-Garland table

There was a nice bedroom upstairs.

Lester-Garland bedroom

Along with an art gallery display of embroidered and fabric art umbrellas.

Umbrellas lester-garland house gallery

The light wasn’t great but I did manage to get a few decent shots.

Umbrella lester-garland house gallery

This one was pretty amazing

Umbrella lester-garland house gallery  

Next was the Lester-Garland Mercantile and counting house.

Lester-Garland Mercantile

The Mercantile was a classic general store that continued to serve the community until the early 1950’s. The counting house, on the left, was real fun.

Lester-Garland counting house

We stopped and took a break for a few minutes and I took this shot of the harbor and the fun rock with the whole in it.

Trinity Harbor

And the old wharf building.

Wharf building Trinity NL

Then we visited the cooperage (they made thousands of barrels each year to ship the salt cod to England, the Caribbean, Spain, Portugal and Brazil. Then we walked back along the street and up hill a bit to the Green Family Forge.

Green Family Forge Trinity NL

This is a still active blacksmith’s shop complete with an open hearth that burns coal (from Pennsylvania).

Green Family Forge Trinity NL

There was a Bank of Canada up the street so we hiked up there to see if they had an ATM since we were beginning to run low on Canadian cash. They didn’t have one but they directed us down to the Harbor where there was a restaurant and crafts gallery that had one. On the way I took a photo of the old courthouse which is now another gallery.

Courthouse Trinity NL

We ate our lunch at a picnic table overlooking the harbor and then drove out along one of the little roads past St. Paul’s Anglican Church.

St Paul's Anglican Church Trinity NL     

It had such a nice steeple that I ended up hiking back up the road to try to capture it too.

St Paul's Anglican Church Trinity NL

We followed the winding road out along the inlet and ended up at a funny little ice cream place with a super view of the outer harbor and the Fort Point Lighthouse.

Fort Point Lighthouse NL

And another iceberg.

Iceberg Trinity Bay NL

Here’s a panorama shot of them both.

Fort Point Lighthouse and iceberg

I just love that massive rock headland at the mouth of the harbor.

We made our way back out of town and I stopped to take a photo of the Northwest Arm of the harbor which was dotted with buoys. They could be farming oysters or mussels but who knows.    

NW arm of Trinity Harbor NL

It was nearly 150 miles round trip to Trinity and back but we both thought it was worth it to learn/see some of the history of the area. On Friday July 14th we awoke to yet another mostly sunny day. It was in the low 70’s which was really pleasant when we set out for our final day of exploring Terra Nova National Park. Our first stop was the Headquarters Wharf and the short trail to Pissamare Falls—the only waterfall we found listed for the park.

Pissamare Falls

It wasn’t very photogenic but it made a nice shushing sound as the water coursed its way down the rocks. And the view from the boat launch at the wharf was pretty nice too.

Headquarters Wharf view Terra Nova

From here we drove south on the TCH a few miles to the turn off to Ochre Hill. There’s a trail here out to a view point or you can do the lazy thing and drive out to a parking area and take the stairs UP to the old fire tower.

Ochre Hill Tower Terra Nova NP

It’s not manned any longer and you can only climb the stairs part way but the view is fabulous from the new wooden platform they’ve built.

Ochre Hill view Terra Nova NP

Here’s Mount Stamford (which we saw from the other side at Blue Hill) surrounded by ponds.

Mt Stamford from Ochre Hill

We took a different route back and came upon another pair of red chairs—this time occupied by a pair of construction workers on the lunch beak (they’re doing a big road widening project on TCH in these parts.) Here’s the view from the red chairs.

Ochre Hill red chair view Terra Nova

We made our way down yet another set of stairs and then drove back down the hill and across TCH to Sandy Pond. There’s a nice 3 km hike around Sandy Pond that starts with the boardwalk by the boat rental center.

Sandy Pond Terra Nova NP

The trail then takes you through the boggy woods where there were more Blue Flags (Iris versicolor).      

Blue Flags (Iris versicolor)

Along with lots of ferns and pitcher plants there were these odd pinkish purplish flowers that I haven’t been able to identify. They remind me of Prairie Smoke but that’s not what they are.

unknown purple/pink flower

The trail was nice dry gravel with boardwalk over all the boggy parts. There was a lovely bridge over the inlet of the pond where the kayaks and canoes can pass under it to continue on to the next pond.

Sandy Pond trail bridge

If you look carefully you can see the path in the grass that the canoes take.

Sandy Pond canoe trail

There were Yellow Pond-lilies (Nuphar variegatum) in bloom in this shallow section.    

Yellow Pond-lilies (Nuphar variegatum)

And it was so still that the clouds were perfectly reflected in the water.

Clouds reflected in Sandy Pond

I found a few Wild Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense) still in bloom in the woods.  

Wild Lily-of-the-valley (Maianthemum canadense)

Along with a nice little view of the pond through the trees.

Sandy Pond from trail

There were lots of pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea) along the way but these won the prize because they were a huge clump right next to the trail and you could see their pitchers.  

pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea)

The trail crosses a long bridge where you can watch the water rush into a brook that is the outlet of the pond.

Sandy Pond outlet

From here we spied yet another pair of red chairs (occupied again) along the shore of the lake. I guess you have to crash through the bushes to get to it or take you canoe over to the bank.

There were tons of Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia) in full bloom along this section of the trail and it was gorgeous.  

Sheep Laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)

We walked on past all the folks on the beach and found a nice view from a deck overlooking it all. The pond is pretty shallow—folks had walked WAY out and were still only waist deep. And clearly the water wasn’t very cold because people actually looked happy standing out in it.

Sandy Pond beach panorama

We got back to the trailer in time for lunch and late in the afternoon I did the laundry at the Laundromat (while using the WiFi).