July 15, 2009
Wow, I don’t usually do blog updates this often but a lot has been happening. The day after we arrived at Cooper’s Restaurant, we decided to return to Trinity to explore the town, since the day we were there for the pageant, we didn’t see anything else. It was a beautiful sunny day and we enjoyed going through the cooperage, the Lester Garland House, The Interpretive Center, the Green Family Forge, the Emma Hiscock House, the Ryan store, and several others. They have done a beautiful job of restoration of the buildings and the guides in each one are in costume. There is a pass available for $10 to get into the main 7 properties. We had received quite a good history lesson about the town during the pageant, so we probably enjoyed seeing the buildings more. This was an “outport”, which means that it was mostly a fishing community which provided salted cod for the European countries and which had an entrepreneur supplying them with all their needs in exchange for their yearly catch. In Trinity, it was the Lesters and later, the Garlands. These families made a fortune off the backs of the fisherfolk.
This is the old Anglican Church and graveyard:
This is the inside of the Ryan store which provided the fisherfolk with all their needs:
Still having some time in the afternoon, and with daylight persisting until after 9PM, we then drove across the peninsula on a gravel road, stooping to see Lockston Path Provinical Park. They have nice picnic areas and campsites at these parks but they charge over $20 to stay there and that’s with no hookups. Arriving at King’s Cove, we decided to do the hike to the lighthouse that Janna and Pat had told us about when we visited them in Amherst Cove and we could see it from their deck across the water. It was a nice hike of a little over a mile each way and once again, when we arrived at the lighthouse, there was another big iceberg out in the water off the tip. Then we drove through a lot of the little towns along this coast and were especially impressed with Red Cliff and Tickle Cove. Both have very distinctly colored red rocks and cliffs, and the beaches are made up of round red rocks. This is Tickle Cove:
Tickle Cove has a walkway out to a big sea arch, which also gives great views back across the cove. There is another nice hike there around Tickle Pond, but it was 8 km long and rain was threatening so we didn’t do it. As we drove back along highway 235, there was a sign out saying live lobster for sale in Summerville, but by the time we got to the docks, it was late and everyone was gone. So the next day while we were hiking the Skerwink Trail, with Chris and Marianne, Bill drove over and bought lobster for all of us.
The Skerwink Trail is rated in the top 35 hikes in the world by Travel and Leisure Magazine, so it was high on our list of “must do” hikes. It was also only 5.7 km. And it was another incredibly gorgeous sunny day. Chris, Marianne, Elaine and I did the hike which was mostly on the headlands overlooking the coast and had some beautiful rocks and sea stacks.
Here are the 4 hikers:
One of the views from the trail showing sea stacks:
A view of Trinity from across the water on the Skerwink Trail:
Later that day we all went over to the local roadhouse right up the road and enjoyed some Newfie music, as well as some contemporary music, at a “matinee”. During the break, the musician and his wife came over and sat with us and chatted, which was nice. Then we went back to the rigs and cooked up the lobster feast.
Mary Cooks The Lobster:
Part of the feast:
You can tell by the look on Marianne’s face that she isn’t a big fan of lobster, so Bill got a lot of hers too.
After that we all went to a “kitchen party”. This is what the Newfies call an evening of local music and entertainment. It was held at the East Trinity Community Hall, cost $5 and went on from 8 to midnight. There were singers, an accordion player, a drummer, a guitarist who did vocals with another gal who sang harmony, and a story teller. At 10 they served “lunch”, which was sandwich quarters, tea and cake or dessert bars. The entertainment was wonderful and the place was packed.
Sunday we all left, with Chris, Bill & Marianne heading to Bonavista and Elaine and I stopping at Terra Nova National Park. This is a gorgeous area but unless you are camping, kayaking or hiking here, there isn’t a lot to do. We stopped at the visitor’s center where there was some info about icebergs.
Then we did a 9 km hike along Newman Sound which went through the woods and skirted the shore, but was not nearly as spectacular as the Skerwink Hike. That night we ended up at the Wal-Mart in Gander, where we did our laundry the next day, some shopping and then headed for Twillingate. Laundry here is really expensive, with washing and drying each costing about $2.50 per load.
On the way to Twillingate, we stopped at Boyd’s Cove where there is a very good Beothuk interpretive center. We had never heard of these people before coming to Newfoundland, but this was the name of the indigenous people who lived here before the Europeans arrived. They tried to avoid contact with the Europeans but inevitably they contracted a lot of their diseases, or they were killed in conflicts over territory, and in the early 1800 they became extinct. There was a gathering spot near Boyd’s Cove where they lived each Spring and Summer which has now been excavated to learn more about them. The exhibits are interesting and well done and it only costs $3 to see all this.
Information about Beothuks:
While we were there, we learned that the icebergs were incredible in Durrell, which is right next to Twillingate, and also that the caplin were coming in. This is a small fish, very similar to smelt, which come in every year about this time to spawn on the beaches. There are so many of them that the locals just go scoop them right off the beaches and usually salt them and store them for winter. So we hustled up to Twillingate, parked our rig and drove directly over to Durrell Cove. Wow, cresting the hill and looking down into the cove, we could see quite a few icebergs of all shapes and sizes.
It was pretty cloudy but we took a lot of pictures anyway, and from quite a few vantage points.
Then we drove around to the end of the paved road and walked about a mile on the dirt road to get to the cove where there was a beach where some fishermen were in action. There were hundreds of seabirds flying around, and some people out in a boat about 10 feet off shore fishing with a small net. They were catching caplin because there were lots in the water, but they weren’t coming on shore yet. One of the fishermen told us all about them, gave us some of the ones that had just been caught, and told us how to prepare them. So we hustled home and Elaine cleaned them and I floured and fried them. Our opinion was that they were OK but not worth all the trouble.
Yesterday we had cloudy skies for a while and then the skies cleared so we went back over to Durrell to take more pictures of the icebergs with the sun shining on them. Again, it was amazing to see all of them and they looked so different from the night before because a storm had come in and moved them around a bit, and they are gradually breaking apart and melting, so the shapes are changing constantly. About 80% of the icebergs are below the water, so many of these are touching bottom and aren’t moving a lot. Sometimes they melt enough that they flip over. I think it is important to tell you that this is an unusual occurrence even for here. One of the Newfie guys has lived here 75 years and he said he has never seen so many icebergs in the cove like this. Newfies are coming over here in droves to look at them so it is not just us tourists that are interested in them.
The little coves and buildings are so picturesque, even without the icebergs:
Our Boomer friends Chet & Gaye Carruthers, who bought a house here 3 years ago, said that in June this was all one big huge iceberg that broke apart and created all these incredible pieces. The icebergs come from either Greenland or Baffin Island and take about 18 months to get here, according to the info we got at Terra Nova NP. Some of them have what looks like big blue cracks. This is an area where the ice is perfectly clear. One of the locals showed us a piece that he took from one of those areas.
The local winery here makes wine using water from iceberg ice. We picked up some of the ice on the beach and used it in a drink when we got back to our rig.
Speaking of Chet and Gaye, today we had them over for Happy Hour and had a delightful time getting to know them better. They purchased one of the more incredible pieces of property in town, a huge house which used to belong to one of the biggest landowners and business families in Twillingate, and they are in the process of redoing it, painting the outside, etc. The painting started today and will be about 8 different colors, which Gaye says will about give all the locals apoplexy since the house has always been white. We stopped by there on our walk and were lucky enough to be invited inside for a tour, and they allowed us to take pictures. Gaye is an artist and collector and the house if filled with all the interesting artifacts and collectibles from her life. Words can’t do it justice and neither can these few pictures I will put below. It is probably the most incredible place I have ever been in and both Elaine and I were not only impressed with it but delighted to be in it. I regret that I don’t have a picture of Chet & Gaye to put in here, with their house, but I will get one later, I promise.
Chet and Gaye told us about a local musical performance this afternoon at the church museum by a friend of theirs named Stephen Rogers. The pipe organ is a work of art in itself, and it was delightful to hear it being played by such a gifted musician.
Stephen also played the accordion, tin whistle, and keyboard. He played a mixture of Irish, Newfie, Scottish, and gospel music for over an hour and all was free.
There is quite a lot of musical entertainment going on here so we will be attending other performances for the next 3 nights. Then Monday, the Fish, Fun and Folk Festival starts and goes on for a week. I’m sure we will be having a wonderful time. We have established ourselves at the United Church parking lot and were the only ones here until yesterday when 2 rigs arrived and then today, 2 more. We have been told that by the time the festival starts there will be 50 or so packed in here. Tonight when we returned from the library, the fire department was here, using their powerful hoses to wash down the parking lot so that the cracks can be sealed tomorrow. Opps, rain is predicted. No crack sealing if that happens.