Day Twelve: Port-au-Choix

If a picture speaks a thousand words, this was our day.

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End of post.

Only kidding. It did rain, hard at times. It was foggy in spots, and the potholes were deep enough to swallow a truck whole (and we’re driving a Mini!) However, the sun did eventually shine, it warmed up to 18C, and my partner now has the skills to navigate any obstacle course imaginable😁

Two things that have been puzzling us were explained today. From the moment we got off the ferry, along the coast and inland, we have passed enormous piles of stacked wood.

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Often there are numbers written on the side, and there are wooden “wagons” on sleighs for dragging wood out in the winter. It turns out that people can apply for a license to log areas owned by the forestry service. They just leave the piles there at the side of the road until they need them and no one else touches them.

The other puzzle was garden plots along the side of highways, often nowhere near any community. They usually have a wooden fence around them.

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People apparently just claim an area of flat land and plant it with vegetables. The only requirement is that they not use any wire fencing so as not to injure moose or caribou.

Speaking of which, we saw a moose today. It graciously posed long enough for me to get this photo.

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And then, when we reached Port-au-Choix, we went for a hike and saw…caribou! Four of them.

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In addition, we saw whales out in the St. Lawrence, and a bald eagle near a roadside lake.

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Tonight the wind is howling outside our B and B. I’m grateful not to be in the fishing boat that we saw heading out at supper time.

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Tomorrow we’ll hike again and see if we can find any more moose or caribou near the Point Riche lighthouse. And then we’ll continue south into Gros Morne Park. Hoping for a few sunny days to explore the mountains!

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Day Eight: Mary’s Harbour

We set off in the bright sunshine this morning, knowing we had a long drive ahead. The first sign we saw as we turned on to the highway was one like this, a familiar sight on the Trans-Labrador Highway.

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Only today’s sign said it would be nearly 400 km to the next gas station.  Something to take seriously!

The first hour of the 6.5 hour drive on Highway 510 South was smooth and paved. We enjoyed it while it lasted. Suddenly we were back to gravel. Over the next few hours, the road got more narrow and there were sections with deep potholes.

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We saw this sign and decided to play a game to keep our minds off the road conditions. We looked ahead and every time we saw a shadow on the road or in a lake, we asked each other, “Is that a moose?”

When we began to climb a hill, I glanced up. “Is that…a moose?” It was. A moose had ventured out into the middle of the road and stood there as if posing for a photo. I did manage to get one before it headed back into the woods. My first ever moose sighting!

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We pulled off the road to stretch at one point and saw a couple of gray jays. Next thing we knew they were landing on the car antenna and on our open hands.

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And in my hair!

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About 1.5 hours from our destination, we came upon road work. And more road work. But as far as we could tell, all they were doing was grading the road.

As we drove through the construction area, suddenly we saw a strip of black in the left lane ahead. They were paving the road!

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And then it got even better…our lane was paved too. After almost 5 hours of bouncing along gravel, listening to the stones hit the car, and dealing with bone-jarring potholes, I wanted to leap out of the car and kiss the still warm pavement. To my partner’s relief, I resisted the temptation.

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We stopped at a lookout point and met some people from Niagara Falls. A friend with them was from the local area and they all recommended that we take a side trip to St. Lewis.

We’re glad we did. St. Lewis is a small fishing community along the Eastern coast.

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We climbed to the top of a hill to find this sign.

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And from there, we could see Newfoundland! In the photo below, look for the furthest island.

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Tonight we are in Mary’s Harbour where the biggest surprise of the day happened at supper. We discovered that the three people at the next table had just arrived by sailboat from Greenland…after trying to sail through the Northwest Passage!

Now that’s a story!