I’ve travelled to many beautiful locations, but my recent trip to Newfoundland was one of the best. Newfoundland is a hiker’s paradise with stunning ocean vistas, abundant wildlife, very friendly locals (The people in this province took in hundreds of stranded airline passengers after the 9-11 tragedy), and best of all—no crowds.
Every town has trails, and my husband and I hiked along shaded, forest paths, climbed steep, rocky cliffs, rapelled down cliff faces, and explored hidden beaches and sea caves. Incredible views waited around every bend.
Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was amazing. We arrived the day before Hurricane Dorian was due to hit, but the weather was sunny and warm, with not a breath of wind. Impossible to believe a massive hurricane was headed our way. We took advantage of the beautiful day and hiked Gros Morne Mountain (806 meters), a very challenging sixteen-kilometer climb with a hard scramble up steep, rocky scree to the top. The views of the fjords and surrounding mountains were breathtaking.
View from atop Gros Morne Mountain.
The hurricane hit the next afternoon, but we managed to get in a windy hike in the morning through scrub forest and peat bogs to a waterfall. We were fortunate, and other than a power outage and downed trees, the storm caused only minor damage.
Our next stop was L’Anse aux Meadows, the location of the first known presence of Europeans in the Americas. More than a thousand years ago, Vikings settled there on the tundra and barren rocks.
Port aux Choix was another mind-blowing experience. The rugged landscape and the pounding surf were incredibly beautiful. Crossing the limestone barrens with fossils embedded in the rock, and passing through ancient archaeological sites was a dream come true. We even spotted a herd of woodland caribou.
Rocky shores, picturesque fishing boats, and wind-swept cliff tops made Bonavista, where John Cabot discovered North America in 1497, another fascinating area to visit. At Cape Spear, the most easterly point in North America, we faced driving rain, gale force winds, and fog, but also rugged beauty.
Aside from the terrific hiking, and great wildlife viewing (moose, caribou, coyotes, and puffins), the food was unique. We ate our fill of bakeapple berries, wild blueberries, partridge berries, and blackberries. The traditional Newfoundland dish of fishermen’s brewis, made with salted cod, hard tack bread, scrunchins (salted pork fat, chopped into small pieces and fried in grease) was tasty, but definitely not healthy. Fried bologna was another treat. And then there was cod—deep fried, battered, breaded, cod tongues, and cod cheeks.
We stopped in Dildo, Horny Head Cove, Tickle Bay, Witless Bay, and Cuckholds Cove. Is it any wonder the Rock is one of my favorite places? I’m a come-from-away gal, but I’ll definitely be back.