A Late Summer Adventure Part 3

or Into the Not So Wilds of Notre Dame Bay

Still on the island of Newfoundland, the next leg of my adventure found me camping in a real tent in a small cove along the shore in Notre Dame Bay. As you can see, I don’t travel light.

I do not travel light.
This may look like a lot of stuff but it is actually scaled down a lot from my normal park camping gear.

I’ve gotten pretty good at putting up a tent by myself. The secret is to lay everything out then go inside and tie the top of a properly adjusted tension pole to the peak. (I keep onein the car.) This keeps the tent in position while you run around and set the poles in place. It is a little trickier in the wind but, knock on wood, it hasn’t failed me yet. The forecast was for dry weather so I didn’t bother with my usual tarp arrangement. I was tucked away in the trees on a bed of thick moss. It was a tidge downhill but so comfortable that when I next slept on level ground I caught myself wishing for a padding of moss and I had to arrange my pillows so that my bed felt like it was on the same slope.

cozy camp
Tent’s up. Are you surprised that it isn’t yellow?

It might look like I am off in some remote wilderness location but in actual fact, I am only thirty meters or so from my sister’s off-grid cabin. It is accessible by boat or by a twenty minute drive down a dirt road which is in vaious states of repair; some parts of the year being completely impassable. I was reluctant to take the bananamobile down over it but, knock on wood, there was no harm done.

I wasn't alone.
It is always comforting to know the neighbours.

The view from my temporary home was hard to beat. If I wasn’t so lazy I’d insert an audio clip of screeching gulls so that you could have the full effect

Looking out towards the opposite shore of the bay from the cabin patio.

Looking across the cove. (zoomed in)

Imagine a screechy sound here.
Did you know that there real is no bird with the species name ‘seagull’? I believe that this one is a herring gull.

I had a variety of goals for this part of my adventure. I would do a little kayaking, some visiting with family, and some fishing. That’s at least three more blog posts!!

One happy camper. (photo by Mary S.)

© Judy Parsons 2023

A Late Summer Adventure Part 2

or It’s All Uphill From Here.

Twas brillig and the slithy toves…..naw, twas just sunny and warm with a few clouds when I woke up at Grandpa’s old stage. A perfect day for a hike so I donned my ‘adventurer’ costume and headed out with my brother for Beaumont North and the Beothuk Trail. (I’m sure we used to call the community Ward’s Harbour when I was little but was that ever an official name? I just don’t know.)

Ready to ramble.

The Beothuk Trail is 3.7 km. out and back and takes you to a headland where you can look out to the North over Green Bay. Much of the trail has boardwalks because of the bogs. I like how they painted the face of the rise on the boardwalk red. It’s easy to miss your step when you’re looking about at the marvels of nature.

You’d need some pretty tall rubber boots to navigate this bog without the boardwalk.

And where there is bog, there are pitcher plants. Did you know that Queen Victoria herself, yes, that Queen Victoria, chose the pitcher plant as the provincial flower of Newfoundland? Did you also know that the pitcher plant is carnivorous? It’s okay, they don’t have much of a taste for humans. You will see lots of pitcher plants on the bogs of the Beothuk trail.

Please don’t pick the pitchers.

Hmmm, bogs also mean bakeapples (cloudberries to you Nordic folk). I saw no sign at all of bakeapples. I’m not sure if that was because it was late in the season or because they just weren’t there. But there were partridgeberries. Mom always told us not to eat them before they were ripe because they had worms in them until they fully ripened. Fact or folklore? I’ll have to look that up.

Please don’t step on the partridgeberries. This can be challenging when they grow at the bottom of the steps.

We also saw beaver lodges……

Beaver lodge for sale or rent….

…and lots and lots of stairs. So many, in fact, that my brother thought that the entry sign should come with a warning for old fellers who might not be in prime stair-climbing condition.

So. Many. Steps.

Just when we thought we were done with steps, more steps appeared. On a couple of occasions I had to pretend to look at scenery to get a rest. I didn’t have to pretend to enjoy the view; it was grand.

One mustn’t forget to turn around from time to time to admire the view.

The higher we got, the more steps we encountered. When bro’ grumbled I reminded him that completing the hike was a choice, not an obligation. He persevered like any good Parsons would.

Steady on, there skipper, we’re almost there.

The view from the top was worth the effort. Sure you could see all the way to Tilt Cove I think. Not well enough to pick out who was your relatives now, but enough so’s you’d know which way to steer if you planned on rowing there.

I wish I’d taken a panormaic shot of this beautiful scene.

As always, the coming down was worth the going up though our knees might have something else to say about that. I stopped to take a photo from the trail parking lot……


……and then it was off to the Long Island Consumers Co-op Store Municipal Heritage Building tea room where we had the best kind of breakfast, the kind that comes on a platter, not a plate. Don’t rush to get the ferry tomorrow to get yours, they are probably closed for the season now.

© Judy Parsons 2023

A Late Summer Adventure part 1

…or What I Did On My Late Summer Vacation, Part One.

Watching the sun come up over Otter Island.
View of the sunrise from stage-head.

At the end of August I loaded up my little car with camping gear and took the ferry to Newfoundland. The original plan had been to get dropped on some remote island in Hall’s Bay and meditate on life but once I connected with family, I decided I’d rather spend time with them than be alone.

My brother recently acquired my Grandfather’s old fishing stage and towed it over to where we used to play in the shallows at low tide when we were kids visiting our Grandparents. The stage is the little ochre coloured building in the following photo. It is somewhere between 120 and 150 years old.

Beaumont, NL.

My intention was to camp in my Grandmother’s potato garden which has been abandoned since not long after they put the road through in the 1970’s. So bro’ and I arrived after lunch with a whipper snipper and schlepped my gear down over the steep bank by the road. Whoa Nellie: the nettles! I’m pretty hardy but I draw the line at camping in a field of stinging nettles, mowed or not. So I wound up having a sleepover in the stage with Pete instead.

A stage was never intended to serve as accomodation; it was essentially a place where cod was gutted, split and salted down. (The process was known as “making fish”) There was a hole in the floor through which the gurry was sluiced with pails of salt water and the floorboards had wide gaps to improve aeration and cleaning. When I was a kid it had the sweet sickly smell of rotting fishguts. Thankfully it had fifty years to air out. And miraculously the mosquitos had the night off (the walls are also full of cracks and holes). The view from the little wharf was beautiful and held many memories:

The view on the North side of the stage.

The view to the SouthEast.

The view to the South. Mom called the old road down over the hill the “pig shute”.

In the last picture, if you look closely, you can see my little yellow car with kayak parked at someone’s dock. A fellow came up to me while I was there and said “I heard ‘dere was a car over here with a banana on top and I ‘ad to come look!” (Later in my trip some kids passed by and shouted at me “Haha! Bananamobile!”)

Pete carving cob holders.

We dined al fresco with a view of the nettle filled p’tatey patch. I was surprised to find that Granny’s rhubarb was still growing after all these years of inattention. Rhubarb and cockroaches will outlive the human race!

My brother will never run out of tales to tell.

We reminisced about our childhood visits long into the night. Pete wound the clock….

Windng the clock. Yes, that is a swing.

….and I laid out my bedroll and we talked until the moon came up over Otter Island. This month’s moon was a ‘sturgeon’ moon and a ‘supermoon’ and a ‘blue’ moon. That’s a lot for one moon to live up to.

♫ Blue moon of Long Island, keep on shinin’….

With only the sound of the clock breaking the deep silence we finally gave in and went to sleep. Then at two in the morning we were rattled out of our slumber by the harsh bell of the old wind-up clock. What the……? It stopped just as abrubtly on its own. When we investigated we found that the alarm had not been set and even if it had been turned on it should have gone off at 6:30. We wondered what message our ancestors were trying to send as we settled back in for the night.

Stay tuned for more of my Newfoundland adventures.

© Judy Parsons 2023