Newfoundland, Part 1

The long drive north from Rhode Island to the Nova Scotia ferry crossing was a difficult journey for a guy with upcoming back surgery, but the overall trip was wonderful. With my wife and my daughter catching up on sleep inside a cabin on the big boat purring on the seven-hour passage to the great isle in Newfoundland-Labrador, I took to the wind and sunshine of the observation deck and dreamed about the sights that we would see throughout the following week. Ultimately, we would log 4,200 miles from western New York State to Newfoundland’s outback and our return, excluding the sea miles gathered from five excursions on the waves.

west coast, Newfoundland

From the Tablelands wilderness of the western island and its World Heritage site, the Gros Morne National Park, to the iceberg-haunted eastern peninsulas to the humpback whale watching north of St. Johns, we immersed ourselves in Newfoundland’s natural history and its maritime culture as much as possible, given our limited time. Our daughter, Alyssa, had designed a stimulating itinerary for the three of us.

ferry brews for three…

From our woodland tenting sites to our stays in lodging that included one night in a renovated home once owned by a Newfoundland Prime Minister one century ago, we ventured into boat excursions, lighthouse tours, fjord exploration, breweries, puffin colonies, moose haunts, and even a couple of river edges where I dutifully cast to unsuspecting trout.

fjord, Gros Morne National Park

Currently I have been unsure of how to share some 60 photographs selected from the journey. I’ve decided to present them in a series of four posts, each one with about 15 images randomly ordered, annotated, and to follow in relatively fast succession (compared to my slowed-down pace throughout this past year). I hope that you enjoy, and always feel welcome to comment or inquire…

lovely navigators, L.& A.
Indian brook; let it not be said I didn’t fish…
male pine grosbeak
harlequin ducks
moose a’plenty; caribou, too, but unseen…
Tablelands, Gros Morne…
Pissing Mare Falls, Gros Morne N.P.
Atlantic puffin; we would see so many more… Stay tuned

About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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27 Responses to Newfoundland, Part 1

  1. Leigh says:

    Looks like a fantastic trip. Will keep an eye out for the upcoming posts and hope to see you both in the Catskills soon.

  2. Fabulous! You and your family had a great journey. Trips such as this are special.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for sharing Walt. Best wishes with the back. I enjoyed reading this while visitimg friends in Rapid City, SD. See you when we get back home

  4. Wow! So you’re out gallivanting around AND you have back issues! You must be a tough fly fisherman to endure back pain AND trudge across ‘ankle-busters’. Some absolutely great pictures of the Grosbeak and Puffin! The others are not lacking either. I’ll be in touch over the next few weeks – I have some editing questions about the journals and hope you can provide me with some guidance. And lastly, good luck with, and wishing you a speedy recovery from, the upcoming surgery. UB

    • UB, you got that right. A tough time with those ankle-busters but I keep slogging along. Reconstruction of my problem areas begins tomorrow bright & early. Lots of fun… I’m glad you liked those pix. There’ll be more coming soon. I thank you and look forward to talking with you in the near future.

  5. Brent says:

    Great selection of pictures, and I’m really looking forward to seeing the rest. I love the sense of sublime loneliness in northern wilderness, and Newfoundland seems to add a nice mix of near-tundra to the usual conifer-heavy forests. On a more specific note, “Pissing Mare Falls” is one of the more hilariously evocative place names I’ve seen!

    • Yeah, there’s a really nice blend of near-tundra, conifer-deciduous forest, and wild water in the region, and the P.M. Falls is a wonder both in form & name. More pictures of the Mare coming up!

  6. Dale says:

    Hi Buddy how was your trip? See any moose? I will be up there in about 8 weeks North of deer lake I will see you at the fall SRS meeting

    • Dale, you’re gonna like it up there. We saw plenty of moose. Caribou was around, too, but we didn’t see those. Passed thru Deer Lake. Lots of wild country to get lost in. We took the ferry rides between Nova Scotia & Newfie by day, and they were restful. Thank!

  7. plaidcamper says:

    Sign me up for this series, Walt! Looks like you had an exciting trip, full of NE delights. Pissing Mare Falls? Descriptive indeed!

  8. loydtruss says:

    Of all the trips you have shared with us this might be my favorite—-so impressed with the images and looking forward to the next post—thanks for sharing

  9. Bob Stanton says:

    I feel you, brother. Aside from a few great days in early June, the fishing opportunities have been almost nil. Most of the smaller streams around here are running at a trickle, tailwaters being the only feasible option. And as far as the physical health goes, that’s been a source of disappointment as well. Blew up my knee a couple weeks ago, I still don’t have a diagnosis, but I suspect a torn meniscus. Merely ambulating is draining. I had x-rays yesterday, then to my PCP tomorrow, I’m going to try to get an MRI done before I see the osteopathic surgeon. So, all that said, once we are in better health we need to resume our sporadically annual fishing excursion to North Central PA. When is your surgery scheduled?

    • Mr. Stanton – I can relate – but fortunately I think to a much lesser severity on my left knee. Going to see a ‘PA’ (not going to PA big diff) in a couple of days for consideration of a ‘shot’. Torn ANYTHING in a joint at my age is never a good conversation starter! I think we even said earlier in the year how we may have to share company, you, RTR and myself on a stream sometime. Like you’ve said – there seems to only be trickles around and I’m hoping for rain like everyone else. This in combination with health woes seems to be working against us. But this shall happen… sometime. Take care – UB

    • I totally sympathize, Bob, and hope that things go well with knee repair. As for me, I’ve recently had three MRIs focusing on legs & spine, and after today’s diagnostic operation (which laid me up in Rochester for eight hours) I’ll likely have two different surgeries, pending an upcoming review of today’s extravaganza. I’d been told previously that surgery on the “fistula” would likely result in real improvement. Hoping for continuation of that prospect. Good luck, and best for our resumed angling excursions!

  10. Peter Ryan says:

    Hey Walt, I always enjoy the Rivertop Rambles and last week I finished reading your latest book, Learning the Terrain, which I believe is your best work yet!!  A few rambles ago you spoke of fishing the Berkshire Mountains area and had a great photo of Mount Greylock. My maternal grandfather was the superintendent of schools in North Adams and vividly recall sitting with him on the front porch looking at Greylock. I also caught my first trout in the Hoosic River on a visit under the tutelage of my uncle.  Great memories all and thank you for bringing them back to my attention. Although the present lack of water and high temperatures precludes any trout fishing on the upper AlleghenyRiver, I hope to bump into again on my favorite waters!! Tight lines,Pete

    • Peter, great to hear from you! Not only I am pleased with your reaction to reading my latest book (I think you may be right about that!), for which I am grateful, but also delighted that the post about the Mt. Greylock area brought back some wonderful memories. The North Adams & Hoosic River environs must have been an absolutely delightful place for spending some youthful days & hours. Surely, the local trout streams there invite investigation. As for our Allegheny region, yeah, it’s been too dry & warm this season but hopefully we’ll be in the loop again & casting with good cheer. Thanks again, Pete, and all the best to you & yours.

  11. Jet Eliot says:

    I am smiling broadly, Walt, filled with the beauty of Newfoundland and luxuriating in your engaging story. Being a birder I loved the puffin, harlequin, and pine grosbeak finds the most but was thrilled with all the sights–fjords, waterfall, tablelands, moose and you fishing and your family enjoying. A first-class adventure! I have never been to this part of the world in person, and I look forward to the next three parts. Thanks so much for taking the time to share this adventure with us.

    • Jet, my pleasure to present our findings for you! Yes, the birding was a highlight for me, and I’m always pleased to hear another birder’s appreciation, especially from someone like yourself who has had such rewarding experiences with our avian world.

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