Leaving Gros Morne National Park, we next headed east and traveled through Grand-Falls Windsor and Gander. Gander is the town that took in over 6,700+ people during the September 11th attacks. The stories from the Newfoundlanders and their guests were heartwarming. This town of 10,000 residents ended up receiving 38 flights during the attacks. They took strangers into their homes and bent over backwards to make them comfortable. While we didn’t spend any time in Gander, just reading about what they did was amazing.
Grands-Falls Windsor (in the central part of Newfoundland) was a good stopover on our way to Twillingate. Right from the campground was a scenic walk to a waterfall. Just about every campground we stayed in during our trip had some sort of hike we could do right from our camper. Each one was different but all of them were worth the hike.
We went to the Salmonid Interpretation Centre and could watch the salmon as they travel upstream to the spawning habitat.
Our next stop was Twillingate. This was my favorite place in all of Newfoundland. The coast was just spectacular and we hiked along the coast for miles. Twillingate is known for its icebergs, growlers and bergy bits. (A bergy bit is a medium to large fragment of ice. Its height is generally greater than three feet but less than 16 feet above sea level . Growlers are smaller fragments of ice and are roughly the size of a truck or grand piano.) Unfortunately, they are typically gone by August so we did not get to see any. We also didn’t see any puffins but the scenery made up for the lack of icebergs and puffins.
And what would a trip for us be without seeing some lighthouses. I needed a few more lighthouses to add to my list.
We went for a wine tasting and tour at Auk Island Winery. Not being a wine drinker I went for the Outport Raspberry Screech (Raspberry wine and Rum) and John tried the 3 Sheets to the Wind and Fifty Shades of Bay. The wines were made with different types of berries including crowberry, blueberry, cloudberry, bakeapple, and partridgeberries. They even had wine ice cream. While this sounded terrible, it was actually quite good.
Canada is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. All national parks and national historic sites are free to enter. We think this is part of the reason we had a hard time getting campsites. A few times when we got to the campground they were either full or had one or two sites left. After that, we had to plan a little more as to where we were going and make reservations ahead of time. A lot of time was spent just making these plans which was a little disappointing. But it all worked out.
We spent a few days at Green Point campground in Gros Morne National Park. This campground is a first come first serve so we got there and started pulling into one site when a woman came running up to us with her chair staking claim to the site. She had already registered and was trying to get to the site when we pulled in. We moved on and found one last site to take. There were some beautiful sunsets while we camped there. My pictures don’t do it justice but it was nice to see.
The rocks in Gros Morne NP intrigued us. Lots of different colors, shapes and sizes. Some of the bigger ones we thought would be easier to take a picture of rather than try to carry them home. We did bring a few small ones home. It reminded me of the time we took our nephew, Edward, hiking in Maine. He kept picking up rocks he liked and by the time we reached the top, his pockets were bursting with rocks. He was a little weighted down and had to drop a few rocks before heading back down. After learning from him, we decided not to fill our pockets
The metal pieces here are from the SS Ethie. This was a shipwreck off the Martin’s Point in December, 1919. A storm blew up and the captain had to try and beach the ship. Miraculously, all 92 passengers and crew were saved.
As we traveled around, we found many red chairs placed strategically in different areas. Other areas in Canada also have adopted this program. Eighteen pairs were added in 2014. We didn’t find all of them but did see a few. Some are at the end of a long hike, while others are not far from the road.
This was the extent of our fishing.
We took a 2-hour Western Brook Pond Boat Tour. This is a landlocked fjord and is quite a sight. We originally wanted to take the boat to a hike which overlooks the rim of Western Brook Pond. They recommend a guide to take you as there is no real defined route and it takes up to 8 hours. So needless to say our aging bodies weren’t up for that so we settled for the boat tour.
As always, I was able to find lighthouses in our travels. The first one was Lobster Cove Head. There were a few trails to walk around and enjoy the view.
Just so you don’t think there is no wildlife in Newfoundland, here is a snowshoe hare. He visited us a few times during happy hour while we sat at our campsite. And no, we didn’t share any drinks with him.
The Tablelands was an interesting place. One side of the road was like a barren desert while the other side was green trees. This area reminded me of traveling through Utah. We came to this area twice as the first time it was so crowded we didn’t stop. The second time we did get to hike the 4 km trail. roundtrip.
Down from the Tablelands was a hike called Green Gardens. This was a beautiful hike (9 km, about 4 hours) Totally different landscape from the Tablelands but also a great site to see.
Every few days we need electricity just to recharge the camper batteries. One campground we had was a little less than desirable (think gravel and campers lined up one after another.) However, there is always a silver lining wherever we go. The best part about this one campground was sitting talking with our neighbors. They were from Louisiana and have have been to Newfoundland a few times. We had happy hour with them and a true Newfoundlander came over to talk to us as well. We only understood about every other word but he was fun to talk with. Many things are expensive in Newfoundland including the beer. An 8-pack (they don’t have 6-packs) costs $20. (We get a 30-pack in the states for $20.) Anyway, this man goes to Florida during the winter and on his way back home he stocks up on beer prior to entering Canada. Not sure if he has to pay duty on it, but it may still be cheaper than buying in Newfoundland.
The ferry arrived at Port aux Basques about 7 am on Wednesday, the 9th. Our first view of the area was to say the least extraordinary.
We traveled about 2 hours to Barachois Provincial Park from the ferry. Our original destination was Gros Morne National Park (4 hours) but after no sleep the night before 2 hours was plenty of time to travel. Anyone that has camped in Canada’s provincial parks knows how nice they are. There is almost always hiking you can do from the campground. They are very clean and the sites are wooded and spread out so you are not on top of one another.
We stayed at Barachois on our first night in Newfoundland and our last night. Our site was in the day use area right near the water. We were very secluded and after our first few nights in Nova Scotia this was a welcome site.
Traveling throughout Newfoundland we kept seeing the word “Barachois.” I finally had to google it to find the definition: A barachois is a term used in Atlantic Canada and Saint Pierre and Miquelon to describe a coastal lagoon separated from the ocean by a sand or shingle bar. Salt water may enter the barachois during high tide.
John and I had another successful trip in the truck camper. Our trip from August 6 to September 3, 2017 took us to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. Normally I try to blog while on the road, however, this trip there were very few times we had internet and/or electric. So for those of you who have asked, here is a recap of our trip complete with pictures. I took over 480 pictures so I will post the best and try not to bore you too much.
During our camping trips, we very rarely make campsite reservations ahead of time. We like to decide on the road where we want to go next. As we soon found out, this trip made it a little difficult to do that. Our first night we planned on stopping in New Brunswick at New River Provincial Park. This night, however, when we stopped we found they were all booked up. So after looking at the map we decided to stop at Harding’s Point Campground in St. John. Upon arriving, we soon found out there is a ferry to the CG. The ferry was free and was fun to take. Unfortunately, that was the best part of the CG. We felt like we were in a sardine can and sitting on someone else’s site while trying to enjoy the nice weather. The beach (which was not near our site) was nice to look at. We survived the night and the next morning instead of taking the ferry back, we decided to take another route. Since my map reading skills aren’t the best, I directed John to take a turn which to me looked good on the map. An hour and a half later, we arrived at our original starting point (campground) and took the ferry back over. So much for the map…
We worked our way across Nova Scotia to catch the midnight ferry from North Sydney to Newfoundland. We toured Sydney before the boat ride and came across a beach with some unusual features. Not really sure what they were but we’re guessing it was some sort of barrier to protect the beach.
Watching the ferry being loaded was interesting. We lost count of the number of tractor trailers, cars, motorcycles and, of course, the most important vehicle–our camper. We were wondering how the ferry didn’t sink with all that weight. The ferry ride was surprisingly smooth especially to someone who gets seasick. We paid extra to get a recliner seat so we could sleep. Sleep pretty much evaded us as we got to listen to 60+ people snoring in unison throughout the night. We had opted not to get a berth for the 7-hour trip thinking it would be very uncomfortable. We talked to other people that did get a berth and they had a comfortable bed, TV and shower. Next time we get the berth.
We extended our time in Georgia an extra week but it’s now time for us to pack up and leave. Our last week here was quiet as far as sightseeing. We had two days of rain and thunderstorms which cooled things off from the high humidity and temperatures. We did have a tornado warning for one evening but luckily we did not experience an actual tornado.
Our last trip was to Harris Neck Wildlife Preserve that we had already been to but we enjoyed it so decided to go back. We found another trail to walk and found alligators and many birds as well on this trail.
Our trip to Darien has been everything we hoped for. We have seen some fabulous sites (especially the Blue Angels), traveled to some wonderful marshes with lots of bird sightings, met some wonderful people in the area, played pickleball, kayaked, and added two more lighthouses to check off our list. We loved the house we stayed at and would certainly come back here again.
I had our last day here all planned. It consisted of going for a walk, playing pickleball, kayaking, and going for a bike ride. Unfortunately, with winds of 35 mph for the last two days we could only go for a walk. Maybe another visit.
Hope you all have enjoyed seeing some of the highlights of our trip. Until next time…..
Driving around this area, we see a lot of marshes and wildlife areas. While many of them look alike, there is always something different to see. The picture above shows a wildlife management area but used to be Butler Island Plantation, one of the largest plantations in the South, It is fun to see the birds, ducks, alligators and try to identify them. (The alligators are easy to identify.) Some birds we are successful finding what they are and other birds we can only guess at looking at the bird book.
Walking around this WMA we heard a huge splash into the water and moments later an alligator popped his head up. After that, we were on alert for not only splashes but we kept looking behind us to make sure they didn’t follow us. A few times even though I was expecting the splash it scared me as I didn’t see the gator.
Here are some birds that were in the trees right outside our deck at the house.
Outside of Savannah is a park called Skidaway Island State Park.The hiking in this park was like much of the hiking in Georgia–marshy areas amongst live oaks, palmettos and pines. They do offer an observation tower to view wildlife on the barrier island. Only problem was that the walkway to the tower got destroyed by the hurricane in October so there was no viewing from the tower for visitors.
During prohibition liquor stills were built on this secluded island. In the 1930s there were 31 liquor still sites located throughout the island. Boaters could easily sneak on and off this island with their illegal moonshine. Many stills fell victim to police raids. You can see ax marks on this still.
Some days we opt to stay home and choose to ride bikes and kayak. (OK maybe not John but Sharon and I got to do those activities.) John stayed back and played photographer. It was a beautiful sunny day, the bugs stayed away and the paddling was just perfect.
What would you say if we told you we found a rare bird in our travels? Okay, it wasn’t actually a bird but it certainly was a rare siting for us. There was an airshow in Brunswick, GA which just happened to be near where we play pickleball. So we not only played pickleball, avoided the viewing crowds (about 38,000 people), and saw an amazing Blue Angels airshow. There were about 12-16 people playing pickleball but every time the planes flew overhead, the games came to a complete stop for everyone to watch the show. At times we had to cover our ears because of the loud noise. This airshow has been the highlight of our trip. We don’t think we can top this. I was even happy with the pictures I took.
We visited Jekyll Island last year on our way to Florida but there is always something different to see so we opted to go back to this island. It is not a large island (7 miles long by 1.5 miles wide and has 8 miles of beaches. We went to Driftwood Beach which was a really unique looking beach to walk on and it is described as “beautiful driftwood and trees that resemble a tree graveyard.” Looking down the beach all you can see is dead trees.
As we walked along, we were able to imagine different animals in the driftwood.
We revisited St. Simon’s Island since Sharon had never been there before. The beach has a great shape which unfortunately doesn’t show in the pictures. But is is not a straight beach like we are used to.
Another location to check off our list is Fort King George State Historic Site. This site is less than 10 miles from us in Darien. It dates back to the Guale Indians in the 1500s and in 1721 Colonel John Barnwell brought a group of scouts and slaves to build Fort King George. In 1736 Oglethorpe brought over 177 Scottish highlanders to settle the town of Darien. As with other forts there was a blockhouse, officers’ barracks, guardhouse, blacksmith shop and more. The grounds were nice to walk around and view the buildings as well as wildlife.
Other than walking and bike riding our biggest activity is playing pickleball. There is a group that plays on Tuesday evenings in Darien and one in Brunswick about 25 minutes away. We have enjoyed meeting people down here and even talked with someone who had a cousin in Plympton, MA. It’s certainly a small world. Our friend, Sharon who was visiting in Florida came up to enjoy our house and play pickleball as well.
This wildlife refuge is a great place for nesting and wildlife habitat. We have visited this place twice and have not been disappointed. The down side is pets aren’t allowed so Shelby gets to stay home on these visits. The wood storks nest in a large colony on a pond and are quite fascinating to see.
Every trip I like to see something I haven’t seen before. This trip I wanted to see an armadillo. As I was busy taking pictures of turtles and alligators, John saw an armadillo on the other side. He didn’t really want to turn around for us, but I can at least cross that off my list. The one thing left on this trip I want to find is a painted bunting. From the pictures I have seen, these are very colorful birds so with any luck we will find one later.
Driving through this refuge is nice and very peaceful. This is not a crowded place and the fields, wetlands and hardwood/pine forest are great. There are 2,824 acres.
We had a nice visit with Pat Connell and Art Quinn who visited for a couple days. We got to try out a local restaurant Skippers Fish Camp in Darien. The food was great. We had fried shrimp and scallops and thoroughly enjoyed them. We decided not to try the alligator tail. Wasn’t something we felt the need to taste.
There was an 11 foot stuffed alligator on the wall of the restaurant. He certainly was big. One of the neighbors told us they had an 8.5 foot alligator taken out of the pond near their house. They now have another one that is 9 feet long. Glad we’re not near a pond.
On our daily walk we found what we think are fiddler crabs. Tough to get a good picture of them but when we walk by they scurry towards the land. Funny to watch.
Our neighbors invited us to dinner last night along with two other couples. They are from Pennsylvania and leaving on Saturday. We had a great evening with them and certainly appreciated being invited over.
And last but not least, here is Shelby in one of his typical poses.