After the Canadian Cross Country Road Trip.
ARTICLE #2: Stepping Onto The Astonishing Landscape That Is Newfoundland
With my hometown slowly fading in my rear view mirror as I am making my north on Highway 101, I set up camp in Cape Breton at a campground nearby the Seal Island Bridge. Having driven for several hours and wondering why I’m leaving the beautiful region of Clare in Digby County, Nova Scotia, this amazing bridge that’s situated twenty minutes south of North Sydney was a breath of fresh air. Cape Breton is a beautiful extension of Nova Scotia with the coastal roads like the Cabot Trail and the fishing communities all joined with friendly people. After setting camp, I settled into my first night wondering how this trip was going to fall together. I planned six months to get everything ready for this moment in my life, and I felt like a blank page, just waiting to be filled with amazing stories.
The following morning directives were to head towards the North Sidney Ferry Terminal that would cross to Newfoundland. The boat ride takes six hours to get to the Port Aux Basques terminal. From Port Aux Basques I had a great welcoming view of the table mountains which was my first surprise of this province. I didn’t know a whole lot about Newfoundland; I envisioned it like Nova Scotia, and in some ways was correct, but I later learned that it was a whole lot more than that. My first stop was Corner Brook, a lovely little town surrounded by massive rolling hills. Setting up camp, I was already getting into the idea of this trip materializing in front of me. I was awakened the next morning with a beautiful sunrise and amazing landscape surrounding the Trans Canada Highway. It reminded of the Rocky Mountains when I got onto the highway outside of Corner Brook with the massive rock walls and the river running alongside it. My next stop was Gros Morne National Park, my next camping site for next two following nights. Instantly surprised by the change in the landscape once again, it became apparent that Newfoundland was a photographer’s paradise. Beautiful vast lakes that were surrounded by mountain scenery, I felt like a kid in a candy store. My goal of the day was to see coastal towns and icebergs on the North end of the island. Twillingate was my pick. Based off what I read on the internet, this was a particular spot for finding both interests.
Located North-East on the Island, Twillingate has a lot of fishing activity with the sheltered harbor the location provides. After about fifteen minutes of driving through some of the community, you can make your way towards Crow Head which has one of the most incredible views of what the Maritimes can offer. Massive rock walls and cliffs that give way to the endless Atlantic Ocean view, I instantly fell in love with the location. I took advantage of this spot to give my camera and camera drone a taste of the action. Perfect drone flying conditions, a sunset slowly forming in front of me, and a sailboat making its way around the area, this was a great first location to shoot photography. The catch of this is that I was five hours aways from my campsite, so that meant that I had to drive at nighttime. The nighttime driving doesn’t bother me. The wildlife that’s roaming near the road was my concern, especially when some of that wildlife could be a moose. Luckily I didn’t encounter anything, and I considered the day a success.
Day three's initial focus was on the fantastic Gros Morne National Park. Gros Morne is a gem of many within this province. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, this landscape is phenomenal. You’ve got mountain ranges that have existed for billions of years, the tablelands being one location that stood out for me. It looks like a desert because of the ultramafic rocks that cover the surface of the land. It’s a rustic color that would make for a great movie set, or in my case a photo shoot. The Western Brook Pond is a massive body of fresh water filled with glaciers melting into it many moons ago. I spent time at one waterfall but I failed to write the name down in my journal because that evening. I was a little frustrated with the fact that I lost my eyecup (a small piece of rubber that sits in front of the viewfinder of the camera) into the river after trying to get a clean shot of the location. Things like this are bound to happen, and I was grateful it was just an inexpensive piece of rubber and plastic and not the camera itself. The last night I spent in Gros Morne I decided to make a fire to celebrate my first explored province. I was heading back towards the Port Aux Basques ferry the next morning, so I got all my content backed up and headed straight to bed.
The next morning in true Marcel fashion I woke up a little late with a boat that was about four hours away and has a traveling schedule that doesn’t wait for anyone. Tearing the tent down as quick as I could, I got onto the road and tried my best to get to the ferry terminal. The idea that I didn’t make it to Saint John was discouraging. Tips to anyone that wants to travel please take the time to have a plan when you get to an unknown location. I continued south up until I was at the Ferry terminal. Making the boat with maybe five minutes to spare, I got out of my car, was directed very quickly of where the elevator was, and after finding a chair in the lobby area of the ferry, I took a deep breath and relaxed. I made it. Hooray, I get to make traveling progress for another day. Sitting in my chair, Ibegan to process what I experienced throughout those several days on that beautiful island. How did I go so long living so close to Newfoundland and not taking the initiative to explore it? That question will baffle me for a while, but in the meantime, I had the initiative to focus on which was my next destination, Prince Edward Island.