Meeting Newfoundland

As we are putting together this post, time is passing away on us. It’s tricky trying to find WiFi that is strong enough to handle uploading our pictures and I’m telling you, we can not share about this trip without a lot of pictures. It’s been so hard to choose just a few because this country of ours is just too beautiful.

This is Sherri writing now, but this post will be a combination of Trish and I. We have 3 posts coming about Newfoundland and here it starts!

We drove off the ferry onto this province that I really never thought I’d ever see. And with the fog I STILL wasn’t sure if I’d ever see it. We couldn’t see land as the ferry came in and it didn’t lift for awhile. We drove off the ramp and straight up onto the highway and off we were. It felt a little strange that it was literally the start of the highway. I expected some sort of parking area and maybe there was one, but we didn’t see it. We were off and heading north.

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The first thing we noticed was the road conditions. Wow. It put me on edge since I’m still just getting used to pulling a trailer and with every single pothole I was so clearly aware of the fact that we have just 2 little tires on our Micro Minnie. If one goes…. Let’s just say I was a teensy bit of a wreck for a good while. It didn’t help that it was raining and foggy. But even as that had me on edge, it was not enough to detract from the gorgeous surroundings that were starting to peek through the fog. I texted Trish at one point saying that though I couldn’t see much I was seeing enough to know we were missing a lot! So much green. So many hills/mountains/streams. Too much to describe around every corner.

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Trish: Before getting to our campground, we needed to stock up on some groceries.  The biggest town (city, really) near Gros Morne was Cornerbrook.  I asked Google Maps to show me grocery stores in the area, and it took us directly down a winding/steep hilled road to a gas station.  (We’ve had some ‘words’ with Google Maps on a few occasions now).  The gas attendant was very helpful in pointing us towards an actual grocery store.

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Twinnebagos do Cornerbrook.
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Hmmm, which house should I buy?

Sherri: As we left Corner Brook I went online to check out the housing prices, pretty sure that we need to move here. Definitely better than Winnipeg though not dramatically. I’ll stick that in my back pocket for future reference.

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Trish: There are a number of campgrounds to choose from in Gros More National Park, but we chose to reserve spots at Berry Hill Campground (the only Parks Canada park that had water/electric hook-ups).  It turned out to be a great ‘base camp’ from which to head out on a few different excursions (none more than 25 minutes away).  We, personally, would rate this park very highly!  The sites were nicely angled from the main road, making backing the trailers in fairly easy.  The bathrooms were clean, and had a really pretty “cook shack” attached (which included wood stoves, picnic tables, and washing stations/water taps for any who needed them).  There was a playground for the kids, which they spent almost every minute at!  We saw a lot of smaller trailers or tents,  but there were a handful of larger trailers too.  Most sites were on the smaller side, but they definitely also had ones large enough to accommodate us as well.  It felt like one of the quietest campgrounds we’ve been in, although I’m not entirely sure why.  The sites are private, but you CAN still see your neighbours.  Sherri figures it has something to do with the larger numbers of tenters.  You don’t get the constant in-and-out of big rigs and creaking trailers.  It’s also not an overly large campground (60-ish sites).

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The trees and underbrush made for some of the most private sites we’ve had.
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The dads and kids went for a walk the first evening and found a pond where they had some fun hopping rocks and got some very beautiful pictures.
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The next morning the moms took a turn at checking out the pond, but we did it with running shoes on.

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Trish: Our first full day in Newfoundland also happened to be Dale and our youngest son’s birthday.  (Yep, same birthday for the two of them!)  Our son (who is obviously now the star of the birthday show), picked a trip to the nearby Bonne Bay Marine Station as his birthday activity.  You can check it out on trip advisor here.  We got a tour of the building and tanks, and everyone got a chance to hold some of the creatures (all of which can be locally found).

 

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This is a piece of whale baleen.  This picture makes me laugh every time I see it.  If any of you knew this kid, you’d know he is never at a loss for words, and never at a volume less than yelling.  This moment had him stumped though!

After the tour the kids were free to play around in the “touch tank”, a tank with various sea creatures the kids could touch and (gently) hold.  A few of the kids even said, at the end of our time on the island, that it was their favourite part of the trip so far.DSC01236DSC01234

 

And, a few pictures from our walk outside afterwards:

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Enjoying cake at the end of a long day. It appears that one birthday boy wasn’t even included in our only good picture.
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The glowing beaver on the fire pit!  Cool? Or Creepy? (I haven’t decided yet.)

Sherri: Our second morning Trish and I decided to try running up a “mountain”. This particular hill was being eyed by Dale as something he was going to conquer and at no matter what danger to his life. Tales were spun of getting lost in the dense forest and Trish doing the remainder of the trip alone……. Turns out there’s a path. We ran up that path and then met everyone else on the way back down. And then walked back up again. It was a warm-up hike for everyone that morning because later on we took on yet another hike. This one a bit longer, but no hills. There was much discussion among the kids about what exactly qualifies as a hike. Does it have to be up a hill? One was overheard saying to another, “Apparently, hiking is just walking.” I guess they were expecting something a bit more to it.

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Berry Hill Trail

The longer hike was the Western Brook Pond. It was a 5km total walk and the kids did really good even though it wasn’t particularly nice outside. Kinda chilly. There’s the option to take a boat tour into the fjord at the northernmost tip of the Appalachians and it does come highly rated, but sometimes you just need to choose the walk and not the paid entertainment. This is the boat tour link for those that might want to check it out.

Every once in awhile we come to a point in the trip where we do consider what we would do different with older kids or no kids. At the end of the boat tour there is a longer, more intense hike and for that I would pay the price, but it’s not for a kid-friendly trip. Some other day.

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It’s not easy keeping 11 people all together on a long hike. It’s a lot of “Keep up!” “Don’t run so far ahead!” “Get back on the trail!”

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The two red chairs we find all over the place.

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The girls were gathering all the different wildflowers they could to make a bouquet.
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We had a quick stop at at lighthouse on our way back to camp after our 5K hike. It was called Lobster Cove and is a Canadian Historical Site.
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The view from Lobster Cove Lighthouse.

Sherri: The wind of the last couple days was really starting to wear us down. Though we were staying active I felt like I had just done a marathon. We were splitting off to our separate destinations the following morning and the kids were at the point of needing showers, but we were too exhausted to get to it. Most Yanke kids were taken care of and in bed. My girls and one Yanke boy were still playing in the park while I contemplated getting out of my chair and getting the girls showered. All of a sudden the three of them come running into the Yanke’s site where we were sitting. I can’t even remember what they said. All I heard was “moose” and “playground”.

“You saw a moose!?” “YES!!” So all parents jumped up to go over the two sites to the playground.

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The moose ran right through this area from behind the green slide and past this structure and down a path to the right of this picture.

Of course, by this time the moose was gone down the little path out the back of the open area. I wanted to go check it out.  I’d been waiting since we got off the ferry to see this huge moose population that Newfoundland is known for and the one cow moose that I saw in the bush on the drive up wasn’t quite enough, but the guys wouldn’t “let” me (talked me out of it.) It was not lost on me that the moment I came back the two of them went after it!! They got a few pictures and if you look real hard you can see him. He was too far away for a good iPhone pic, but it was noted that he really was huge.

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He’s in there somewhere!

 

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Signs like this had us expecting to see Moose around every corner.  We were a little disappointed by our lack of sightings!

It wasn’t till it was pointed out to me that I noticed my youngest was terrified and I mean TERRIFIED! She’s not a loud cryer so I didn’t hear her in all the excitement. Well, that girl cried and shook and would not stop for at least an hour. At one point she couldn’t even stand up. Her knees were buckling under her. I’ve never seen her like that. We could not convince her that moose don’t eat people and it was not going to be standing outside our camper stomping his hooves waiting for us. And really, I don’t blame her for being shook up. You see, after the kids saw the moose there was a quite hilarious series of events. I can’t share it all without dedicated a blog post just to that whole scene, but I’ll share that the three all jumped up onto the play structure to hide and began to discuss what they were going to go. The lone boy of the group went into protector mode with “I’m going to do a deadly thing. I’m going for help. I hope I don’t die. I don’t think I will, but I hope I don’t!” The girls didn’t want to be left behind so instead they all ran together. Instead of running to our site which was only 2 sites away they ran around the whole loop and it’s a long walk! I can only imagine the thoughts in that little girl’s head as she was running that extra long path sure that the moose was right on her tail ready to pounce as soon as he caught her. I was told today when I asked for a recount of the events that her sister ran the whole way with her arm around her to keep her safe and my eyes are a bit blurry as I write that. I’m so glad they love each other as much as they do.

 

That night when my still shaking child was praying before bed it included things like “Thank You for our camper!! (Erick told me later he had told her moose can’t get in the camper.) And thank You that we’re leaving tomorrow!” The other child, in complete opposite manner was SO excited “Thank You that we saw a moose!” We had to ask her to stop talking about the dang moose.

The next morning it was on to our next stop in the adventure and each trailer was heading a different direction. We’ll each give a separate story of what we encountered. Every day is a full day of adventure. Even when we’re not doing much. The kids are happy and loving every minute of this Epic Road Trip!

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