Saturday Snapshot invites bloggers to share photos. Hikes, hikes, and more hikes! Whenever Andy and I visit my home province of Newfoundland, we always seek out scenic spots and trails. So far, I’ve shared photos with you from our exploration of three birding sites and of the Salmonid Interpretation Center. As I near the end of our highlights, I want to talk about three hiking areas.
“Canada begins here-or ends here, depending on which way you are going,” so reads the sign at Cape Spear, North America’s most easterly point. Besides this distinguishing feature, the area is home to the oldest surviving lighthouse in the province and the remnants of Fort Cape Spear.
According to Newfoundland Tourism, “the light house is an iconic symbol of Newfoundland and Labrador’s mariner history”. Generations of the Cantwell family resided at Cape Spear for over I 50 years and worked diligently to maintain the light so vital to mariners:. As for the site’s World War II coastal defense battery, one can walk the pathways taken by Canadian and American soldiers as they guarded St. John’s from attack from lurking German U·boats.
Signs abounded about the dangers of leaving the path and of walking too close to the edge, but otherwise hikers were generally expected to show wisdom in their choices. I appreciated that, except for one fenced area, there were no guard rails or other types of protection from danger. We were free to savor the wild beauty of the landscape.
Because Andy and I spent a week on the Avalon Peninsula, we limited the number of our hikes in Central to just two of them. My brother, Robert, joined us for a day-long trip to Long Island. According to the area’s website, the main occupation in this region continues to be the fishery. Tourism has also become a slowly growing industry. The recorded number of residents in 2011 was 220.
Ferries are a large part of Newfoundland. They’re how you get to the island itself and sometimes how you get to places in Newfoundland such as Long Island. The ride is a short one, about five minutes, and most people stayed in their cars. While at Long Island, we admired its lighthouse, hiked the Beothuck Trail, ate at the Tea Room, and drove around to take idyllic photos.
One will see the lighthouse when the ferry docks. The lighthouse is Newfoundland’s oldest and originally had a dwelling for the light keeper and their family. They farmed the land and kept root cellars. The children were often home schooled. According to the area’s website, there are still descendants of the lighthouse keepers living on Long Island today. The original lighthouse was dismantled in 2009, but then restored and declared a Municipal Heritage Structure.
Newfoundland’s natives, the Beothuk, used the Island as a summer base from about 1200 A.D. until around 1800. Several Beothuk sites have been identified by the surveyor and mapmaker, J.P. Howley. Today one can walk a trail, where many believe the Beothuks once crossed, and take in the island’s natural beauty. A gazebo marks a stopping point in the trail. On our hike, Roben found a geocache, and we saw pitcher plants.
Last year. when we visited the Thomas Howe Demonstration forest in Gander, we didn’t take the trail that led to the water. This year, Andy and I headed back there for that purpose. My dad and Robert joined us for this morning trip.
The Edgar Baird Trail runs along the shore of Gander Lake before it makes the steep climb to end near the main parking area. We didn’t complete the whole trail, but stopped at the first beach detour. There, we listened to the waves and watched a shore bird.
As with the Long Island Trail, mosquitoes attacked us, and humidity soaked us. After having been stuck inside a few days due to rain, we were happy enough to get out and to have sun. Of course, we rewarded our efforts with snacks!