NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Friday, December 11, 2020

Brigus Lighthouse Trail

Brigus Lighthouse Trail is another great hiking trail that I recently explored.  The small town of Brigus is loaded with quaint character and is one of the few towns on the Avalon Peninsula to have retained so many historic buildings. 

I'll be back again another time to delve more into its stories and architectural charms, maybe after a little snowfall just before Christmas?  Or stroll its winding lanes in the summer when the lupine is in bloom?

Rock walls were plentiful in Brigus

When I arrived at the end of Battery Road the parking area for the trail was closed off so I drove back down the hill and parked in a public lot near Harbour Pond.  It was only a 5 minute walk back up to the trailhead, a nice warm-up for the 5km jaunt out to the lighthouse.

The trail is steep in spots, but easily managed.  Bring a hiking stick to make those hills easier, and wear supportive footwear not sneakers or sandals!

It was a lovely day for December, and I plugged along without overheating or tiring too easily.  Sweeping views of Brigus Bay and Conception Bay were plentiful, but next time I'd like to hike it earlier in the morning to be able to photograph the town.

See the lighthouse on the other side of the valley?

A view of the lighthouse encouraged me to keep going down into a deep valley.  Watch your step and take your time, the grade was steep and momentum could easily result in a nasty fall.

I made it to the final hill before the lighthouse but the temps were dropping and the wind was picking up so I smartly decided that at about 4km I had gone far enough and should leave the full hike for another day.

Climbing back out of the valley was strenuous, but I kept myself preoccupied by looking for smooth pieces of shale to pocket for painting projects.

Brigus has a few trails on the other side of town, and shops and museums to explore. Maybe I'll have a buddy with me next time and we can make a whole day of it!

A quick shout-out to Skipper Bill for his comments on my Fox Harbour post.  Thanks for the tips!  Here's his YouTube video showing the artillery batteries at the end of the hike that I hope to get to next time.

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Fox Harbour Findings

 One of the hikes I've been wanting to do for years is to go out from Fox Harbour and across the Isaacs which are connected by a narrow rocky beach of ocean deposits.  At the end lies the remains of artillery batteries that guarded the harbour during World War II, part of the land leased to the old Argentia U.S. Naval Base.

A short while back a contributor to the Facebook group Hiking in Newfoundland and Labrador accomplished this hike and inspired me to get out there at last.  Watch her video through the link provided!

I parked at the end of Green Road in Fox Harbour and scooted around the edge of a homeowner's property to the quad trail which led to the beach.  Wear supportive hiking shoes and absolutely bring a hiking stick.  That stick kept me moving smoothly along the beaches where I had to balance when I had to walk along the larger rocks.

For the most part the beaches were easily traversed, but this patch of deep seaweed proved to be treacherous and down and I went like a kid on a slip and slide.  Of course I landed on an outcrop of rock, but luckily the injury didn't prevent me from continuing onward.

The views were breathtaking, and I got some lovely photographs even though it was midday.  

The stretch of beach that connects the Isaacs to Fox Harbour was enchanting and I spent a good 15 minutes mesmerized by the ocean before resuming the hike.  

I battled inwardly with the need to hustle since I had gotten a late start and the need to be in the moment and appreciate the gift of a warm and sunny December afternoon.

If I'm not mistaken, that is Fox Island in the distance . Our friend and my brother in law load his sheep up in a boat and sail them out there and return for them in the spring!

As I finally moved along I came upon old lobster traps tangled in the beach grass and other washed up debris.  Each section of beach had something new to see, and I collected scallop shells, coral, sea glass and even a few pieces of driftwood on my way back.

Once across the strip of beach I tried a few times to locate the trail across the Isaacs in the woods.  And I'm pretty sure I was just very much quicker and easier to stay on the beach.

When I was almost out of time and actually closer to my end destination than I had hoped I tried to get in the woods and on the path again.  This entailed scrabbling about 15 feet upward by clinging onto and weaving in and out of alder bushes, but I made it!

For some reason the phone's face id wouldn't recognize me and unlock the screen.

Success! The trail appeared...for about 2 minutes.

The blowdowns were so thick I couldn't find a way around.  On a return visit I needed that cousin of mine who also wants to explore this area so he could wield a chainsaw and we could get somewhere.

My heart broke a little as I looked up, but just a little as I hadn't expected to make it all the way to the end where the American bunkers from the 1940's were located.

As I had circled the beach so too had this fishing boat circled the harbour and the gulls had circled the boat hoping for morsels of leftovers.

On the return trip I stuck to the beach and kept a quick pace.  But I made sure to look back over my shoulder occasionally toward Argentia where I knew the light was always good for sunset.

A silhouette of the Isaacs against the sky with Argentia glowing orange in the distance was more than I could have hoped for on a day that wasn't even forecasted to be as warm and sunny as it had turned out to be. I'll be back again in late spring properly prepared for a long day of happy adventures!

The entire hike took me 4 hours, would have been 3 hours without the multiple failed attempts to get into the woods.  I would advise 8 hours at least to do it properly and bring a first aid kit and other supplies for changing weather conditions and nutritional needs.

Monday, December 7, 2020

A Little More Bonavista

 It seems like a long time ago already. How is it possible that we were in Bonavista only 3 weeks ago?

Cape Bonavista Lighthouse

We timed the trip to coincide with some sunny weather, and the weatherman didn't disappoint us.

Dungeon Provincial Park

You never know what you might see in Newfoundland, but I'm always surprised when I see a horse.

Out past Bonavista lies the tiny village of Spillars Cove and at the end of the road you can access the 6km Klondike Trail.

I left Wayne in the car and walked 10 minutes past stunning coastal scenery, the highlight of the trail as most of it crosses an inland route to Elliston. 

I even sat down for a few minutes to enjoy the sounds of the ocean.

I wanted to keep going all the way to Elliston, but the Klondike Trail is just another reason to come back to Bonavista again.

I'm hoping the next visit will be in the summer so I can see whales and icebergs, and visit the Mockbeggar Plantation and the Ryan Premises which are always closed when we go in the fall.

While Wayne cooked his breakfast the next morning, I took a final stroll down Rolling Cove Road.

The sun was gone, the day was gray and windy, but any day you can taste the salt on your lips and hear the sound of the waves crashing on the beach is a good one.

Besides a gray day is a good reason to try a little black and white photography, right? Not bad for an iphone!

The weather has been cool but comfortable lately - I'll be posting a few hikes I've been able to enjoy over the past few weeks very soon!

Friday, November 13, 2020

Back to Bonavista

Last November Wayne and I escaped to the Bonavista area for our 30th anniversary.  Though there are a few other places I want to explore we ended up choosing Bonavista again this year.

Last year we stayed at an Air BnB in Little Catalina but this time I thought it would be nice to stay in Bonavista itself at the Seakissed Cottage. Located in the heart of it all in Rolling Cove the cottage is an updated historic home that was cozy with all the comforts of a real home. Find them on!

Seakissed Cottage

We brought a pot of turkey soup from home along with a loaf of homemade bread for our supper as the finer restaurants tend to be closed this time of year.  Our host left us a bag of iceberg ice in the freezer along with some bread and partridgeberry jam - and a balloon for our anniversary!

Iceberg ice!

Of course in the morning I couldn’t wait to get out and have a walk around the neighborhood.

Cloudy, cold and windy, but it was worth the chilled cheeks.

My memory had served me well for a change and we were right where all the historic buildings were bravely battling the elements.

Sometimes, for a while, it’s possible to forget how cold it is when I stand by the ocean and watch the waves roll in.

My mind will roam, thinking about our ancestors and the life they led. Our little rental was probably full of people, with a wood cookstove crackling and popping throughout the day. Everyone would take off their wet boots, socks and mitts and hang them to dry nearby.

Our host left a note about their restoration, saying that behind the many layers of wallpaper they discovered cloth, wood shavings and grass tucked between the wood planks for insulation. I can’t wait to get out there and see what we will discover this time in Bonavista!

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

I do, I do, I do, I do, I do

It's been so long since I posted anything on the blog that I may not even have mentioned that I was planning to go to Wisconsin for our daughter's wedding!  Even though they reduced their guest list dramatically and changed their venue, we decided that due to the pandemic it was safest if I was the only one to cross the border. 

Katrina and Charlie decided to take advantage of the closures caused by the pandemic and hold their wedding at the historic Riverside Theatre in Milwaukee.

Charlie's sister was their officiant and delivered a moving ceremony filled with words of wisdom gathered from relatives who were unable to attend.

Charlie and Katrina of course made it personal, from their entrance song of "I do, I do, I do, I do, I do" by Abba to their vows.  Charlie even counted the hours from their date at the Riverside Theatre where they decided that they were boyfriend and girlfriend: 48,567 hours from that moment to becoming a married couple!

They vowed to support and strenthen each other, and affirmed that they have chosen to love each other above all else.

Photography in a dim theatre was challenging and I was a nervous wreck about being their photographer.  I haven't done much with my camera in over a year and even though I fumbled with the settings and my new flash attachment I was able to get some nice images that captured the day.

We made sure to get photos that depicted not only their love and affection for each other, but their love of Milwaukee.  Katrina was thrilled they got to pose with the Miller High Life "Girl in the Moon" in the theatre lobby.  

Picking photography locations on the fly, we wandered the opulent halls and everyone pitched in with ideas to make it happen.

And, of course, sometimes the best photos are the ones that capture the memories of those moments when everyone is having a good time!

Too soon our small party of eleven people was kicked out onto Wisconsin Avenue. Perfect opportunity for the bride and groom to pose for some outdoor shots!

 But it's not a Riverside wedding unless you mosey over and take some by the riverside, right?

It's the small things that are important in a putting up with each other's family members shouting out instructions to you during your wedding photo shoot.

Katrina's Maid of Honor, Libby, is also a hobbyist photographer and was full of great ideas, which was lucky for me because my only idea was "let's go down by the river"!

And it also gave me someone to turn the camera over to so I could join my lovely daughter.

Charlie was very excited about posing under the Riverside Theatre marquee.

And Libby came to the rescue again with yet another great photo idea before they all piled into their van and headed to the restaurant.  Yes, they had a van down by the river!

My mother and I met them at Maxie's, where the bar was open and everyone was happy to mingle in our private room with their masks off.

Toasts were made...

...and a few tears were shed.

But don't worry, we had lots of fun, those tears were the joyful kind!

Before arriving at the newlyweds' home we stopped at a park in Waukesha to pose a little more.

Nothing like a few drinks with lunch to get everyone in the mood to goof around in front of the camera!

Throughout the day I had the opportunity to see Katrina and Charlie support each other, and I know their marriage will be strong because they truly understand that it's a partnership that takes work and commitment.

We missed those who couldn't be with us on this joyful day...

...but the most important thing is that Charlie and Katrina are happy together and we couldn't be happier for them!

When returning from anywhere outside the Atlantic Provinces all returning Newfoundland residents must self-isolate for 14 days.  Residents and those with a special work permit are the only ones allowed across our provincial border.  Travel to the U.S. is limited to air travel only still.  I'm on day 9 and I've spent most of 4 days fiddling with the images from the wedding alone!  Five more days to fill and a girl can only paint so many rocks in a day, so I'll post again about what it was like to travel to another country during the pandemic.