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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.


  1. Your a brave soul to go solo. I've been there a couple of times with my buddy. Check William Flaherty on YouTube or Facebook...I've posted videos. Good luck but I would stay on the beach till you have to up the hillside there are telephone poles laying about. Try will lead you to the Head of the trail and the Observation Post.

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