SOUTH FROM DEER LAKE
Having had all of the excitement of an impromptu trip around Newfoundland, which you can follow in the index I now find myself, or at least, I will find myself in a kilometre or so, back at Deer Lake and in the vicinity of the Viking Trail. At the foot of the Viking Trail will be the Deer Lake Motel and that's where I come in because that was where I went out the other day.
Ahh yes - here's a sign. The Labrador Ferry is 292 kilometres up that slip road there but I am going underneath the bridge and here I am back on my version of the Trans Labrador Highway again and there's the Deer Lake Motel again.
This is where I arrived about a year ago, so it seemed, from my voyage around The Trans-Labrador Highway and the subsequent drive down from the ferry at St Barbe . If, like me, you are determined to travel the Great Circle as much as possible by road, then you'll be coming with me on this part of the journey down to the ferry at Channel-Port aux Basques.
But it was here that I made something of an error of judgement and I wish that I had thought more clearly about things before acting. I was hot on the trail of a cheap bed-and breakfast in Corner Brook, about which I had heard, and in the gathering gloom I decided to press on from Deer Lake. Finances (or lack thereof) was what was uppermost in my mind.
This meant that I missed out on whatever there was to see between Deer Lake and Corner Brook, and I contented myself with making just a few notes as I drove. It was the wrong thing to do though. I should have stayed at the Deer Lake Motel and travelled this part of the route the next morning in the light where I could see and photograph whatever was interesting.
The first thing that you will notice is this absolutely ancient Hydro-Electric generating plant and the huge lake that is Deer Lake. And it is huge as well.
And not only does Deer Lake seem to go on for ever but when I arrive at Pasadena, still at the side of the lake, what do I notice but this enormous and I mean enormous plastic greenhouse, the type that they would have on a European smallholding. That was huge too.
There were probably all kinds of other things to see as well but it was dark by now. Nevertheless I'll tell you something that I did notice, and why I'm mentioning it is that I've seen it a few times on this side of Canada, and I was to see it again as a regular occurrence.
I've been seeing women walking along the side of the road where I've been driving, and I can always tell that it's a woman because of the way that she would be walking. The women seem to march along here, swinging the arms as if in a military style. It's only the women who seem to do that - I've never noticed men walking in such a fashion. It's bizarre.
Well, the sat-nav strikes again and brought me to this bed-and-breakfast in Corner Brook - the cheapest place in which I have stayed so far. At first I thought that I was going to be turned away but one of the girls in the living room shouted something like
"Joey's not here tonight. He can have his room if he likes"
Good old Joey, that's all I can say. $50 cash for the night I paid, and excellent value too. But what a strange place it was.
From the outside it looked just like an ordinary detached house but it was clearly the Tardis reincarnated. There were people everywhere and as I was having breakfast there were even more people, climbing up out of cellars, scrambling down from the attic, emerging from cupboards, that kind of thing. Absolutely astonishing, but at $50 cash per night for what I received, I wasn't complaining at all.
A private bath was advertised, and what I supposed that that meant was that when it was my turn to go into the water I could lock the door so that the other 50 people in the house wouldn't get in with me and join in. Mind you, one or two of the females of the student-type of sorority who resided here .... well, I digress.
It was all thoroughly weird shere but then again, as I said, who's complaining? I'm not, and I'll stay there again.
Next morning I was up with the cock. But enough of my personal habits - I left quite early.
And as I drove down the road from here I saw another one of these marching women. I'm right about this and I shall have to make further enquiries.
When I was in Port Hope Simpson in Labrador a week or so ago, I was told that the logging rights of that area were owned by Bowater's, who shipped the logs across the Strait of Belle Isle to a huge pulp mill at Corner Brook. Ahd when I was doing some research into the Newfoundland Railway , I discovered that when Reid's company went into liquidation part of his land entitlement at Corner Brook was sold in order that a huge paper mill might be built on it.
I went for a drive around Corner Brook and from my vantage point at the south-west side of the Humber Arm I could see this. Mind you, you have to admit that it would be difficult not to see it.
It's the only paper mill of any size that I could see in the town and so it's likely that it's the very one for which Reid's railway land was appropriated, and it's very likely that it's the Bowater Mill that takes all of the timber from Port Hope Simpson.
I could of course be wrong. E- me and let me know.
From up here at my vantage point on the side of this rocky cliff there was an excellent view over the Humber Arm and out to sea and you can understand why this site may well have been chosen for a centre of maritime activity. The serpentine arm would afford really good protection against the winds that blow around here.
But do you remember our first glimpse of Newfoundland back all that time ago when we were on the Labrador Coastal Drive and how we saw the ridge of cloud above the island despite the beautiful day? Here's a close-up of the aforementioned and you can see exactly what we were looking at.
And continuing my little drive along the Humber Arm I came across some kind of small headland and from here there was a most magnificent view of some of the small towns along here. This was worth a photograph too.
We have more hanging clouds in the mountains over there of course, and we have the beautiful colours in the trees in what are surely the final days of autumn.
Back on the Trans-Canada Highway again I find myself heading south, but this is not what I was planning to do at all. I had it in my mind to drive back up to Deer Lake and look at what I missed in the gloom last night. I've no idea why I've turned south just here.
A couple of miles down the road though I have a close encounter with a couple of the celebrated Newfoundland hanging clouds. There's a few in the foreground just lightly passing by in the breeze and there's a huge one in the distance.
And you might gather as well from this photograph that the weathe ris starting to change. We are starting to go all gloomy and the sky is greying over. I didn't like the look of this at all.
To console myself I opened up a packet of sweets that I had bought in the Dollar Store in St John's the other day. A packet of Wintergreen Mints. Being a foreigner of course I know nothing about these things, so perhaps someone else could explain to me why Wintergreen Mints are ... errr ... pink, and not green. E- me if you know.
About 25 kilometres from wherever it was that I spent last night ... errr ... Corner Brook, I come down a hill and round a sweeping left-hand bend and encounter what is called Beaver Pond. This is extremely beautiful too and so I feel obliged to make a photo stop.
In fact, if there is to be a typical photograph of anywhere in Newfoundland then you could do little better than a photo such as this. There's no sea and no fish either, but we have a lake, some hanging clouds, some deciduous trees changing colour in the autumn, and a pile of overhead power lines.
And not only that, but where I'm standing may well be on part of the old railway track bed, although I'm not totally convinced about that.
From here, I leave the Trans-Canada Highway and head off out to the coast. One of the places high on my list to visit is the town of Stephenville.