Our May 15 column dealt with a sampling of some of the events and activities associated with Spring Fest-various festivals that celebrate what to do in western Newfoundland from mid-May to mid-June.
Next up is the Land, Sea and Folk Festival which centres on the Corner Brook area from June 7-10. Then the Iceberg Festival winds things up in the St. Anthony region from June 8-17. We have been to these festivals in the past and can fully recommend both of them.
Some of the best hiking in Newfoundland occurs in the Corner Brook/Bay of Islands area and this festival has guided hikes to a sampling of these trails. In past years there have been guided hikes to Cedar Cove and up the Man in the Mountain trail. The great thing about the Man in the Mountain trail is that it can also serve as an introduction to geocaching since there is an “easy to find” cache along the first section of the trail. The Man in the Mountain trail is one of the most popular of the International Appalachian Trail hikes in Newfoundland. The trail is well marked and climbs steeply at first and then winds along a ridge crest before dropping down past a small pond to a spectacular lookout overlooking the Humber Valley. It is about 3.5-kilometres one way to the lookout. The geocache is found along the first ridge crest and for anyone interested in a short hike this is ideal since it is only about 1.5-km from the parking lot at: 48 57.203 N and 57 53.119 W. There are many other events scheduled during the Land, Sea and Folk Festival including ziplining and cave tours, so check out the full schedule at: http://www.landseaandfolk.ca/.
The Iceberg Festival in the St. Anthony area of the Northern Peninsula has been running for many years and is timed to coincide with the arrival of icebergs swept south by the Labrador current. On our last visit to the Iceberg Festival a couple of years ago, we had a great time listening to the traditional music of Jim Payne and Fergus O’Byrne, and seeing icebergs from both onshore and from a tour boat. And moose — we saw more moose in a half hour than we have ever seen. One evening we counted 17 within a couple of kilometres of the Tuckamore Lodge in Main Brook where we were staying that night.
Another highlight was a superb interpretative walk with Michael Burzynski, a naturalist with Parks Canada. His venue was the unusual “underground salmon river” near Roddickton and we could see the salmon getting ready to enter the dark cave waters. The salmon would then re-emerge from the cave exit several hundred metres upstream. Amazing.
He also told us how to identify certain conifers by the taste of their needles. ‘If the needles taste like cat’s pee then the tree is likely a white spruce,’ he told us. Also be sure to try an iceberg martini — a specially created drink by the Norseman Restaurant in L’anse aux Meadows. For more information on what is planned for this year’s Iceberg Festival see: theicebergfestival.ca.
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached