December is a time of year when many people often reflect on their experiences of the past year. When we think of the various trips and outdoor activities we have been fortunate to take part in while exploring Newfoundland over the past 12 months, a number of highlights come to mind.
Probably our most challenging and exciting new trip was a dog sledding adventure we did in early March with Elaine Pinard (firstname.lastname@example.org) and her team of huskies at Wiltondale at the edge of Gros Morne National Park. We never imagined that steering the sled would involve so much finesse as we cruised over the winding snowy path. Things got especially tricky on the downhill as you had to steer the sled around corners, while keeping a foot hovering over the brake pedal. We careened out of the track into the soft snow on more than one occasion.
Later in March another first for us was exploring the backcountry of Gros Morne National Park via another mode of travel — a snowmobile. Most people that know us know we rarely snowmobile so this was a challenging trip in many ways.
First, we had to get used to driving a sled over the twisting trail behind Wiltondale. Secondly, our plan was to see as much avalanche terrain as possible so we travelled all day covering over 180 kilometres by the time we were finished. Our guides were park staff and we had a job keeping up with them as we were led across bogs and lakes and past steep avalanche slopes. A real bonus was getting to the famous viewpoint overlooking Western Brook Pond.
In the summer we sampled several other activities many of which were new for us. We enjoyed skipping over the waves on the new zodiac style boat tour on Trout River Pond. We also highly recommend a trip to the Corner Brook caves for anyone that wants to explore underground and see some of the cave system that lies at our doorstep.
Some great hikes
We did some great hikes in western Newfoundland with the Humber Valley Hikers and favourites included, the Little Port Head trail and the annual trek up Gros Morne Mountain. We also had a rare wind-free day on top of Blow Me Down Mountain in September with my niece, her husband and baby Erik who travelled here from Vancouver. As well, we walked many new to us hikes in central Newfoundland and we really liked the trails near King’s Point, including the Trail with a View and the Ocean View Trail.
We also recommend the trails near Salvage on the Eastport Peninsula near Terra Nova National Park. The Round Hill Trail has a particularly scenic lookout.
The fall produced some memorable sea kayaking days and as the weather held we continued to resist the urge to pack them away for the winter. This year our last paddle was our latest yet on Nov. 24th, which allowed us to stow them away before our first snow arrived a couple of days later.
Even though we have been exploring western Newfoundland for over 30 years, it is still gratifying to be able to find so many new trips to do. If readers know of some new adventures that they think we should check out let us know at email@example.com.
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org