Heading south from St Anthony, we figured we would stop for the night wherever our fancy struck us. We wandered along the French Shore (on the eastern side of the Northern Peninsula) but nothing struck us, so we found ourselves heading back toward the west coast as night was falling. The tourism guide showed us a private campground called Three Mile Lake Campground and we made that our destination, arriving at 8:30 as dusk was just starting to fall. At first it looked like a nice campground. The rope gate was down, and a note at the gate said to go ahead and find a site, and someone would be around at 9 p.m. to collect payment. Good timing. But as we drove through the campground, to most of us it became quickly evident that something wasn’t right.

 

The individual campsites were attractive, well-designed, nestled in the woods above the lake. But they clearly hadn’t been used in a long time. The grass in each site was a couple of feet high, growing right up into the bbq-pit-on-a-stick fireplaces. The road was in terribly rough condition. Not a soul was about, nor any sign of human activity. The dusk was growing and it was spooky. Since a ghost story or two had made an appearance during our previous three nights camping, our reactions to this scene were natural. In particular, the girls and I began to imagine all the worst case scenarios. We would get back to the entrance to find the gate closed, locking us in, and the 9 p.m. reappearance of ‘someone’ would not be favourable to us. We concocted gruesomely silly scenarios until we even got Bill spooked. We made it safely out of there before 9 p.m. and now the pressure was on to find a place to sleep before dark.

 

Bill’s wish came true, that we would do at least a little bit of ‘gravel pit camping’ which is a Newfoundland tradition. I spotted a likely road on the map so we followed it until it ended at the coast. We found a nice secluded beach not far from Plum Point where we pitched our tents as the last light left the sky. The thing about a northern Newfoundland summer night is, unless it’s actually raining, it doesn’t really get fully dark. The wide-open sky above the beach, with the lights of New Ferolle winking in the distance, provided a peaceful backdrop.

 

 

We enjoyed the morning alone at our beach campsite, but a rain shower brought breakfast to an end and it was time to head toward Gros Morne – after a detour to see the thrombolites at Flower’s Cove.

 

The old wharf at Flower’s Cove had the saddest collection of old fishing boats I’ve seen. They were perched optimistically up on their stilty things, which seems to indicate that their owners anticipated that the cod moratorium would only be a  temporary setback. Fifteen years later … these boats were positively ghostly, appearing almost ready to head to sea.

 

We continued south to Gros Morne National Park, where for the next three nights we camped at the Berry Hill campground. The campground has three or four sections, and for some reason the one we liked best had no other campers in it. None, for all three nights. The sign indicating the road into it was missing from its post, so that might have been the reason. We were slightly puzzled by this but enjoyed having the whole area to ourselves.

 

 

Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site on account of its unique geology. The Tablelands are a striking feature of the area. They are formed from a layer of the earth that is normally way underground, but the movement of tectonic plates forced this mass up onto the surface. It was once attached to land masses that now are part of Africa and Europe. It is a truly striking landscape, quite distinct from the landmasses all around it.

 

 

Yes that is snow on the Tablelands, in early August. This was the only place we got a photo of all of us together.

 

 

One day we explored a coastal trail out to Green Point. The trail skirts the ocean along the edge of the ‘tuckamore’, which is the name given to the dense growth of spruce that is typical of the region. \

 

 

Some of us enjoyed exploring the hobbit-like habitat that had formed under the tuckamore. This was an easy trail, a little wet in spots but completely flat. A pleasant walk but not much of a warm-up for the Gros Morne trail.

 

Next: Part 3, in which we tackle Gros Morne mountain, explore the Port-au-Port Pensinsula, then head for home.

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