Daily Archives: July 13, 2010

The Lure of Labrador

Pinware River, Labrador

I live just 14 miles NW of L’Anse au Loup, Labrador giving me the opportunity to wake up each morning and view the empowering rocks of the “Big Land”. As well, each night see the illuminating lights twinkling before I close my shade and say goodnight to the world. Yes, there is something magical and luring about the pristine landscape of Labrador. I understand why Hubbard was interested and optimistic about his expedition into the unknown.

In 2008, during Labour Day weekend I had the privilege of travelling the south coast and onward to Port Hope Simpson to collect some fishing nets. During the night we visited with a local, named Ben. He invited us into his home and gave us a room for the night and would not hear of us staying at the local hotel. Talk about hospitality! For a youthful man in his eighties, he sure could whip up a great batch of pies, give us a tour of his massive greenhouse and tell us stories from his trapping and fishing years. I think the secret of staying youthful is to keep a good attitude, maintain your sense of humour and of course, stay active!

Pristine Beauty, Labrador

We had travelled to Charlottetown and another coastal community with Ben, stopping to visit the fishers on the wharf to discuss their daily catches and other news of the sort that gets collected at such a “social commons” and is transferred throughout the communities. It is amazing how fast news can travel this old-fashion and more personalized way in rural regions.

Our next morning would take us to Mary’s Harbour, where we would catch the ferry-boat at the former Grenfell Mission Shed to take us to “Battle Harbour” (known historically as the Capital of Labrador), an island just 17 kms away. The wind was not strong that day, which provided for good steaming and the opportunity to capture some fantastic scenery along the way.

Former Fishing Room

I snapped images of  former fishing rooms, dwellings and coastlines as we came into port. Battle Harbour is full of history. In the 1770′s a mercantile salt fish premises was established, spurring economic and social activity. It posed to be a significant stopover for those who became involved in the Labrador offshore bank fishery in the early 19th and into the 20th century. I recall my grandfather speaking of stopping there on some of his longer journeys. Hundreds of fisherman flocked to the area, the Grenfell Mission provided medical services.

Battle Harbour, in its current form presents an opportunity to visit historical buildings, walkways and work areas, while receiving an interpretative tour. Upon arrival you also get a meal.  Additionally, it has a distinction of being the only historic site in Canada where you can overnight in the historical buildings http://www.battleharbour.com/home/. I didn’t take advantage of this opportunity, but next time I certainly will, as Battle Harbour is the perfect get-a-way from it all retreat.

Salt Storage Facility

We are blessed to have many Rural Retreats in Newfoundland and Labrador. Around every corner if we stop, take a look and breathe it all in, we will see that we have a great quality of life that many can only dream. I have visited many large centres and rural villages on my travels, but there is no retreat comparable!

Be thankful if you too can experience or Live Rural NL -

Live Rural NL: Boyhood Fishing

Yesterday I began reading The Lure of the The Labrador WildThe classic story of Leonidas Hubbard, written by Dillon Wallace, which is an account of an expedition undertaken by these two into the unchartered interior of Labrador in 1903.

As I thumbed the pages, my youthful sense of adventure spurred. Leonidas Hubbard was co-editor of an Outdoor Magazine, Explorer, Adventurer and Enthusiast. I felt similar traits as I took stock of myself, after scribing several articles, traversing 27 countries and yearning for new experiences both near and far.

As Hubbard and Wallace trekked the rivers, Hubbard cast his rod and caught many trout. It brought back memories as a teen when I would walked with my comrads to a friend’s cabin in the wilderness. We were 5 and spent a weekend fishing during July. It was salmon season and two of our party spent their day on the river, while the rest of us cast our rods for trout from our little rowboat on the brook. The lucent sun was warm, nature was all around us – a beaver was swimming to his home, birds chirped, wild geese flew overhead and how can I forget the swarms of flies. Yes it was a sure sign of summer!

On one occasion I remember catching a fair size trout, one of my first. I was quite ecstatic! A sense of accomplishment overcomes a person when they are able to provide for themselves. I think it is a part of a person’s coming of age. Later that day, the trout was gutted and fried in the pan and it was delicious! My mouth waters for the flavourful fish. Can you reflect on a fishing experience, one of your first? Share with us, by posting a comment.

Brook Trout

Fried Trout 

  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 5-10 fresh trout
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4-5 slices of salt pork (optional)

Wash trout well. Remove entrails and wash again. Dry trout and dip in a mixture of flour and salt. Fry trout in hot pan on fried-out salt pork until golden.

We were truly with mother earth -no internet, television or cellphones and content with our lack of ammenities.  We were not far from civilization, but for those days in the wilderness, the rest of the world could have been a million miles away. I certainly yearn for those boyhood days of summer where we fished, boated, built fires, camped and had fun; a time when we were carefree, spirited and daring. Those days are no more, as I have grown into a man, my friends too.  As well, we have since went our seperate ways. Although, times and situations change, the experiences can remain. I look forward to more days of summer when I take to the water and paddle my canoe. Freely flowing down a river and back again, exploring Rural NL. I post pictures when I do again.

Live in the moment, experience earth and all her beauty -



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