December 26th may have brought unusually warm temperatures that resulted in building a sandcastle, going for a run in a t-shirt and the ability to have s’mores over a backyard fire, but a few weeks later all that would change and over a couple of days the Great Northern Peninsula would be hit with instant winter. We have reached a point of no return, so it is just as well for all of us to embrace it!
Winter brings robust recreational activity, where residents flock to their cabins, enjoy a ride on snowmobile or ice fish when it is safe to do so. It is wonderful though to see so many residents really embrace winter. Parents and children are taking back to skating on ponds more than ever before. The outdoor hockey game is back! It brings back so many childhood memories of playing on Louie’s Pond in Green Island Cove. It’s also exciting to see Jackrabbits and many adults taking to the trails and go cross country skiing.
Canadians more than ever are embracing the great outdoors and enjoying nature, likely as they cope with stress related to Covid-19. I know I’m joining many in taking up snowshoeing on a regular basis. I’ve been as active in January as I have been in June by regularly walking and finding new ways to get exercise to ensure my month would have more than 200 KM of trekking.
I feel quite blessed to be able to strap on my snowshoes and walk across the road (Route 430- Viking Trail) from my home and immediately be surrounded by beautiful nature.
Rural life presents many incredible recreation and outdoor opportunities. Find your love and enjoy what the great outdoors can offer you.
I always take my camera to capture my surroundings. There were a number of moose and rabbit tracks in the snow, but I didn’t get to view any wildlife on my 7 KM trek to the Gap Steady. This path is clearly marked and very easy to navigate.
I’m looking forward to many more winter snowshoeing adventures. If I make it to the East Coast, I’ll definitely trek to the Spout on the East Coast Trail.
Share you favourite rural snowshoeing treks in the comments below.
Live Rural NL –
Wedged between the communities of Bartlett’s Harbour and Castor River North is White Point. It’a natural beauty offers an incredible nature and walking experience as you crest along the coastline and hug the forest on your journey.
The Great Northern Peninsula has an impressive network of walking trails and one of the newest additions is located off Route 430 at the Castor River North and Bartlett’s Harbour turnout. As you approach the community of Bartlett’s Harbour on the left you will see a boat with moose antlers, a number of picnic tables, benches and other features that mark the beginning of the White Point Trail. There isn’t any designated parking at this current time, but there is no issue with parking at roadside and enjoying the serene and picturesque views along this more than 2 KM walking trail return. Trail rating: Easy.
As you walk the crushed stone pathway you immediately have to stop to view the inukshuk, teepee and other pieces that have a dedication to our indigenous people, who have been in the region for more than 5,000 years. The community of Bartlett’s Harbour has a large percentage of the population that identify as aboriginal.
In mid-August, I took a few minutes to go off Route 430 (Viking Trail) to take the White Point trail. The results were these pristine images of forests, bodies of water and I truly felt I was in a very special place, connected deeply with Mother Nature. There are ample rest areas, including the very popular green tree chair. I love the creativity and innovation that exist with residents of our local communities. All of this adds to the uniqueness of our home and special feeling one gets when visiting.
It was quite exciting to see what the local development association and the local employees had achieved through a Job Creation Partnership with the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador. These partnerships created something not only for the local residents to enjoy on a daily basis but for those in the region and those visiting to truly appreciate this corner of the world. The community of Bartlett’s Harbour and the Development Association have a plan to expand and connect the two neightbouring communities through various phases of trail development. In October, I returned to the trail and got to check out the expansion closer to the point. On my journey this time, I even saw a moose. The trail was still in progress but this phase has since been completed. I look forward to returning in the 2021 hiking season!
The impressive Highlands of St. John are in view and this really is a remarkable place to have a picnic, pick some berries, read a book or just truly enjoy the awe inspiring view. Bartlett’s Harbour and the expanded White Point Trail is one of those places well worth turning off and experiencing for yourself the beauty that is the Great Northern Peninsula.
Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.
Live Rural NL –
The Farm is a special place in the Town of Roddickton that has a strong connection to Dr. Grenfell and the important work of the International Grenfell Association (IGA) that dates back to circa 1915 and was another initiative to improve the health and economic status in the region.
The family name Adams is a common one in the community. It was Kenneth Adams, that came at the request of Dr. Grenfell to establish a farm in the Canada Bay area, after several successful attempts in St. Anthony. The Adams family operated a farm until about 1930, but the remnants of the old well remains even today.
During World War II the Canadian Forces established a radar site at The Farm and was abandoned after the war. Today, the Farm is a beloved community park with so much potential for further development of green space and other economic opportunities. The Farm is truly a gem in this community for gathering and enjoying the great outdoors.
This summer, I trekked the 5 km loop trail that offers a spectacular nature walk where one can experience wildlife, a cool ocean breeze and a fantastic view of the mountains known as The Pinnacle. Here are some photos! I even saw a fox but didn’t capture the beautiful animal with a photo.
The first farm established by Kenneth Adams may have been started over 100 years ago. It proved that such agricultural activities were possible and many others have established their own gardens, greenhouses, ranching or other farm activity in the region. There is so much more potential for increased agriculture on our Great Northern Peninsula, especially in Roddickton.
If you have never taken the time to enjoy the Farm, its incredible surroundings and the important place in history on the Great Northern Peninsula East and its development, I encourage you to do so! The 5 KM walk is just impressive!
Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.
Live Rural NL,
The Dark Tickle Company of St. Lunaire-Griquet is famous for their use of locally harvested wildberries that create specialty jams and jellies. They have continuously expanded their product line to include teas, coffees, vinegarettes, spreads, chocolate covered berries, sauces and more. This business is an econo-musee, the enables you to watch how their products are manufactured right before your eyes. They also have an incredible gift shop, which is en route to L’anse aux Meadows. It is a must visit tourism establishment when you are visiting the Great Northern Peninsula.
The business also hosts the Grandchain Exhibit, which highlights the French connection to the region.
This exhibit has been transformed from a static display to become the historical cafe. The carrot cake with partridgeberry sauce is to die for and they serve up delicious soups, salads, paninis, pizzas, fish cakes and even Swedish meatballs on their menu. It is truly a trendy place to go to enjoy a great cup of java in summer, or savour some wildberry milkshakes or beverages and great berry infused desserts. They position themselves differently and french fries is not on the menu. It is wonderful to have a variety of great food options during the summer tourism season. On certain days some live music or even recitations would be available to patrons.
The company has remained true to their brand and this past year, they added a new innovative product, called the sculpin cone and various flavours of berry ice-cream. It was nothing short of a being a hit and likely the go to place this summer, especially for locals to have a new and unique experience.
I enjoyed their bakeapple. partridgeberry and blueberry flavours, as well as vanilla. The simple addition of ice-cream proved to be a phenomenal hit for marketing and bringing customers to their venue but also to the Great Northern Peninsula. It’s important that we always look for new ways to be creative, to stand out and to innovate. It was also very fascinating to see so many images surface on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and mainstream media of people proudly holding their sculpin cones and promoting the business and our Great Northern Peninsula as a must visit destination.
The 2020 tourism season was not your typical year in the face of a global pandemic and very stringent travel restrictions. It does give business owners and travellers an opportunity to pause and make some changes to how their business operates and what it can do differently in 2021. The message is simple, it is more imperative than ever to find a way to support your local small businesses.
Be sure to get your sculpin cone and other berry treats at the Dark Tickle Company. If you can’t visit in person, you can always visit their online store and get some great products shipped. We look forward to seeing you and you certainly won’t be disappointed on your visit.
Live Rural NL –
I’ve put together a list of walking/hiking trails and lookouts on the Great Northern Peninsula from Bellburns and all communities to the North. I’ll be linking these with posts with images and more information on each trail as I am able to update. In 2020, I created a challenge to get them all completed, so now I encourage you all to join the challenge when you visit the Great Northern Peninsula for yourself.
- Trails from Bellburns to Reef’s Harbour (GNP Central-South):
- Table Point Ecological Reserve (between Bellburns and River of Ponds)
- River of Ponds Walking Trails
- trail to the beach 3 km
- trail to big pond (section still under development)
- Hawke’s Bay
- John Hogan Trail, 6.4 km
- Port Saunders
- Crow Head Walking Trail
- Demonstration Forest
- Beach Trail (through subdivision)
- Port au Choix
- Dorset Trail
- Coastal Trail
- Phillip’s Garden Trail
- Point Riche Trail
- Barbace Cove Trail
- Bartlett’s Harbour
- New Ferolle
- Old Ferolle Lighthouse Trail
- Reef’s Harbour
- St. Margaret’s Bay Trail
- Trails from Plum Point to Eddies Cove East (GNP West):
- Bird Cove
- Dog Peninsula Trail
- Long Pond Trail
- Plum Point
- Basque Site Boardwalk
- Mount St. Margaret Ski Club and Trails
- St. Genevieve River Trail
- St. Barbe to Forrester’s Point (interconnected trail network)
- Anchor Point
- Deep Cove Trail
- Deep Cove Trail extension to gazebo and beach
- Deep Cove Ski Club and Trails
- Flower’s Cove
- White Rocks Walking Trail and Extension
- Marjorie Bridge and Thrombolites Trail
- Nameless Cove
- Flower’s Island Lighthouse Trail
- Sandy Cove
- Ecological Reserve for Longs Braya
- Trails from Englee to Croque (GNP East):
- Barr’d Island Trail
- Locker’s Point Trail
- White Point Trail
- Shoe Pond Hill Trail
- Heritage Trail
- The Farm
- Underground Salmon Hole
- Bide Arm
- Armistice Park Trail
- Sailor Jack’s Hill Lookout
- Glass Hole
- Fox Head Trail
- Captain Coupelongue Trail
- Sleepy Cove Trail
- Main Brook
- Main Brook Park Rugged Trails
- St. Anthony Basin Region (GNP North)
- North Boat Harbour
- Highlands Boardwalk
- Wild Bight
- Whale Point Trail
- Cape Norman Lighthouse
- Cook’s Harbour
- Garge Coates’ Lookout
- Goose Cove East
- Pumbley Cove Trail
- St. Anthony
- Bottom Brook Trails
- Lamage Point
- Tea House Hill
- American Base Trail
- Daredevil Trail
- Cartier’s Trail
- Whale Watcher’s Trail
- Santana Trail
- Iceberg Alley Trail
- St. Anthony Bight
- St. Anthony Point Loop
- Silver Point Trail
- St. Carol’s
- John Patey Trail
- Great Brehat
- Flat Point Trail
- Little Brehat Walking Trail
- Triple Falls Trail (Route 430), 0.8 km
- Aurora Nordic Ski Club and Trails
- Burnt Cape Ecological Reserve
- Cannon Holes and Big Oven Hike
- Nuddick Trail
- Ship Cove
- Treena’s Trail
- Album Rock
- St. Lunaire-Griquet
- Gull Pond Municipal Park
- St. Brendan’s Trail
- Dog Head Trail
- Camel’s Back Trail
- L’anse aux Meadows
- Birchy Nuddick Trail
- Norstead Trail
- Lacey’s Trail
- Beginning of the Iceberg Trail
- Gunner’s Cove
- Aunt Bride’s Lookout
- Abandoned Community of Fortune (one entrance – 5.8 KM)
- Viking Ski Club and Trails
- Hay Cove
- Noddy Bay Head Trail
- Noddy Bay
- Squidjigging Point Trail
- Isle of Demons Trail (Quirpon Island)
- L’anse au Bauld
- Abandoned Community of Fortune via Cobbler; 8 km
- Quirpon Lookout Trail
- The Iceberg Trail (multi-day)
- International Appalachian Trail
If there is a trail I’ve missed, please let me know and I’ll make an update. The Great Northern Peninsula, north of Gros Morne National Park and the gateway to Labrador offers visitors and residents hundreds of kilometres of trails and very unique experiences. There is beauty around every corner and so much to experience and explore when on a nature walk, hiking trail or a look-out.
Live Rural NL –
Christopher Mitchelmore #NeverStopExploring