Blog Archives

Critically Endangered Thrombolites a Must Visit in Flower’s Cove

Marjorie Bridge and the Critically Endangered “Thrombolites” are a must visit when in Flower’s Cove and touring the Great Northern Peninsula. This easy trek is about 2 KM return.

The Town has placed these living rocks on their new signage welcoming people into their community. There are also pull-offs highlight businesses and attractions. Road signs will direct you to the Marjorie Bridge and the Thrombolites Walking Trail. The area has a dedicated parking lot, waste baskets and seating areas if you need a rest.

The Town of Flower’s Cove is a service hub in the Straits region of Route 430 (Viking Trail) which is home to the regional health centre, K-12 school, personal care home, pharmacy, bank, cooperative, retail, youth centre, gas stations, recreation facilities and other services. The community is home to Flower’s Island Lighthouse, the 100 year old St. Barnabas (Sealskin Boot) Church, and a network of trails and other tourism attractions, such as the 600 million to 3.5 billion year old thrombolites. To see these ancient creatures, you have to cross the Marjorie Bridge.

Marjorie Bridge was a critical piece of infrastructure that was originally built over 100 years ago by Patrick and William Burke to enable passage through Flower’s Cove to have access to the other communities in the early days if travelling by horse, snowmobile or other transport before the highway was complete.

My mother grew up in the community of Flower’s Cove and as a little girl she talked about playing sometimes in this area and had no idea these bun-shaped rocks had a such significance or was considered critically endangered and some of the oldest primitive life forms on earth. To a young child these unique rock forms I’m sure made the perfect picnic area, as they still do today for some who wish to visit.

The pictures highlight the beauty of the coastline, the harbour, the community and nature. The Town operates an interpretation centre during summer at the red building, when students offering further information.

You will thoroughly enjoy this easy walking trail that is just 2 KM return. You can opt to take a shorter route to see the Thrombolites by parking at the Catholic Church parking area and walking to beach side if you need a shorter route. This tourism attraction is also frequently visited by locals, so feel free to engage in conversation and get to know more about what our Great Northern Peninsula has to offer.

You can also visit more trail offerings by reading the following post.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore

Sleeping Dragon Lives at Crow Head, Port Saunders, NL

Crow Head Walking Trail in Port Saunders is a 2.9 KM loop that gives you views of Keppel Island, a fascinating balancing rock, a sleeping dragon, windswept forests and so much more. A lovely trek on the Great Northern Peninsula. It’s even appreciated by the locals.

The Town of Port Saunders is the Government Service Centre for the central portion of the Great Northern Peninsula, with a host of Government offices, programs and services available to the public. It is also home to a very important and dominant fishing industry, which supports the small business community to create a very strong community. The Town has recently been focusing on diversifying to promote and establish more tourism assets, given they have Keppel Island and multiple walking trails. The Crow Head Walking trail is a natural beauty and one you will want to visit when in the area on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Take the Port Saunders and Port au Choix route off the Viking Trail (Route 430). The Town of Port Saunders is 4 KM drive and take a left and travel Main Street. As you drive Main Street the road will fork and you turn left and drive to the end of the road where there is a parking and signage to begin the trail. You will also catch your first glimpse of Keppel Island.

As a resident of the Great Northern Peninsula, I never tire of the adventure and pure beauty that exists all around my home. There are beautiful windswept forests, ocean views, flowers, berries, unique rocks and coastlines that just stimulate the mind and want you to keep coming back for a swim, a picnic, a boat ride, a beach fire or just to experience in all weather days and in different seasons. Another impressive feature on this trail is the “Balancing Rock”.

It is really interesting to see a rock of this stature that is just hanging on the edge of the cliffs. One would think with all the wind that a rock such as that would topple to the ground. It is definitely a nice addition when walking this trail. There are also viewing areas, and several stairs.

Keppel Island is also a unique opportunity and the Town of Port Saunders has made several attempts to sell it for private sector development to further create jobs in the local economy. I know one thing for sure, I’m looking forward to future visits.

Get out and explore more of our Great Northern Peninsula. Crow Head Walking trail and that Sleeping Dragon is a must visit as part of your destination.

You can also visit more trail offerings by reading the following post.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore

A Quest to Find St. Brendan’s Rock

St. Lunaire-Griquet is the Gateway to Vinland, as you pass through this picturesque town on Route 436 heading to L’anse aux Meadows for your Viking World UNESCO Heritage site destination. However, this town also has a great network of walking trails and further a mystery, known by locals as “St. Brendan’s” Rock.

This mysterious rock, was discovered by locals who saw an unusual jumble of straight line carvings and no claim by anyone for making them. People believe that these markings date back to St. Brendan, the Irish explorer of the 9th century who set out for the Isle of the Blessed. Although, there has been no evidence to actually prove this inscription was made by St. Brendan, it was made by someone and it does peak the interest to find out who made it and when? It certainly peaked my curiosity to travel to Dog Head via St. Brendan’s Trail.

The Trail Head begins at the playground area near the Daily Catch Restaurant, where you can take the road up the hill, which is known as St. Brendan’s trail and will take about 1/2 hour return. The trail to St. Brendan’s Rock though is via Dog Head, so at the top of the trail you must take the pathway to the right before the viewing area. The trail return is more than a 7 KM journey return.

The Dog Head Peninsula has spectacular scenery, where we had the opportunity to view whales. Earlier in the summer season this would also be a great place for iceberg viewing. The vast nature of trees, flowers, berries, beaches and coastline make for a formidable hike. The trail is part of the multi-day Iceberg Trail but it does require better directional markings and some improvement to trail paths to reduce getting wet feet or walking through mud.

I thoroughly enjoyed making this hike to the uniquely shaped peninsula that resembles a sleeping dog, the photos speak for themselves. Although, I was disappointed to have not found the boulder with the mysterious carvings. If one did not know exactly where it was, I doubt they would even find it. I asked many locals about the location of this mysterious rock, and was pointed to a couple of names. Although, I didn’t find this uniquely carved rock in 2020, I hope this year will be a different story.

There are so many interesting trails and mysteries that surround the Great Northern Peninsula. One only has to consider the French Graffiti of Album Rock in Ship Cove by photographer Moit in the 1850s or the French carvings in the rocks by sailors on the Epine Cordoret Trail in Croque Harbour. I’ll write about both in a future posting.

Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore

Hiking Adventures to Conche’s Glass Hole

Conche is at the heart of the French Shore and is home to a robust fishing community and a developing tourism industry that remains steadfast in promoting the region’s French connection. The Town’s sign says Welcome to Conche with the tag line, The Beauty Spot of the North. Beauty surrounds this community from the look-out at Sailor Jack’s Hill, the coastline of Crouse, from Sleepy Cove to the Stages, Fox Head, the waterfront, to one of the most impressive hiking experiences on the Great Northern Peninsula, known as the Glass Hole.

I’ve been to Conche so many times, but never ventured to the Glass Hole trail until this past summer. A 4 to 4.5 KM hike along the top of the cliffs of Conche, which takes you to a cavern in the heights of the cliffs. At the very bottom you are at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. One can begin the journey by parking at the World War II plane crash memorial site. The first few hundred metres are a little steep until you get to Conche lookout. You will want to climb to the top and get views of Conche, but also the Grey Islands off in the distance. There is also a variety of wild flowers to enjoy as you trek.

Rating: Moderate Trail

Conche is currently not connected by cellular coverage, but that will change with a recent announcement that will bring the service to the community through a partnership with the Government of NL, Town of Conche and Bell Mobility. This will certainly make taking a hiking adventure that much safer and also allow you to use your Instagram or other social media to instantly share this remarkable beauty with the rest of the world. In the meantime plan your hiking adventures accordingly. I’ve had the great pleasure to work with residents of Conche to see much development, including the paving of Route 434. This improved access will help increase tour bus and visitor traffic into the community and the region. Conche and the entire Great Northern Peninsula East is poised to see more people visiting the region in the near future. This presents business opportunities for current and future operators to add services and experiences.

A walk through the paths in the forests, the views along the headlands, the beaches are just remarkable. You have the opportunity to bird watch, whale watch or see icebergs (in season) and truly enjoy nature. The trail could use some additional signage to highlight the distance and ensure you don’t stop short of actually experience what is the glass hole. There is a rope in which you have to take to scale down the incline to meet the North Atlantic ocean.

This is a must see destination trail when visiting the Great Northern Peninsula! Your hiking adventure to the Glass Hole in 2021 awaits! Start planning for your unique French Shore experience today.

Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore

St. Barbe is your Gateway to the Great Northern Peninsula and Labrador

St. Barbe-Pigeon Cove on the Great Northern Peninsula is the year-round port for the MV Qajaq W, which crosses the Strait of Belle Isle in 1 hour and 45 minutes to land in Blanc Sablon, Quebec, just a few kilometres south of the Labrador border. For Ferry Information click here.

The opening and significant investment of paving in the Trans-Labrador highway, as well as a World UNESCO designation for Red Bay Basque Site has increased visitor traffic to Labrador. In 2019, the former MV Apollo was replaced with an enhanced vessel with 12 year $144 million contract to improve service. The work continues to see further upgrades of local infrastructure.

A number of tour companies see Gros Morne National Park and Tablelands World UNESCO site and L’anse aux Meadows World UNESCO Heritage site as the perfect itinerary, with the inclusion of UNESCO at Red Bay, Labrador. The community of St. Barbe offers accommodations, food services, gas station, retail and is a hub of recreation activity.

While visiting this community or waiting for your ferry commute, I encourage you to take a walk on the beautiful trails. The St. Barbe-Pigeon Cove Walking trail is part of an inter-connected system that can take you as far as Forrester’s Point in a linear trail. It is more than 10 kilometres to complete the full system on a return journey.

This portion of the trail begins at the St. Barbe RV park, which is across from the Ferry Terminal. You can follow the fence to the forest and follow a crushed stone pathway that will take you to the waterfront area of Pigeon Cove in just a short kilometre.

I had the pleasure of taking this trail during the summer, but also recently in January, which offered another unique perspective as freezing was beginning in the harbour.

The St. Barbe RV park has been since upgraded with new red siding and will be ready for your business this coming season. There are many important amenities and offerings for the visitor, commuter or resident in St. Barbe-Pigeon Cove. When visiting the Great Northern Peninsula, this is gateway you will not want to miss.

Learn more about the Great Northern Peninsula’s trails by clicking here.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore

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