Before we did that, we drove further into the park to see Ochre Hill, a walking trail that promised an excellent view from the lookout at the top. When we reached the end of the road and parked the car, we could see an observation tower that clearly would provide a commanding view. The daunting part was the hundred or so steps to get to the top – if indeed the public was allowed to do so; we didn’t hike over to find out.Instead, we took the path to the side that started out with some gentle steps before depositing us on the rocky pathway upward. That was when we spotted a pair of bright red Adirondack chairs, set on a promontory, just asking for us to take a front row seat. Having read some of the park literature, I knew these were part of a project throughout Newfoundland (and national parks across Canada) where people are invited to take pictures of themselves with the chairs and send them in. We happily snapped ourselves with the automatic setting on the camera, and then had a seat.
It was delightful to be still and gaze out on a panorama of trees, meadows, lakes, mountains and sky, with no other sound besides the whispering breeze through the ever-greens and the lone piping tune of a woodland bird. As we sat, the cloud cover thinned, allowing beams of sunlight to play over the scene below. I don’t know how long we sat there, with the entire place to ourselves, but it was a magical visit.With our lunchtime rendez-vous approaching, we headed north and out of the park, turning eastward toward the villages of Sandringham, Eastport, Sandy Cove and Happy Adventure. Bob welcomed us into his trailer for a chat, and then the three of us headed for the Happy Adventure Inn to taste its renowned fish and chips.
The hotel’s dining room windows provided a lovely view of the harbour below, where fishing boats were heading out to catch more of the fresh cod we were about to enjoy. The recreational cod fishing season has just opened, and for a limited time, so lots of people were out getting their allotted numbers while the getting was good.
Well-stuffed with our delicious feed, we headed out for a tour of the area with Bob as our guide. He’s been staying out here for years with his late wife Betty, so he knew all the twists and turns. We saw the beautiful beach at Sandy Cove, a soft arc of seaside dunes where kiddies build sand castles and older ones jump in the waves when the weather is hot – which it wasn’t today. We also saw the Eastport beach – and its more aggressive surf. Bob says the two venues usually have opposite swimming con-ditions, so if one is too rough, everyone goes to the other.It was a pleasure seeing this little corner of Newfoundland with one of its own. We could certainly see why so many people come here every summer.