Monday, July 27, 2015

The sunny south

[Posting for Sunday, July 26, 2015]
Frenchman’s Cove, NL – We’re on a new penin-sula tonight – the Burin – in a pine forest at Frenchman’s Cove Provincial Park. Once again we lucked out with an electrified site, after booking an unserviced one. Just as we drove up, an electrical site that can’t be reserved came free, so we got it. As my mother always says, better to be born lucky than to be born rich.
Our day started very early when the weather band on the radio let out a loud beep at 5:30 am and announced a weather warning for St John’s: “possibility of frost in low-lying areas”. We had some distance to cover, so the early wake-up call just got us going a bit earlier than planned.

We traveled southwest from the Trinity area back to the TransCanada Highway, turning south and eastward past Clarenville, and then onto Highway 210 onto the Burin Peninsula. The terrain was noticeably different, with wide grassy meadows dotted with ponds and only a few evergreens; quite a contrast to the mountains and dense forests we left behind. We fully expected to see caribou prancing through the fens, but I guess they were taking Sunday off.
After passing through one fishing village after another in the Bonavista area, this region felt quite remote, with few cars on the road and fewer towns. The sky was fairly overcast most of the way, with spitting rain in the earlier part of the day.

We had a dinner invitation at the home of Nancy and Morley, friends of Val’s brother John and his wife Fawn, whom they met in Florida. When they’re not being snowbirds, they live, oddly enough, in a town here called Winterland! John and Fawn introduced us via e-mail and that resulted in this kind invitation. On the phone, Nancy promised me there would be sunshine, after our many dull days.
We stopped briefly in Marystown to glean some information about the area at the visitor centre, and pick up some local maps. This large centre serves many of the communities further south on ‘the boot’, as this peninsula is sometimes called. Armed with fresh material, we managed to find the provincial park and our evening’s destination.

It was great getting acquainted and enjoying a delicious dinner with our new friends. And, as we sat looking out on their deck and lovely back yard, the promised sunshine came into view! After supper, Morley and Nancy took us to the Winterland Ecomuseum, where a boardwalk and walking path took us through forest and wetlands where migratory birds congregate and plants and flowers flourish. Built by members of the community, this park is a lovely resource for recreation, and also serves as an educational facility for school groups. By the time our hike ended, the evening shadows had crept in and a golden sliver of moon was peeking through the clouds.

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