Purpose of travel

  1. Staying my friend’s home in Toronto, and seeing Niagara
  2. Going to some wild place. Algonquin N.P. was a candidate, but I decided to go Newfoundland.
  3. Going to St. Johns, which is the city of the east end of Newfoundland and the oldest town in North America.

Summary

  • Schedule:August 26, 1997 – September 6, 1997
  • Air ticket: Canadian AirlinesNarita-Toronto-(X)Halifax-Deerlake-St.Johns-(X)Halifax-(X)Vancouver-Narita 165,000Yen+TAX 2900Yen (IT Tour Center)(cf: If using NW) round trip ticket to Halifax was 113,000Yen + TAX 13,700Yen. More Tax needed because 2 round trips between USA and CANADA. From Halifax to Deerlake, C$298 by Air Canada. If I go to St. Johns, it’s more expensive. In this case, Coupons for 3 flights are cheaper (C$623 by CP, AC has the same coupons). I wanted to go to St. Johns, I don’t want to go to the USA, and I like CP than NW, so I bought an air ticket by CP.
  • Rent a carHertz ( C$47.95/day + LDW C$10.00/day )* 4 days + 132km*15¢= C$289.34
    132km is distance for extra charge. I drove 532km and 100km/day*4days was included.
  • Accommodation
    • Toronto3 nights at my friends home, near Toronto Univ., center of the downtown. 30rd floor of 30 story building. very good view
    • Rocky Harbor (Gros Morn N.P)4 nights at Ocean Acre Inn B&B C$40/day I booked at visitor Center of N.P.
    • St. Johns3 nights at ABBA Inn C$55/day. I found it on a WEB page below. I booked by E-mail. I booked Gower Street House, but they changed ABBA Inn, its owner is the same. Both B&B has only 5 rooms each.
  • Reference Links

Deerlake Airport

I got off from a tiny prop plane, there was a tiny airport. How tiny? It’s as tiny as Ouarzazate airport, or Ishigaki-Jima airport, Okinawa. Most of all planes arriving and departing at this airport were tiny prop planes for about 25 passengers.

I got off the plane and walked into a building, there were four little booths of rent-a-car. In a Hertz booth, the blond lady seemed to have time to kill.

Four days after, when I checked in at the airport, the same lady was there seemed to have time to kill. After checking in, I had much time until boarding. While I was reading a book, I caught her eyes, she was yawning, we smiled. After that, she was chatting with persons from other companies to kill her time.

Outside of the building, 3 ground staff played Frisbee. There were many people in a waiting area, half of them seemed to come to meet their family returned from big cities. There were announce of delay in a flight from Toronto, they said Oh!, Ah!, or something.

Deerlake Airport was such kind of airport.

To Gros Morne N.P.

Following an instruction I got at the airport, I drove a car. I asked her for a map, but she didn’t have a map. I confirmed a sign, “Rocky Harbor 67 KM”. But I took it the wrong way.

There were few guidance signs. I found I had taken a Canada Highway #1 after I drove 30km from the airport, it’s not the right way to Gros Morne. I had to take #430.

I returned to the airport, and I started from the airport again. I found an entrance to #430, just after driving #1 a few hundred meters.

I cooled down and had been driving to Gros Morne on away $430. It’s a stupid thing that I would have an accident due to such kind of failure. I was alone. I had to be cool. I planned to travel with my friend but he canceled just before I left Toronto. Anyway, I arrived at a Visitor Center.

It’s a Visitor Center, but it’s like a parking lot on a Highway. There was only a small cabin to buy an entrance ticket to National Park. If you don’t know it, you would pass it away. If you do so, it’s no problem.

At the Visitor Center, I bought 4 days pass (C$9.75). I was asked whether I booked accommodation, I said No. She said to me that I should have booked accommodation here, because it may be full.

“Do you have a Travel Guide? If you have, there is a list on pages 59 and 60, …”
“Travel Guide? I had a guidebook, but page 59? what do you mean?”

She showed me a 208 pages guidebook, “500th Anniversary Travel Guide 1997 NEWFOUNDLAND & LABRADOR”. “Travel Guide” means this book around there. It’s the 500th year after Newfoundland was discovered in 1497. On a list of hotels at Rocky Harbor, on this book page 59, I found a one B& B, I checked before and it was also on a Lonely Planet, I asked her to book. It’s OK. She taught me how to go to the B& B. I got “Travel Guide” and “A Users’ Guide to Gros Morne”. I drove a car toward Rocky Harbor.

Ocean Acre Inn & Pan-fried Cod, etc.

I booked Ocean Acre Inn, it’s a B& B, C$40 / night. There were six rooms and three shared bathrooms. It’s clean and very nice. The owner was David, who was a cheerful and kind guy.

Ocean Acre Inn

Ocean Acre Inn

I asked him where restaurants and a supermarket were. There was a restaurant in the biggest hotel in the town, and one more high-class restaurant (David said big dinner! around C$15). Most popular and crowded with people was Fisherman’s Landing. For a light meal, Jackie’s was recommended. There was a convenience store near there.

It’s just 7 PM, I went to Fisherman’s Landing to have dinner. Newfoundland was famous for cod fishing, so I ordered a cod. They had Pan-fried, Deep-fried, and Batter Cod. I ordered Batter. Batter Cod was not Butter Cod, but a mixture of flour, eggs, and milk. Cod, beans soup, coffee and tips took C$16.

Back to the hotel and I said, “I had a cod at Fisherman’s Landing”. David said, “It’s good. What did you have? Pan-fried? Deep-fried? Batter? Oh! Batter is not good. Pan-fried is the best. You can have a good pan-fried at Jackie’s. You must say Pan-fried next time”.

Ummm, next time, it’s pan-fried.

Regarding fish, we talked globe-fish. David said, “Yesterday, I talked to my guests, in Japan, you eat a fish which has poison”. I wanted something, but I didn’t know the English word, ‘globe-fish’ at that time, so I said, “I don’t know what I say for that fish. It’s Fu-Gu.” David said, “License is needed to cook. It takes three years to get a license.” He knew well because he read this topic on Time magazine.

I can’t explain Japanese daily life well in English, it’s frustrating. In Japanese, it’s a very simple word, but I don’t know it in English. Sometimes I don’t have exact knowledge about it.

Shakespeare

At the hotel, there was a dog named ‘Shakespeare’. He always wore a nice scarf. Even I called him, “Shakespeare”, he turned around. He was trained well. David said to him, “Stay!”, he didn’t move. When I took a picture of him, he posed with tilting his head. He was smart.

Shakespeare

Shakespeare

When I went to St. John’s. I saw a Newfoundland dog. It has long hair, big body. It seemed to like sleeping rather than running.

Newfoundland dog

Newfoundland dog


Why Newfoundland?

I stayed four nights, but other guests stayed shorter. They might move to other places in the park. They were Canadian, an Aged couple of American, two couples of German, one was young, the other was aged. I met German travelers anytime, anywhere in the world. There was a young tall guy.

At breakfast, guests and David were talking about various topics. David asked them, “What breakfast do you eat in Germany?”, but the young lady said, “I didn’t have…..”. Other guests also have only bread and coffee. David asked me, “How about Japan?”. I said that it’s almost the same as this. ‘This’ means bread, coffee, eggs, and sausages. He asked, “Don’t you have fish?”, so I said, “Some people like to have fish and miso soup.” How did he know Japanese breakfast?

Regarding breakfast, at the hotel, I had sausages with maple syrup. I saw it on a Japanese TV program. It’s better than I expected. After I back to Japan, I put maple syrup on sausages. On a table at breakfast, there three kinds of Jam, it’s strawberry, partridge, and bake-apple. Bake-apple was not a baked apple, but a ‘bake-apple’. it is also known as Cloudberry, but it tastes like a baked apple. Bake-apple and partridge were very popular here. I saw them at a souvenir shop. The guests also know it.

I asked very often, “Why did you come to Newfoundland?”. I said, “I have a friend in Toronto. I stayed there. I looked for a place where I can relax in nature, and I came here”. For Americans and Canadians, It’s surprising that it takes 12 hours from Tokyo to Toronto”. I said, “I go back to Japan from St. John’s via Halifax, Vancouver, to Tokyo. I don’t know how long does it take”. So, they seemed to be shocked.

Western Brook pond Boat Tour

Western Brook Pond is a fjord, that is “a long, narrow inlet with steep sides, created in a valley carved by glacial activity”. The tour boat goes this fjord to the end. It is 16 km and takes 2 hours and a half for a round trip. It charged C$27.

You can buy a ticket at the biggest hotel in Rocky Harbor. But you have to go to Western Brook Pond by yourself. You have to walk 3km from a parking lot on the highway. The guidebook said it’s a popular tour, you should book at least one day before. It’s cloudy. I wondered how many tourists joined, but I was surprised at many tourists coming there. It was one of the most popular places in Gros Morne, there were aged tourists who were hard to climb mountains.

soaked

I was soaked

It’s a calm inlet that has no waves, and the boat doesn’t swing. But when the boat speeded up, I got splashes. Some passengers were soaked. I had a poncho I got when I was on a boat, ‘Maid of the Mist’ at Niagara. I wore the poncho, and Old lady next to me said, “Oh! Niagara”. Both sides of the inlet were great. I saw it for a long time and I had a pain in my neck. A guidebook said that the highest point is higher than the CN tower (533m), but I couldn’t find the highest point. (The highest point is around 700m high)


Killing time on a rainy day

After the tour, on a way to the hotel, it began to rain and keep raining on that day.

There was a visitor center 5km away from Rocky Harbor. It has materials, exhibitions, books, and souvenirs. You can watch a short video program. It’s good to kill a time. There was a board which shows weather forecast until the day after tomorrow, it would be bad weather tomorrow.

I went to a laundromat. For wash and dry, it cost eight quarters, and 55¢ for detergent. it’s good to wait for drying clothes with reading a book on a rainy day.

After that, more reading a book in the bed, and sleeping…

Lighthouse

The next day, it was raining. I walked around near the hotel. At 3km away from the hotel, there was a cape called Lobster-Cove Head, and a lighthouse there. I heard it’s fine from one of the guests, I went there. The rain just stopped. It was strong wind near the lighthouse. Only during the Summer, you can enter the lighthouse. Inside the lighthouse, there were pictures that described the history around this area. I was interested in them which described the first people who had come here a long time ago, and pictures of Lobster hunting.

Lighthouse

Lighthouse


Berry Hill

In the afternoon, the rain stopped completely. I went to Berry Hill hiking course, it took 1 hour, 1.5km long, for going up and down of small hill.

I found a description on A Users’ Guide to Gros Morne that Berry Hill was an island because the sea level was high at the end of the glacial age.

View from top of Berry Hill

View from the top of Berry Hill


Gros Morne Mountain

Day 3. The sun came back. David said with a smile, “You have been staying here 2 days, and it’s the first time to see the sun”. Yes, good, good.

At breakfast, we talked about Mt. Gros Morne. First, we talked if you can go to only one place in the park, where was the best. David was thinking for a while and he recommended climbing Mt. Gros Morne if it’s a fine day. It seemed to be a wonderful view, but the guidebook said, trekking route to the Mt. Gros Morne was 16 km Return, 7-8 hours, rating between Strenuous and Very Strenuous, so I almost gave it up.

The rating means a hardness of trekking. There were four ratings, Easy, Moderate, Strenuous, Very Strenuous. Berry Hill was between Easy and Moderate. Western Brook Pond was also between easy and Moderate.

When David had climbed there with his sisters, it’s 6 hours that they had lunch at the top, took a rest a few times. It seemed it was not so hard. I asked him, “I don’t go mountains, no experience, it’s OK?” He said OK. He recommended much. So I wanted to go, if I started at 9 AM and took 8 hours to return, it’s still 5 PM, it’s still before sunset. OK. Let’s go.

I bought a sandwich for lunch, potato chips, and water, and went to a parking lot at the start point of Mt. Gros Morne trekking route. It’s 9:20 AM that I started. I said to myself, “Don’t haste, slow, slow”, and walked slowly. An aged couple walked at the same pace as me, and a young guy walked at incredible speed. Hmm, there were various people in the world. I arrived at a base, it took one hour.

Mt. Gros Morne’s figure resembles Ayres Rock, Australia. It’s a rock mountain, few green. There was the base at a point to climb the rocky part of the mountain. The base has a small bench, route guidance, and notice plate. Most climbers took a rest here.

Mt. Gros Morne

Mt. Gros Morne

A View from the base was very wonderful. When I took a rest here on a way back, an aged couple was seeing the view. I asked, “Will you climb from now?”, they said, “No, our goal is here”. Everyone has their own way of having fun.

Until the base, it’s a normal trekking course. After the base, it’s hard. A route was almost straight to the top. It’s a sharp ascent, an angle was about 40 degrees. There were many rocks on the route. I had to use my hands to climb.

I wore old tennis shoes, and I had a pain. I saw downward, the base was far away. From here, it’s easier to climb up than climb down. Suddenly, I reached a flat plain. It’s 11:20 AM, 1 hour from the base. I walked 20 minutes on the flat plain, and I found a signpost at the top of the mountain. I walked toward the backside of the top.

A view from the backside of the top was very wonderful. I forgot all my pain to climb. There was a long and thin lake, its surface was deep blue, it’s like a mirror. Over the lake, the opposite side was a cliff, it’s eroded. I could see eroded terraces far away.

Backside of the top of Gros Morne

Lake at the backside of Mt. Gros Morne

Gros Morne N.P. is called “Galapagos of Geology”, and its terrain is very interesting. I don’t know geology, I just enjoy the view. From the top of the Gros Morne, you can see what terrain Gros Morne N.P. has.

I had lunch and went down to rest at the viewpoint. Eventually, it’s 15:30 PM. It’s just six hours of trekking.


St. John’s

St. John’s is the biggest city in Newfoundland, but it has old-fashioned tastes. It’s the oldest city in North America.

St. John's

St. John’s

On a way to a harbor, which Seeing puffins colony tour boat would leave, there was a big pond that provided water to St. John’s. I asked its name to a woman who took tourists to the harbor, she said, “Big pond”. There was another long and thin pond, it’s named “Long pond”. There was one more pond, named “Middle Pond”. Regarding the name of the pond, the pond at the backside of Mt. Gros Morne was “Ten-mile pond”.


Puffin colony tour

I joined a puffin colony tour (C$28 + C$13 for a round trip between downtown to a harbor). You can see puffin on a guidebook or WEB pages, it’s famous birds. Puffins are not good at flying. It’s OK to fly from a nest at a slope of a colony to the sea, but it’s very hard to fly from the sea. They are running on the surface of the water for a long time and taking off. If the boat goes close to them, they try to run away, but it’s no time, then they dive into the sea.

The tour guide was a young guy. The boat left a port, and he explained the views around and the tour schedule.

And then he talked about puffins, “…., so, most people don’t know the exact size of puffins. What size of puffins do you think?”

Sure. What size of puffins?

One lady said, “same as a seagull?”, the guide was smiling.

“The size of puffins is ten feet. Can you guess six puffins in a room?”

Sure. It’s terrific to guess.

“…… It’s not true. True size is from eight inches to ten inches. It’s smaller than seagulls”

The puffins were very small, I couldn’t take pictures with an 80 mm lens. The boat was closing on an island that was a colony of puffins. I found a group of small birds, it’s a puffin. There were many puffins on the sea. The boat was closing more on the island. Enormous numbers of puffins had their nests on a slope of the island. Puffins go to the sea and return. Around the boat, there were many puffins.

There were some seagulls on the island. “They catch and eat puffins”, the guide said, then one seagull caught a puffin on a sea, and carry it on a flat rock. The seagull ate it.

* * *

My return flight was at 6:20 in the morning from St.John’s. It’s a storm. I couldn’t sleep without worrying about it. I watched the weather news on TV. I left the hotel at 5 AM for the airport.

The plane took off in safety. Via Halifax, Ottawa arrived at Vancouver. It’s still half of the way. From Vancouver, I went back to Japan with many Japanese. I reached my home just 26 hours after I left the hotel at St. John’s. It’s hard to back from another side of the earth.

 

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