After you visit somewhere, you’re supposed to check it off of your bucket list. However, every once in a while you find somewhere with so much depth and so much to see that you feel that in order to truly experience it you have to spend at least a month there, seeing numerous sights and getting to know the people who call it home. That’s how I feel about Newfoundland.
To be honest, it’s a place that I knew very little about. But, everything that I did know said that the place was incredible. As a result, when the fall foliage was being stubborn (due to the drought and a warm fall), I rearranged what was supposed to be a Maine vacation to a trip to Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the results.
Arriving off of the ferry in Newfoundland, we were greeted to some of the island’s famous weather of 50km/hr winds, 4 deg. C temps, and rain squalls. However, the skies began to clear and the island soon revealed it’s glory. Autumn color had begun to arrive, turning the tundra like “barrens” red and the boreal forests a mix of bright colors. By the end of the week, bright blue skies abounded and an “Indian summer” was in full swing, helping to usher in even more brilliant autumn foliage.
To an American who’s never seen the island, the best way to describe it is to cross what Maine was in the 1950s with the scenery (and wilderness) of Alaska. Between the small fishing villages that dot the coast (and produce incredibly delicious seafood!) and the boreal/sub arctic landscapes, this land is a landscape photographer’s dream. However, there’s more: Newfoundlanders are a wonderfully friendly people with a distinct culture all their own. While most are proud Canadians, there is a strong sense of independence here, born out of the island’s isolation and the self sufficiency that it requires.
While we spent 5 days on the “rock”, most of it within the confines of the massive sized Gros Morne National Park, there is so much more to see. Everyday we were out from sunrise to sunset and only saw a small fraction of the island. And based upon that fraction, I can only imagine what the rest of the island looks like. For that reason, Newfoundland will remain on my bucket list. That and I want to come back and see the island in spring/summer when whales, wildflowers, and icebergs (melting off of glaciers in Greenland) abound!