See a short video on the L’Anse aux Meadow here.
This was the longest day! No regrets, but will emphasize that it was long!
We awoke at 6am and were on the road around 7am. I watched the moon set beyond the horizon and wondered if that was the full moon or if the one that will rise over the tree tops was more full. Either way it was a beautiful reward for an early morning.
The day’s trip would take us 350km up the Great Northern Peninsula/ Viking Trail and take approximately 4 hours. Plus, we planned a pitstop in Port au Choix, the mid-way point.
The drive after the park had some nice features and views. It was a nice day, but a little cloudier than the previous ones. This grey dullness seemed to add to the austerity of the scenery. Meanwhile, we were happy to have this over the storm called Earl that pounded Saint John’s.
Port au Choix is a little off highway 430. This was a little discouraging, but I’m glad we went as the coastal views of Port Saunders and Port au Choix are stunning and worth seeing. Mike saw someone butchering a moose on the side of the road. We decided to go the bakery, called The Bakery, to pick up some yummies for the day. First we went to the Port au Choix National Historic Site. It was very educational. The indigenous peoples of this land were strong to endure the rugged and a good place to stretch our legs. It turns out that we lucked out with The Bakery too, as it is only ever open on Saturdays! We picked up scones and got back on the road.
Most of the towns along the way are named after points or coves. My favourite names were Nameless Cove and Dark Tickle. There are tickles all over Newfoundland so I looked up the meaning. A tickle is a more exciting name for a cove. Another name for cove is l’anse.
Eventually we made it to L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site. The facility is so lovely! It was worth the drive. We walked over to the Viking Village, the first and only viking settlement in North America. We then hiked Birchy Nuddick trail that took us along the coast and then across the barrens that have remained much unchanged for at 1,000 years. See the short hike video here.https://youtu.be/vyECQWxFsuQ.
By the time we finished the hike, we were famished. We drove to The Dark Tickle Company & Café Nymphe, in Dark Tickle. The cafe is through the shop, to the left and up the stairs and its a gem of a place to eat. The ambience is warm and friendly and food delish. It was much needed and enjoyed. It was also at this point when I thought about finding a place to stay and head back tomorrow. However, that would just delay the inevitable and create a second day of long driving. It would also prevent us from doing our planned hikes of the Tablelands and the Lookout. If we had another day and were there in the spring, I think we would have stayed Dark Tickle or St. Anthony to watch icebergs. I kept my thoughts to myself and we left.
Somewhere along the way back, we stopped for gas. Mike went in to pay and learned that up until Friday, hunters could only use bows and arrows to get moose. Now that it was Saturday, hunters could use rifles, which meant we could see multiple people butchering their moose on the side of road. It is a different life for sure.
As we approached Parson’s Pond, I knew I didn’t want to drive back this way again the next day as it was in the opposite direction to where we were going, so I declared that despite being tired of the driving we were going to stop at The Arches Provincial Park to check it out. We lucked out. Tide was low and it was the golden hour for lighting.
Stopping at The Arches meant we would get back to our oTENTik after sunset, but it wouldn’t be dark. We watched sunset somewhere around Western Brook Pond and got home shortly after that. I slept like a rock that night.