This morning, I headed slightly north from my hotel into Terra Nova park. I kept a lookout for any moose or bears, but still none to be seen. I decided to walk a few smaller trails rather than one big one. My first stop was the Campground trail. A 3km trail that was along a river and some ponds. The wildlife was uber active and the whole trail was filled with sounds of birds, squirrels and other animals. I was amazed by the work of the beavers and kept stopping to excitedly examine the trees they had felled. A newfound respect and interest in an animal that I was fairly indifferent towards before.
Sandy Pond. Another 3km trail following a boardwalk around a pond and bog. Great view of the pond as the sun came out, but other than that, it had much less to offer than the Campground trail after the excitement of the Beavers! There was also a sign saying how much mosquitos and black flies enjoy the trail, so I didn’t want to hang around. I am every mosquitos best friend.
Ochre Hill. Again, around 3km, this time a little more foresty. A good brisk trail to walk. I saw some moose poo. I left the trail after doing the short loop and drove to the top of the hill to see the watch tower. It is an old watch tower 200m above sea level and offered incredible views over Terra Nova. Yes, it sways in the wind. There were two park rangers climbing ahead of me, so I got to go right to the top with the promise of help if my legs turned to jelly!! I am okay with heights if I feel stable – steps with holes and no back do not make me feel stable, but I was okay. At the top of the tower, I chatted to Starlan and Dave who work in the park. They were super friendly and, when I told of my woes around not seeing a moose up close or a bear, they took me off to have a drive around the park where both animals had been sighted earlier. I also got some fun facts about Newfoundland. They call the bonnet of a car, a bonnet like we do, not a hood as other Canadians do. They got their own flag in 1980 – the blue representing the sea, the white is the snow and ice, the red is the struggle of newfies and the gold is the confidence they have in themselves and their future. The blue triangles are a tribute to the Union Jack and represent their British heritage. We didn’t find any moose or bears, but it was a fun afternoon chatting and seeing the park. Dave sounded more Westcountry than most I spoke with here – he knew where it was and wants to visit Devon and Dorset – I am an immediate fan if someone can identify places in England other than London. He said “I knows” and “b’y”. Starlan said “I don’t know where I’m too”. I love the Newfie dialect. They were proud to have it and said they try to encourage young people to stay proud of the strong accents and colloquialisms.
We went to the tourist information centre and I saw the bones of a whale that they are in the process of pulling out of the sea. I held starfish and crabs and touched some of the random sea animals in the touch tank which was pretty cool.
I had my picture taken with Dave. He is somewhat of a local celebrity in the park. In fact Starlan had a fan tshirt on underneath her park ranger jacket. He does some theatre sketches and has some great comedy songs on YouTube as the character Clayton. He reminded me a bit of the Wurzels.
I drove back from the park in good spirits and headed for the prison.