Last week, the Pie and his parents and I decided to take a wee road trip out to the Salmonier Nature Park to visit the moose and see some eagles. What started out as a jaunt of about an hour or two in the sunny afternoon turned, however, into a seven-hour trek across the southern portion of the Avalon Peninsula. See, Salmonier Nature Park experienced some serious damage during Hurricane Leslie back in September and has been closed ever since, despite what the website says. We stopped off at Father Duffy’s Well, which is nearby, to stretch our legs and figure out what we wanted to do next.
While Mrs. Nice and I vegged out in the sunshine and appreciated the burgeoning flora, Papa John and the Pie examined the detailed visitors’ guide, which listed all the attractions on the Cape Shore drive, which takes you on a coastal route between St. Mary’s Bay and Placentia Bay, both on the southern side of the Avalon Peninsula.
So we decided to keep going, to see what we could see. While the Pie and I had driven the Irish Loop (which covers the peninsula containing the Avalon Wilderness Reserve), the Cape Shore was a new one to us. And what a landscape to encounter!
If you’re interested in fishing villages, rural architecture, climatology, ecology, geology, geography, biology, oceanography, or history, then I don’t know why you haven’t been to Newfoundland yet. And when you go, take a drive on the Cape Shore. It’s like going to Mars. The landscape alters between rocky barrens and verdant bogmarshes, both of which run right up to the edge of 300-metre cliffs falling straight down into the bright blue North Atlantic Ocean.
This area is known as the Eastern Hyper-oceanic Barrens ecoregion, which is one of the world’s most southerly expanses of sub-Arctic tundra. If you’re interested in that kind of stuff, you will know how fascinating that really is.
If you’re not that interested, just know that it means there are a lot of lichens.
And very few trees. And the trees that are there are very, very short. It’s like the Newfoundland answer to bonsai.
Eventually we ended up at a point where we hadn’t intended to go just yet: Cape St. Mary’s Ecological Reserve. If you like birds, or you like rocks, or you just want to see some place that is super dooper cool, then you should go there.
I won’t give you a huge educational lesson today (for that you can click on any one of the hyperlinks above), but I’ll let some of the photos speak for themselves.
The natural trail. Don’t fall off.
That’s a drop of several hundred metres.
Lots of lichens.
I’m a lichen liker.
The tundra and the shore.
And of course, the famous Bird Rock.
Totally worth the trip. Bring a hat!
More photos of the Reserve on my Flickr starting here.