We ended our journey from Pleasant Bay here in a little paradise
As anyone who has hiked or biked all day knows, food tastes so amazing when you've really worked for it. We settled in to the youth hostel and were delighted to find that Dawn, the manager of the hostel, had planted a small kitchen garden and encouraged us to snip and clip herbs and chives to add to our meal, which was greatly appreciated. Nancy is an experienced backpacker and good at thinking through meals on the road. They are always yummy while not requiring too much effort or extraneous ingredients. We enjoyed a couple of amazing curry dinners.
Close up view of a lobster crew from our whale watching trip out of Pleasant Bay
Looking back at the highlands from an ocean view
A somewhat harried whale watcher
I'm glad we did. That evening we joined a small band of fellow hostelers who were enjoying wine around a beach campfire as the sun went down over the gulf. It was a memorable evening of camaraderie and good stories from folks from many parts of the world. The sunset was brilliant and didn't even touch the horizon until after 9:00pm.
Meeting fellow cycling tourists John and Kim, who we would cross paths with a number of times
We were pleased to see two fellow bicycle tourers had checked into the hostel and the next morning we were all getting ready to set out at about the same time. Although we didn't formally plan to travel together, we were pretty sure we'd see them again along the trail, and we did.
A traditional crofters hut at the base of North Mountain
Climbing North Mountain
Nearing the top of North Mountain. Each of the highland climbs we did were nearly the
same elevation; somewhere right around 450 meters each
Taking a break before we descend down towards Cape North
An antique backpack frame, made in Providence, RI. I'd like to make one of these someday
Cruising along Aspe Bay on our way to Bay St. Lawrence
Looking down into Bay St. Lawrence. Getting there required crossing a small pass, allowing great views as we came into town. There is a beautiful inlet that the town looks upon while the mighty Gulf of St. Lawrence opens beyond
The barefoot-friendly Jumping Mouse eco-campground is a treasure. In many places, this is where the 5-star seaside resort would be located, but not here. The setting was thus: broad ocean at our feet, a short slope of grass rising to our beautiful little camp spot and looming highlands behind. We chatted for a bit with the proprietor and it was clear her sense of values were in line with ours. Cyclists even receive a discount.
Cloud cover over the mountains behind us
Our campsite looked down upon the Gulf
The view looking back behind us
As we neared the commercial fishing dock we happened upon two vessels unloading their catch under the watchful eye of the Canadian government. As each fish --halibut, in this case-- was lifted from the hold, a uniformed government inspector would look at the length of the fish and give an affirmative nod if the fish met the necessary size/weight requirement and then a workman would cut off the head. From there, it was swung on the lift over to buyer who would inspect it, give it his own nod, and then an assistant would record the weight. From there it was lifted into a tub and packed with ice. Again and again this inspection was repeated in the chilly breeze as the last rays of sun set over the scene. Nearby a Bald Eagle kept watch for food as a seal played at the foot of the pier in the cold, wind churned waves. The impressions of this scene stayed with us: the ritual of unloading the catch, the closeness of both the sea and the high mountains and the intimacy of wildlife so close by, as though humanity had not yet fully possessed this remote and beautiful place.
The view along the coast
The scene of fishermen unloading their catch as the government inspector inspects
and the company buyer buys
Walking back to our campsite
Sunset over the Gulf
I have long been intrigued by tales of travel, polar exploration in particular, but really any journey that involves a sense of remove from the safe and familiar.
On the other hand, our stay in the village of Bay St. Lawrence offered just a bit of that big-world sense of our place on this little planet. I felt far away.
The shower/check-in building at the Jumping Mouse Campground
Leaving for our next day's travel.
We bid farewell to this lovely spot the next morning as we rolled down the dirt road toward the final phase of our trip.