Destination: Terra Nova National Park (Newfoundland)
We woke up to rain again. It takes a special kind of dedication to drag yourself out of a nice warm bed (albeit in the back of a tiny car in a noisy parking lot) and into the rain, knowing you have to remain outside in it while you’re transferring bin after bin to the space where your bed used to be.
But we managed. One thing I have to commend us for is that, so far, we’ve managed everything we’ve come across. A little rain was nothing new to us, not the worse we’d come up against, and if we just maintained that mentality, we’d make it through another rough moment and find ourselves in the driver’s and passenger’s seats before long yet again.
We drove to St. John’s to see the famous jellybean houses. I had a really hard time finding out exactly where we were supposed to be for this, but we just drove around at random, down tricky side streets and one-ways until we had seen so many adorable little houses, all stacked along steep hills, painted in beautiful bright, pastel, or saturated colours. It seemed like a really sweet, friendly place to live, with a very touristy downtown area. I wondered what it would be like in the winter, all those sharp turns and big hills.
From there, we drove to Cape Spear. I never knew before that day that I wanted to travel to each of the farthest corners of Canada, but after going to the easternmost point, I suddenly had the urge to put that on my travel list. Cape Spear was a truly epic moment on our journey.
Standing on that ruddy cliff overlooking a violent ocean, with the wind ripping at our coats and threatening to blur our vision entirely, I had a moment of complete devotion. I felt so connected to our sublime planet and her machinations, and my tiny but never insignificant position on her. I had been gifted with the experience of seeing a sliver of Canada, and to go from one end to the absolute tip of the other felt like a pilgrimage.
After spending our moments on the lookout, we decided to explore the lighthouse. This one was actually historical, and it was our favourite. We liked seeing the way homes were arranged back then, how the rooms were separate entities, each with a door because heating the entire house in winter would have been impossible. I felt a deep respect for the people who would have lived there, especially the women. So much work unwritten in our recorded history, so many unsung creators, lovers, fighters, silent sufferers.
The drive from Cape Spear to Terra Nova National Park was really rough. It rained heavily, filling deep divots in the road, which caused hydroplaning. We both took turns white-knuckling it on the way to the park. At one point while Christine was driving, we splashed so much water over the hood of the car that it overwhelmed the wipers and we lost visibility for a good couple seconds; and when you’re driving on a narrow highway with oncoming traffic, those seconds are very meaningful. When we could see again, we saw a transport truck oncoming. Any longer without being able to see, and it could have gotten bad for us. Christine handled the incident absolutely flawlessly, and I was, not for the first time, grateful for her driving skills. I may have complaints from time to time, but when she needs to be, she is very good.
We arrived at the park after 4pm, and the visitor centre was closed, but we made it to a park kiosk in time. We picked at spot at the Newman Sound campground and found a lovely spot. This park, similar to Gros Morne, was absolutely devoid of people now that it was September. There were only a couple people in the entire campground, and far enough away from us that we never noticed their presence except when we took our walk to the showers (which were a real upgrade compared to some of the other we’d experienced!).
Since the rain had stopped, we took our time setting up our tents and then reorganized our bins, including the increasingly disastrous souvenir bin. I spent a lot of time that day trying to recover photos that had been accidentally deleted from my phone. I had installed a cleaner app and it swept away a huge portion of my photos, and they were completely irretrievable. I was heartbroken, and indeed cried at the loss of the captures of so many incredibly unique moments.
I tried to find peace in the hope that I would never forget this trip, even without photos. And I tried to tell myself that it was a message from the universe to spend more time in the moment and less behind the screen of a camera. But it was a huge loss that I had to mourn, and I certainly did not get all that mourning done that day.
I took a long solo walk around the campground, trying to sort out my thoughts on the issue. I called a friend and vented to her as well, and she had the same belief as I did: that it had happened in order to remind me that the present is what matters most. Still, what a bitter pill.
When I got back to the site, Christine had finished all the organizing and put all the bins back into the car. She had also picked our hikes for the time we were at Terra Nova! I was thrilled about this. There were so many to choose from, and for most of the trip, I had been the one choosing the hikes – so to have her do it was a special treat and she made awesome choices.
We spent the evening making food and talking, and I kept at trying to recover my photos. We were expecting rain the next day, and we sent good thoughts to the universe to let us have a clear day on our last day in Newfoundland. The next night, we would be on the ferry back to the mainland.