The Viking Trail and Southern Labrador
Trip Start Sep 01, 2005
1Trip End Sep 15, 2005
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This purpose of this trip was to attend my brother's wedding in St Anthony. The furthest north and west in Newfoundland I had been before was to Gros Morne, so I was looking forward to seeing this part of the Rock.
My plan was to visit St Anthony followed by Southern Labrador and Gros Morne before flying back to Ottawa.
While planning my trip I came upon the factoid that the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland has the highest concentration of Moose in Newfoundland. Considering that the Newfoundland moose population (being only 100 years old since their introduction in early 1900's) is extremely large, this trip should provide lots of moose sightings.
Upon arrival in Deer Lake where I pick up my rental car I am asked by the rental agent if I want additional collision insurance as I was driving in major moose country. I cautiously declined...Hopefully this was not a sign of things to come!
I head up the Viking Trail (the route to St Anthony from Deer Lake) and encounter the following warning sign that reads something like:
Number Moose Collisions 2005 - 54
Luckily the statistic "Number of Deaths" was not posted (eventhough there was a line for it on the sign!)
Reading this made me both excited and worried at the same time. I was really excited about the high probability of a moose sighting but I was also in a rental car and worried about the high probability of a moose sighting.
Four hours later I reach the outskirts of St Anthony without nar a moose sighting. I was both relieved (rental car) and disappointed (no photo ops). Nevertheless, I was here in Moose Country and they would be soon popping out to say hello.
After I settle in at the B&B and greet my family members. While walking around the B&B I notice a picture of a White Moose on the wall. An Albino moose you say...yes indeed. I ask around and indeed there is a white moose in the area.
I then head into town. All is going well until I hit........
..no not a moose....thank goodness......
a wall of thick, pea soup fog. As I descend down a little rise in the road I am immediately engulfed by a thick blanket of fog. I slowly drive to the end point of St Anthony at Fisherman's Point. The situation is no better there as I barely make out the Lighthouse that is bleeting out fog horn sounds every 30 seconds.
There is a bbq that evening with my family and the in-laws to be. All is going well until a thrashing noise in the woods is heard..... Yes, its a Moose! It is a bit dark but it is indeed a moose and Mr Moose decides to join the party as he hangs around for the next hour watching everyone eat and drink.
OK, After day 01, the number of moose sightings = one, albeit in the darkness!
The fog persists on the second day in St Anthony. However, as I drive to Lanse Aux Meadows with my sister and neice the fog disappears and the drive to the 1000 year old Viking site is clear. As we drive along I catch out of the corner of my eye in the pond, not one but two moose. They are far away but I see them (with sister and neice as witness). Moose count = 3. I feel like a fighter pilot from WWII, I feel like I should be posting stickers of each sighted moose on my car as I see them....
We tour around Lanse Aux Meadows and visit the viking site. It is amazing that Leif Ericsson was here centuries before John Cabot and Columbus. Wow, to imagine 'Skol' was said on NF over a thousand years ago!
A number of viking huts and replica boats and weapons have been recreated and are on display.
St Anthony is the main town in this neck of Newfoundland and it is right up on the top of the island next to Labrador. They say the winters are pretty fierce here. I remember a couple winters back when there was soo much snow, it went up to the tops of some houses.
The fog has finally gone and lo and behold there are actually buildings here!
I get an up close encounter with Moose on the day of the wedding. I walk out the front door and look in the bog behing the B&B and see this huge Bull Moose walking along. I gaze for 2 minutes then run in to get the camera. On my return the moose is nowhere to be seen. Moose count = 4.
That was later topped while driving to the ceremony (in suit and tie) when I pass a moose on the shoulder of the road. I whip out the camera and get the following pic. Moose count = 5.
On the day I am to leave for Labrador, my brother arrives (around 7am) and states he just saw 7 moose while driving the last 10 minutes. Despite a lack of caffine at this hour, I jump to action and leap into my car and head down the road, then another, another, and another. Total number of moose sighted. Zero. Final moose count = 5.