Among the many surprises we discovered on our trip to Newfoundland in mid-summer (July into August) was that despite being the height of tourist season, we were often alone on Easy Walks we found right along the coast. This was the case when we ventured onto Danny’s trail in West Port au Port. We parked at a beach area along what is known as The Gravels ( a causeway linking Port au Port East to Port au Port West). This area (which includes Danny’s trail) has multiple additional trails we did not make time to explore.
Danny’s trail, a wide, packed, mostly level gravel path along limestone cliffs was a perfect Easy Walk that offered mountain views across the water. We met few others on the trail, and those we did see soon moved past us, leaving us once more alone to enjoy the wonders all about us. The rocks below had the feel of huge sculptures. Crafted by no human hands, these spectacular formations were sculpted into the limestone over the years by wind and waves.
What photographers call the Golden Hour approached while we were on the trail. The nearly setting sun cast a warm light on the shoreline path and rocks.
From where we parked next to the beach on the causeway, we noticed a pond across the road. On the far side of the pond was yet another beach, with cars in sight. A packed dirt road from the main highway follows the edge of the pond all the way over to this other beach. We thought we might return to explore more but in the end there were too many other choices so we contented ourselves by watching the pintail ducks and their ducklings paddling about in the brackish water.
Heading west from Danny’s trail we explored in the same general area the Boute du Cap provincial park. There we found yet another Easy Walk that I was able to enjoy. These stunning cliffs offered allowed us to see miles out to sea. This and other areas like it are good whale-watching spots, if you are lucky. The day we visited the whales did no cooperate. Other days we found much more cooperative mammels.
We ran out of time to walk the Boute du Cap Bread Crumb trail (which also looked quite navigable to me). Instead, while there, we chose to seek out the colony of kittiwakes, pelagic birds that spend most of their lives at sea except to breed. These nesting birds sailed past merely feet away from us as we stood on the cliff’s edge. Their distinctive black wingtips were easy to spolt as they flew by in search of food.
At the far northwest end of the Port au Port peninsula, Cape St. George, is Blue Beach, a long, thin spit of land surrounded by ocean. There we found yet another Easy Walk along a limestone beach that led to a grassy area filled with summer berries. We found multiple fossils amongst the shoreline rocks.
We also found abundant berries, both wild strawberries and arctic raspberries. Among the many experiences we enjoyed, picking ripe summer fruit was among the highlights of our trip. These (new to me) arctic raspberries were my favorite (along with cloudberries). They are darker and much sweeter than the raspberries we know so much better in the “lower forty-eight” states.
Our trip continued as we headed north toward Corner Brook and from there west to Blow Me down Provincial park. Stating the obvious, this next park provided plenty of wind to keep (most of) the mosquitoes at bay. More about the Blow Me Down, and the Lark Harbor area in a following post. Happy trails!
Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, More Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd edition, Easy Walks and Paddles in the Ten Mile River Watershed, and Finding Easy Walks Wherever You Are. Her memoir, the backstory of Easy Walks, is My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Reclaiming hope in a world turned upside down.