Author Archives: Marjorie

Fossils and mushrooms oh, my

We started in the southwest of Newfoundland near the ferry landing in Port aux Basques, and after a week moved about two hours north along the Trans Canada highway to the Port au Port area.

On our way to our next campground we visited the Blanche Brook fossil beds in Stephenville, Newfoundland. The packed dirt path in the sunshine along the brook near a parking area offered solid footing for me. Once we entered the woods the trail continued alongside the water, and for the most part was still an Easy Walk. However, to actually see the fossils, visitors need to get down the banks of the stream and wade into the water.

We had just had some heavy rains, filling the brook and making for very tricky footing. I stayed on shore while my husband rock-hopped out to the small island in the brook where he took his shoes off and waded in for a closer look. He got some great views of the fossils, preserved trees turned to rock. We were the only visitors when we stopped on a July morning. Like many other places while in Newfoundland, we often found these outdoor sites to be surprisingly uncrowded.

Doing my part…

A private campground was our home base for several days while we explored several areas that offered some great Easy Walks. After leaving the fossil beds we moved on to a private campground in Stephenville, our home base for several days while we explored several areas that offered some great Easy Walks. Power and water hookups at provincial campgrounds are limited. Since we needed some power to recharge our camper batteries, rather than stay at another provincial park, we chose to stay a night or two at a campground that had “hookups.”

Both national and provincial parks are great places to visit in Newfoundland. Besides these government sponsored outdoor spaces, we were surprised to discover stunning outdoor places that local communities oversee. Even more surprising is that a number of them that offer Easy Walks in areas that are otherwise very difficult to access. Once we were settled in the campground we headed back out to explore nearby Sheaves Cove.

Sheaves Cove offers not just one, but two Easy Walks. The creating an maintaining of these trails has been a labor of love, and I really appreciated the care that went into making these trails accessible for many of us. The first trail we explored took us down to the Hidden Waterfall. Quite obvious once you have driven down the dirt road leading to the parking, this waterfall is not visible from the road unless you know where to look.

Stream near the parking area flows from the waterfall through the marsh into the sea

The water from the falls flows out through a marsh and empties into the sea right next to where we parked. The path down to the falls is a maintenance access type road, quite broad, packed gravel, with a gentle incline that takes you to the bottom of the falls.

On the opposite side of the parking lot is a trail that invites visitors to stroll along the cliffs overlooking the ocean. This path is quite wide, packed gravel and offers amazing views of limestone formations right along the shoreline.

Viewing platforms long the way present opportunities to get even better views of the area than you can see by walking along the top of the cliffs. Some limestone formations reminded me of mushrooms, though certainly not very tasty.

Water cascades down the limestone cliff into the sea

Yet another waterfall in this spot tumbles down the cliff, crossing the trail, cascading directly into the sea from the rocks just above the waterline. A bridge allows visitors easy access to the other side of the water. We spent hours taking in the views, resting at the viewing platforms and looking for whales. No luck with whales on this outing, but we spotted them on other visits during our trip.

Humor on the trail

We found more Easy Walks in the Port au Port area that I will leave for our next post. On our next outing, we encountered a provincial park that offers more Easy Walks, and clearly has a great sense of humor. Till then, happy trails!

Marjorie

Marjorie Turner Hollman is a writer who loves the outdoors, and is the author of Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionMore Easy Walks in Massachusetts, 2nd editionEasy 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, Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) Places.

She has written for numerous local, regional, and national publications over the past 20+ years, has helped many families save their stories, and has recorded multiple veterans oral histories, now housed at the Library of Congress.

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

More Easy Walks in rugged Southwest Newfoundland

On the ferry, approaching the landing at Port aux Basques, Newfoundland

The ferry from Sydney in Cape Breton lands in Port aux Basques in southwest Newfoundland. Many travelers quickly head north (to Gros Morne National Park?), never realizing the treasure they are passing by right around the corner from where they started. While we had never visited this portion of Newfoundland, we saw enough in on-line articles and simply by looking at Google Maps and Google Earth to feel this area would be worthwhile exploring.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Easy Walks goes to Newfoundland-The Harvey Trail

Along the Harvey Trail, Isle au Morts

Besides flying, taking the ferry from Cape Breton is the shortest, least expensive way to get from the North American Mainland to Newfoundland. We brought our camper along and found some delightful Easy Walks along the way in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia. Our goal, however, was Newfoundland and we were delighted to find a number of Easy Walks very close to where we disembarked in Port aux Basques, NL in the far southwest of the island.

Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Easy Walks goes to Newfoundland–Puffins!!

At last…puffins!!!

Many years ago our family headed to Cape Breton for a driving tour. I decided that puffins would be the best part of our travels. A place in Rockland Maine offered a way we could see puffins. A minor (four hour round trip) detour, some of us were more excited about than others. When we arrived in Rockland we learned that the puffins were quite a distance off shore, but we could watch by video what the puffins were up to. (We could have watched from home, I suspected.) Clearly I had not done enough reading before insisting we take this side trip.

We visited Newfoundland in September of 2018 when it would have been too late to see puffins. They are pelagic and thus are visible from land only when they are nesting–April to August. On our most recent, 2022 trip, we first thought we’d missed the puffins, but soon learned we were not too late! Our 2022 trip to Newfoundland began in the southwest corner of the island, after a ferry ride from Sydney, on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland. Puffins nest on the eastern coast. It was a long ride from one point to the other.

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Easy Walks goes to Newfoundland

Sunset at Gros Morne National Park, our little camper giving us a front row seat on the wonders of Newfoundland

This is the beginning of a series of articles offering information that may turn into a book, Easy Walks goes to Newfoundland. We spent a month in our teardrop nuCamp camper (yes, it is very cozy) touring the island and taking in the varied geology, having delightful wild life encounters, picking (and eating!) wild berries and meeting people along the way, both native Newfoundlanders and visitors to the island like ourselves. These articles will not be comprehensive–Newfoundland has so much to offer and we have barely scratched the surface of what the island has to offer. We will have to go back!

Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Wilson Park N. Kingstown, RI beach walk

Long Point, North Kingstown, RI

Beaches get so crowded in summer that it is tough to find a quiet spot to take in the water, the horizon, and the sounds and smells of the ocean. We normally avoid going to the beach in warmer weather for these, and other reasons.

We ventured to Wickford, RI on an errand, and on our way back north encountered Wilson Park, on Roosevelt Ave., North Kingstown, RI just off Rt. 1A. The main portion of the park was jammed with summer visitors. Children climbed on playground equipment, while others picnicked, played basketball, baseball, soccer, or simply lay out in the sun. We hurried past the noisy main park and found ourselves at the Long Point boat ramp, part of Wilson Park. As opposed to most places with shoreline access, this area was surprisingly uncrowded.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Our own type of fun at Jellystone in Virginia

Fun with Yogi!

Lots of us grew up watching Saturday morning cartoons. But not so many get to really hug Yogi Bear. A series of cimcumstances brought us to Jellystone Park near Natural Bridge, Virginia. We feared the place would be filled with noisy campers, but instead, we arrived early in the season and had the place to ourselves.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Greenbriar River rail trail, West Virginia

Along the Greenbriar River Rail trail, north of Lewisburg, WV

We love riding on rail trails alongside rivers. The Greenbriar rail trail follows the river of the same name, and passes through two tunnels. Seventy-eight miles long, the trail is in great shape, with solid footing, quite level, and is perfect for biking. Walking works great too; you will simply have to take longer to see everything along the way!

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks

Letting Go

So simple–Just let go

Advice is often handed out like candy–“Just let go, and have a nice day.” Why some think it’s simple is beyond me. Letting go has never been that easy in my own life, for sure! One day I finally began to grasp what was wrong with this advice, or at least, what was missing. Here’s the story: (an excerpt from My Liturgy of Easy Walks: Finding the Sacred in Everyday (and some very strange) Places.

Well-intentioned people offer varied strategies intended to short-circuit the difficult process of “letting go,” whether it be of worries, pain, hurt, relationships, the past in general, or even prolonged grieving. The list of life challenges is endless, and suggestions for how to cope are endless too, yet have been useless in my own experience. I have learned that letting go is something that happens on its own time schedule, not because of trying harder.

Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks, Blog Posts-Personal Histories

New River Trail, Virginia

Foster Falls, along the New River, Virginia

This spring our travels took us south along (basically) the East Coast. We headed to Tennessee by way of Pennsylvania and West Virginia to see grandboys, and then back north, through Virginia on our way home to New England. We were able to bring our adaptive tandem bicycle with us, and although we did not saddle up every day, we got a number of wonderful rides in on some really scenic rail trails. The New River Trail State Park was one of the highlights of our spring sojourn. The packed stone dust rail trail (it follows the path of a former rail bed) is a Virginia linear state park, fifty-seven miles in length. We were impressed by the carefully maintained trail surfaces. Branches and fallen trees had been removed making for a relaxed, enjoyable visit. For much of the ten miles (twenty miles round trip) we traveled we could hear, and often see the river right next to the trail.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Blog posts--Easy Walks