Wednesday, July 30, 2014

At the beginning of the hike, what a gorgeous day. 
Our first day of fog and rainy weather occurred a week after we had started our Newfoundland adventure.  Our new radar came into its own and confirmed our position as we approached the coastline in dense fog.  We entered a narrow hidden opening at Grey River and motored up the fiord to anchor, surrounded by high hills which were still shrouded by clouds. The rest of the rainy day was spent below warming up by the propane furnace and Bob tried his hand at jigging for cod again, but no luck. 
We awoke to bright sunshine and a beautiful vista of blue water surrounded on all sides by towering green hills.  We headed out to our intended destination of Francois Bay but once out on the ocean the winds were light. We sailed along until it slowly diminished and our sails were flogging in a 3 knot breeze.  With the prospect of having to motor another 8 miles I looked at the guide book and discovered we were just passing a spot that had a 600 foot waterfall that had an anchorage at it’s base, Deadman’s Cove.  Instant right turn and shortly we were in paradise.  The granite covered hills towered over the boat and beckoned. 

Barry chose to stay on the boat to monitor the anchor and save his knee from further abuse.  Bob and I rowed ashore and hopped off on a sandy beach.  It may have started out as a walk, but shortly it turned into a hike and at the end we both agreed it had been a fairly substantial climb.  We clambered over big boulders and sunk to the top of our boots in mushy muskeg, and I scrambled up some fairly steep granite pitches on my hands and feet like a monkey.
The tundra was in bloom with bluebells quaking in the breeze, the Labrador tea was covered in riotous pink flowers, and we found a patch of ripe  blueberries which we feasted on.  
Near the spot where I thought we might turn around, it is fresh water and there are brown trout to be caught here. 
At the top we were greeted with numerous small ponds which had formed in depressions in the rocky landscape.  We walked over the last rise and a never ending vista of rolling hills extended as far as the eye could see.  At this point we could see the fog rolling in from the ocean covering the knolls at the entrance to the harbour and I suggested that perhaps it was time to go down.  My big brother replied that I could wait for him there if I wanted; he was bound and determined to see the top of the waterfall.  Like that was ever going to happen!!!  We continued up and over and up and over, hiking as far again until we arrived. 
The white speck is Cat's-Paw IV anchored at the bottom of the water fall.
It was glorious, the spume from the waterfall was blown up the hill by the wind which was whistling up the steep slope, showering us with a very fine spray.  The views were stupendous, Cat ‘s-Paw IV was lying in the middle of a calm bay, the smallest of specs from the top.  We could see the ocean off in the distance,with the fog occasionally rolling over the hills closest to the shore.   The water fell down the steep granite face, the striations in the rocky adding a modern art dimension to the landscape, quite magical really.  
Resting on the scramble down the hill!
Rather than return the long convoluted way we had climbed up we chose to hike further westward and scramble down the face of the slope.  It was difficult because a lot of the time we were in flora that was up to our knees and we could not see where our feet would land, a recipe for turning an ankle or twisting a knee.  Our sturdy boots did their job, and saved us from injury as we completed our descent. At the bottom we were about 800 meters from where we had left the dinghy and I had no problem letting Bob forge his way through a lot of dense brush to get it, while I angled down to the shore picking a shorter path through the evergreen forest.  I was one tired hiker that night but went to sleep with the satisfaction of completing an excellent walk/hike/climb. It is so good to be back in Canada and hiking in familiar territory where I can recognize the plants and trees and feel confident eating berries that I know.  Hooray for being Home!!!   

We are now in St. Pierre, a  French island just off the coast of Newfoundland.  We visited Miquelon yesterday but it was a rainy, foggy day so we just spent a few hours ashore.  We arrived here late in the day so we plan to spend all day tomorrow exploring the town.  We hope to head to Argentia, Nfld after that and take a bus into St. John's,  it is just too far to sail and get back to Sydney in the time frame we have. Wifi and Internet cafes are few and far between on this coast so I will update as I can.