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Newfoundland at last - landing in the the lovely southwest

July 2022

The southwest of Newfoundland was our first destination for just about a week. Although I had the excellent Newfoundland/Labrador Tourism book to work with I wasn’t quite sure what we’d find. It turns out the Codroy Valley is a beautiful cluster of small communities along a river to the sea.

I had already found the people who run the campground to be extremely pleasant to deal with online and in person they were even more so. 2022 is themed “Come Home” in Newfoundland and it felt like they meant even us, not just those originally from there. They had a neat little newsletter with ideas for day trips, humor, etc.

Working from the recommended trails in the newsletter we chose the Coastangs trail. Down country roads, then a dirt road, we found the trailhead beside a private farm acreage lined with an electric fence. We were the only ones there and after the first slog through a tall meadow of wildflowers we found ourselves on the edge of a cliff on the one side and the electric fence on the other - living on the edge!

The hardest part was managing the dogs without having them run off the cliff. However the trail was worth it from the first overlook towards a sea stack piled with cormorants to the wild Queen Anne’s Lace looking plants that topped my height to the wildflowers and twisted trees through which the spectacular coast was viewed. After a while I headed back with Jackson while Jim went on a bit with Chloe. His photo of a clear shoot up the coast was his reward.

I decided I wanted to come back to paint later in the week which I did while Jim tossed the ball to the dogs way far away from the cliff.

Also from the newsletter we knew to go to Joe’s Diner for their Thursday Jigg’s Dinner, a Newfoundland tradition named after an old timey comic strip character who loved corned beef. A big platter of salted beef and lots of root veggies as well as pease porridge which we had to ask what it was. I felt we had to try it once and although the potatoes etc were great I think once was enough. Always glad to support little local business though! Later that afternoon we decided to wade through a little river. The dogs had a great time swimming but my boots took forever to dry!

One of the best finds in the valley was Gillis Market - a small ‘little bit of everything’ store that we had been informed carried Eileen’s homemade bread, brought in every morning. It brought back memories of my mom’s bread it was so good! Later in the week we put our name in for one loaf of white and the last of the four loaves of raisin bread. I felt like a local again! The campground had a pretty decent nature trail that looped in an infinity sign style along the river. They have it tricked out with direction signs containing little sayings. It was a great place to take the dogs for their morning exercise. There was even evidence of a beaver along it (gnawed and downed trees).

Also nearby was the Wetlands Center and Trail which despite being a highlight of the area we never got to - since we were camped alongside the same river never felt the pressure to take the more traveled route. We did stop by the Codroy Provincial park one wet morning for a leashed walk with the dogs. There are piping plovers nesting and other shore birds they don’t want bothered. As usual there were all kinds of interesting rocks washed up.

One morning we drove out to Cape Anguille Lighthouse, at the most westerly point in Newfoundland. It was bathed in that clear salt washed light that sometimes suffuses a coast scene. As soon as I saw that a beach full of rocks and waves had Jim’s attention with the dogs I handed off Jackson and grabbed my painting backpack. I set up where I could get the path and the ubiquitous wildflowers in the foreground and I ended up pretty pleased with the result.

The whole time I was painting I kept thinking I heard footsteps or sounds - I finally realized it was boulders being tossed by the waves and landing. Jim found a good amount of rocks to check out and the dogs as usual love being at the water’s edge. Quite a few passers by checked out my work and I gave out my card to one who was interested in following.

The drive there and back kept me busy with my camera for glimpses of seaside and river and wonderful lupine patches everywhere.

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