The Baccalieu Trail (Route)
Instead of driving home from the Bonavista Peninsula, I drove to St. John's and stayed on the East Coast of the Island.
One of the reasons for this was because St. John's is f'ing rad; but another was because I wanted to loop the Bay De Verde while I had the opportunity.
The Bay De Verde Peninsula is the largest on the Avalon, with the scenic Baccalieu Trail circumnavigating its 200-odd kilometres(~120miles).
One look at a map of the Baccalieu Trail and you'll see it varies greatly from many of the other highways I've traversed in this province. Normally, there's one major road with maybe 1 or 2 secondary offshoots - whereas in the case of the Baccalieu Trail, there's a collection of highways following, crossing & cutting off the Baccalieu throughout its route. It would take a very dedicated weekend to cover all of this ground; clearly impossible over a single day where we got a late start.
Therefore the temptation to stop at the sight of a million interesting things was fought off, while we stuck to the game plan of seeing the lighthouses along the route.
The first lighthouse was in Brigus, but unfortunately, we would decide to turn back after fog started to blanket the dangerous cliffs after 3km of the 6km hike.
The town of Brigus itself was interesting though. This peninsula features some of the oldest communities in the province & it never occurred to me to come here in hopes of finding appealing structures.
It was an additional, and unseen, bonus.
Driving around Brigus further, I suddenly remembered the Brigus Tunnel!
In 1860, a businessman wanted community access to his wharf to keep it in use and favour. He hired Cornish Miner John Hoskins to create a tunnel through the 20 foot rock wall between his wharf & the Brigus town-site. John Hoskins then took to creating an 80 foot long, 8 foot by 8 foot tunnel, by using gunpowder to blast at the rock over 4 months.
Add in the fact that I'm sucker for tunnels, to the fact that it has an interesting history.
I resisted the temptation to continue touring Brigus.
After leaving for the Green Point Lighthouse, I turned right near the end of the town of Bay Roberts.
Once I emerged upon an imposing landscape, with high winds and higher mountains, I tried to reason how I could be in the correct location when I read that this lighthouse was accessible by road.
It wasn't. I declined hiking blindly out on the cape & instead went back to ask at a restaurant. Apparently, I was on an entirely wrong slab of land and I needed to return to the Baccalieu Trail and go south until the road to Hibb's Cove.
I would do so & find the described 2.5km(1.5mi) rough road to the lighthouse. It got entirely too rough after about a kilometre and a half; so we walked the last kilometre down to the light.
After failing at Brigus & the misdirection at Bay Roberts (Green Point) Lighthouse, I thought today might turn into a failday...
Therefore it felt really good to be standing here with the 1883 light at Green Point.
The lighthouse seems to be the twin of the Sandy Point Light which I waded through tidal water to reach in 2009. I definitely noticed the same Soviet-esque star supports beneath the catwalk.
This light had an additional lantern like light which you can see above on the right.
Happy to be out here, I was also concerned. I wondered why the community hadn't made this road any better & why they weren't utilizing this fantastic opportunity to draw tourists to their town. Thankfully this lighthouse is still operated by the Coast Guard, but I do hope that the nearby community takes it over when the Coast Guard goes through with that plan to abandon a great number of our lights...
Continuing north, when we approached the tip of the peninsula, I could tell my friend was growing tired, so I had to pick only 1 of the 3 communities up there.
Knowing there was a National Historic Site in Grates Cove, that's what I chose.
The National Historic Site at Grates Cove is due to the extensive network of rock walls throughout the community. Historically, rock walls were used to prevent sheep from grazing in your gardens & to separate land through creating boundaries. These rock walls were started in the late 1700s and improved into the 20th century. The residents divided 160 acres of land with man-made rock walls - an area equivalent to that covered by 160 football fields!
Rock walls were also used in other communities, but not to the scope of Grates Cove & they definitely haven't survived to the same extent as Grates Cove either.
There were boardwalks and trails leading into the foothills behind Grates Cove - a sure bet for better pictures of the walls - but it was raining and the hours were passing...we had to move along.
Lighthouse #3 was only 35km away. In addition, all I had to do was park at road's end & hike 5 minutes to reach it.
It provided a great view of Hant's Harbour, had impressive cliffs & also some je ne sais qois appeal.
Thumbs up to Hant's Harbour.
Our last lighthouse was only 25km(14mi) kilometres away, but light was fading. We sped from Hant's Harbour and knew we would make it, but wanted to reduce our night travel afterward.
The drive suddenly became memorable as we were wondering how much further it was; then noticed the flashing beacon off to the right in the distance: Heart's Content Lighthouse was guiding our route from the road to the cape!
I was recently talking with my friend Muggah and he talked about how he visited NL when he was 13 to visit his Grandma. He explained that it was in Heart's Content, the town with the candy stripe lighthouse. He explained this like I wouldn't know, but I had to let him know that I had already been there.
So I guess this ones for him.
From Heart's Content it would grow dark quickly, but we simply took our time and returned to St. John's safely & moose collision free.
Go Back to the Main Page of this Website.
1 - Brigus, Conception Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador - Sites of Interest, Brigus.net
2 - Historic Rock Walls of Grates Cove, Newfoundland and Labrador - Beyond Baccalieu