Number 680-something

Bear Cove, Newfoundland (Map)

Summer 2012.


Over three years ago, I retrieved a topographic map book and a road map. I sat with the two maps and moved clockwise around the coast of Newfoundland, underlining the communities which I hadn't yet seen. At that point, there were still a few peninsulas I hadn't yet traversed, but I figured I would still have an impressive number of total communities visited.

I can't remember what number I eventually came up with, but it was something in the 500 range (out of 785).

A year and a half ago, I realized I lost that underlined map & instead opened up a spreadsheet this time. Working meticulously to not miss any of the tiny hamlets and coves of this island, I made two columns, one for the places I had visited, and one for the places I hadn't.

At that point I was up to ~660 communities visited (now out of 797, according to my arbitrary, yet inclusive rules.)

Now that I had a spreadsheet of which communities I had left, the drive grew inside of me to visit the missing places whenever I found myself within striking distance. There was more than a few examples of places where I had already seen 10 communities in a day, then tiredly skipped that evening road denoting 8 or 10 or 15 km to one last single, miniscule village.

Bear Cove was one of those places I skipped over previously.

I've been to the Baie Verte Peninsula about a dozen times now, but the one time I attempted to go to Bear Cove, it took 2 km of a rough gravel road - and the prospect of driving another 11 km under such conditions - to say "to hell with it" and skip this town which didn't even have a green sign (it has a brown sign, marking that it is a named location which people still inhabit).

Now that I had this spreadsheet & Bear Cove was one of the very few communities which I hadn't seen in a 3-hour radius of my home, I had to go there. Finding myself on the Baie Verte Peninsula yet again, I discovered that the gravel road to Bear Cove smoothes out after those first few kilometers and you cover the distance quite quickly.

Driving right to the end of Bear Cove Road before walking down to the shore, I was amazed to see a lighthouse out in the bay. For how much time I spend reading up on lighthouses in this province, I had no idea how this structure could exist without a single note, Flickr picture or Google image.

Then again, most people probably write off Bear Cove during those first few kilometers (if they even get that far).

There were only a few houses at Bear Cove...but there was a large meadow with this old Bombardier snowmobile!

I have another resettled community on the to-do list simply because of one of these abandoned snowmobiles, but then I just happened to stumble onto one because of going to Bear Cove! Score!

There were also these old cars, what a find!

This is a good example of why I like going to these places. In an increasingly photographed & documented world, Newfoundland is nice in that you can go places where you discover new things when you get there, instead of always knowing beforehand from Flickr or Google.

So since you can't research some of these places beforehand, if you were to simply write them off as nothing more than a few houses, you would never see obscure lighthouses or snow machines or old abandoned cars.

Now that I have this list created & I'm going out of my way to see these hard-to-reach, forgotten & off-the-beaten-path places, it makes me happy that I'm doing it when I find a place as cool as Bear Cove.

To answer a common question: I don't plan to see every last village & I'm not working towards that goal. I'll see a lot of the ones I have left, but only because I'll find myself on these obscure peninsulas working towards other things that rank higher on my todo list.

I imagine I'll run out of time here in NF before I run out of new hamlets/villages to see.


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