Birthday Weekend 2013

Exploits River, Grand Falls-Windsor, Phillips Head and St. George, Newfoundland (Map)

Fall 2013.


Normally I'll get out of town and drive places around the island or around the maritimes for my birthday, but this year was a bit different. Five friends joined me and together we rented this chalet about 2 hours away, located in between Badger & Grand Falls-Windsor. Stevie was coming from the other side of the island, so it was extra sweet to finally arrive at the chalet and set down for a night of barbecued food, malt liquor consumption and hot tubbing.

My friends know certain ways into my heart, one example being, listening to my long-winded stories involving food.

After carrying on about the rice-chorizo-egg street food in Hilo Hawaii, they then recreated said meal in Newfoundland for hungover breakfast.

Well good morning.

You can get some sweet digs when you divide the cost by 6 people.

This was Saturday morning after waking up groggy, but not horribly hungover. I strolled the grounds by myself for a bit, observing the mighty Exploits River, the mightiest river of the island, at least in terms of length. I've walked over it on the Bishops Falls train trestle and I've seen the falls of it in Grand Falls, but I haven't seen it in wild spaces all too much, save for what you can see as you drive along the Trans-Canada Highway.

You're never all that far from the Exploits River when you're close to it along the road, but still, there was something nice about the wide, powerful river, and finding myself here on this sunny morning.

In addition to the hot tubs and exploited rivers, there was a couple of friendly house cats around the chalet, which is something that'll never garner a complaint from me.

It took quite a long time to gather everyone and get the six of us into the Intrepid.

Speeding into Grand Falls, I was really excited to bring Christian to the cemetery, as I knew his great grandfather was buried there, but he had never managed to visit Grand Falls. (He doesn't have a car, so it's much harder than for the average person.) Always happy to bring people to places "they've always wanted to go", I smiled as we wandered up the hill and found the old stone marking his resting place.

It was then over to the skatepark, where of course, there was already too much snow in Corner Brook and the city couldn't manage to install the new ramps before winter, so Grand Falls-Windsor was winning like usual. There was still a few tiny snow patches here and there, so sliding out on the metal ramps happened a few times, but I was satisfied with what I could manage. Riding bikes at this time of year is also something that puts a smile on my face.

Fighting against the falling sun, I packed everyone back into the car and we raced out of Grand Falls-Windsor, past Bishop's Falls and onto the NL-350. Passing Botwood and dismissing their interests in that town, I continued towards Phillips Head, where I knew about some war ruins, which I've posted about here before.

This would satisfy my desire to get into something abandoned on my birthday, with the added bonus of everyone thinking the fortifications were a worthwhile destination.

I forgot my tripod, so the fading light meant there wouldn't be any additional pictures to those ones in the 2009 update.

Heading back to Grand Falls-Windsor, we were all quite hungry, so we gave another new place in town a try, a neighbourhood pizza spot that looked like it hadn't changed in the last 30 years. They made the standard Newfoundland pizza of bland sauce, sloppy toppings and hidden pepperoni, so the best part would remain the unchanged building.

Afterwards, we did my favourite thing to do in Grand Falls in winter, which is to go see the Cataracts in their built-in-1948 arena. We had the same mediocre seats because the arena is so small and everyone has season tickets, but it was still a blast.

The next morning we had about 2 hours of cleaning before we could leave. Regardless of that, it was a good time while we all satisfactorily chatted, eventually waiting for our lunch at the Badger Diner.

As for the gravity of said birthday and how I would feel come December, I find that I already spend a concerning amount of my life worried with the passing of time and the process of aging. That birthday night, I clearly remember the clock continuing to move: 11:06, 11:19, 11:31, etc., towards an inevitable benchmark in my life.

Even with how I feel that December is one of the most useless months in Corner Brook, one where you should spend spare time at work because fantastic Christmas holidays are coming up, I still managed to get out to St. George's to cover some of their charming housing...

...and even walked around Corner Brook on cold nights under the full moon.

I was still getting outside between periods of banking those December hours, satisfactorily happy with how I was using my free time and the passing days.


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