Labrador & Northern Peninsula Randomness

L'Anse au Loup, Forteau, (Southern) Labrador.
St. Anthony, Goose Cove, Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland (Map)

Summer 2015


After spending yesterday around the Grandois area, I meandered about the Northern Peninsula & southern Labrador for the next couple of days.

The above picture comes from L'Anse-au-Loup in Labrador, where I wandered while waiting on what would be some delicious deep fried pickles from the local chip shack.

I spent the night in Forteau at the Grenfell Hall B&B - which is Forteau's 1946 Grenfell nursing station that has since been converted into accommodations. All of the other renters were middle-aged American women touring the area on motorcycles, with a couple of them having fantastic Massachusetts accents that I got lost in. In addition, they talked of mid-sized American places where I longed to be, places such as Rapid City, Missoula and Asheville.

My regular tendency is to avoid the province's tourist hotspots during peak season, but happily sitting in the dining hall this morning with these 7 lovely women opened my eyes a little.

After breakfast I would walk down the street and onto the trail to the Overfall Brook Waterfall. This took about 40 minutes at a hurried pace, only slowing down for the parts that were surprisingly narrow and precarious above the Atlantic below.


This trail is part of the Labrador Coastal Trail, a 50ish-km (~30mi) footpath extending from L'Anse au Clair to Pinware. The trail follows many of the old Labrador footpaths that used to connect the towns before the highway (and even now, it follows the coast where the highway took the easier path inland).

I've always been intrigued by this trail & entertained thoughts of backpacking here. This pleasant morning hike out of Forteau only cemented these aspirations.


Upon entering Labrador, it doesn't take long to reach the visitor centre in L'Anse au Clair. After all of these years of wanting to check out the interior of the converted old church, I finally stepped inside today, but the dark wood interior meant the outside made for a better picture.

(It's a nice building & they did a good job, if you happen to need tourist advice in L'Anse au Clair.)

Crossing back over to Newfoundland, we went for a spin out to the wreck of the SS Empire Energy, which I've covered here before, but was excited to explore on a sunny, fine evening (instead of in the fog).

I was amazed at how little seemed to have changed, but as it has sat here since WWII, I guess the winters here just aren't as bad on shipwrecks as I imagine (maybe because the winter comes and stays, instead of going through multiple freeze-thaw cycles?)

Along the way there was also an abandoned house, and with time to kill, we decided to go about checking on things. I had heard from a colleague about houses in this area being used as party houses with old mattresses on the ground and such, but this house didn't seem to have seen much activity.

Looking through the house, obviously I enjoyed the fine portrait of Maine's Portland Head Lighthouse that remained on the living room wall (yes, I've been there).

There was also a strange Emergency ON/OFF switch near the kitchen.

I'd never seen this before, but briefly Googling it, a switch like this would be involved when gas is being used for heating or cooking?

Leaving the abandoned house behind & turning towards the accommodations in St. Anthony, the temperature gauge on the vehicle dipped as fog enveloped the landscape and killed off this fine summer's eve.

As we pulled up to the Fox Point Lighthouse, the temperature was now down in the lower single digits on this, some day in late July.

As much as I lament winter, I find endearment towards Newfoundland in spot situations like this. You simply bundle up and laugh, getting out of the car in the cold & wet, shaking your head that it's supposed to be the height of summer.

I was also reminded of Donnie, who insists that all lighthouse visits should have weather like this. It could be sunny in town, but once you drive out to the lighthouse, it's somehow always raining, windy or sleeting out there.

In the final hour yesterday, in fog and low light, we were driving along in St. Anthony & noticed an iceberg. Appreciating the sight but wanting a better picture, thankfully this morning the berg was still lodged in Trawl Cove.

I was going to say it would be pretty funny if Google StreetView captured the above scene, but it only caught a little iceberg in the distance in July 2013.


Another thing I always wanted to see in St. Anthony was their city hall's stuffed polar bear. Well, I was finally here on a weekday when the building was open!

I knew this before, but this visit reinforced the idea that I would not want to run into one of these guys while walking sea ice to insular lighthouses/old root cellars.

The last thing in St. Anthony was finally a stop at their Grenfell House Museum. I walked up here when my Mom & I drove to St. Anthony back in May, but there was still so much snow that I couldn't get up close to the New England-style cottage.

Dr. Grenfell was a medical missionary and philanthropist who worked tirelessly up and down this coast, bringing medical attention and supplies to the hundreds of tiny settlements that were ice-locked for much of the year.

He had this house built in 1909 for himself, his wife Anne & their three children.

There were so many cool little trinkets, but then also great full-sized pieces of antique furniture. Some came from Grenfell, but there were also donations from people all along the coast. It all made for a fascinating little museum, where I felt rushed because there was so much cool stuff to look at, but I didn't want to be here for the whole day.

I'm not sure if this rug also came from a St. Anthony polar bear, but they have their fair share of polar bear visitors regardless. There's usually 2 or 3 CBC stories of them near the town every spring.

A petite clawfoot tub and a picture of an iceberg at St. Julien's.

My favourite part of the Grenfell House had to be the sunporch with long benches & even a dining table in the rounded corner. As much as I loved Grenfell's house and this sunroom would certainly help, I couldn't help but think of St. Anthony's trying climate.

(Can we have this house moved to Port-aux-Basques and then I'll live in it? Or maybe, Cincinnati?)

The thought of being able to relax with friends at that table, or to come out here in the morning/evening to quietly read. Grenfell built this part of his house right.

With a little more time to kill, I was getting tired of meandering about the Northern Peninsula, but went along with a drive out to Goose Cove (about 9km from St. Anthony).

It's here that there was a Ford Explorer with a sweet decal package & a sweet puss.

Goose Cove is home to a short trail called the Pumley Cove Trail, and as I said a bunch of times in that St. Julien's update, I love walking up here in this landscape.

(This has always made me want to visit places like Norway, Scotland or the Faroe Islands, but some friends argue that living where I live, I should instead go to Spain or Croatia or something very different from Newfoundland.)

While walking the Pumley Cove Trail, we came to a headland and could hear a whale and then noticed said whale's spray. I couldn't manage to get a picture, but it was awesome to see the whale work its way around the headland we were on, periodically seeing additional spray from the whale as it passed.

After the Pumley Cove Trail, we returned to the road out of town, then turned down the gravel path towards the cabin on the other side of the harbour in Goose Cove. There wasn't much out here, but I climbed yet another hill & checked out the scene. It was mostly a couple of modern cabins and an old cemetery.

The last thing of note was another spin up to L'Anse-aux-Meadows, where I can't believe the dilapidated house at the end of the road is still standing. It may fall down on its own before anything is ever done about it.

I've seen houses like this linger in off the beaten path places in Newfoundland, but I find it a bit crazy in one of the utmost tourist hotspots of the province.


Go Back to the Main Page of this Website

< Older Update:
Croque's Epine Cadoret Trail & St. Julien's
(Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland)


Newer Post:
Indian Burying Place:
Part 1 - Failed Attempts
& Introduction

1 - About Grenfell House Museum - Grenfell Historic Properties
2 - Grenfell House Registered Historic Structure - Heritage Foundation of Newfoundland & Labrador
3 - Labrador Pioneer Footpath - Labrador Coastal Drive
4 - Overfall Brook Trail - Forteau - Labrador Coastal Drive

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