18.8.16, Gros Morne KOA dry cabin
No Female McCandless Here…
Ah, Newfoundland, or as the locals call it, Newfandland. Just the right amount of civilization spread over a vast territory to make you feel both wild enough and safe.
I, of course, did not venture into the real wildernesses, but still felt, smelled and breathed the space, the unique mix of water and land, animals, plants, people. History blended into the present, music, hospitality. I fell in love. It happens once in a while…
This poorly-taken cellphone picture (shot through the ferry’s window glasspane) conveys that feeling of a virgin island, of discovery. Of course we landed in a town with houses and people, docks and boats, but there was a different feel. You knew the big vast wilderness was lurking in the background.
To be totally clear, there’s no way I will really get out of civilization, no female McCandless here, BUT…the illusion of less civilization is nice. Moreover, the smaller the number of people in an area, the nicer they tend to be. A gross generalization, of course, but mostly true in my experience.
A Roller Coaster in the Rain
The first day, though, was very hard, a risk factor when you fall in love…
Six- hour drive from the ferry to the KOA at Point Norris. The GPS did not recognize the destination, the address was incorrect. The constant ups and downs brought back the pains in my hands and legs. I was holding the wheel tighter, and pumping the brakes. As if that was not enough, it also started to rain.
Stopped at Deer Lake to eat something. Couldn’t find anything decent. Ate a shitty sandwich in a Subway, something pretending to be whole wheat bread, with an omelet, Swiss cheese and vegetables. On the other side of the half-way partition sat a plump blonde eating the same junky sandwich but twice as large, and with all the revolting sauces and meat. We talked.
She was originally from here, NL, and was coming for her younger sister’s wedding. Like everybody else, she now lived in Alberta. There’s work there. Oil. OK. She was very friendly and tried to give me info about things she liked, mostly music festivals.
More and more roads. Hertz’s GPS brought me to the middle of a mountain climb, proclaiming: “You arrived at your destination”. Nothing around but trees. AT&T did not work, no phone. Here I was in the middle of nowhere, it was getting dark and was raining.
I stopped at a small side pullover spot. A grouchy older man parked behind me. “Gros Morne? Yes, yes, keep going.” He stopped because he did not like driving in the rain, just like me. He was local, though, supposed to be used to this. I kept going. Eventually a sign showed through the torrents – Gros Morne KOA.
Row it, Swim it, Walk it
It was a good idea to book the dry cabin in advance. Checking the forecast here, though, is more like playing the roulette. Rain predictions come as percentages only. Averages are calculated from several meteorological stations in the vicinity, some of which get rain and some don’t.
I got my stuff in the room, created a nice little computer corner, enjoying the Wi-Fi, enjoying the wood. Mine was the extreme little cabin, on the way to the lake. This was a little home, and I could use one after all that rain and hard driving.
The Gros Morne KOA is set over a lake, an almost pristine creation of Nature – no “camps”, no docks, no motor boats, but I could rent a kayak and go around. A friendly couple runs the place. The man showed me how to get the kayak into the water.
I did everything possible with the lake that afternoon. First I kayaked over it, rowing from one side to the other, taking in the views, breathing the superbly clean air. Then I immersed, swimming a bit with my orange tail floating. Through the goggles I could see the submerged aquatic vegetation. For a finale, I circumnavigated the lake by foot, walking on the so-called forest “Moose Trail”. I expected to see moose, but that did not happen. The trail finally re-emerged into the open by the lakeside. Even that little trail had a gate to announce its glorious starting point! Nice!.
The lake was half the size of The Kennebunk Pond, but was called a “lake”. “Lakeliness” must be in the eyes of the beholder. Such a different feel from the the Maine pond – crisscrossed by motorboats, invaded by private properties, party sounds, illuminated by firecrackers. This was almost Nature as is. [Or at least it was that day…]
I tried to get the feel of the Being into my being. Looking over to the forests yonder, wondering what animals roamed there, how land, trees and sky merged to create that wholeness.
And then it rained again.
In the Dumps
I don’t know how to continue from here, since it rains non-stop, and tomorrow I’ll have to move out of the dry cabin and into the tent. The cabins, including mine, are all reserved for the weekend. I’m not clear how I will survive here. I even started missing my exes, which is a bad sign. To hell with it all.
Can’t even get my photos on Flickr, perhaps the rain disrupts the Wi-Fi. Tried to get a “sense of place” through all the activities, but wasn’t relaxed enough. Hard to “find myself” in that gloomy loneliness…
The next day, though, after a strange mishap involving NL time zone, I cruised up one of the most beautiful coastlines I’ve ever seen, with authentic fising villages still carrying older traditions.