Dwight Peck's personal Web site

Newfoundland is still there (2006)

The island that became part of Canada about the time that I was watching Captain Midnight on a 10-inch B+W TV screen and sending in my cereal boxtops for the code ring.


The Gros Morne National Park: Cow Head and Shallow Bay

We've reached Shallow Bay, northward up the coast near the top end of the Gros Morne park. This is in fact a Very Shallow Bay.

You may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.

We've checked into our B+B cabin here late in the day, in the village of Cow Head, with the Cow Head itself across the bay.

Kristin contemplating the coastline at just about Happy Hour, 25 June 2006.

Time for a little wash-up and then dinner. A very comfortable room, the price is right, and there's a splendid very shallow bay view. (But the tide's coming in now.)

The book in the foreground is Gary Younge's collection of his brilliant essays in The Guardian about the USA, Stranger in a Strange Land (The Guardian, 2006). Order it now.

This is our snuggly prefab B+B for the next four days, called the "Bayview", with three bedrooms and a common livingroom and kitchen. It's not a true B+B, as the breakfast is in the restaurant down the street -- in fact, this was Mr House's mom's home until she passed away. There appear to be a restaurant, a motel, some cabins, and at least one B+B in Cow Head, and Mr House seems to have built them all, under the name Shallow Bay Motel and Cabins. It's all very well run, reasonably priced, and friendly. If there's a campground, that's probably his, too.

Kristin is clutching her laptop, bound for Mr House's newly-installed WiFi in the restaurant and hotel lobby, anxious to catch up on Raw Story and the Wayne Madsen Report.

The Warehouse Theatre squats between the B+B and the restaurant and shares the architectural motifs (mainly white siding). It's a summer stock theatre with a lively programme, mostly all to do with Newfoundland themes. We went to see "Ed and Ed do Florida", apparently an annual comical instalment in the adventures of two stereotypical local lads. Unfortunately we caught it on its first night, before things had settled down, but beneath the shamelessly contrived plot there were enough George W. Bush jokes throughout to keep everyone slapping their thighs merrily.

Here's the Shallow Bay restaurant -- recognizable by the enormous sign "ATM" over the front door. Kristin is rushing on ahead to make sure that the promised WiFi connection really works.

Lurid scenes in the diningroom.

Kristin setting up to check out the WiFi and find out whom we've bombed today. A great view of the bay, but there HAD to be a better place to put that aging swimming pool!

Kristin flagging a bus near Broom Point the following day. But the bus doesn't run here anymore!

Hoofing it out to the end of Broom Point on a foggy day, looking for strange life forms in the tidal pools, as usual, but finding very few scummy little things of interest here.

The end of Broom Point near St Paul's, not far from Cow Head.

"Listen! you hear the grating roar
Of pebbles which the waves draw back, and fling,
At their return, up the high strand,
Begin, and cease, and then again begin,
With tremulous cadence slow, and bring
The eternal note of sadness in."

Not that great a view on this weathery day, and not much good stuff in the tidal pools either. For connaisseurs, it's an artistic Fantasy of Greyness, but there's not much happening here at the moment, and some of us are growing restive.

Kristin, fed up, decides to walk out to the Western Brook Pond instead, to see the famous fjord and try to view a moose, and starts back to the car.

Before leaving Broom Point, the narrator takes the opportunity to show off his moose impressions. That's the querulous bellowing one.

This is not just another of Peck's bellowing impressions. Not an hour later, we've nearly stumbled across what appears to be a real moose, or something! We're walking in 3/4 of an hour across the peaty bogs from the coast road (Rte 430) to the Western Brook Pond shore, and we'd been warned to expect moose sightings along the way.

The combined Canadian province of Newfoundland and Labrador, with about 520,000 enlightened human citizens, is still maintaining about a 3-to-1 lead over the mooses, but apparently the beasts are catching up. Israelis would recognize this as a "demographic problem" (as no mooses can be truly Jewish).

To be perfectly honest, for once, I had expected a bit more from my first moose, something -- perhaps -- more majestic. Not just a badly designed overweight horse with a schnozz.

We're out at the tour boat docks on Western Brook Pond now, long after closing hours and long past Happy Hour as well.

With a quiet time to have a good look round, we're deliberating amongst ourselves whether to come back on the morrow for the famous tourist boat ride up the fjord.

How to make a fjord. The maquette on the right ("Today") shows the Western Brook Pond in the center. It's not, strictly speaking, a true fjord, because when the ponderous ice sheet melted off, the land bounced up with a sigh of relief, and the fjord was cut off from the sea by a couple of kilometres of boggy foreland.

Extremely informative stuff, and we're determined now to come back for the boat ride tomorrow.

On the walk back to the road, a Snowshoe Rabbit. (In fact, several, but most of them were too quick for us.)

Kristin out in the bog looking for plants that eat people.

Here's one of the little rascals (Pitcher plant, Sarracenia purpurea). Not always people, of course -- mostly just insects, as a daily sort of thing. People are for Sundays.

Here, late in the day, at the parking lot on the coastal route 430, more mooses, a family of them as it might be, crossing the highway on their way to the coast. Dad, with the rack of antlers, casts a look of profound disinterest and unconcern back at us (as trucks blast by at 80km an hour between us).

So we're decided now (not that that happens often) -- tomorrow, we're coming back to the Western Brook Pond fjord!

Newfoundland 2006

Gros Morne: Trout River

From National Parks of Canada


Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 13 August 2006, revised 7 June 2012, 22 July 2013.


Newfoundland 2006