Day 70 – Channel-Port-aux Basques to Barachois Pond, NL – 155km

Last night, our ferry to Newfoundland docked around
9:45pm. We watched remnants of the sun set streaked hazily across dark cloud as
a mystical, behemoth rock rose out of the sea.

The rock rising out of the sea

By the time we got off the boat,
it was dark. There were no campgrounds nearby so we parked in a Foodland
parking lot. It turned out that this was the parking lot where the local teens
came to drink and do drugs. At one point, someone was lying on the ground
nearby kicking their legs in the air—probably close to midnight.

I slept better than my mom. I wasn’t disturbed or worried
at all, so I fell asleep quickly. When I woke up this morning, the wind was
howling. This can be a good or bad thing depending on which direction the wind
is coming from. It turned out to be a cross-wind.

I was pedaling by 9am. I’ve heard that Newfoundland
weather can be unpredictable. I want to give myself a full day to get to where
I need to go in case bad weather comes along at some point. The beginning of
the day was rainy with a gusty tailwind—this lasted about 30km. I was wet, but
I enjoyed the light misty rain with the wind mostly at my back. Sometimes the
twisty highway would curve into a cross-wind. The Table Mountains looked eerie
in the dense mist to my right. To my left, I could make see a peaceful ocean.

The weather cleared and the sun came out. The road
changed direction, and I think the wind may have as well. I now had cross-winds
and headwinds. There were lots of hills: some long gradual climbs, short steep
climbs, and even some long steep climbs with stunning views at the crest. If
the wind isn’t in my favour, I don’t mind some hills.

The scenery was mystical. The clouds, the sea, the hills
and mountains, the little waterfalls emerging from rock faces at the side of
the road, and the rushing brooks created this natural fusion of ruggedness and
calm.

I finished my day at Barachois Pond Provincial Park. We
had a pretty campsite nestled in a dense coniferous tree forest. Some of trees’
roots had clenched on to boulders. There was often no soil or mass to be seen
between the tree and the rock. I’m in awe how some of these trees managed to
grow and thrive from the nutrients in the rock.

Rather than taking a shower, I decided to go for a swim
in the lake. It was cold; similar to Lake Superior in June. I didn’t stay in
long. One of the first things I’ve learned about Newfoundland: lakes are called
ponds, except for several large lakes that span at least 50km.

Barachois Pond Provincial Park: the pebble beach near our campsite

The weather held out for the most part today. The
temperature was awesome. I had a wave of adrenaline as our ferry came closer to
‘The Rock’, but that adrenaline was gone today. I feel lucky that I had the
weather I had. Although I love the scenery, I can’t say I’m looking forward to
the pedaling ahead. I’ve seen the sign saying: St. John’s 810km, St. John’s
780km, etc. I’m still a long ways off, so I won’t have that final rush of
hormonal energy until the last 2 or 3 days of biking. Most significantly, it’s inevitable
that I’ll have at least a couple days of bad weather in this province, which is
surrounded by ocean.

The Trans Canada has a paved shoulder for all of
Newfoundland. There’s no figuring out all the left and right turns each day—it’s
the Trans Canada all the way. Hooray.

-Skye

July 27/11

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