Saturday, July 20, 2019

Farewell to Newfoundland

As we cross the Gulf of St. Lawrence on the Blue Puttees ferry bound for Nova Scotia, and we watch the beautiful island of Newfoundland disappear on the horizon, it's a bittersweet feeling. Joy and gratitude that we made it across our first province. Sadness to be leaving The Rock behind. A few people we've met along the way have said that when Newfoundland was looking to become part of another country in 1949, Canada was lucky to join with Newfoundland. We'd have to say we agree.

During the 49 days we spent walking across the island we identified and recorded 94 bird species, saw cool icebergs, impressive lighthouses, roaring waterfalls and rushing rivers, thousands of tiny lakes, bogs, meadows, and wetlands, the expansive Topsails, the emerald green Appalachian mountains, jagged coastal cliffs, and golden sandy beaches. We fell asleep listening to the songs of frogs, loons, and owls. We saw moose, woodland caribou, black bears, and an elusive pine martin, and we immersed ourselves in the refreshing sights, sounds, and smells of the Boreal forest. We experienced remote, rugged, wilderness, and the company of strangers who slowly became friends through music, laughter, and food. We even met another hiker who is also bound for Vancouver. It has been a truly wonderful adventure.

As we continue on to Nova Scotia we would like to thank Nature Newfoundland for helping us organize a talk at Memorial University in St. John's, and for showing such strong spirit and support on their kick-off hike for us. Thank you to The Telegram, CBC Corner Brook, the Great Trail, and Bird Studies Canada for helping us share our message about the importance of connecting youth to nature through birds. Thank you also to Parks Canada, and the amazing staff at Gros Morne National Park for helping us visit that fantastic UNESCO World Heritage site, putting us up, and giving us the opportunity to give a talk at the Visitor's Center. We'd also like to thank the Callahan's for a wonderful night in their beautiful cabin, and Tina for the ride and the absolutely delicious trail magic in Corner Brook! Thank you to my parents, who have given unwavering support, put together a trail guide for us, and sent the most amazing re-supply boxes! Thank you also to the dozens of people we've met and talked to along the way, who made sure we were okay out on the trail, or offered us food, water, or friendly advice. Finally, a huge thank you to the hundreds of people who have been following our adventure and giving us encouragement and advice. We appreciate all of you!

Thank you Newfoundland, we'll miss you!!!

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