THE VIK­ING TRAIL

NEW­FOUND­LAND

Canadian Geographic - - CANADA'S BEST WINTER DRIVES - —Rus­sell Wanger­sky

NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART, New­found­land’s Vik­ing Trail is the spinal cord for the string of small towns dot­ted along the is­land’s Great North­ern Penin­sula. Route 430 winds north from Deer Lake, car­ry­ing goods to towns with names such as Sally’s Cove and Quir­pon (pro­nounced car-poon), and with an on­shore wind in win­ter, snow can ar­rive at any mo­ment. If you re­ally need to stretch your legs (and lungs), stop your tran­sit of the trail in Gros Morne Na­tional Park, where there are 50 kilo­me­tres of groomed cross-coun­try ski trails. Re­fuel your­self back in Deer Lake or move on to Nor­ris Point or Rocky Har­bour; all three towns tra­di­tion­ally stag­ger their win­ter car­ni­vals from mid-Fe­bru­ary through to early March, and if your timing is good, moose soup, chili, meat­balls and shep­herd’s pie could be on the menu. And not just on the menu. Moose (and cari­bou, closer to the north­ern end of the route) are a com­mon sight, with the for­mer fre­quent enough to be a se­ri­ous road haz­ard for the un­wary. Sights on this por­tion of the trail in­clude the small, bright hud­dle of shore­line houses on open ground in Green Is­land Cove, the Flower’s Cove light­house (which is so tan­ta­liz­ingly close it ap­pears you can al­most touch it, but is ac­tu­ally en­sconced on a small har­bour is­land) and, near the top of the penin­sula, the shel­tered bowl of St. An­thony Har­bour. And fi­nally, if you can make it, Burnt Cape, a lime­stone cape of bro­ken stone so bar­ren and windswept you would swear you had turned north and found the Arc­tic.

Visitors snow­shoe in Gros Morne Na­tional Park in New­found­land and Labrador.

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