I pull the steering wheel left then push it back to the right. I am certain I barely skimmed a fishing hut navigating this narrow causeway. With water on both sides, there is so little property to work with, the sea shanties are stuck in the most precarious spots and out of abundance of caution, I move a little over the center line to avoid hitting anyone that may step out of one. Something about the shore line or maybe the beach triggers a memory or a feeling of I have been here before, but I know as an adult, I have never driven on this road and it is puzzling – how could I have possibly been here?
Other than a camping trip to The Ovens, I am certain I was not here with my family and if I had been, it was before the age of 7. Second option would be, I maybe was here with my best friend’s family during a horse show, or maybe a road trip down the province. I do recall one such trip which included a hay ride at New Ross Farm, and a visit to Oak Island. I clearly remember looking down the shaft of the money pit. (Yes from the TV Show, The Curse of Oak Island, on the History channel.) However, Oak Island is 2 and a half hours away and if we did come to Cape Forchu on that trip, I don’t recall it because it was about 40 years ago, but I will find out soon enough.
I roll into a parking space and turn the engine off. I scan out the truck window in all directions to see if anything jogs my memory but nothing stands out, so I happily exit the vehicle and start my exploration as a first-time visitor. The oversized red Adirondack chair is my first draw, then it’s up to the top of the lighthouse walk-way for a topside view of 19 acres. The lighthouse is 175 years old and a popular tourist attraction. Samuel De Champlain is credited with naming this place Cap Forchu in 1605.
From the upper porch of the restaurant, I can see people rock-hopping and trying to scale up the rock wall. This looks like my kind of place and I am off to the shore. In a gravel bed is a 50 foot long reconstructed skelton of a baleen fin whale. A contest was held last year to give the decedent a name; Foggy was the winner. The endearing name was chosen in honour of a humpback whale with the same handle that has been rescued in the area several times. As facinating as the skeleton is to most visitors, it seems more like a scare tactic than an honour to living Foggy, but just behind the bones is the Leif Ericson trail and I have to go see what connection Mr. Viking has to this place.
what the sign says: A mystery written in stone;
“The famous Yarmouth Runic stone was discovered at the head of Yarmouth harbour in 1812. Carved into the face of the 181-Kilogram /400 pound stone are thirteen characters. Though by some to be Norse Runes, an ancient form of writing that dates back at least 1000 years. Others theories have link the stone to early Basque explorers from the region of south France and northern Spain and even the Japanese. Since its discovery the Yarmouth Runic stone continues to be a great source of debate among historians and scholars around the world…”
This path is only 800 meters long wedged between volcanic rocks that are between 200 and 500 million years old, part of the same rock of the Atlas Mountains of Africa.
Further along the trail are some interpretive plaques describing some eatable plants that grow on the trail. One such plant is the salty rose. Its fruit, when ripe, produces the rose hip bud that is high in vitamin C. That would have been been a welcome find after a long voyage from Greenland.
I keep going down to the end of the trail and take some pictures back towards the lighthouse. A family with children climbs about the rocks having fun. Then I walk all along the shore to stand out on the end point where the sign-post points in the direction of far off destinations. I still haven’t reconciled my early feel of being here before, I don’t recognize any of this but I know what I felt. Perhaps I experienced a retrocognition moment, and I time travel back to Leif’s Vineland discovery moment. The breeze is starting to pick up, blowing my hair into my face and I scoop it back, tucking it behind my ears, but it is no use, it is gone wild like my imagination. I guess I spent too much time at the UFO center in Shag Harbour, One last look around I am off to discover what Yarmouth have to offer.
Happy Travels from Maritime Mac
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