- Route 430, Flower’s Cove, Newfoundland, Canada.
- Coordinates; 51.3027, -56.7225.
The air was humid and still as I walked along the wooden boardwalk. A black fly continuously did loops around my head looking for an open piece of skin to land on. Before heading out for this walk, I slathered on bug spray, completely coating any and all exposed skin, so there wouldn’t be an easy spot for these bloodthirsty pests to siphon from my veins. It seemed to work. Once I was over the marshy area the fly disappeared.
The plaque at the end states most of the Great Northern Peninsula is made up of limestone but most of it is covered in vegetation, there are only a few places you can walk on it. I had already seen some of it on the Dorset Trail to Phillip’s Garden, in Port Aux Choix, Another plaque reminds visitors that this area is fragile, an not to disturb or remove any of the trees and shrubs. Many of them are very old and can only grow in the clefts of these limestone rocks, where they are protected from the elements. A final note to dissuade poaching proclaims these hardy trees and shrubs will not survive transplanting.
I step off onto the large white flat-topped rocks. They are all about the same colour and appearance but the further I go, the bigger the rocks get and the deeper the cracks and crevasses become. At first, I just need to lengthen my stride to get from one to the next. Eventually, I need an athletic lunge to get across to the next rock. I would say the experience would be like walking on top of a life-size jigsaw puzzle. Nearing the farthest point, I come to an area where it would be dangerous to try and leap and land on the next rock. I get a little trembly and afraid with this strange feeling; I have been here before.
It wasn’t my recent walk over the patches at Philips garden, it was more like the sensation of deja vu, I know I have never been to Newfoundland prior to this trip, so it is impossible that I have been here before,. I do a long-jump leap and land with a stagger on the last accessible rock, and a vision pops into my head- a memory, “Yes, that is it.” It was something I dreamt.
At some point when I was a child, my mother told me a story from her youth, about a farmer tilling his land with his horse and plow in Margaree, Cape Breton. I recall her saying something like a fissure opened up and the horse and plow fell in a crevasse. The farmer scrambled away to safety but the hole closed up, swallowing the horse, yet the farmer could still hear his neighing. Since my mother wasn’t there to actually witness the event, it must have been a story she heard either at her home or within the community.
Regardless of its origins, that story gave me a nightmare; In the dream the ground was a dusty whitish surface and I was walking over these quivering jelly-like mounds, terrified of being consumed by the earth but desperate to help a horse that was neighing buried underground. Every time I got close to his location, the ground all around me would crack open and seal closed again. The horse’s neighing continued and I felt helpless to assist him. As bizarre as it sounds, this landscape brought back the memory of that story.
For everyone else the White Rocks Walking Trail is a lovely outing, worth stopping for a walk on the barrens It is also a timely rest stop between L’Anse aux Meadows-A Viking settlement., St Anthony, NFLD. and Port Aux Choix.
The trail encircles the pond and will take about 25 minutes to complete. Make sure you watch where you started and end, there are ATV trails leading from the main trail, that you could easily venture off on, heading in the wrong direction. There is a picnic table in the parking lot where I made lunch. Don’t forget your bug spray. White Rocks Walking Trail is just 2.3 km north of Marjorie Bridge and the Thrombolites. You can complete both in about two hours. If you want to stay in the area, the community of Flower Cove also offers free RV parking on the beach. I camped here overnight; it was very safe and the sea breeze and sunset was priceless. The community also has a gas station, bank, co-op grocery store, a liquor store, restaurant and health center.
Please join me again as I head to Blow Me Down Provincial Park.
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