Sunday, 22 June 2014

A Long Day

About to start from Pasadena on Friday June 13th (!) equipped with essentials for the next eight days of travel...
The cantle bag (at back of saddle) contains tent, mattress and my thermal jacket, the rear saddle bags my sleeping bag on one side, change of clothes, cooking gear and food on the other, the front bags personal belongings (diary, kindle, chargers) plus tethering rope, boots and miscellaneous small oddments.
Only small sections of the rail bed remained from here and we mainly rode along service roads.   Through a dairy farm where they tried to persuade me to stay the night......

 It did not take long to reach Steady Brook where the plan was to camp overnight before leaving at the crack of dawn to lead Lady along the two unavoidable miles of Trans Canada Highway before the fast traffic built up.  In the event I had left the fly mask I knew I would need somewhere deep in my truck, so Ruth and Kevin, my unpaid taxi service, drove the truck over and I was able to sleep in the back.
By 5.30am I was on the Highway with Lady and not a vehicle in sight  .....
...and it was not long before we had safely reached the turn off to Corner Brook, having encountered only twelve vehicles.
Through Corner Brook...
Only small sections of the rail bed remained along the hillside on the other side,,,,,
and it was not until we reached Petries that the trail began again in earnest.  It was here Lady and I stopped for a rest - a nice young man let her graze in his garden (hope his parents didn't mind) and fetched her a couple of buckets of water......
..while the sleep deprived and bleary eyed Brit was taken in by the nice lady in the house opposite for coffee and a sandwich.  If one thing is certain, I will never starve in Newfoundland.
As this was a residential area it was slow progress along the trail. Children rushed over to stroke Lady, and people stopped to chat. The opening gambit is invariably a variation on  "It's not often you see a horse around here", sometimes followed by "Aren't you that lady who is riding across Newfoundland."
The trail soon turned inland into the hilly and forested interior..
..although there were still quite a few ATVs on the trail.  In spite of often owning houses in idyllic positions, almost everyone in Newfoundland seems to have a cabin (or sometimes two!) tucked away in the woods, for hunting, fishing, partying or just relaxing.  The government sometimes auctions off blocks of wilderness lots cheaply, the deal being that you use it or lose it, and must build within two years.  The successful applicants are put in a draw to decide lots, the winner having first choice of lot, which will usually be overlooking a small lake (or pond as they call them here).
My destination for the day was Big Cook Pond, where several lots have just been developed to the west side along the rail bed.  I had been told there was a small beach to the south, and made camp there.  Unfortunately the mosquitoes had also made camp, but with no grass to speak of anywhere else I had no option but to stay there, even though they plagued Lady.  There was a constant stream of people down to enjoy the beach - fishing, canoeing and hanging out, and they also made contributions to my anti mosquito fire.
   Three young lads pointed out a beaver to me swimming around in the pond, but I am so blind it took me some time to see it.
It was well after dark before the mossies abated, Lady settled down a bit, and I got some fitful sleep.

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