Gone are the splotches of lavender and pink lupine that graced the roadsides of Nova Scotia replaced now in western Newfoundland with low deep green vegetation backed by short pines. Fields on some hills fade to light green, flat topped mountains are reflected in still pools and shallow lakes. The black top stretches away to the horizon, only the dot of a red bus and a blue car in the distance, traffic since the ferry. “Brooks” of Newfoundland replace “loops” of Nova Scotia. Signs warn of “moose crossing,” “slow down, save lives.” A ridge sporting a cell phone tower is spiked with burned fir tops like a bad haircut on the mountain. Men fishing in wide rocky rivers, their rods and lines flashing over sparkling water everything else, including the men, is dark green.
Further on deep blue mountains patched with snow back the rolling green, the road swells to four lanes then narrows to two. No litter but massed buttercups. A truck stopped indicates men fishing. Six foot high metal mesh moose fencing for a ten mile stretches just beyond St. Stephen’s with gates. Massive highways roll on without traffic as if the population has been removed by aliens. Telephone poles are propped by wooden crates filled with field stones. A giant lake in the middle of nowhere is studded with elegant vacation homes. Rumor has it Oprah W. has a home here somewhere…
Six bicyclists pass us careening down the long, slow hills past billboards for RV parks in Corner Brook the last sizable town heading north. Traffic has increased, four cars and a couple of trucks. In a pull off two stocky men stand stolidly smoking, contemplating the silent pines next to an enormous gray pickup. No sound but the wind. Corner Brook lies whitely in a deep inlet against the flat snow covered hills to the west.
Near Port au Choix a sign announces “Folk Art and Things for sale.” A young caribou covered in hunks of gray molting fur wanders down the middle of the road before galloping for cover in the brush.