Sunday, June 30, 2013

Run-touring Channel Port aux Basques

Posting from the MV Highlander while returning to North Sydney NS from Newfoundland.  After seven days on "the rock," the highlight of which was four days/three nights backpacking the locally famous Long Range Traverse through Gros Morne National Park, I finally got in a run in this wonderfully remote locale.  For an hour this morning I jogged through thick fog and some rain up and down more or less every street in the downtown area of one of the oldest (European) settlements in North America.  (Basque fishers are known to have used the harbor early in the 1500s.)  I tried but failed to reach the lighthouse -- a boat is necessary; I reached a Coast Guard facility at the high-point in town; I passed three churches on the same block -- zoning, or competitive forces at work?; and I greeted a few very friendly locals.  I also learned:

The ferry SS Caribou had launched from here in 1942 before being sunk by a German U boat.
The English purchased Newfoundland from the French in 1713.
Early settlers were French and English.
The earliest ferries from Newfoundland to Canada started in 1898.
The rail line from Channel Port aux Basques to St. John's NL started running in the same year.

This is a marvelous place.  I never fully realized one could find such remoteness 1200 miles by car and six hours by ferry from DC.  We didn't make it to some extraordinary places, such as the Viking settlement on the far northwest tip of the island that dates to the year 1000.

Back now to reality.  One reality:  I need to return to steady running after a month of not nearly enough.

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