Stepping into the dream

What a journey it has been!

When we first began to plan this trip across Canada, and found ourselves drawn to the remote and pristine wonder of Newfoundland, never did we imagine the extraordinary gift of the Blue Charm Inn…

We headed out from St John’s last Saturday with Roxanne’s delightful company and commentary. Following Craig’s ute made driving on the right (wrong!) side of the road a little easier. Though we had seen some of the St John’s area this was our first long drive up-island as they would say. What a stunning landscape. We could not have picked a land more contrasted to our own. The sun shone and the water, which was everywhere in ponds, brooks and coves, was a deep radiant blue, dense with cold.

Without any intention we had arrived for the May long weekend and everyone was out planting their spring gardens or off to their cabins after the long winter. Which also meant we had Craig, Roxanne and boys, Stephen and Ian, able to join us for the three days. What a bonus!

After all but bypassing Gander (a quick stop for provisions) we traveled another 40 minutes north to the track to Raft Pond and beyond. What a buzz. What followed was an hour of gently coaxing our 2000 km young hire car along a freshly thawed track maintained by the local community with the deliberate intent of discouraging strangers – need I say more!

Then we were there – on the shore of New Pond – and across the water was the photo that has hung off our fridge, inhabited our computer screen, and consumed our imagination for the last eight months!

It is hard to describe the internal excitement of transiting out of the fantasy and into the very present reality of our lovingly crafted cabin in Newfoundland. The vast body of deep fresh water was the portal that would take us from one world to another.  Speechless, Nettie and I could only exchange looks of shared wonder and exhilaration as we boarded the little boat, crossed the pond and stepped onto our new country. We now have a new home…

And what a snug little home it is. The key was ceremoniously passed to Nettie. An armful of spruce logs and a handful of splits, known to us as kindling, were soon a heart of warmth in an efficient cast iron stove/heater in the centre of the cabin. Tea was made while Craig returned to the far shore for all the gear. Within minutes of his return he had us out on the jetty with rods in hand and within another ten we had caught and released baby salmon (6-8 inches long and totally illegal to keep) and had landed our first trout each for dinner. The long weekend was also opening of trout season – what timing! We will have to return next year to catch and keep the salmon as the season does not open till first weekend in June. Craig tells us that there are times over summer when the water broils with salmon as they head up river to spawn having traveled from Greenland and Iceland. The keepers then are between about 30 to 60cms as anything bigger are to released back as breeding stock.

As you will hear Craig, a licensed province guide (how lucky are we?), has been an endless wealth of information and experience. He knows these realms like no other about here and when it comes to fishing these parts, has no peer. And he is a poet to boot!

The next few days have been a charmed introduction to our new found land as we have toured the miles of waterways, fished in Craig’s special spots, been introduced to beaver lodges, seen and called to a pair of lifetime mated loons who’s eerie call would touch the hardest heart, feasted on lobster and trout, looked without success for bear and moose, learned to step boldly forth on a snakeless land, been introduced to many of our new neighbours scattered along New Pond’s shores (almost all locals from Musgrave Harbour 20 mins away), climbed hills on tracks Craig has made, explored an abandoned bear protected cabin, seen squirrels and woodpeckers and jays…

Now, our host family returned to St John’s, we have been alone in the cabin for a couple of wild and windy days. Warm and snug we have drawn water from our well, kicked in the generator as needed to recharge the battery system, watched snow flurry melt down the window glass, slipped out with coats and thermals for an odd walk and an arm full of firewood, landed a 12.5 inch trout and slept and read, knitted and painted, all the while losing ourselves in the ever moving landscape beyond our window.  Tomorrow (Thursday) come rain, hail, snow, wind or waves we will pack ourselves up and venture forth into our little boat (without Craig!) and take ourselves back to the car on the main shore, reluctantly leaving this special place behind till we return next summer (August, September, 2011).

Save your pennies and book your bed, The Blue Charm Inn is a treat we would love to share with many of you in times to come!!

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