The sub arctic tundra of Newfoundland’s northern peninsular has a mood all its own. With over a hundred plant varieties, thirty-three rare and three that only occur here you can imagine the richness of the marshy tundra. What looked like oil slick in the puddles was the seeping of what they called bog iron. They now believe the Viking settlers actually smelted over two kilograms of iron from the material they lifted from under the sodden sods to make nails to repair their boats.
It seems Leif Eriksson made landing here some 1000 years ago, built up a sod and beam settlement, inhabited it for a few years then moved on after being chased off by the Aboriginal people of which there seems to be almost no physical evidence remaining. The site was rediscovered by Norsemen in the 1960’s in a stunning position, alongside a running brook, in grassy meadows, facing the Atlantic and Greenland. The sod houses have been reconstructed as an interactive, very low key museum, and as you can see we were welcome to play with the Viking lifestyle. It was well done and certainly gave us the feeling of what it would be to hunker down there on the very tip of the land.
We walked for some miles and finally came face to face with a mother moose and her calf! Great place to come eye to eye with one rather than on the highway. They are considered such a road pest here that there are signs constantly reminding you to be careful and noting how many accidents there have been lately. Imagine something as big as a camel.. We also saw a magnificent stag with his mighty rack of horn.
Coming into a little cove we almost bypassed another treat thinking it was a piece of flotsam amongst the rocks. A closer look revealed this shape as a white seal basking in the sun. It was a Harp seal, alone. She waved her flipper at us as we watched.
We leave this treasure trove with a little reluctance…perhaps we will return another day…