Nan & Pop – surprise tour guides for the day.
By Rebecca Cole
I’ve always been a winter outdoor enthusiast and I think that has something to do with growing up in the snowy paradise of central Newfoundland. I always enjoyed spending the day out on snowmobile, winding up and down the hills through the heavy snow covered trees, playing in fresh powder and going across flat frozen lakes.
But recently I went on a ride with my grandparents and had the unique experience of learning the history of the landscape as we crossed it. Learning more about the area made the day even more memorable. And I’d like to share a little so maybe the next time you’re in the area you might have the same appreciation of your surroundings.
We started the journey leaving the cabin at crooked lake heading towards our turn around point of Millertown Junction. As we rode across the bog and over the road landmark by landmark we made our way past Powderhorn lake, little Joe Glodes lake and then you guessed it Joe Glodes Lake.
We then arrived at the Gaff Topsail which is quite daunting because the landscape becomes white and vast except for the four landmarks that were used when the railway originally passed through. As you go across this area the boulders are set out like the sails on a large ship. You first pass the Mizzen rock, the Topsail, the Gaff Topsail, the Fore Topsail. If you didn’t have a GPS these landmarks could help you navigate your way across this stretch of land. Additionally, back when the train passed through there were small settlements of workers living out on the Gaff that were responsible for servicing the railway and the train. However, being that the Gaff is the summit of this landscape it experiences insane amounts of snowfall. So when, the snow hit in the fall instead of shoveling all winter they would shovel until the snow got so high that they could form a tunnel and just live under the snow and work above.
Continuing on we reached Millertown junction. This scenic spot used to be where the train would split and head either towards the mine in Buchans or on towards St. John’s (East). Next time you are there you’ll see a little green cabin that used to be a post office and you’ll be able to visualize exactly where the train used to stop and offload supplies.
After a full day of riding, it was nice to have a warm drink and sit by the crackling cast iron fireplace. I know I’ll never forget the bits of history that my grandparents relayed to me when I’m snowmobiling in the central region.