Destination: Humber Lodge
By Andrew Goldsworthy
Many of you will recall the newly minted Humber Lodge as the former Big Falls Lodge operated by Irene and Stirling Pittman. Originally established in 1989 to cater to the Salmon fishers, fall hunters and winter snowmobile scene, this location catered to and created many a happy angler, hunter and smiley faced sledder…with one thing in common, happy memories. As in life, the legacy of a location is key to the succession plan presented. This is where Fred and Shirley Thorne come into play as the new owners of the Big Falls location, or as it’s newly branded entity; the Humber Lodge.
Prior to this visit, my only dealings with this winter location was a one-time drop in to simply say hi to the original owners, Irene and Stirling. However, the new operators, Fred and Shirley, they have been friends of Sledworthy for years and back in 2009, we visited their location in Buchans (NL); the Red Indian Lake Lodge. So, this opportunity to enjoy a stay at the Humber Lodge could not be passed up, especially with the new renovations that Fred and Shirley had done.
Humber Lodge has two key staging areas; the White Bay Convenience which is at the Hampden Hwy Junction on the TCH (and Route 420 which leads to the Taylor’s Brook Road area) and from Cormack (Route 422) where you can park at the staging area for the ever-popular White River Road area. This location makes Humber Lodge strategically located for traveling both east and west. West of the Lodge, you can enter the Gros Morne National park area via White River Road. East of the Lodge, you can access the Upper Humber regions via Taylor’s Brook Road. Both directions would easily satisfy your urge to explore and the comforts of the Lodge would
take care of the post ride activities. Unique to the Humber Lodge facility is its ability to cater to guest and the general public. The guest side features beautiful rooms with full bathrooms and multiple areas to enjoy a post ride beverage or simply read a good book. Open in the winter to the general public, Humber Lodge presents a sit-down restaurant side that’s open to any passing sledders that wish to stop in for a hot bowl of soup, or one of their gourmet burgers. Anyone staying in the Deer Lake or Bonne Bay Pond area, this is a great destination suggestion, pop over for a quick lunch and ask to get a tour of the place, you won’t regret it.
The Lodge has 12 guest rooms with private washrooms and showers. The main floor has four rooms with one queen bed in each, two rooms with 2 double beds in each, one room with a double bed and one room with two single beds. The lower level has a drying room, recreation/social room, two rooms with two single beds and two rooms with a double bed in each. The main level also presents the guest lounge and dining room. The public restaurant is also on the main level and open to cater to drop in guest.
My riding buddy Andrew Tilley had joined me for this trip that saw us utilize the parking at White River Road (Cormack, NL). There’s a short hike to travel your gear into the Lodge but once there, the reward far outweighs this task. We simply left our extra gas secured in the truck. Our first riding day saw us bombing around the vast snow valleys of the Augus Lake region. Day two saw us do the Big
Loop where we departed Humber Lodge early, took White River Road into the Silver Mountain interchange and from there, took the old logging roads over to Taylor’s Brook Road. The section of trail from Silver Mountain over to Taylor’s Brook Road is outside of the NL Snowmobile Federation zone, so don’t expect it to be groomed. This non-groomed section (Silver Mountain Section) is probably 40 KM and very scenic. This route will see you cross a beautiful suspension bridge with the mighty Humber underneath, just before you join into the Matty’s Pond section of trail. From here, you head east to the 24 KM mark of the Taylor’s Brook Trail, this is the section of the trail known as the ‘Y’. At the Y, we took the North West route that heads back into the country. At the 34 KM mark, we always drop into visit our friends at Snowy Cabin Adventure (Gaye & Edgar Randell). From there, we headed to Eagle Mountain (50 KM mark) where we got off of the trail and started riding Backcountry. From Eagle, we headed over towards the corridor that takes you into Gros Morne National Park. This route will see you travel across St. Pauls Big Pond and Island Pond. While in the National Park, it’s important to keep to the corridor as we can never forget that this National Park is the only National Park in all of Canada that you can snowmobile in and we never want to lose that advantage. On this route, you come to another decision junction where you can head
back towards Matty’s Pond and connect to your original track, this is a good option if the higher country is stormy and I’ve utilized this option before. However, this day did permit us to travel over towards the Western Brook Pond Gorge. From there, we headed towards Candlestick Pond and took the main route back to Angus Lake. From Angus, we connect back to our original interchange where we originally veered towards Silver Mountain, this allowed us to connect back to White River Road. After a quick warm up in the NLSF warm up shelter on White River Road, we decided to head back to the Lodge. The Big Loop trip is a 225+ KM day and if you stop to enjoy any of the (many) play spots to razz it up, you’ll definitely be into your spare gas.
Back at the Lodge, we hung up our gear to dry, grabbed a hot shower and sat into a feast for supper, prepared by the Lodge’s full-time chef. Our Lodge host at the time was Shirley White and this crackerjack of a lady was hopping and bopping around, taking care of everything. We had two remarkable days riding this area and to come back to an all-inclusive Lodge, have supper ready and post ride; simply relax and recap the day’s adventure, in my books, that makes for a great couple of days.
For more information about the Humber Lodge, hit their site at www.HumberLodge.com