Sunday, 31 July 2011

A fine trail and play to check out in Cow Head

The limestone breccia has been shaped by waves and wind
The shoreline of the "Head" has many nooks and crannies
       When I recently mentioned to Gaylene Buckle that we were heading to Cow Head to see some plays for the weekend, she suggested we try out the hiking trail that traverses the “Head”. As Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s (TNL) general manager, she has spent many days in Cow Head and knows the area’s nooks and crannies. We were planning on seeing “The Oracle of Gros Morne” that evening, but wanted to do some exploring in the afternoon before the play. “Try contacting Glenda Reid Bavis since she gives tours of the island and you can usually reach her through the museum” she told us. So the day before our trip we contacted Glenda and although she said the tours were normally held on Tuesdays, she would give us a tour if we arrived about 4:00 pm at the Cow Head museum. We then followed Glenda to the amphitheatre trailhead (you can get great maps of the trails at the museum) and she gave us a 1.5 hour tour which included interesting information about the cemetery, wild flowers and even the limestone breccia which composes the bedrock coastline. “These rocks originated as an undersea landslide millions of years ago” she told us. “And further along the shore there are bands of chert which was extensively used for arrow heads by native peoples. In fact archeologists have found over 2000 artifacts near the point which indicates that this area has been important for native peoples for a very long time ” she added. She then pulled out a small Tupperware container containing a chert arrow head and pieces of raw chert. As we continued our tour we passed a small lighthouse that was built in 1909 and then two lookouts which gave good views of the Long Range Mountains and coastline.  Glenda also pointed out a side trail to the tip of the peninsula and mentioned that if we should try to hike out there if we had time later in our visit. The next day we did the 1.5 km trail again with the extension to the point. The 1 km trail to the point is well worth it. You could spend hours exploring the interesting wave eroded shoreline or enjoy the peaceful grassy meadow with benches at the trail end. 

A scene for "Oracle"
          The “The Oracle of Gros Morne” is a fascinating play about the decline of the cod stocks which has affected many fishermen along this coast and in Atlantic Canada in general.  This play by Berni Stapleton is a unique collaboration between TNL and Memorial University’s Community-University Research for Recovery Alliance (CURRA). CURRA’s mandate is to find ways to promote the recovery of the marine ecosystem and the communities that depend on the fishery through research by social and natural scientists as well as through the arts. This multi-layered play deals with not only what is happening in Newfoundland with the continued failure of the cod stocks but with the larger issue of the global decline in the health of our ocean ecosystem.  “I enjoy acting in this play since it deals with an important ecological issue – the collapse of the local cod fishery is just a symptom of the larger issue of the state of the world’s oceans “Rory Lambert (who plays Manly) told us after the play.  For more information on TNL’s Gros Morne Theatre Festival schedule or to book tickets to a show see- or call 1-877-243-2899.

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