Sunday, 20 October 2013

Impressive fall colours along the South Shore of the Bay of Islands

by Keith and Heather
On Sunday, October 20, 2013 we decided to head along the South Shore of the Bay of Islands to see the fall colours.  Previous posts have looked at places to see the autumn splendor in the Humber Valley, but the south shore also has lots of deciduous trees which seem to be at their prime right now. The weather forecast was not ideal but we decided that the clouds and showers weren’t likely to be bad enough to stop from checking out a few favourite stops along the way. We stopped at Frenchman’s Cove to take photos of the fishing boats and then decided to take the turn off to the Humber Arm South Day Park. We hadn’t been to this area in some time and it turned out to be an ideal place for photos of the Blow me down Mountains and Wood’s Island.  The day park has a lookout platform with telescope, children’s playground equipment and a couple of picnic tables. What a pleasant surprise to find this spot with its impressive views.
The Humber Arm South Day Park is a must see stop along the south shore

Blow me down Mountain had clouds swirling around the summit
 From there we headed to the well marked Coppermine Cape hiking trail parking lot which is a few kilometers further along the road toward York Harbour. The top of the mountains had clouds swirling along the ridge tops and the large stands of birch had turned the steep slopes a brilliant yellow. Our destination on this day was to hike to a scenic waterfall which is just 500 meters from the parking lot and is another hidden gem that in this area. The trail is mostly level and suited to all ages and abilities. This parking lot is also the staging grounds for one of the best hikes in the province in our opinion but the Copper Mine Cape trail would have to wait for another day when visibility was better on the mountain tops and we had more time. We also met a couple from St. John's who said they love travelling to this area in the fall since the autumn colours are so vibrant and the scenery is so captivating. We had to agree with them and counted ourselves lucky to have this on our doorstep just a 45 minute drive from Corner Brook. The fall colours seem to be lasting longer this October so be sure to head and enjoy them. 
The waterfall trail is suited to all ages and stages.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Enjoying the fall colours in the Humber Valley

by Keith and Heather Nicol 
On Sunday, October 13 we joined the Humber Valley Hikers for one of the best fall hikes in the province-The Appalachian Trail from Humber Village to Barry’s Lookout. The trail winds under a canopy of birch trees and with the bright sun and light winds we couldn’t have asked for a better day to hike this route. The trail head is at 48 59.262 N and 57 47.001 W and we usually park at the Aliant parking lot at the western edge of Humber Village. It took us about 45 minutes to reach Barry’s Lookout and below us were the golden hillsides of the Humber Valley with Deer Lake in the distance. With the ideal hiking weather our group of 19 decided to continue along the ridge to several other scenic lookouts. Another option for this hike is to start at Wild Cove Pond (48 58.262 N and 57 49.897 W) and walk to the 5 km to Humber Village but that requires a car shuttle at the end to get everyone back to the starting point to collect their cars. The fall colours should be good for another 2 weeks so check out this hike and be sure to bring your camera. For more hikes in Western Newfoundland see:
Along the Appalachian Trail near Humber Village
Looking to the east toward Deer Lake
On Monday, October 14 we decided to head out in our sea kayaks to see the fall colours along the lower part of the Humber River. We put in at the rowing club beach just off of Riverside Drive in Corner Brook and set our sights for the Prince Edward Park shoreline. From there we paddled toward the Humber River and by sticking close to the shore we could easily paddle to Ballam Bridge against the current. The northern side of the Humber River had splashes of red maples to contrast with the yellow birches and we spent an enjoyable 2 hours paddling along this colourful shoreline. Another scenic paddling trip at this time of year is to paddle from Humber Valley Resort to Humber Village. This is suited to novice canoers or sea kayakers since the Humber River has only one small section of small rapids along this route.
Paddling along the Lower Humber River

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Fall is a perfect time for golfing at Humber Valley Resort in Western Newfoundland

by Keith and Heather Nicol    
     Fall in the Humber Valley of Western Newfoundland means brilliant autumn colours and where better to enjoy these than on Newfoundland’s top rated golf course at Humber Valley Resort.  Heather Oke, the resort’s marketing and events manager, told us that the golf course has recently been ranked as the 10th best modern course in Canada by Golf Week. “This has been our busiest summer yet and we have had people from all over to play golf.  The course continues to be a big draw for golfers from the St. John’s area but we also from Ontario and B.C.  We hope to be open until the end of October so there is still lots of golf left “she added.
Heather at the first tee
     We had a chance to play the course on October 1 and it was in very good shape. The weather was perfect for golf with temperatures reaching 21 C in the afternoon. This course will test all of your golfing skills from tee to green. There are over 100 sand traps that will penalize the errant drive or approach shot and the large greens will test your putting skills.  Be sure to bring your camera since the front nine features fine vistas of Deer Lake, especially on the first 5 holes. In fact, the par 3 fifth hole is right along the water. Some courses have 1 or 2 signature holes, but the course at Humber Valley Resort has many, perhaps the most famous is #10 which provides a magnificent view of the Humber Valley. The back nine winds toward the Humber River and both #14 and #15 are right along the river. For more information on the Humber Valley Resort golf course see:
Keith on the signature 10th hole
      If you are looking for a place to stay while you are golfing or visiting the Humber Valley then have a look at the The Lodges at Humber Valley Resort ( Jean and Simon Burch manage 9 luxury vacation homes at Humber Valley Resort and on our most recent visit we stayed at Lakeview Lodge. It has good views of Deer Lake and the birch trees on the property were just changing colour. We enjoyed a glass of wine on the large deck before cooking dinner on the BBQ. These 4.5 star vacation homes have between 3 and 5 spacious bedrooms and a kitchen, dining and living area for entertaining. All you need to do is bring the food! The Lodges also has a bed and breakfast for anyone not wanting to rent an entire lodge.
A large deck leads off the dining room at Lakeview Lodge

 Jean told us that they have had a very busy summer. “Most people who stay here play golf at the resort but they also use it as a base to head to Gros Morne National Park one day and Corner Brook or Cox’s Cove the next day. We also have an active winter season in February and March with skiers and snowmobilers staying at our lodges." Jean adds with a grin. 
The master bedroom also leads to the large deck