Ferry to Labrador – Slalom around the icebergs

Sunshine, snow, and rain change wildly today. The ferry from St. Barbe, Newfoundland to Labrador (harbour is Blanc Sablon, Québec) takes just one and half hours, but in the end of the trip it has to drive slalom around the icebergs. Normally there is no ferry between January and March due to the ice, but this Winter Strait of Belle Isle wasn’t blocked by ice for the first time.

Now I guess I can see through the clothing system: With temperatures above zero t-shirt or bermuda shorts and / or thongs without socks are adequate garments, adapted to the mild atmospheric conditions. I personally do not take off my newly bought wooden cap, embroidered with a golden moose, and made in China.

In Labrador we first realize the extremely tidy houses, everything seems proper and organized. The landscape is different on the mainland. The mountains are higher, the views wider, and the trees lower. But there are moss and lichen, grass and shrub. A magnificent, primeval, untouched, and snow spotted landscape.

We cross Pinware River. The wide river shoots around some curves with a considerable gradient and an enormous speed. The water appears black, thousands of frothy whirlpools shimmer brownish. Rafting would be great fun here – for advanced.

After exactly 78 km the asphalt road ends in this part of the continent. The following gravel highway is well passable. If you don’t have a 4-wheel drive just check the road condition before you start, weather might change the situation. In 300 m elevation we discover a completely frozen lake. Black and red stones create a pretty contrast to different green shades, blue rivers and lakes and again and again snow. It is an enormous effort to build this gravel road just in the middle of a huge swamp. Unfortunately we can’t leave the track, it is too high and there are no rest areas. We ask at Haut Chapeau highway maintenance department if we can park here overnight. No problem at all. We visit the workshop with huge snowploughs and snow blowers. A couple of minutes ago we passed a 5 m high snow drift, in winter it shall be up to 18 m high. -35°C aren’t rare, and including the wind-chill factor -65°C. We drink a beer together with the two mechanics that are on duty. In return we receive a bag full of snow crabs; we want to cook them tomorrow. Outside snow trickles continuously.

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