Cartwright, Labrador – The furthest place on earth off Disneyland

At 1°C the landscape is powdered with snow this morning. Newfoundland was an experience but Labrador is pure fascination, untouched landscape, endless expanse, extreme remoteness. The opposite of mass tourism. The blanket of snow becomes thicker, snowflakes crumble off the sky, and fog comes up. The track is covered with potholes and gets worse.

At Alexis Hotel in Port Hope Simpson we shall rent a satellite phone. Those are provided by the government for locals and visitors as well when going into the midland. Since there is no mobile phone or radio reception or SOS-telephone it allows communication in case of emergency. Unfortunately there are no more phones for today. Apparently, it happened for the first time. We could have made a short detour of 60 km via Charlottetown. Since we want to go to Cartwright anyway, we shall pick up the satellite phone there. You can return the device at the last station before leaving the province.

The lady at the gas station in Hope Simpson takes us for an alien life form from an unknown planet. To my question in which distance and direction we could find the next gas station with diesel she just shook her head. What we think to visit in Cartwright. And it was more than 400 km to Happy Valley Goose Bay! After asking several times she answered at least with yes or no to my questions. I quickly leave before she can call the Ghost Busters.

We pass endless forests, moors, and swamps. It snows or rains continuously. You can drive there for hours without meeting another living being. The ownerless snowmobiles with or without trailer or trailer solo that were left just beside the road after the last snowfall seem funny. Will the owners find them again in next winter?

In Cartwright Hotel we receive our satellite phone. The gas station is closed for today (it closes at 5 p.m.), but supermarket and Liquor Express are still open, we are told. We get a warning that the road to town has got a nice pattern. That’s true:  I’ve never seen a track with so many potholes. The 30 km/h maximum speed is completely exaggerated. Actually we came here to see Porcupine Strand. On the 56 km long golden sand beach plenty of artefacts were found that suggest settlement more that 7500 years ago. Black bears shall fish for trout in the rivers flowing into the sea. You can reach the beach only by boat. The weather pushed the icebergs into the bay, so that a fishermen’s boat nearly couldn’t get out the day before. The permanent snowfall doesn’t give us hope for an amusing day on the beach, so we skip that. I reconcile with the lady from the gas station in P.H. Simpson. There’s nothing to see in Cartwright. It is untidy, seems to be somehow dirty and less inviting. We buy a couple of beers at the governmental Liquor Express and return without fuelling.

Arminius is entirely spattered with mud, we can’t touch anything. If on asphalt road again we have to hope for a cloudburst or a car wash.

Between Cartwright and Port Hope Simpson we turn on the new gravel highway to Labrador City. Lissy leaves us here. Despite latest update the navigation system doesn’t know yet this road. The track was finished short time ago to connect central Labrador to the coastal region. Still today there are many villages you can only reach by plane or boat. Labrador has 30.000 inhabitants on 300.000 sq km; this means one Labradorean on 10 sq km.

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