Ok… so sorry it took so long to update my posts. I’ve been busy 🙂
Phase II of the Trans Labrador Hwy runs from Goose Bay to Labrador City but I decided to stop halfway in the remote town of Churchill Falls. This town is home to a massive hydro-electric plant that was the largest in the world when completed in 1970. It generates over 5,400 megawatts of electricity… check the link under my Blogroll for more info.
The reason I stopped was to take a tour of the hydro plant. Unfortunately, the tour guide had sprained her ankle and so I had to stay two days in this thumping town of 650 people until another tour guide returned from vacation.
The drive on the gravel from Goose Bay provided some nice scenery but little else in the way of excitement. When I arrived at Churchill Falls I checked into the only hotel in town and asked the hotel manager, Kirby, what there was to do in Churchill falls. His response was “meet me here at 5:30 and I will show you around.” Let me tell you, this guy was the absolute epitome of “nice” Canadian.
At the appointed time Kirby whisked me off in his truck and showed me things that I guess most visitors don’t get to see. First, he showed me the basin of where Churchill Falls used to run before the hydro project. The river must have been huge! It was also cool to see the old cable car infrastructure that they used to use to cross the river in the old days. Then we tore off on some back roads and drove across the top of some of the largest dykes I have ever seen. These dykes were constructed in several places to hold back and divert the water for the hydro project. In total, the they contribute to a drainage basin roughly equal to the size of Florida!
On we drove to a place called Pike hole where Kirby guaranteed me that we would catch a fish on the first cast. Well… first cast he hooked a fish that broke the line and ran off with his brand new lure. Second cast was pretty good and he pulled in a Northern Pike. I gave it a shot and pulled in a bigger one… that swallowed the entire hook so I felt bad that Kirby had lost two lures in a very short space of time.
Undeterred, we drove on the the Whitefish locks where I proceeded to foolishly climb out onto one of the fingers where the water was rushing through. The power of nature was truly spectacular and I’m glad I did it.
I had said to Kirby earlier that I had never seen a bear in the wild and his response was “I can show you plenty of bears.” I was very excited as we sped off to… the town dump!!!! Sadly, the black bears in the area know how to find an easy meal and as many as 22 of them at one time have been spotted at the dump. We pulled up and climbed onto the mounds surrounding the dump. Sure enough, a small adolescent black bear was digging through the trash. As we stood and watched him, another 3 bears arrived to join the fun. We kept looking back over our shoulders because the bears could pop up at any time right behind you. I did not need that close of a nature experience.
After snapping some pictures, I headed back to the hotel and had dinner before turning in for the night with a movie and an Aero bar 🙂
All in all, it was a great day and I got to see a few things I had never seen before… that’s what it is all about!