Trinity and Bonavista, Newfoundland and Labrador

I woke up early two consecutive mornings to hike the Skerwink Trail, next to the hostel I was staying at in Trinity East. It’s relatively undemanding, just under two hours long, incredibly scenic…and also incredibly empty, at this time of year. I ran into one single person on the trail, looking absolutely tiny standing on the edge of a cliff. We later ran into each other and hiked the rest of the trail together, picking wild blueberries along the way. Shrouded in the morning mist that first morning, the jagged, rocky coastline, the lightly obscured view of the little town of Trinity, the quickly-hiding stouts (kind of like large weasels), and the complete quiet of an empty trail gave an aura of mystery. The next morning, in full-on sunshine (and again empty), the same scenery looked vast and majestic. Crazy what a little weather does for you.

The town of Trinity itself, on the other hand, is swimming in tourists, which struck me as a little odd. It’s pretty and picturesque, and almost too much so, with its perfectly manicured, old English-style buildings spanning a mere few blocks resembling a toy model village from afar, and little to detain the visitor short of a theatre show. However, this was a pretty good place to try some Newfoundlander food — how about some cod tongues and scrunchions?

Cod tongues are not exactly the tongues of cods, more like the fleshy undersides of their jaws. Still, you get these dainty, gummier little pieces of cod meat, pan-fried. And scrunchions? Tiny cubes of deep-fried pork fat. Mmm, salty. Overall, an interesting dish worth trying, but one I admit I won’t be ordering again.

I popped on over to Bonavista, a 45-minute drive away, intending to just check out the lighthouse at Cape Bonavista. However, the ride back via Elliston was a little more interesting, as I found myself begrudgingly directed by my GPS to return via a gravel road (something my rental car isn’t super capable of handling). After passing through the odd site of cows and horses grazing cliffside, picture-perfect, I stumbled upon Dungeon Provincial Park, a stunning geological formation tucked away halfway down the road.

Continuing in Elliston, I knew exactly what I wanted to see — the puffin colony! But before that, I passed by some curious tell-tale doors littered around the hillsides, hobbit-hole like things. Turns out Elliston bills itself as the root cellar (used in the olden days as a means of “refrigeration”) capital of the world. Huh. Anyway, without further ado… PUFFINS. They’re so tiny!

As some of you may know, penguins are my favourite animals, and puffins look like miniature penguins so I’m totally just melting away watching them. It was amazing to sit on the side of a cliff, watching them from across their little island. They dig little holes in which to keep their eggs from being eaten by the seagulls that otherwise coexist peacefully with them.

To cap off a day and a half of miniatures, I returned to the hostel to find a little kitchen party going on, in honour of hostel owner Martha’s birthday. With what? Beer, pizza, heavy Newfoundlander-accented stories, and what do you know, a mini toy accordion!

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