This stretch of the Trans Labrador Highway was the “newer” portion that went from Red Bay to Cartwright, where we would take a ferry to Goose Bay. For a dirt road with not a lot on it, it is surprisingly beautiful in spots. There was more traffic than we expected, at least at first, and we often saw inuksuit, and sometimes mo-hoes next to rivers which we guessed belonged to hunters or fishers. Some parts of the road were treed and the sun would shine through the clouds in rays which makes everything look heavenly, and some portions were more barren and rocky and seemed to go on forever. We didn’t see any wildlife, except for some sort of felinesque thing that ran across the road. What was that? we asked each other. We would have guessed a cat except there were no houses or habitats for many miles around. Later, we found out what we had seen was the very rare Labrador Marten. Hardly anyone sees them and apparently you could get paid a lot if you managed to get a picture of one, which we didn’t, since we had only seen it for a few seconds. Still, that was a pretty special wildlife sighting and a kind of trans-country bookend to the BC Lynx we had seen on the Cranberry Connecter.
We stopped for gas (propane? Hahaha) at a place called Penney’s Pitstop outside of Port Hope Simpson, and there was a friendly fellow there who was telling us a bit about life in Nain, where he spent a lot of time because he had a gravel business there. Nain is a town in Northern Labrador that we wouldn’t get to—it’s really remote, even by our standards. It sounded a little lawless, even though there is a policeman there, with kids driving without licenses and not using seat belts and other misdemeanors. I guess making up your own laws is one of the perks of such isolation. The attendant also told us which of the two restaurants in town was better, the Midway Restaurant, so we went there for lunch.
Port Hope Simpson is a pretty “big” town as far as Labradorian towns go. We got a fairly run-of-the-mill pizza served on one of those raised pizza platter things, and since there were a number of local people eating I took the opportunity to do some people watching. I mentioned in a previous post that in Newfoundland the ladies are mostly very glamourous and the guys are crocs-with-socks. Labrador is the exact opposite—the guys are ripped and rugged with good hair and tattoos, and the ladies are kind of….I’m not sure how to say it…..earthy? No, that sounds too hippie. Maybe the ladies are practical and also a tad frumpy. Anyway, girlfriends, if you want a hardworking muscle bound hottie and you don’t mind traveling, consider Labrador as a good place to shop for a date.
After lunch we continued on, the only thing of interest on the road was a juncture we came to, that announced the road would connect to Happy Valley-Goose Bay in 2009. That’s where we were headed! However, since it was 2008, we needed to get there by boat.
We got to Cartwright around 10pm, and after doing a quick toodle around town to get orientated, we camped overnight in a secluded lot next to the road that we could not guess the use for.
Read Part Two of the Trans Labrador Highway (Happy Valley-Goose Bay to Labrador City) here.
Read Part Three of the Trans Labrador Highway (Labrador City to Baie Comeau) here.