From October 12 to 15, a small group of Greenland youth from the Uummannaq Peninsula and their Danish leader René Kristensen were in Western Newfoundland to hike sections of the IATNL. They were joined by French film maker Marc Buriot and arrived from St. John`s where they attended an Inuit Studies Conference and screened local Greenland films, including INUK.
Day One of the visit began when the group met IATNL executive members Paul Wylezol, Arne Helgeland and Kevin Noseworthy at the base of the Humber Valley Trail for a day hike to the 880ft (268m) Man In The Mountain Lookoff.
The autumn hike through colourful foliage was anything but ordinary for the Inuit kids whose home landscape – like northern Labrador – contains no trees.
Day Two was the start of a two day adventure to Gros Morne National Park, including an overnight stop at Paul’s B&B near Arches Provincial Park.
The day ended with a moose dinner provided by Kevin and cooked by Paul and Arne. The Day Three drive through the National Park included stops at Green Point, location of the Global Stratotype for the geological boundary between the Cambrian and Ordovician periods, the Tablelands, and Trout River, where the group walked the Eastern Point Trail.
The IATNL hopes to connect the end of the trail to the park’s Green Gardens Trail, where the grassy slopes are the historic destination of local sheep brought there to graze for the summer months. The region is part of the Little Port Island Arc Complex and is included in the planned Cabox Global Geopark.
Though the walk was level and short, it worked up enough of an appetite for a midday lunch on the deck of the Merchant Warehouse in nearby Woody Point. After returning to Corner Brook, the group attended the Films From Away night at Grenfell Campus of Memorial University, where they screened their animated film Kassasuk followed by the feature film INUK (http://www.inuk-film.com/), produced in part by Marc near the Greenlanders home on the Uummannaq Peninsula. After the screening, René and Marc discussed the making of the films and took questions from the audience. Prior to the screening, the group toured the campus’ telescope above the lecture hall, the largest telescope in Atlantic Canada.
The final day of their Western Newfoundland tour, the group travel down the southern shore of the Bay of Islands to Bottle Cove, where they took a morning hike along another section of the Little Port Island Arc Complex. In the afternoon they set off on a hike to the top of Cape Blow Me Down which at 2000ft (610m) provides a spectacular 270 degree view of the Bay of Islands and Humber Arm. 2017 marks the 250th Anniversary of renowned British surveyor, navigator and explorer James Cook surveying the bay and most of Western Newfoundland, an event which will be commemorated by the IATNL and Cabox Aspiring Geopark. It was a great four days of playing host and touring with the IAT Greenlanders. Many thanks to René and Marc for sharing their film and to Ivan Emke and the staff at Grenfell Campus for making them feel at home.
Hopefully in the not too distance future, a group from IAT Newfoundland can make a trip to the Uummannaq Peninsula to hike with them on a beautiful stretch of IAT Greenland!