Call 800-966-9658


Hours of Operation
Mon - Wed 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thurs - Fri 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Sat 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Sun 12:00 pm - 5:00 pm
220 Water Street, St. John's, NL Canada  CONTACT US

Dana Warren Solo Hike 2015

Mosquitoes, Black Flies, Stouts, and Sand Flies

The Outfitters - Thursday, July 16, 2015

Sheilagh and I have just landed in Badger. This story is interwoven with fly frustration and incredible beauty. 
Mosquitoes, black flies, stouts, and sand flies love heat or seemingly the right heat. I wonder out loud if they are attracted to my blood type. People love talking about the flies - "worst year ever". But, for the most part, they have not bothered me along the way but for a few outright battles where, honestly, kilometres can disappear in battle. You suddenly walk out of a cloud and poof, they're gone. 

Our first night together is preceded by my first (new found) friend who joins me to walk. Elaine Huxter jumps on at Deerlake for a leisurely 15km to Howley. I'm so excited to have company and to stop talking to poles and frogs (although I'll be back to that shortly). Her husband Bob thinks it'll take us the day but I boldly pontificate and say 3 hours. We walk, and walk, and walk some more. We reach the dam and Elaine suggests we're half way. In the meantime we've already walked 13 km. Turns out to be 26km. We are baking in 27 degrees. I'm willing to jump on an ATV several times but Elaine keeps me pure and Bob meets us with Ginger ale. I bet they were glad to see the back of me! People are loving and kind and Elaine is my hero. 

Sheilagh and I together again. We set up camp and even roast marshmallows. We have her car and the luxury of a hatchback to organize our essential bits and count out food and snacks while I make sure we don't bring too much. The Gaff Topsails is 101km and reputedly closed the Newfoundland Railway with weather impasses. We must travel light, but appropriately. After a successful review, we snuggle into the tent (Hubba Hubba NX - best tent ever) and no sooner are we in, than the rain begins. It rains, and rains, and rains some more. Then the thunder and lightning begins. I am bolted from a half stupor with the loud crack above us. Little sleep but bone dry in the morning. 

A cool day meets our first 23km. Perfect walking weather. I feel trepidation and excitement. People’s jaws drop when you tell them you're doing The Gaff Topsails. The first day on the trail everyone that passes stops - this is a first. You begin to get a glimpse of the tribe that travels up here. We rest at river crossings. You get a sense of the landscape opening up in a way that has not been before. There are a few cabins scattered along but it is sparse as we climb the 30 kilometer road, the old woodcutting way in. Every time we stop we are food for bugs. No odds, it keeps us going, creating our own wind. At kilometer 23, a few past Kitty's Brook, we camp at the orange caboose (as suggested by Valerie and Roy), close to water and shelter. Sheilagh builds a fire, we eat peanut butter sandwiches and crawl in just as the rain shower begins. Hundreds of eyeballs stare at us. Mosquitoes speckle the space between the fly and tent. No pee in the middle of the night for me.

Having another human with me now takes some getting used to. There's someone to break camp, fold the tent, get water, and talk to!!!  I feel so happy to have my best friend. I keep thanking the Gods over and over. Sheilagh's presence means I slow down and there's less of a push to reach the destination.  We are here to see and experience what is. Today is mystical. We are travelling uphill for the second day. The Gaff changes dramatically around us. It becomes the big country I have heard so much about. You can see swirling, twisting sky, and the wind moving the multiple greys around its palette. The skyline is gaining on my eyes. You feel, see, smell, hear, and taste the rain threat. Just as quickly the sun shoots rays through your heart. As we arrive at The Gaffs, we are greeted by a couple who has been expecting us. Woosh, we are scooted in through the door and fed. Minutes later it begins to pour. And pour it does for the next 16 hours. We stay put across the way. We are lucky. There are five people here today.

We awake to dense fog. Almost as quickly it clears off. We enter another land. All four Topsails are in view (Main, Mizzen, Gaff, and Fore). Sheilagh is tripping over her jaw. Her medium format camera is in her hand for the next number of hours. We cannot believe the day that unfolds. We bow down and worship this barren, expansive, textured, breathtaking landscape - we walk on. 

We meet a guy walking! He is swirling in orange. It turns out to be his tent not his robes. He's from Gainsville, Florida. He has come from St. John's. Our exchange is too quick and I long to ask him the questions going around my head just five minutes after we wave goodbye. 

We cross the Mary March River and just on the other side we find the perfect little camping spot near a spring. We set up seamlessly, the rhythm between us finally in sync. A rehydrated meal (which was freakin delicious), a fire and a suit of Gor-Tex keeps the mosquitoes at bay. We turn in, thanking our blessings. Life is so simple - food, shelter, water, a wee fire and a spot to lie down. 

We know the day will be hot, 27 degrees is predicted. We want to walk 25 km but we're weary of baking to death. We set off at 7am (cause no matter how hard you try it takes two hours to break camp), and set a strong pace. We find a beauty of a river in which to soak our feet about three hours in. Ice cold water and lush greenery - Heaven. Sheilagh's presence means we break more and my body is better for it. The pack is 35lbs (remember I chucked 5 lbs way back when?). Moments later, we sight our first animal, a caribou lying down on the trail. We follow her for a couple of kilometers. A beautiful animal who seems so very curious about us. I'm so happy to share that moment with a companion. (yes, I settled in and appreciated the gift Marc :-). We arrive in Millertown junction at noon and head immediately for Joe Glode's Pond. We strip down to our underwear, no one around. Mere moments later we are human again with only a few fly bites to show.

Have I talked feet at all? Every band aid comes off my feet from the dip so it’s a total medical moment. My feet are toughening up but I have baby feet, no two ways about it. Only saving grace is I have become a very good nurse. And, for the most part, I am un-phased by blisters. 

We wander back to the lawn mower we hear to see if we can gather a little local lore about where to camp. We want to walk another 10 km putting us about 15 k from Badger. It is STINKING hot. We meet Mont Lingard, author of five books on the Newfoundland railway. His railway room is famous as is his lodge here at the east entrance to the Gaffs. Before we know it we're having a lunch and listening to stories. By mid afternoon he's convinced us to not walk in the heat and spend the night. You've got to take these opportunities that are handed to you. We enjoy a lovely meal with him and Nelson, the other resident of Millertown Junction. We hear so many stories of the winterland that few experience. Fitfully I fall into a bed dreaming of my return to the Gaff Topsails.

Today (July 15) we depart at 6:30am. We are taking a quick 25km to Badger. Downhill, they say, but full of pot holes. The terrain starts easy but pebbles dominate. We see a moose and a momma on the track. She gazes in our direction and as we get close I give a blow of the whistle and they boot-er’ into the woods. By 10am we are once again exhausted by heat. We take to the shade as much as possible but the 31 degrees is staggering. You can warm up if your cold but its hard to do so if your hot. We imagine rivers to no avail. We stumble (I seem to do that a lot) into Badger at 1pm. 

101 kilometers for Sheilagh!!! 400 kilometers for me.

Tomorrow its Grand Falls-Windsor...
Anonymous commented on 16-Jul-2015 03:22 PM
Dana, you and Sheilagh are amazons and I am full of admiration for you on your incredible trek. Hope this next leg goes speedily. But do keep on observing, sensing, and enjoying this wonderful land of ours.
ph balance diet commented on 18-Jul-2015 05:44 AM
It is perfect time to mаke some plans fօr the future and it'ѕ time tο be haрpy.
Ι have read tɦis post and іf ӏ сould I want to suggest үou ѕome
іnteresting tɦings oг suggestions. Мaybe yoս coulɗ writе next articles referring tο this
article. I desire tߋ reɑd eѵen moгe thingѕ about it!
Kyoko Lossett commented on 07-Aug-2015 01:03 AM
Does the note specifically say that this prepayment penalty could be waived in case there is sale Kyoko Lossett
each applicant will also be asked to get a recent pay stub coming from a regular job.
best hummingbird attractors commented on 09-Aug-2015 10:54 PM
You can practice a lot about aerial dog fighting by watching
hummingbirds. Using a child bottle brush, scrub inside of the feeder and after that rinse them thoroughly
before refilling them. They eat, they squabble together after which they
eat some more.
google plus apps commented on 10-Aug-2015 08:48 AM
Market your articles (blog) in your Google+ Circles and inside your
email campaigns. Include a "Follow us on Google+"
link on your business's website that directs to its Google+ page.
" Click +1 to publicly give something your stamp of approval.
google adwords commented on 10-Aug-2015 08:56 AM
Excellent post. I was checking continuously this blog and I'm impressed!
Very helpful info specially the last part :) I care for such info much.
I was seeking this particular information for a long time.
Thank you and good luck.
google accounts homepage commented on 11-Aug-2015 07:26 PM
To determine the present keyword competition, work it out from the Google Ad -
Words Keyword Tool which will return results about "Advertiser Competition" for each and every of
your respective proposed keyword. Collateral losses for Google happen to
be reflecting China's angry reaction following the search engine made
its announcement; news media reported thus far that Chinese cell
phone companies will drop Google or Android, its new mobile operating system.
Now take one of them keywords and turn on for the search.
best weight loss apps android commented on 12-Aug-2015 07:39 PM
That means no risky unwanted effects and yes it even includes
a Life Time Warranty to back its powerful fast acting Phase 2
Carb Blocker. Being overweight is deadly situation by which one could be
at greater risk of developing serious health problems for example
non insulin dependent diabetes,hypertension,stroke and heart disease.

Whatever you select, be sure it's something you want to stick to for any extended time.
how to lose 10 pounds a month naturally 7 commented on 13-Aug-2015 12:18 AM
Toxins, that happen to be bodily wastes, will also be released from your body being a person works out.
If you don't know this, carbohydrates actually transforms into sugar once
it is going into your whole body. For better results, be sure that
your daily intake of carbohydrates does not exceed 20 grams.
boom beach general gearhart commented on 19-Aug-2015 03:19 PM
I really like what you guys are up too. This kind of clever
work and coverage! Keep up the excellent works guys
I've incorporated you guys to my personal blogroll.
league of legends boost commented on 21-Aug-2015 10:38 AM
Thanks for sharing your thoughts about EU Elo Boost. Regards commented on 21-Aug-2015 11:38 AM
Hello! I simply wish to give you a huge thumbs up ffor your great info you have got here
onn this post.I will be returning tto your webssite for more soon.
Alonzo commented on 24-Aug-2015 08:20 PM
Hi there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re using? I’m looking to start my own blog in the near future but I’m having a difficult time making a decision between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal. The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique. P.S Apologies for getting off-topic but I had to ask!
ray ban aviator commented on 24-Aug-2015 11:40 PM
You need to take part in a contest for one of the greatest websites on the net.

I am going to recommend this site!
Garcinia Cambogia commented on 25-Aug-2015 12:50 PM
It's in fact very complex in this busy life to listen news on Television,
therefore I just use the web for that purpose, and get the most recent information.
PureMax Garcinia commented on 26-Aug-2015 06:45 AM
After exploring a number of the blog articles on your web page, I really appreciate
your way of writing a blog. I bookmarked it to my
bookmark webpage list and will be checking back soon. Please
check out my website as well and tell me your opinion.
ultra trim 350 commented on 29-Aug-2015 08:22 AM
I read this paragraph completely on the topic of the comparison of most up-to-date and earlier technologies,
it's amazing article.
Alex commented on 29-Aug-2015 04:27 PM
Greetings from California! commented on 30-Aug-2015 02:00 AM
The new Zune browser is surprisingly good, but not as good as the iPod's. It works well, but isn't as fast as Safari, and has a clunkier interface. If you occasionally plan on using the web browser that's not an issue, but if you're planning to browse the web alot from your PMP then the iPod's larger screen and better browser may be important. commented on 30-Aug-2015 02:20 AM
This is getting a bit more subjective, but I much prefer the Zune Marketplace. The interface is colorful, has more flair, and some cool features like 'Mixview' that let you quickly see related albums, songs, or other users related to what you're listening to. Clicking on one of those will center on that item, and another set of "neighbors" will come into view, allowing you to navigate around exploring by similar artists, songs, or users. Speaking of users, the Zune "Social" is also great fun, letting you find others with shared tastes and becoming friends with them. You then can listen to a playlist created based on an amalgamation of what all your friends are listening to, which is also enjoyable. Those concerned with privacy will be relieved to know you can prevent the public from seeing your personal listening habits if you so choose.

Post a Comment

Captcha Image

Trackback Link
Post has no trackbacks.