Return to North River

We drift this last morning, moving ponderously, like the sea fog which lays low across Trunmore Bay. Morning dew dries slowly from the nylon tent fly, there is a dampness in the air the sun can’t warm.

Leaving backpacks at the tent site, we follow the shore of North River to the tip of Sandy Point. Tightly woven mats of crowberries blanket the terrace above the river, juicy fall fruit popping underfoot. No wonder the bears are reluctant to leave this site.

If there was a built community at the tip of Sandy Point nothing remains now except the white stone tableau that are universally understood to indicate ‘cemetery’. A few runs of white wood picket fence remain standing, to separate hallowed/consecrated ground from untamed heathen wilds.

Century old headstones document sad stories of drownings and sickness. Multiple deaths in a short span of time are etched under single family names. Sandwich Bay has long been settled – and fresh graves keep tradition going.

A light breeze springs up, pushing late morning cloud away. Sapphire sky mirrors sapphire ocean. Eyes scan the beach, the dunes, the sparse woods, saying good bye to the Wonderstrand. We return to last nights camp, pick up the backpacks and retrace our steps of 5 days ago.

The canoe rests overturned, where we left it, unmoved by wind or creature. Crossing North River is easy this time as current and tide are in our favour. The sandy bottom comes up suddenly, as river grasses part. Underwater, a dense school of dark finger sized fish maintain their position in the current, heads pointed upstream, tails waving slowly.  Our shadow drifts over them and they scatter back into the grass. Eventually I pick up the paddle to guide our landing on shore. We are back at Woody’s cabin to wait for our pick up.

Wistfully, I prepare to leave Labrador. On the Wonderstrand, the tide rolls out again.