July 4, 2007:
We packed up today to leave the banks of the Eagle River and Rifflin'Hitch Lodge. We were to leave straight after lunch, since we had a little diversion planned enroute to Tuckamore Lodge in Main Brook.
Armed with a picnic hamper and our belongings we left with Darin in the Helicopter - our route was to take us in many directions. We started out hovering above the lodge for some aerial shots then headed down the Eagle River towards Sandwich Bay.
The river alone is stunning with lush green islands dotted across its breadth in various shapes and sizes. As Eagle River spills out into Sandwich Bay so were we, so we turned and headed for the town of Cartwright for refuelling. While Darin took care of refuelling the helicopter we took a brief walk along the shoreline looking back to compare the 'size' of our limo-type helicopter to the one beside it - it must be the envy of other pilots I'm sure!!
Soon we were making our way towards the Mealy Mountains crossing over Sandwich Bay and the typical landscape of bogs and wilderness of Southern Labrador. As we reached the foothills of the mountains, the terrain changed into the rocky glacier smoothed rocks, laced with patches of alpine forests. We climbed higher to see new waterfalls and rivers which are revealed with each elevation until we came to a thunderous waterfall careering down the side of a slope. This would be a perfect location for a picnic if only there was a natural heli-pad but unfortunately there wasn't so we had to move on to another locale of equal beauty. Fortunately that shouldn't be difficult since the Mealy Mountains are beautiful no matter which way you look!
We came across another waterfall at what seemed like the top of the mountains, fed by a still semi-frozen lake. From a distance they didn't seem that big but as we closed in on them they were a fascinating sight and what's more there was a natural heli-pad. Darin landed our limo and we all hopped out, looking in amazement at the beauty that surrounded us ... Rolf immediately went to work to capture it while Darin and I just stood and looked around (not quite with our mouths hanging open). It is quite possible we are the first to have ever landed and step foot on this spot - what an honour!!
Finally, we gathered our thoughts and found a place to set up the picnic hamper right on the edge of one level of the cascade which could be framed nicely with the helicopter in the background. It sure was a nice setting and a spot we will never forget!! We wandered along the edge over to the lake and then had to virtually drag ourselves away - we had to keep to a schedule to ensure our return to Tuckamore in the daylight and to leave enough time for Darin to return to Labrador but none of us wanted to leave - it was just perfect!
We gathered up our things again, loaded them into the helicopter and headed away from the mountains towards the coast but by now the fog was closing in. We had to refuel in Mary's Harbour then afterwards started our journey over the Strait of Belle Isle. We investigated a couple of large icebergs in the strait one of which took 4 minutes to circle in the helicopter until there was a sudden change in wind - it was now really time to head off towards Tuckamore Lodge. After a brief stop at the St Anthony Airport for refuelling, we were returned to the lodge in time for a hearty meal and saw Darin off for his journey home.
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