Friday, January 6, 2012

North Arm Holyrood: Coppermine search

 Erosion created a boulder field a hundred meters below along the sea coast.  Hillside lichen decorating rocks who's abrasive corners are slowly becoming pacified by the sea.. A bantam inquiry was driving me on this paddle; to be precise my obsession with old abandoned mines. A word of mouth rumour I had quasi-confirmed by vague adit references online. Another copper mine; this one again only visible from the sea. 

Launching from North arm I smiled to see that some kid's still had a raft moored just off shore.  Homes dotting the coast a mix between modest dwellings; and video surveillance mansions. Intermingled in a funny mix of poverty, gentry, and recreation that somehow seemed to work from the waters edge.

Keeping close to the shore my eyes peers between the evergreens for a hidden entrance. Between the lack of garbage and rugged shoreline Northern arm on a calm day in January was about the best a guy could ask for as I explored. Clean beaches aside from the seagull snacks that hadn't opened as desired. 

I made it to one of my possibilities labelled on my map as a spot the mine may have been. Being that the mine was dug around the same time as the Avondale mine in 1880 I was hoping for a larger adit or tunnel. Unfortunately what appeared to be a tiny adit was mostly filled in by the sea. While I still had two more areas along the western side of the bay to check for other signs; the wind was beginning to become a concern. 

Two 1m waves broke the calmness of the day. I turned to see whitecaps coming; Within seconds and as the wall approached white capped waves were misting under the fetch of wind racing out of the hills. The warm wind ahead of the storm smelled of spring and seemed to crackle as it first pitched overhead. 70km/hr which was predicted was quickly outdone!

  Even with the small fetch across Holyrood bay the wind was feeling a lot more than a 70 km/hr breeze; and the gusts were insane. (I would later discover it was clocked at a sustained 105km/hr..56 knots!)

Turning back into the wind it was taking 8 paddle strokes to move from dead stop to crawl. Reluctantly I headed back in.

The small hamlet of "Burnt stump" was relatively calm. Having my day somewhat shortened I took my time exploring the head of the bay. A example of  Newfoundland wooden boat building laid rotting above the high water mark; an unfortunate reminder of a dead skill set here. I had a coffee checking out every inch of this craft;sound muted by the roaring river in the next cove.

North Arm River tumbles into the head of the aptly named North Arm of Holyrood bay. A roaring torrent of water almost seemed minute dwarfed under the Timmins and Burwetts mountains.  

As I packed up to go home I couldn't help but notice the sun lingering a little longer than my last paddle. Minute by minute we'll slowly gain 59 minutes of sun by the end of January; by end March we'll be back to 13 hour's of sunlight.Minute signs of optimism in the cold North Atlantic. A reminder that even during the dark spells light is never far away. 

The dark times we have gives us the gift to rest, plan, and most importantly dream.


  1. Where's your snow Lad?!
    This sure hasn't been a typical NFLD. winter has it? We've got a fair bit back in the Valley though it took it's time coming.
    It's lovely to notice the days growing longer minute by minute.

  2. I have cold turkey ....because of winter and my kayak in the cellar, when I see such pictures. Maybe today I start 2012 season on the dam....

  3. Not a stain left on the Avalon! Winters here for the past few have been quite mild. Gulf stream has been keeping the Avalon quite warm. I was talking to a friend in Chalk river last week who said it was -33....brrrrr! I do miss snowshoeing non the less!

    Olga go for it!~! Its so quiet out there this time of the year. Paddle safe!!

  4. Wow, your shots of that place looks phenomenal. I'd sure like to go there really soon.