Osprey Trail

Distance - 28km

Avalon. The name evokes the legends of King Arthur, misty lakes and mystery. Heading east on Route 1 from Goobies, you'll soon see why this peninsula's name is so apt. From the forested regions of eastern Newfoundland, you enter a boulder-strewn tundra dotted, especially on the Isthmus of Avalon, with shallow lakes that seem, on a foggy day, to have been transplanted directly from Somerset in England. Avalon was, in the legend, the land where King Arthur went when he died.

The Isthmus is a narrow neck of land stubborn enough to have survived the heavy glaciation which cut the two deep bays, Placentia and Trinity, that you can see on either side. To the left is Sunnyside. To the right of the highway, travelling east, are the communities of Come By Chance, Arnold's Cove, Southern Harbour, Little Harbour and Fairhaven. From Route 1 you can see the cold, deep waters of Placentia Bay with its scattering of 365 islands.

Further east, take the intersection with Route 201 to the Osprey Trail, which skirts the southern coast of Trinity Bay. Sea hawks, as ospreys are known here, are plentiful in summer. This is a popular area for summer cottages, and nearby is Bellevue Beach. Relax and swim on the freshwater side or comb the pebble beach and watch the seabirds that inhabit the shoreline. Along the shore you will notice many attractive seashells washed up by the tide and coloured stones that were deposited by volcanic action and polished to their present smooth, round shape by the ebb and flow of the Atlantic.

Sometime between late June and early August, depending on water temperatures, beaches in the Avalon area are the sites of the annual capelin scull. Billions of these small smelt-like fish spawn in the shallow waters and are carried right up on the shore by the high tides. Crowds of men, women and children scoop them up in nets, buckets or any other available receptacle. The scull is by far the easiest fishing you will ever undertake, and these small fish make a lovely meal when they are fried to a crispy, golden brown.

Route 201 loops back to Route 1, where you'll notice the stunted forest that borders the highway. The winds that blow steadily across this area for most of the year are responsible for the small size of the trees and the fantastic, twisted shapes that they take on. Many of the ponds and lakes are inhabited by pan-size trout. They provide lively sport for anyone with a little angling skill and patience.

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