Walking Earth’s Mantle

One of only two places where mere mortals can walk on the Earth’s mantle, Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland is momentous. The mantle is the layer of semi-molten rock beneath the Earth’s crust, so…not a good walking place. Geologists across the globe are eternally grateful for the epic subterranean event that shoved a fair-sized chunk to the surface in Newfoundland, allowing us to get better acquainted with that globe. Having driven thousands of miles to get there, Steve and I were accustomed to raising eyebrows when we said we’d come from Colorado. The Tablelands crowd was different. Our […]

Viking Blood

My latest Sea Secrets talk led me to the discovery of a sordid ruckus in the family tree. Somewhere in the late 700s, King Gudrod “the hunter” got his heart set on King Redbeard’s daughter, Asa. Redbeard told Gudrod to go sit on his sword.* Gudrod took the setback like a true Viking and stormed Redbeard’s kingdom. He ran Redbeard through* and took Asa back to his own kingdom. Asa bore him a son then bribed a squire to make her a widow.  Well played Asa!  Wish we could do lunch. *Poetic license invoked.

Heavenly Weather

In a valley of the Peruvian Andes, our guide, a descendant of the Incas demonstrated his people’s ceremony for making offerings to the sacred mountains. He arranged three coca leaves in a fan and held them to his lips while he faced each mountain in turn and spoke its name then placed the leaves on a boulder. The timing of our late-April visit was suggested by our agent, an attempt to sidle between the rainy and hot seasons. The weather did cooperate nicely for our trip, but who’s to say whether that was luck, professional timing, or because we’d paid […]

If You Love Newfie Steak…

  …you might be from Newfoundland. And if you’re sure that Newfie steak is bologna, you may have had a nip of screech and kissed a codfish. If you ever get to Newfoundland, be sure to get to a kitchen party for the full initiation…no really it will be fun…

Dancing With Mummers

The mummer “dolls” caught my eye as we ferried to Newfoundland. I’d once read about the Mummer’s parade in Philadelphia, but Newfies are a whole other mummer. These come at Christmas time, like carolers, except their faces are covered, and instead of beautiful costumes they dress for laughs—big bras outside their clothes, padded backsides, fishing boots, jingly noise-makers on  sticks. They ask “any mummers ‘lowed in?” and proceed to entertain with jokes and music. Their hosts try to guess which friend is cavorting beneath the padding and mask as they diddle (dance) with their odd guests. Finally the mummers are offered food and […]

Patroling for Pals

Our Colorado to Newfoundland road trip chalked up more states for our 3 1/2 year-old lab than I had amassed at 40.  Raven now has BFFs–dog and human–in 13 states and 3 provinces.  She traded smooches with a biker babe in St. Andrews, comforted a man who’d spent the day searching for his wife’s purse in Acadia, and contaminated the hands of most of the diners and wait staff in a dockside café in Bar Harbor.  If only her leash were longer she’d be a serious contender for president.