It must be dark, cold January in New Hampshire, as I’ve found myself nostalgically recalling stories from a rock climbing trip to Newfoundland with Sarah Garlick and Kirsten Kremer in 2009.
The adventure started at friends Alycia and Timmy’s wedding on Cape Cod in late August. We picked up Kremer at Boston Logan airport the next morning, proceeded to New Hampshire to pack Sarah’s Previa minivan and continued on the 18 hour journey to ‘the island’. We had only a few weeks to play before Sarah’s wedding back in New Hampshire.
Once in Francois (pronounced France-way by locals, and only accessible by boat), we were essentially adopted by ‘the Georges’, George Durnford and George Fudge, and their families, who fed us food and information, gave us a ride to ‘Camp Paradise’ on the trusty Royal Oak, a beautiful cod fishing boat, and loaned us Rojito the red dingy and a few mismatched paddles to get around from our beach camp to various cliffs in Shaleur Bay.
The hospitality didn’t end there. They checked in on us regularly, offering a towline between climbs and camp on several occasions. George even gave us a lift across the bay one afternoon to drink sweet wine and munch freshly steamed mussels as the sun went down with a dozen other Francois-ans.
The day they came to pick us up to head home, there was a huge rack of antlers mounted on the front of Royal Oak. Moose hunting season had begun that day, so they’d spent the previous night camped out in the next bay over, succeeded in a kill at dawn, dragged it out, butchered it and loaded it up all before even picking us up that morning. We drank rum and cokes in celebration of our dual successes, and the Georges’ were received like heroes when they pulled into the Francois harbor with a boat full of women and meat.
The climbing? It was pretty good too. Check out the little video to see for yourself.
(Above photos by Kirsten, Sarah and me.)
Thanks to Joe Terrevechia and Karin Bates for photos and information that made the trip possible and to Jim Surette for being a patient husband-to-be while the girls went to play!