Growing up as a kid in Bay dâ€™Espoir was the best experience ever, even if I didnâ€™t realize it at the time. My summers consisted of biking to a swimming hole at 11 a.m., having fun until supper time, then biking to a beach for a bonfire. I never did get to take ballet or violin lessons, but I had freedom.
Only once did I ever do the trek to Mash Gush Falls, an hour hike from our normal swimming place. Getting there is a pain in the ass, scrambling over embankments and cliffs or having to swim between them. But when I was home last month, I decided to join Dad on a little fishing excursion up the brook (he calls the falls â€œSwangerâ€™s Brook Fallsâ€…the name is debatable).
I slipped and fell in the water, at which point Dad felt it was time to relieve me of carrying a backpack and fishing rod. Dad, whoâ€™s nearly 58, easily navigated the sharp drop-offs and climbed over rocks with more agility than a gymnast. I struggled to keep up, too short to reach certain ledges and lacking any sort of grace. At some points Dad had to help me out.
We paused to fish along the way, since the brook had risen with the rain. We caught a few small trout, enough for a small supper later. Several times Dad stopped to point out things I would never have noticed, like the feather belonging to an owl found in its roost, or a bone picked clean by an animal. I feel like Dad should go up against Man Tracker, what do you think?
Finally, we reached the falls. You can hear them roaring from a mile away. Seriously, on the southern shore of Newfoundland and Labrador, 2 hours down a highway through a charred landscape into isolated Bay d’Espoir, then an infuriating hour hike up a brook, you’ll find this waterfall.
Itâ€™s possible to climb over these, but decided Iâ€™ll keep that for another day.