DAY 4: Hopedale, Postville and Nain
Posted by Terri
After a quick weather check at 4:30am by Dale and Michele, we knew there would be no magic morning light in Hopedale, but there would be a magic morning flight straight to Postville. The fog had lifted, so we were travelling on.
We hopped on a cargo flight and flew into the tiny community with a big heart. Not to mention, an equally big view.
We were met at the airport by Ruth, a retired teacher and current economic development officer who literally taught most everyone in town. And now, she was schooling us on all things Postville.
First up, an epic lesson in Labrador hospitality. We knew we were in for a treat when she described the freshly made tarts, sandwiches, toutons, and jams she had prepared for our trip up English River.
After a quick change into rubber boots, she took us directly to the dock, where a crew was already aboard – Samantha, Nicole, and Ruth’s husband Amos. We were off to the Salmon Counting Fence to get the day’s tally.
Along the way, we learned about the history of Postville (a trading post for the Hudson’s Bay Company), shared stories, and got to know each other in short order. Two boats later, we arrived at our destination – a newly built outpost by the side of the river. The stove was lit, kettle boiled, and a feast served.
With full and thankful bellies, Dale and Michele were hilariously kitted out in borrowed, and somewhat ill-fitting, neoprene hip waders. Amos is probably still laughing.
The group then got down to work, waist deep in the river, counting salmon (and 1 char).
From the shore, I could tell they were simply having too much fun to call it work. But work was done (including photos) and it was time to go.
We spent our final hours shooting around the community, including the beautiful Post Hill wearing a crown of fog. We also got to meet Douglas, father of Amos, and town elder. We photographed him on the wharf sitting on his bench, where he waits for the Northern Ranger (a passenger ship) when she comes to town.
Before we knew it our pilots were back to pick us up. We said good bye to Ruth, took our bakeapple and rhubarb jams, and went on our way.
Back in the air, with the sun breaking through, we chatted with fellow travellers like Douglas from Rigolet, and Mustafa and Lauren from Halifax. Within minutes, we found common connections, or at least common ground. It occurred to us how small this place really is, just as the landscape seemed to grow bigger and bigger. Perhaps that is the Labrador paradox. A small world in a big land.
With the sun now out in full force, we touched down on the prettiest airstrip, cocooned by mountains and water. Welcome to Nain, the largest and most Northern community in Nunatsiavut.
We were greeted by Isabella, hopped aboard her truck, and started a new adventure in a new town. We visited the beautiful Moravian Church (thanks Simon!), saw the new Cultural Centre from afar (opening 2017), and gazed up at Mt. Sophie, overlooking the community.
After Isabella gave us a grand tour, from waterfront to mountain top, and we stopped for a minute to grab a bite, we then set out to chase the evening light over Nain.
Thanks to Jeremy in Hopedale for returning our truck, Ruth, Amos, Samantha, and Nicole for an incredible day in Postville, Benny and Dillon of Air Labrador for getting us there (again), and Isabella for a wonderful Nain welcome.