The Avalon was built on Precambrian rock, which has been covered by as little as a few inches to as much as hundreds of feet thick glacial debris, and interlaced by countless small to large size ponds. Wood-cutting and clearing since the early 1600s have reduced large areas of former woodland to scrubby tuckamore and goowiddy barrens, covered by sheep laurel and Labrador tea.
Trinity Bay, with its deep, productive waters, and the less productive Conception Bay are both dotted by fishing settlements wherever good harbours are found. Chapel Arm, to the north, was once a focal point of Newfoundland whaling operations, where until 1973 (when a moratorium was declared), pothead whales were driven ashore by dorymen and slaughtered in the shallow waters, so their meat can feed the nearby mink In some years in the 1950s, as many as 10,000 potheads whales were slaughtered.
When cresting a hill on the highway, watch for the tell-tale tear-drop shape of gravel drumlins and moraine ridges , deposited and streamlined by the repeated advance & retreat of Ice Age glaciers. These deposits are evident for the next 20 miles, sometimes intermingled with bog-filled hollows. In the bogs, you can spot delicate pink orchids, marshberries, as well as the coveted Newfoundland bakeapple (despite its name, its a berry).
The highway to St John’s is twinned from the Highway 80/81 junction, just east of where Highway 100 connects from Argentia & Placentia.
Southeast of the Route 62 (north to Holyrood) junction are the Hawke Hills (imaginatively named Hawke Hills, second Hawke Hill, through to Fifth Hawke Hill).
As the highway climbs is leaves productive forest and you can see the treeline on the slope of the hills as the climate shifts to arctic-like. The soil is mixed with frost-shifted stones, and held together with patches of arctic-alpine , ground-hugging shrubs. Exposed stubborn spruce grow prostrate, only to ankle height, even though some are centuries old. You can drive or hike along the narrow gravel road to the summit.
If you hike southward over the downs you may glimpse the Avalon caribou herd, with mature bulls weighing anywhere from 350 to 500 pounds. This herd had roughly 1600 members in the 1970s but recently only 300 remain. Some fear this herd may become extinct by 2025.
Dissappearing Caribou Herds Mystery
The land here is classified as barrens, a monument to glaciation. The land is arid, desert-like land of shallow, acid rocky ground with peat-filled cavities. There are many small glacial ponds, and the land is strewn with massive erratics (rocks and boulders), dropped and left behind by the ice Age glaciers. The heath vegetation is a mix of sheep laurel, Labrador tea, crowberry, partridgeberry, and many forms of lichen. These plants create a suitable habitat for willow ptarmigan, horned lark, and Canada Geese.
As the highway descends, you pass Kelly’s Pond, on the east side of the highway, is ringed by white-weathered granite rocks. These are special rocks, closely related to rocks found today in Morocco, which provides additional evidence supporting the continental drift theory.
Route 61 leads to the eastern shores of Conception Bay, an area featured by historic fishing villages, take take advantage of the plentiful squid and bluefin tuna. From there you can take a ferry to Bell Island which had productive mines from 1893-1966, and is the location of a sunken WWII German submarine. Also, serious fossil hunters, can explore the trilobite-rich black shales near the mouth of Manuels River.
This pond, to the northwest of the highway has a good populations of pan-size brook (mud) trout, Ouananiche (a local variety of salmon), rainbow trout, and German brown trout (which were first introduced to Newfoundland from Scotland in 1884).
Route 1’s official eastern terminus is at the interchange with n Road in the northeastern part of the city. You can continue east across Logy Bay Road, taking East White Hills Rd into Quidi Vidi along The Boulevard.
The old route into St John’s is now Highway 2 (Pitts Memorial Drive), which terminates at the southern end of St John’s Harbour, and continues on New Gower Street ending at St. John’s City Hall. It is for this reason that the city named its hockey arena and convention centre Mile One Centre, adjacent to the city hall.
Outer Ring (St John’s By-Pass)
New highway construction during the 1990s redirected Route 1 onto what is called the Outer Ring Road. The highway ends at the interchange with Logy Bay Road in the northeast part of St. John’s, including passing by Pippy Park, the Stavanger Drive shopping area, and the St John’s Airport.
To reach the ocean from the “end” of the Trans-Canada at Logy Bay Road, continue east on East White Hills Road which proceeds downhill into the quaint community of Quidi Vidi and follow The Boulevard further east to water, right below the Quidi Vidi Battery.
From downtown, and St John’s harbour, head north on Duckworth St to Kings Bridge Rd which becomes Logy Bay Rd to get to the Trans-Canada.
Logy Bay Bridge
In 2014, the bridge spanning Outer Cove Brook was replaced and a second, lower bridge was added to improve access to the Outer Cove beach, a popular destination for local residents and tourists.
At the time of the announcement, Logy Cove-Middle Cove-Outer Cove Mayor John Kennedy commented that the new bridge would result in a more direct coastal route between our area and St. John’s for tourists, local drivers, emergency and commercial vehicles.