Saturday, February 27, 2010

Happy Valley - Goose Bay - Cartwright

Coming down into the valley from Churchill Falls brought an abrupt change from short taiga, tundra trees to much taller trees lining the valley walls. We entered the city of Happy Valley around lunch time and enjoyed a meal at the local Burger King. I entered the grocery store to pick up some snacks and marveled that there were fresh strawberries from California here. Expensive! Happy Valley-Goose Bay is the largest population center with over 7,000 residents. Arriving at mid-day is not conducive to wonderful photographs, but we were scheduled to catch the ferry that afternoon, so I wanted memory shots.

This broad tidal plain, the mouth of the Churchill River was beautiful even under the noonday sun.

The town began in 1941 during the building of the Goose Bay Air Force Base, the largest military air base in northeastern North America. Interestingly enough, Goose Bay Airport is on the official NASA list of alternate Space Shuttle landing sites.

The Trans Labrador Highwy and the ferry system as well as the airport connect this community to the rest of the world. A new highway is under construction and due to be completed perhaps by the end of last year will replace the need for the Happy Valley/Goose Bay to Cartwright ferry. I'm glad we were visiting while the ferry was still running. There are some other fishing villages north of Happy Valley and Goose Bay that I suspect will still have a smaller ferry in operation. I would love to come back and visit those small villages as well as the Torngat Mountains National Park at the northern tip of Labrador.

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