Newfoundland

Never Lie to Your Mule

In recent weeks, mule Polly and I have been following an abandoned rail bed across Newfoundland. In the quarter century since the rails have been taken up, Mother Nature, Father Time and four-wheelers have taken their toll. For the most part, the gravel path is clear.

There are obstructions, though. Like the dam Polly and I ran across last week. The dam itself was gated off. So you couldn’t walk across it to reach the other side. Rather, we had… Continue reading

The Little Beach Boats of Newfoundland

Mule Polly and I have been traveling the Newfoundland coast for a month now. Starting in L’Anse aux Meadows, on the northern tip, we have visited close to a dozen coastal communities along the west coast – Shoal Harbor, Eddies Cove West, Barr’d Harbour, Portland Creek.

Most striking is how the small boat fishery is still intact. Shrinking. Yes. In danger of being obsoleted by the 70-foot seiners and factory ships. Yes. Plunged into and out of fishing season by… Continue reading

Heading Up the Road

Polly and my wagon trip into Newfoundland has begun. From here on the northern tip, we proceed slowly south along the coast. Unlike previous trips, where I carried along a solar panel and battery to charge my laptop, my current wagon is rigged more sparsely. More in tune with what’s needed in this foggy, damp climate.

This is cold country. Even with summer around the corner, the air is damp. Moisture permeates my bedding, clothes and food. For heating, boiling… Continue reading

Ice Bergs and Blankets

Polly lies down in the tall grass of L’Ans aux Meadows, Newfoundland. It’s as much for rest as it is for warmth On a clear day such as this, the coast of Labrador -and the occasional iceberg – can be spotted on the horizon. The upturned boats are relics of a major downturn in the Newfoundland fishery.

Four days before the official start of summer and there are icebergs floating by my wagon’s front door. No, they’re not going to… Continue reading

Walter King Ponders the Mule Wagon

“What the hell is that thing?” You get that a lot traveling with a mule and wagon. Leave the rig for an errand, and often as not you’ve drawn a crowd of guys, hands jammed in their pockets, speculating with each other on what it is they’ve found.

“The hell….?” Our traveling contraption. (Sydney, Nova Scotia)

Which is what happened recently in Sydney, Nova Scotia.

Polly and her wagon were loaded on my trailer. We were waiting to get on… Continue reading

The Importance of Going Offline

In the coming weeks and months I plan to travel through Newfoundland with mule Polly. Unlike past voyages, where I’ve posted updates every few days, I will post less frequently.

Part of it is geography. Newfoundland is a remote island. With no cell or satellite phone at my disposal, I won’t be able to get online. Or even make phone calls.

Part of it is my brain.

In recent years, I’ve noticed there’s an inverse relationship between soaking up a… Continue reading

Newfoundland Bound

Small wonder Polly takes a nap when I pull her off the trailer at the end of the day. In the past week and a half, we’ve traveled close to 2000 miles – from Asheboro, North Carolina to Syndey, Nova Scotia. Here, Polly catches a nap around mile 1562. That would be Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. Meanwhile, Yari Msika and a jumping pal go airborne. His parents Theirry and Maran Msika put us up a few days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.… Continue reading

A Time and a Place


Small wonder Polly takes a nap when I pull her off the trailer at the end of the day. In the past week and a half, we’ve traveled close to 2000 miles – from Asheboro, North Carolina to Syndey, Nova Scotia. Sydney. Here, Polly catches a nap around mile 1562. Meanwhile, Yari Msika and a jumping pal go airborne. His parents Theirry and Maran Msik put us up a few days in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

When voyaging by wagon, I… Continue reading

The First 800 Miles

Mile 802: a gaff rigged sloop hauled out on a traditional marine railway. In the foreground, the stern of a beached chebacco boat. Both vessels are working boat types that plied the water around Essex and Gloucester, MA in the days of working sail. (Essex, MA)

Wow. The start of my latest mule journey was uglier than the paint job on my ’92 Dodge. Eighteen hours cooped up in the crusty cab. With no radio. Or cruise control. Not even… Continue reading

Holy Hornets Nest It's Journey Time

I love to haul stuff. Preferably on a rig of my own clobbering together. Take this week’s challenge. Haul mule Polly and her wagon 2200 miles from North Carolina to Nova Scotia and beyond.

The answer to this week’s hauling challenge

Enter the sawed off, we-ain’t-got-the-new-toys-but-we-do-have-a-1961-horse trailer ethic.

The tricky thing about hauling Polly and my wagon is that my mule wagon’s too tall to fit into a standard horse trailer. Sure, for money, lots of it, I could buy… Continue reading

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