Bears, wolves and porcupines, oh my! – My Adventures on the Trans Labrador Highway

In early March, I received a call from NLOWE’s Assistant Director, Kristy, asking me if I was available to attend Expo Labrador in Happy Valley Goose Bay (HVGB) in June.  I was en-route to Baltimore for the WBENC Summit and Salute at the time and before I had a chance to check my schedule, she replied “never mind, looks like all accommodations are sold out!”  If that isn’t a testimony to an event’s success, I don’t know what is.

Expo Labrador kept gaining more buzz and we realized the chances of renting a room and a vehicle in HVGB were slim to none.  The solution: drive to HVGB and stay with a long-time friend, who was also attending the expo.  Consequently, we would end up sharing a booth at the expo’s trade exhibition.

I was so excited; a road trip to the BIG Land was in my future.  I managed to convince my husband, Ted, to chauffeur me on my journey.  He had never been to HVGB and what an adventure this was going to be.  Ted, a wildlife enthusiast, was very much looking forward to the scenic drive and I was very eager to attend the expo and to spend some time with my accommodating friend and of course, my ever entertaining co-worker Katherine Baikie-Pottle.

The trip would include a 400km drive to St. Barbe on the GreatNorthernPeninsula, a 1.5 hour ride on the Blanc Sablon ferry crossing the straits, and then another 600+ km drive to HVGB via the infamous Trans Labrador Highway.

Marvella 1So off we went, delivering The NLOWE Advisor, our first publication, to members, clients, and community partners along the way.  We conquered the trail to Port Hope Simpson and decided to hold up for the night.  The trip thus far had been uneventful but we were still apprehensive of what the Trans Labrador Highway might have in store for us.  We stayed at a delightful B&B in Port Hope Simpson, Campbell’s B&B, which not only provided friendly, comfortable lodging, but it also had a lovely restaurant and bakery.  We woke at 4:00 a.m. to the lovely sounds of the wild.  There was chirping and howling; yes howling.  To me it sounded very much like wolves, but my husband convinced me that it was likely dog teams in the area.  Our morning was topped off with one of the most spectacular breakfasts imaginable.  Bacon, eggs, and fresh homemade toast (an inch and a half thick I might add…yum!)

After the hearty breakfast, we continued our trip.  Just over 400 kms to go, but we were advised that it would take at least 6 hours.  We had barely left Port Hope Simpson when I saw a large dog-like-animal cross the road in front of us.  “A coyote” said my husband, “no, it’s too big, must be a wolf”, I said.  There goes the dog team theory.

Marvella 2We hadn’t travelled too far when we were fortunate enough to experience two more great Labrador wonders.  A black bear and a porcupine decided to cross the road.  They were only 100 yards apart.  How exciting!  So, here we were, tucked safely away in our vehicle, not breaking any rules about feeding bears (namely because you would have to pry my snacks from my cold dead fingers) when we began debating whether or not a porcupine could shoot its quills at its target from a distance.  My husband won the debate; apparently I should watch more Discovery channel.

Marvella 4

After all the excitement, we arrived safely in Happy Valley Goose Bay.  The next three days of Expo Labrador were filled with awesome networking opportunities, informative presentations and a killer trade show.  Nearly 500 people from across Canada attended the event.  The keynote speakers and presenters were impressive.  Hearing the status of all the mega projects underway in the area was thrilling.  Mining was an important topic during the expo, as it will create the need for not only skilled workers but also a need for a solid infrastructure.  It was amazing to see first hand the opportunities for growth and how eager participants were to make the right connections.  Katherine and I worked the room every day, networking and distributing The NLOWE Advisor.  The experience made me realize that in fact Katherine does know everyone in Labrador!

The conference was informative and the weather was amazing, but soon it was time to hop in the car and head back to the island.  We saw a small moose upon leaving HVGB.  Apparently, they are not as populous in Labrador as they are here on the island.  Maybe all the bears and wolves have scared them away…who knows?

Marvella 6We were aiming to drive the entire way to Lanse Au Clair during this leg of the trip, but we made time for me to again distribute The NLOWE Advisor along the way.  I even made a stop to leave some copies by the Inukshuks in RedBay.  A highlight this time was seeing something that suspiciously looked like the Loch Ness Monster in Pinware.

What a fabulous Labrador Adventure!  I have raved about the trip since my return; the beautiful scenery, an abundance of wildlife, and some of the most intriguing people that you will ever meet.  I would encourage everyone to drive the Trans Labrador Highway; it is a great addition to any bucket list.  You can get a t-shirt with “I survived the TLH” at every shop in Labrador.  I have mine…I hope you all get yours.  Safe travels!

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Marvella Wells is a Business Growth Advisor with NLOWE in both the Western and Labrador regions.  You can contact Marvella at 709.632.5069 or by email at


1 Comment

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One response to “Bears, wolves and porcupines, oh my! – My Adventures on the Trans Labrador Highway

  1. Paula

    Awesome! Have Advisor will travel 🙂

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