It took a one-way road trip for Jeff Langlois to cultivate a passion for photography. The adventure to LA brought forth stunning deserts and mountainous peaks, as he drove from Minneapolis through the Rockies – in a 2002 Honda Civic; eager to jumpstart a career at a commercial house called The Mill. The best way to balance out the fast-paced, unpredictable, and ever-changing environment that is advertising, was to break away and see what the west coast really looks like. Traveling solo allowed him to arrive in beautiful destinations and wait for these locations to unveil their scenic characteristics. Jeff notes that the best shots always come unexpectedly. Now while still mainly shooting the outdoors, he plans just enough to get him out and moving around, but his best and most memorable shots come unexpectedly. It’s about showing up and being patient and receptive to what’s going on.
The trail blazer of women-only travel has created two itineraries where few travel. On five departures in 2018, Wild Women Expeditions immerses women in the physically challenging, poignantly stunning landscape of Newfoundland in the remote northeastern corner of Canada.
Two distinct, week-long adventures engage guests on Newfoundland’s western shore, separated from Quebec by the Gulf of St. Lawrence that eventually pours into the North Atlantic.
This is home turf for Wild Women Expeditions that offers more active travel departures for women only than any other tour operator in the world. The company was founded in Newfoundland and maintains its headquarters here. Owner Jennifer Haddow grew up near Gros Morne National Park where many of the itineraries’ activities take place.
“This is a place of stark ancient beauty, where the ground beneath your feet tells the story of Earth’s geological history. It’s also a place where icebergs stroll up and down coastal waters and where fjords claw their way into the interior,” explained Haddow, noting that few other adventure travel companies offer tours here.
Indigenous peoples predated the Vikings who arrived some 1000 years ago. England first raised a flag on the North American continent in the late 16th century in what came to be called Newfoundland. Fishermen soon discovered some of the Atlantic’s most productive waters here. The park’s Long Range Mountains testify to this once geologically charged world rife with volcanos and glaciers. These mountains are part of the Appalachian chain rising from Georgia through Maine.
“Gros Morne National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is as important to Plate Tectonics Theory as Ecuador’s Galapagos Archipelago is to the Theory of Evolution,” Haddow added. “The challenges of this environment become metaphors for the challenges faced by the women who choose to travel with us.”
Hiking first through a barren landscape, women discover where the peridotite ends and ancient oceanic crust begins. They hike through a boreal forest to the rugged coastline where pillow lava and sea stacks dominate the shore. They move to the rich marine wonderland of Bonne Bay and a landlocked lake before summiting Gros Morne Mountain in a hike of up to 10 hours.
Following are two 2018 Wild Women Expeditions’ itineraries in Newfoundland. Daily challenges reflect the company’s philosophy that women can discover and build on their own inner strengths by mastering hurdles in the safe company of other women.
Newfoundland Gros Morne Multi-Sport Adventure is a seven-day hiking and kayaking expedition in one of the wildest places in Canada. In 2018 there are three departures: July 21-27, Aug. 11-17 and Sept. 8-14. The $2,695 CAD per person rate includes professional local female guides, all meals, six nights shared accommodation in oceanside cabins, fully outfitted sea kayak day trip on Bonne Bay, guided hikes, ground transportation, park pass and Western Brook Pond Fjord boat tour.
Guests walk on rugged trails over the Earth’s mantle that supports little to no vegetation, explore fossil remains, visit an artsy village, kayak in a sheltered fjord, witness Minke whales, eagles, terns, and kingfishers in the bay and on land; caribou, Rock ptarmigan and Arctic hare. There’s also time to relax on a boat tour of a land-locked fjord accessed through bogs and limestone ridges. For trip details see http://wildwomenexpeditions.com/trips/newfoundland-multisport/.
Icebergs and Arts Adventure is an eight-day wilderness immersion with a hefty dollop of culture on two departures in 2018: June 3-10 and July 6-13. The per person rate of $2,695 CAD includes professional female guides; all meals; seven nights shared accommodation in an authentic house and suites, a wilderness lodge and seaside cabins; guided and fully outfitted sea kayak day; guided hikes and interpretive walks in Gros Morne National Park and along the Great Northern Peninsula; Western Brook Pond Fjord boat tour and iceberg and whale watching boat tour; interpretive tour and lunch at the French Shore Museum in Conche; and a visit to L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where Viking history comes alive.
At Port aux Choix National Historic Site guests hike to Philips Garden to explore the ancient remains of one of the largest Dorset Paleoeskimo settlements in the Eastern Canadian Arctic. They also visit the Myra Bennett Heritage House, the home of a nurse known along the 200 miles of coast simply as “the nurse.” This remarkable woman brought her life-saving skills to what was then an isolated, rugged Great Northern Peninsula. See: http://wildwomenexpeditions.com/trips/newfoundland/
“Canada is a country designed for adventurers. For women who want it all, Canada delivers the goods,” said Haddow. “We’ve been trailblazing outdoor adventures in Canada for over a quarter of a century. Increasingly women want to feel the freedom of connecting with wild space in its finest form. In Canada are some of the wildest and grandest natural treasures on the planet.”
Wild Women Expeditions’ Canadian programs are prototypes for the baptism-by-wilderness experiences that Haddow’s team arranges in 26 countries this year. These journeys reflect that…
- Women need opportunities to just be themselves, together;
- The wilderness helps women connect with elements of their psyche that may be lost in the daily hustle and bustle;
- Pairing women and wilderness often encourages women beyond their comfort zones, leading to increased confidence;
- These ingredients can be transformational, perhaps leading to answers to the question that Poet Mary Oliver poses: What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?
Founded in 1991, Wild Women Expeditions is the world’s largest women-only travel company. Its initial focus was on canoeing on remote Ontario waters. Through an unwavering focus on Canada, one of the wildest, most pristine countries in the world, Wild Women Expeditions became Canadian experts in a pioneering niche that introduced small groups of women into wilderness settings. Even though the company now hosts guests all over the world, it retains a national focus with more trips and more women-only, backcountry camping adventures in Canada than any other women’s travel company in the world.
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