Mistaken Point. According to the NL Wilderness and Ecological Reserves website: "Embedded in the planes of Mistaken Point's tilted and cleaved mudstone and sandstone, exposed by the pounding of the Atlantic waves, are fossils of the oldest creatures—in fact, the oldest complex life forms—found anywhere on Earth. Known to scientists as the Ediacara biota, they are creatures that lived 575 to 542 million years ago, when all life was in the sea". I couldn't have said that any better myself.
Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
My brother was in town this summer and my Sherpa guide and I thought he might enjoy the Edge of Avalon guided tour of Mistaken Point. Despite having been to Mistaken Point previously, we had never taken the guided tour ourselves, and with all the summer's buzz about UNESCO World Heritage status I thought it was high time to have a look. Impressive!
What made it so impressive for me was that we were permitted to scramble on the fossils. I really didn't expect to get to do that; I was sure it would be roped off and we would be pointing at it from afar. I even left my macro lens at home, and opted for my zoom lens, to increase my chance of getting a decent shot. Surprise. We had special booties and were permitted to walk all over that history.
Adding to the impressiveness of the site was the fact that it was not unreasonable to imagine me rolling into the ocean should I take a false step. No joking. When you are as clumsy as me you notice these things straight away.
There is a significant tilt on that slab of ocean floor that got hove up so long ago. I am guessing 30 degrees or so. Once again this summer, I found myself on a hike where I figured I could use a few rappelling ropes. Pretty sure it's just me though.
You access the Edge of Avalon tour from the community of Portugal Cove South. The drive from St. John's takes about 90 minutes. There is an additional 30 minute drive in to the start of the hike. The hike itself is about 45 minutes each way. A bit of a trek to get there, but well worth it.
I took a few pictures along the hike to the actual fossil site. All that haze is au-natural; it was a pretty mauzy day which made for some snaps that I am quite partial to.
I plan to go there again, when it is not so foggy, so I can actually see what the coastline looks like. Wish me luck figuring what day that will be! And I am going to bring my macro lens next time. Possibly a rappelling rope. Newfoundland. You gotta love it!