A Single Ribbon

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A single ribbon of gravel and asphalt connects the west to the east of Labrador.

The presence of a road implies some degree of activity has been reached, be it commercial or otherwise. Absent a road there is a tendency to assume the space beyond — to the north and south in this case — is empty, and untamed. I was reminded of the early settlers who arrived on these and other shores of the Americas to marvel at the vastness of this empty space, ignoring that there were some 50 million indigenous residents. To put this number into perspective, Europe’s population at the time was about 70-90 million people.

Travelling this road, in late July, there was little volume of traffic. We stopped several times to take pictures and rarely would another car pass. If one did, the driver always slowed down to look and confirm we were OK.

That there is just one road raises the impact of a road closure; to be forced to retreat from a blockage would imply several days of back-tracking. It was with that in mind that before we left I consulted the Forest Fire Status reports to confirm whether we faced an elevated risk.

Satellite image of southern Labrador

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