On March 18, 1953, a gigantic B36 aircraft on a secret reconnaissance mission crashed on a hillside near Burgoyne’s Cove, Newfoundland. All 23 crew members were killed. The plane left the Canary Islands headed for Maine, but was forced off course by weather conditions and hit the hillside just north of Burgoyne’s Cove. An excellent source of information is http://www.hiddennewfoundland.ca , under the Vehicles and Vessels tab click Burgoynes Cove B36 crash.
My sister put this trail on my radar about two years ago, and finally, with my husband joining us, we did the trek. Because route 320A, off the Bonavista Highway to George’s Brook, was under construction, we took Marine Drive in Clarenville, through Shoal Harbour and continued on this route until we eventually arrived at George’s Brook and then turned down to Burgoyne’s Cove. There we found the sign which indicated the Slate Quarry and took this dirt road for approximately 4.5 km until we reached the trail head. Because we were in our camper van, we actually drove 2.5 km and walked the remaining 2 km. This was a good decision and we enjoyed the morning walk.
The sign for the actual trail could very easily be missed.
The sign says 1/2 hour, most posts on the trail say 40 minutes and I would agree. The trail is not long (1 km) or overly arduous, but it is a steady climb uphill and the path is covered with intertwining tree roots. I would rate it moderate but it may be difficult for the inexperienced hiker.
Along the trail.
Continuing uphill, we pause and explore. We hiked the trail in the morning and there was a slight breeze…..perfect hiking conditions.
Moments of beauty.
Ferns are always a welcoming sight for me.
…….and then we see the first piece, not so bad.
We continue to walk and there is debris everywhere, far flung and in the oddest places….and the sadness comes. How horrific. How sad. We are all subdued and can not stop looking and searching and learning.
Sixty-four years later and their story is told by the aircraft pieces scattered all over the hillside.
Hiking further up the hill to view the memorial.
Views from the top are spectacular…..Smith Sound……
One blade of one of the airplane’s propellers is used for their monument… how fitting. We read the names of the 23 people aboard and pause to reflect.
We can only hope.
We can walk between two places and in so doing establish a link between them into a warmth of contact, like introducing two friends. Thomas A. Clark
Maybe by hiking here, we connect the past with the present.
This plane was enormous and in reading the information it says the men would ride on a trolley to get from the tail to the front. It had ten engines and now, for sixty-four years, it all lies scattered on the hillside near Burgoyne’s Cove. The bodies were eventually air lifted out to the naval base and then flown back to the US.
We return to Quarry Road subdued, but thankful too that we had completed the hike and learned more about the Burgoyne’s Cove crash of 1953.
An experience is an arch to build upon. Henry Burton
Photos L & C Fudge