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I can’t believe it. I won a free round-trip flight to Deer Lake, Newfoundland. It almost sounds like a joke. Who gives out free flights to Newfoundland? My first reaction when I received the email was to assume it was a hoax. I almost marked it as spam, but then I remember I had entered Air Canada’s Around the World in 750 Stories Contest a few weeks ago and picked Deer Lake as the my preferred destination for a free flight anywhere in the world.

I never thought I would win and immediately regretted choosing Newfoundland, of all places, but I had my reasons. Air Canada gave away 750 free flights – 386 to Canada, 99 to Asia, 98 to Europe, 86 to the USA/Central America, 51 to South America, and 30 to Australia. I figured more people would choose exotic, overseas destinations. So, I played the odds and picked a Canadian city.

Newfoundland 2006 - 103.jpgI’m lucky to have seen more of Canada than most Canadians. I’ve travelled east to St. John’s, north to Churchill, west to Prince Rupert, and to visited every province except PEI. But there are still lots of beautiful places in Canada that I’ve yet to visit. I eventually settled on Newfoundland because I’ve never been to Gros Morne but I’ve heard great things about it, and flights from Vancouver to Deer Lake are as expensive as flying overseas.

Here is what I wrote for Air Canada’s contest:
Mount Gardner Double JumpI love to spend time in the outdoors. My wife and I have hiked and trekked in far away places like Peru and Vietnam, but there are large parts of Canada we’ve never explored. I’d love to spend a week hiking through Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. There are so many beautiful places in Canada, and Gros Morne is at the top of my list for places to explore.

I can use my free flight almost anytime before December 15 (except around Easter), so we were thinking of going in the summer. Anyone have any recommendations of sights or hikes in the park?

Photo of Gros Morne by David Ooms.

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