Surviving the Trans Labrador Highway in winter

Surviving the Trans Labrador Highway in winter

We have a bad habit of getting stuck in storms while traveling the Trans Labrador. So far its Happened 4 times. Once resulted in a 8 Hour stopover on the Eagle River Plateau. I’ll tell you a little about each of the stories, but know there’s a point to these little antidotes.

Surviving the Trans Labrador Highway in winter 1

Out snowshoeing, somewhere along the Highway.

First time: Happy New YEAR!



We were headed to the Labrador Coast for New Years. It was a Friday afternoon and we left from work. We met up with my wife’s sister and boyfriend before we got to Goose Bay. In Goose Bay the weather was good and it was getting dark. We pressed on thinking it was warm and we wouldn’t have much to worry about. About an hour outside Goose we hit some snow, then more snow and then even more snow. It got to a point to where we had to take turns in front, bashing out way through Bumper High snow drifts. (Both Rigs were lifted) After a good 5 hours of this it all turned to Rain, which made everything worse, the nice soft drifts now became heavy wet snow berms that we had to climb through. We got to our destination, but the normally 4-hour drive took us 10 hours that night.

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Drift on the Highway that night.

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our companions

Second time: Unexpected in November



After a visit to the Coast in the End of November we left to return home. We had been watching the weather because there was a storm looming, when we left it was nice and the road was open the whole way from Port Hope Simpson. What we didn’t know was that shortly after we left Cartwright Junction, they closed the gate behind us. It was a mild day, but it began to snow heavily. I guess we were the first ones to hit the highway that morning as there wasn’t a track to be seen. The Snow began to build up on the roadway and soon there was nothing delineating the sides. We stayed in the middle and took our time.  It actually got to a point where we were crawling along in 4Low, stopping every 15 mins to clear our windshield wipers. We were doing fine taking our time until we came up on a Wing Truck that was off the road, there was a crew there trying to get the truck back on the road. Immediately one of them came up and said “You got to go back, you can’t go this way……” we were more than half way and a return trip just wasn’t possible…. There was enough gas to get to Goose Bay but not enough to get back to PHS. He insisted that if we waited the Police would be waiting for us in Goose…. We took our chances and Waited. (Which was a bunch of Bull BTW) For almost 8 hours the crew worked to get the truck out of the way. When they finally got it back on the road, they escorted us to Crooks Lake, (Which is a Snow Clearing Depot about half way between Cartwright Junction and Goose Bay.) We proceeded on past Crooks Lake, because it had been plowed a few hours before…… Yeah that didn’t make a whole lot of difference, the storm had covered everything in. We caravaned with another couple until we hit Veterans Bridge…. Needless to say, we didn’t continue that night, and elected to stay in Goose Bay for the night.

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Third Time: Testing out the Gladiator / Heading East



This year we wanted to go see Sheena’s parents with the new baby. SO, we packed up the new Gladiator and headed off, we went early because we knew a storm was supposed to hit later that day. Well, it hit a little early, the road was slick as a slip and slide covered in Dish Soap. Luckily, we didn’t have any problem, but the group from goose bay we came upon out in the trees we’re so lucky. Fortunately, no one got hurt, and the truck only received cosmetic damage.  We hauled out the recovery gear and pulled him back up on the road. By the time we hit Goose Bay the storm had calmed down and the rest of the trip down was uneventful.


Fourth time: Testing out the Gladiator / The Return West



On the same trip we came back in a crazy blizzard, 4 WD the whole way from PHS to Labrador City. Wet sloppy slushy road the whole way. We passed by 3 vehicles that were off the road or flipped over, all had happened way before we got there. But once again we had to creep along and take our time. Stopping periodically to clear out the snow and check on the Jeep.

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SO this is what we’ve learned:

  • Always plan on having Extra Gas, if you have to stop for an extended period you will need to heat your rig, that takes gas. The section from Port Hope to Goose Bay is just about the range for normal average vehicles.
  • Pack Warm Clothes even if you don’t think you need them. Snow Pants, a warm Jacket, hat and Mitts, could be all that keeps you alive on the side of the road in a raging blizzard.
  • Extra Food and water is Essential. If you are Hungry or dehydrated hypothermia sets in a lot faster. Melting snow in your mouth… reduces your core body temp… bad idea.
  • There are railway crossings on the West end of the TLH, in a race with a train, the train will always win. Heed the warnings and slow / stop at the crossings.
  • Let someone know where you are going and where you intend to stop for the night. The sooner someone knows you’re overdue the sooner someone can come looking for you.
  • Basic Recovery Gear is a requirement. It’s something you hope you won’t need, but a Shovel and tow strap can mean the difference between a night in the ditch or a safe trip to the next place. Its nice if you can help out a fellow traveler too.
  • Check your rig before you leave and again when you can. Rough winter roads mean you break stuff. Ice and snow can bust off wires and freeze up around suspension components. Real nice to know you have a problem, before you have to try to fix it out in the middle of nowhere, in the snow.(See photos below)
  • If it’s available, bring some form of communication, the province supplies Satellite phones that can be picked up and dropped off at points along the TLH. The phones are pre-programmed to enable calls to be directed to the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary (RNC) in Labrador City, which will co-ordinate appropriate emergency response through either the RNC or RCMP. We have been carrying a SPOT unit with us for Years. Its great to know you have that Panic Button if something really Hits the Fan!

Surviving the Trans Labrador Highway in winter 6 Surviving the Trans Labrador Highway in winter 7

Destroyed a shock and bar pin coming back on a trip, as you can see the shock dragged for a bit before we noticed.


Highway Cameras

Road Condition Map

Satellite Phone Information

I’m not hoping to deter anyone from traveling the road in the winter, it’s actually one of the most beautiful times of year to travel the road. The winter scenery is AMAZING! But I’m just hoping this post will get you to keep in mind that winter in Labrador can be unpredictable and dangerous if you’re not prepared.

Some of my most beautiful pictures have been in the dead of winter along the TLH. And the best time is when it’s sunny and -40C.  Here’s a few!


For those of you following along, I haven’t forgotten the article about the useful Apps, I’ve just gathering more info. Keep an eye out for it in the coming weeks.

Go anywhere, beat anything!

Labrador Jeeper.


By the Way, of you have an article that you think is Labrador/Offroad/Overlanding related and you think it fits this site send me an e-mail with your idea. I would love to have submissions from others about their experiences.


Be a Tourist in your own Province – Labrador West

Be a Tourist in your own Province – Labrador West

SO we done a story a few months back about the South Coast of Labrador where my Wife is From (Port Hope Simpson) and we realized that there’s a lot of nice Offroad / Overland attractions in western Labrador. The terrain in the area is a mix of Boreal Forest and sprawling eskers, but there are some passable trails in the area, as well as loads of little off shoots along the Trans-Labrador Highway.  When you head east you can head North on Esker Road just outside of Churchill Falls and explore the Smallwood reservoir and surrounding areas. (Do the tours of Churchill Falls it’s Amazing)

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Playing in the Rocks near the TLH

There are actually 2 Towns located in Labrador West, Labrador City and across the Lake Wabush. Both town are centered around the Iron Ore Mining Industry, so you may see some pretty heavy equipment moving about. (DO the Virtual Tour at the Gateway Center!) We’re lucky in this area because I can literally leave my house and be on the trail in less than 5 mins. We live in Wabush and there’s literally a Offroad playground in back of the town.  I’d suggest contact a local if you really wanted to explore the area, there are some really nice areas to pitch a tent and setup camp. I can’t move on without mentioning the walking trails. Smokey, Jean Lake and Tanya lake offer Hiking with different degrees of difficulty. There’s a huge Lake network that basically crosses most of Labrador, but be sure you know where you’re going, it’s easy to get lost in such a vast area of water.

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Trying out our new Kayaks in Grande Hermine Lake

If you come through the Big Land from Que the first Town you will come to Labrador City, your first Stop should be the Gateway Labrador Center, located on the TLH just as you enter town. (Just past the Mall exit) It’s a beautiful Log structure on the side of the highway and houses a gift shop, museum and tourism information representatives. Depending on the time of year they offer guided tours, bathroom facilities and a spot to spend the night (In the Parking Lot, but it’s nicer than Walmart)

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Gateway Labrador

If something more “Outdoors” is to your liking there are 2 Camping parks in the area. Duley Family Park and Grande Hermine Park.

Duley Family Park – Lots available, lots are not serviced, but fresh water is available, park has a dumping station, Bathroom and  Shower Facilities, Each Lot offers a Fire Pit, Picnic Table and garbage can.

Located 17km West of Labrador City on the TLH

Price = $20 a Night

Booking= 1-709-280-1128 or 1-709-280-7645 /

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Duley Family Park – From the air, and trail network.

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Duley Family Park – a View of the Beach

Grande Hermine – Lots Available, Water offered at the Lot, park has a dumping station, Bathroom and  Shower Facilities (Showers being renovated this summer 2020), Each Lot offers a Fire Pit, Picnic Table and garbage can.  Located 40km east of Labrador City on the TLH

Price = $20 a Night

Booking= 709-280-0403 /


There is also a Cottage for rent, Please check out the website / facebook for more information.

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Grand Hermine – Lake and Lots

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Grande Hermine – Tent Lot

We’re normally at Grande Hermine, and if you happen to be down that way drop by Lot 6 on the beach and say “Hi” (Look for the Labrador Jeep Owners sticker in the window). I’ve spoken to both owners, and they both tell me the lots can accommodate a larger vehicle, like a EarthRoamer or Unimog. Tell em Kent Sent ya!  lol

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Overlanders from Germany

When you’re done admiring the beautiful twin Cities, you can proceed down to the TLH to Churchill Falls. It takes about 2 hours to get there, unless you decide to explore one of the many little offshoots. Churchill is the Site of one of the largest Hydro Electric installations in the Country. Even more amazing is the fact that most of the Power House is almost a kilometer underground. Its worth stopping in and getting the tour of the Power house if you can.

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I guess i should inject a little safety to this post.  If you leave Lab West to go East, remember that gas stations are few and far between along the TLH.  There’s also no Cell service along most of the highway.  Inquire at the Gateway Labrador about the Satt Phone program if you don’t have some form of communication while traveling the area. Also keep your insect repellent at arms length, unless you plan on traveling in the snow. Last but not least, watch the weather forecast, it’s not too far fetched to think you may get snow in May, June … well just about anytime of the year. We’ve been stuck on the TLH in Nov in a Blizzard.

Well that’s the summarized version, if you want more information about traveling through and around the Labrador West area you’re gonna need to contact the Gateway folks or a local Offroader/Overlander for more specific offroad related questions. Send me a message and I’ll do my best!  Next summer I’ll be working on a map of Traditional camp sites in the area. (Open space and fire ring…) For right now I can offer a few suggestions if either of the Parks isn’t your cup of tea.

Next, I’m hoping to look at some useful Apps for your phone/tablet that can be useful on the trail!

Go anywhere, beat anything!

Labrador Jeeper.


By the Way, of you have an article that you think is Labrador/Offroad/Overlanding related and you think it fits this site send me an e-mail with your idea. I would love to have submissions from others about their experiences.


Jeeps for the new Jeep owner

Jeeps for the new Jeep owner

Well so you bought a new Jeep, what happens now?  Well I bet you didn’t realize there’s a huge community of people that all use jeeps differently but have common interests…. Jeeps.

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Sheena and her first new Jeep

First let me explain something, there are some people who buy a jeep and have no interest in the “Cult of Jeeple”, to these people the Jeep is just another SUV, to be used as a tool to get from one place to another. But the rest of us, the ones who do the Wave (I’ll get to that in a bit) we consider ourselves “Jeeple”, we attend events, do the wave, and take pride in our machines as thought they cost us the same as a European Supercar.

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Go Topless event in Labrador City

As a new owner, you need to understand that as a Jeeple you are required to Jeep Wave. The Jeep Wave was started during WW2 as Soldiers would pass by each other in their Jeeps they would Wave at each other through the doorway or open top of the Jeep. (That’s the origin story I like, cause there’s more than one) This has carried forward to present day and in most places a Jeep owner Will wave. Now there’s a bunch of rules about who waves at who, and what are “Real Jeeps” (Purists say only Wrangler owners’ wave…. That’s up to you) Have a look at these videos for more info.

Jeep Wave Explained

Jeep Wave Stereotypes (Funny)

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Going to the mall will become a new experience for you.  Along with everyone admiring your new rig, you will find yourself looking for other Jeeps to park next to, we call that a Jeep Cluster.  It’s real, and happens often.

Some Jeep Terms you should know:

Jeeple – Jeep owners who participate in the community.

Wheeling – Taking your Jeep off-road also referred to as a trail run.

Jeep Wave – The Greeting from one Jeep Owner to another passing on the road/trail

Tow Points – Hook or Loop affixed securely to the Frame or bumper of a Jeep

Jeep Meet – A get together organized by a local Jeep Club

Jeep Cluster – A random group of Jeeps parked next to each other in a public parking lot.

Mall Crawler – A Jeep that will never see anything but Pavement.

Rock Crawler – A Jeep heavily modified for climbing rocks.

Overlander – A Jeep that is setup for Long Range offroading, and camping.

Bogger – A Jeep heavily modified for speeding through Mod and Bog.

High Center – When a Jeep is propped up on the frame between the axels, resulting in loss of traction.

Approach Angle – The angle at which you can Approach an obstacle and avoid scraping the bumper.

Departure angle – The angle you can leave an obstacle without hitting the rear end of your Jeep.

33”s, 35”s, 37”s… – Refers to the size of tires you are running on your Jeep. 33”s tires, 35” tires and so on. (I hear there’s even a 39.5”, he he he)

Lift – Suspension or body parts that make the Jeep higher. Giving more ground clearance and room for larger tires.

Death Wobble – A problem resulting from worn or broken parts, can also be caused by incorrect suspension geometry. Symptoms include violent shaking of the steering and fluttering of the front wheels. (It’s scary as hell the first time)

Death Wobble

Articulation / Flex: The ability of your Jeep to twist its axels and have the wheels remain on the ground.

Soon you will begin noticing other Jeeps where ever you go, don’t worry, this is perfectly normal. As you see more and more Jeeps, you may feel the urge to Modify your Jeep.  Just a word of warning, if you plan on making some changes, keep in mind what you plan on using your Jeep for. If you like the ride and fuel economy and don’t intend to do any heavy off-roading, I would suggest an aggressive set of tires…. That’s it. A Stock sport Jeep will travel any path or country road deemed Stock friendly. Changing the geometry of your Jeeps suspension and putting on bigger tires WILL change the road manners of your Jeep. A Stock Rubicon, is trail ready and really only needs a Winch…

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Soon as you get confident driving your new jeep thoughts like “Hmmm can I get up there, maybe I can climb that or I wonder how deep that is begin to seep into your mind. I highly suggest getting to know you’re local Jeeple and asking them about Local trails and obstacles. A little research on local trails can save you a butt load of hassle and steer you away from some expensive recovery/repair bills…  I can’t forget to mention, if you’re going to be on the trail (or off of the trail) do it ethically.  Make tracks not trash! And remember you may be on someone’s property.


Before you go off into the wilderness, ask about what a trail is rated, I like to keep it simple. Stock Friendly, Stock Capable and Modified. These ratings refer to the capability of Jeep not the trail and in some cases refer to a stock JEEP, not other vehicles.

Trail Ratings:

Stock friendly – Just about type of Jeep can do this run, I would be careful about doing so in a “Non-Jeep Jeep”. By that I mean, compass, patriot, Liberty or renegade and even thought I’ve seen the New style Cherokee do some impressive things, I’d still suggest caution. Way too much expensive pretty plastic to destroy by going off trail.

Stock capable –  A Stock Wrangler will be able to do this run However a 2.5″ lift and 33″s is suggested

Modified – Jeep must have a Lift, Larger than Stock Tires, experienced driver and appropriate recovery gear (Winch, Tow Straps, basic trail repair tools)

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Modified: 4″ Lift, Rock Bumpers, 35″s. Winch and onboard recovery gear. (Plus much more!)

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Stock: Unmodified

Some new Jeep owners, might be “New to them” jeep owners, and my suggestion for you folks is, ASK QUESTIONS! Interrogate the previous owner about Mods, oddities, quirks and upgraded parts before you hand over the cashola.  Once its bought you may not have that opportunity again. And knowing that that JK you just bought has a Spicer Drive shaft conversion on the front, could save you a bunch of screwing around and money. Make sure that the rig meets provincial guidelines for registration before you buy it.  It’s getting harder and harder to get modified Jeeps inspected. Suspension changes have to be done safely and properly. I’ve seen some real doozies, if it has hockey pucks or U-Bolts made from Threaded stock, RUN!

Parting advice,We’ve driven all sorts of Jeeps, and we know that the JK and JL/JT are that we like. Before you making huge changes, go see someone you know that has a modified Jeep and go for a ride, a modified rig is not for everyone.  The more modifications you make the more expensive the Jeep will be to maintain. But if you use it for what it’s built for that’s not going to bother you too much. If you want some examples of where you can go, read back through some of out Blogs, or check out my Instagram (N8tureboy2007) It’s amazing the world a new Jeep can open up.

Got something that you think i forgot? Comment below!

Keep an eye out for our next Post, doing an article on Wheeling in Labrador West!

Go anywhere, beat anything!

Labrador Jeeper.



By the Way, of you have an article that you think is Labrador/Offroad/Overlanding related and you think it fits this site send me an e-mail with your idea. I would love to have submissions from others about their experiences.