Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Discovering Newfoundland and Labrador August and September 2016. Part Two. Hiking Gros Morne Park

We had the pleasure of exploring Gros Morne National Park with Sue (one of the owners of Gros Morne Adventures) and Sam in August 2016. It will be the highlight of our trip to Newfoundland. Gros Morne is one of four UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Newfoundland (and we visited all four).  Gros Morne is all about the rocks and plate techtonics.  It would seem that back in the day, this chunk of Africa broke off and floated north and west til it bumped into North America.  One edge tucked under the other and bits of mantle lifted up to create the Tablelands.  Then the Atlantic Ocean rushed in, rushed out and created Newfoundland as an island.  You can look around near Gros Morne mountain and see examples of all these different bits of layers.  Geologists are totally flabbergasted at all this treasure; I was delighted by the colours, shapes and textures.

We did a variety of hikes and each day it was possible to do more or less challenging versions of the day's hike. The guides were informative, positive and always supportive of the hikers. Add to this an opportunity to try out local restaurants for dinner and very comfortable cabins and what more can you want on a week long adventure holiday.

Gros Morne Adventures has been offering these tours for 27 years. Their experience and love of the area shows.

There was something about the light, or the water or something that just made every photo I took look magical.  Here's a few of the hundreds I took.

Gros Morne Mountain decision point.
Do you want to climb up the scree for an hour or so then make your way along the ridge before coming down...

...or do you want to gradually make your way along this way until you are ready to stop for lunch?
 Either way, it was balancing on chunks of rock
 (just like Bob had said when he warned that it was not like hiking in Jasper along paths)
Sue demonstrating with an apple all about the geology of the area.

Second moose of the trip.  Yes, he was that close.
The third moose didn't get his picture taken as he literally brushed past us on the path
 above the Discovery Center while we hugged the trees and hoped that he wasn't feeling confrontational.

It wasn't all hiking.  One day we kayaked in the bay off Norris Point.
A bit of history (why do outport villages float their houses
across the bay to get closer to the road, or work, or schools)
and a lot of marine biology from Sam and geology from Sue.

And if you take enough photos of a bird in sparkling water from way off,
you will get one that is in focus
We couldn't go to Western Brook Pond one day (fog)
so got to go to Cow Head instead.  Jelly Bean Outhouses.

Another one of those areas where geologists were excited.
The colours, light, and texture were what impressed me.

Had supper one evening at a pretentious spot in Rocky Harbour
 (food lousy, service worse) but some fantastic local art on display.
For the record, the best place to eat there was Earl's,
where I was too busy enjoying the food and the people to take a photo.

Hiking the Tablelands

Pitcher plant (provincial flower), the first of many.

Discovery Center at Bonne Bay (Woody Point) was great fun.
 Postcards AND stamps.  Lovely spot for lunch before or after hikes.

The demonstration pitcher plant (with all sorts of fabric bugs inside).
 Behind was a hooked rug map by local ladies.

Rock ptarmigan in summer plumage.

Sam finding an American frog for us.

Tuckamore trees

Sam, who had just finished her Masters in Marine Biology

Tourism Newfoundland had placed Red Adirondack chairs at all sorts of points of interest.
The challenge was to get your picture taken at all of them.  This was at the Green Gardens.

Local sheep
And sea sheep - reminded me of the sheep in Iceland
that you would find in the durnedist places.

Then a bit of time for retail therapy before another lovely dinner.
Newfoundland was all about wool.  Almost no quilting.
Purchases from Aunt Maggie who explained that most fleece from Newfoundland
 goes to custom mills in either Prince Edward Island or New Brunswick.
So I got a bit of each. And some hand spun/hand dyed wool from Island Sweet Yarns. 
Genuine NL Pacifier.
In the 30's, mums would soak this in molasses to give to their hungry crying babies
when they didn't have enough milk.

OK, I did find a few quilts.

Waiting patiently for the fog to lift at Western Brook Pond.
Sue was sure it would and went around encouraging others to stick around
 to sort of pressure the boat crew to head out.

Sue was absolutely right.
 We started out almost not able to see the edges and then the fog just started breaking up and floating off.
 Western Brook Pond is a landlocked fjord.

Our cabin for the week.  The identical colour of our house at home.
It was destined.
Touring the Marine Center on the last day.
Our guide was from Beaverlodge.

Lobsters molt.  This is the old shell
And here he is hiding out while the new shell hardens.
Blue lobster.  We also saw green ones.

Even a wee bit of fabric art.
Our group.
Us, three ladies from New York and everybody else from Ontario.
Next up, almost two weeks on the east coast of Newfoundland.

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