Gros Morne National Park

After my Fleur des Lys detour, I drove to Corner Brook on the western side of Newfoundland and arrived late in the afternoon. This was close to Newfoundland’s largest, most well-known national park. Gros Morne had been established as a reserve back in 1973, then a UNESCO heritage site in 1987, and finally a national park in 2005. This was not only due to its diverse landscape, but its clear evidence of continental drift exposing plate tectonics. 

Spending a few days in the area, I planned to take advantage of the park’s bogs, forests, dry landscapes, and fjords. With more than fifty trails to choose from, my first hike was the Mattie Mitchell site—a short loop trail about the mapper then the South-East Brooks Falls Trail that was a short climb to waterfalls. 

At the Tablelands Trail, I caught up to listen as the guide pointed out unusual rocks and vegetation that grew in the desolate location. Further on, there were several trails heading north and I stopped at most to enjoy the quiet and variety of scenery. Some hikers said they saw caribou, but I didn’t have their luck. Moose had been introduced into the park one hundred years ago and had since destroyed some of the flora, but I didn’t spot any of these large creatures either.

In complete contrast to the previous day’s hikes, I trekked  the two and a half kilometres Western Brook Pond Fjord Trail past the pond, through bogs and forest to arrive at a jetty where a tour boat would head out. The park staff weren’t sure when the next sail would be because the weather looked ominous. A family and I shrugged our shoulders. We’d taken the hike, so waited to see how the day turned out.

Luckily, after an hour, the ride was back on and we sailed between steep majestic mountains dropping straight into the lake explaining why it was a fjord. Waterfalls tumbled down at intervals, unusual cracks were fissured into the rock. Further on, the tour guide pointed out where the caribou came down a low u-shaped valley in the spring, crossed the lake to climb a narrow steep ravine up to the tableland to mate. Because their path was still covered in snow in the spring, it was easy for the caribou to ascend.

I’d been struggling with Newfoundland music for some time on this trip. There was none of the magical Leahy style that I’d come to associate with the island. The music was like old Australian ballads early settlers sang that needed to be put to rest. As I sat on the boat, letting the wind whip through my hair, the captain turned up the dreadful sound and low and behold, I knew who was from Newfoundland and who was a tourist. The locals raised their voices to something along the lines of being proud to be a Newfoundlander until I was ready to invest in earplugs. Fortunately, I safely made it back to land and along a path that only sang with the wind.

3 thoughts on “Gros Morne National Park”

  1. Beautiful! I only spent a few days in Newfoundland once, and our destination was L’Anse Aux Meadows. We caught a glimpse of Gros Morne on the way and it looked so intriguing, we really regretted having to pass it by. Thanks for giving me a chance to see it after all!

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