So back in February I did a post on National Parks in Canada along with some pictures. One of the parks that I mentioned was Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland, I didn't have pictures at the time. Well now I do and I thought I would tell you about our adventure there.
This is an old trip by the way, but I don't expect that a lot of the landscape has changed in all that time.
Kevin and I took this trip with our two children, Lindsey (who was almost 8) and Alex (who had only just turned 6) in July of 1994. We had two weeks and did the trip with a van and tent.
We started out and the first night we stopped in New Brunswick at Les Jardins Provincial Park outside of Edmunston, our second night was at Moncton, NB at a private campground. This was the only private campground we stayed in for the trip, the rest were provincial or national parks, and it was the worst campground I have ever stayed in. Ever since then when we camped in tents they were in provincial, state or national parks.
Our third night was spent at Whycocomagh Provincial Park on Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. We are making our way to North Sydney where we will catch the ferry to Port aux Basques, Newfoundland the next day. This is also our first training spot for our eventual hike up Gros Morne Mountain, as we first need to prepare both Lindsey and Alex for this hike. There is a nice hiking trail up to a scenic look out at the top of Salt Mountain, it took us about an hour and neither of the kids had a problem.
Alex, Lindsey and Ruth hiking up the trail on Salt Mountain in the Whycocomagh Provincial Park
View of Skye River Valley and the Bras d' Or Lake from the lookout on top of Salt Mountain
We got to North Sydney around 11:30am and our ferry was to leave at 1:30pm or and we have made reservations ahead of time. The cost at the time was $104 one way for us and the van. (I am looking at a journal I wrote at the time and had kept as a keepsake, in storage, which I found when I was a Kevin's sister's house last week) I have just looked online and now to take that same ferry it would be $81.50 for the van and $28.75 per adult and $14.50 per child, all in all the prices haven't changed a great deal. The ferry ride is about a 6-7 hour journey. The crossing was calm and we arrived at Port aus Basques, Nfld around 7:30pm. From there we drove to J.T. Cheesman Provincial Park at that time $7 with no services. This park is the closest to the ferry and makes for a great first or last stop to the ferry.
Our first look of Newfoundland from the deck of the ferry. Ferry terminal at Port aux Basques, Nfld
Campsite at J.T. Cheeseman Provincal Park
Trail to beach at Cape Ray at J.T. Cheeseman Prov. Park
Alex, Lindsey and Ruth at the beach (Cape Ray Cove) at J.T. Cheeseman Prov. Park
We woke to a beautiful sunny day and we weren't in a rush so after breakfast we took a hiking trail to the beach and enjoyed playing by the ocean, not swimming in it, although Alex did get a soaker as he didn't beat the wave and got a boot full of water. After having fun by the ocean we headed back to camp and packed up and headed on. Stopped in Stephenville and bought some groceries and then found a site at Barachois Pond Campground, another provincial park. I have been to this campground before when I was about 10 with my parents and really enjoyed it and knew that they had a nice hike up Erin Mountain here that I never got to do with my parents, so we were going to do this together as a family tomorrow. Even back then we seemed to stay away from the main camping area, I have noted in the journal that we are at least 1km (about 1/2mi) away from the main camp area and in an area all by ourselves.
Ruth, Lindsey and Alex our campsite at Barachois Pond Provincial Park near Deer Lake
Slept in, and enjoyed the fact that we didn't have to take down the tent today, first time since leaving home. Instead we made sandwiches to take on our hike. the weather unfortunately wasn't the best, it was very cloudy and quite cool. This is another training hike. It is 10km (6.2mi) round trip and should take about 2-3 hours. Lindsey and Alex went the whole way without complaining, and we we got to the top it was cold, windy and foggy (Kevin laughed at me when he saw me packing mittens, hats and headbands at the beginning of the trip at home, he was happy to have me pull them out of the backpack now!). We had our lunch up there and then started back down. We saw lots of caribou and moose poop but no actual animals, I think the kids were just too noisy. In the evening we had a campfire and roasted mashmellows and played cards.
A view of the campground from the first lookout on the Erin Mountain Trail
I will continue this trip tomorrow as we head into Gros Morne National Park.