Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Near Groningen, Netherlands.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Just wandering the Netherlands.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Gros Morne National Park

Today we are into Day 7 of our two week Newfoundland holiday in 1994.  We got up had breakfast and got all our gear packed up and we were on the road again.  Drove to Corner Brook where we stopped for more groceries and then headed on to Gros Morne National Park.  We have heard that you can't
go to Newfoundland and not see a moose and as we were driving through moose country we figured we would spot one, but not a chance. We don't believe there are moose in Newfoundland!  Once we got into Gros Morne National Park we found a nice lookout with a picnic area where we had our lunch.

Ruth and Lindsey working on lunch at the lookout in Gros Morne Nat'l Park

We have decided to stay at Berry Hill Campground in the park, it is the biggest campground within Gros Morne, but it also had a lot to offer (showers and flushies).  It also had three hiking trails, was close to town and Lobster Cove Head where they had park activities.  There is a park pool close by and last but not least a view of Gros Morne Mountain.  Our campsite was great, it was close enough for the kids to go to the playground, but far enough away that we didn't have all the noise of it.

Kevin, Alex and Ruth at our campsite in Berry Hill

After supper we headed to Lobster Cove Head, there's walking trails to the water and lots of tidal pools to look at, also the lighthouse and small museum.  The kids enjoyed looking at the rock pools and wandering around the museum, we then headed for the campfire on the beach because it was Friday night the park had a program where they put on some fun skits about the history of Newfoundland and its people along with Newfie songs and maritime music, which was very entertaining and enjoyed by everyone.  I was just checking on line to see it they still have these things available and they do.  The lighthouse is still there along with the museum.  They also still have programs with skits and such, but it doesn't mention if they hold these at the cove or not.

Lighthouse at Lobster Cove Head

The next day we took things easy, we did the short hike up Berry Hill (1.5km, .9mi) and had a nice view.  After that we went to the Fun Park in Rock Harbor.  Not well maintained but the kids had fun with the mini putt and water slide.  It looks like this place is still operational, not sure if it has improved or not.  We then went to the park pool and came back to camp for lunch.

View from Berry Hill
In the afternoon we decided to hike into Baker's Brook Falls, a 10 km hike (6.3mi).  The trail was mostly boardwalk and fairly flat, and easy hike.  There was lots of bog and lots of bugs (too many), but the falls were worth the hike in.

Baker's Brook Falls

Sunday, was the day we were waiting for, one of our main purposes of coming to Newfoundland.  Today we are doing the hike up Gros Morne Mountain.  This hike is 16 km (almost 10mi) return, 7-8 hours, and is rated as strenuous.  We were pretty confident that both Lindsey and Alex could do this.  Lindsey really enjoys this type of thing, Alex not so much, he would rather have a ball to play with.  We packed up a lunch, and lots of snacks, studied the trail and knew more or less what to expect along the way and lots of water.  The weather was beautiful and sunny about 22 C (71F), but will be cooler up on the summit.  We started on the trail at 9:15am. It is about 5km (3mi) from the trailhead to the base of the mountain, where you then have the option of going around the back of the mountain on a longer but easier trail, or going up the gully which is shorter but much steeper and requires climbing over lots of rocks.  Its is recommended that you can go up this way but come down the backside as it too dangerous to climb down the gully.  We decided to go up the gully.  It took two hours to get to the base of the gully and another hour and a half or so to climb up the gully.  The view was amazing.  Lindsey and Alex had no problems, although Alex was starting to get cranky, this was boring to him.  Once on the summit it was quite cool and windy, out came the headbands again!  At some point someone made a windbreak out of rocks and this is where we stopped and had our lunch.  You should have seen some of the faces of the people coming up behind us when the saw the two children.  We were very impressed and so were we.  The trail then follows around the top for a ways before it starts to head down on the backside.  The views were stunning!  Our trip down to the base was easy, but Alex was starting to complain that he was tired.  When we got to the base of the mountain again, we still had the 5km to got back out to the trailhead, we figured this was going to be a long walk with Alex.  We started playing a game with the kids (Alex loves games), they were to run ahead and hide and we would follow and try to find them, before we knew it we were back at the van.

Alex and Lindsey on the start of the trail to Gros Morne Mountain

The gully of Gros Morne Mountain that we would be climbing up

Lindsey, Alex and Ruth and the view from part of the way up the gully of Gros Morne Mountain

View from the top of Gros Morne Mountain

Another view from the other side of the mountain

We returned to the campsite and both Lindsey and Alex wanted to go to the playground, they still have lots of energy!  They head off while we collapsed.  After supper they wanted to head to the pool, we were OK with this as they had a hot tub to soak in.  Climbing into bed that night felt soooo... gooood!!

The next day we all slept in.  It would be a fairly relaxing day.  We headed into Rocky Harbour and bought boat cruise tickets for the boat tour on Western Brook Pond which is about a twenty minute drive north of here.  (Tickets are now $52/adult and $20 or $25/per child depending on their age and are purchased at The Ocean View Motel in Rocky Harbour, cash or credit card or at the boat dock at Western Brook Pond, cash only).  This boat tour is about 2 1/2 hours long and first you an easy 3km (1.8mi) hike in to the boat dock.  The drive up to the pond is a beautiful drive, we stopped to see the S.S. Elsie shipwreck along the way.  The fjord was beautiful and the boat cruise was well worth it.  On the way back to our campsite we stopped for dinner at Baker's Brook and had a nice stroll along the beach looking for treasures.

The fjord on Western Brook Pond from the boat tour

A waterfall on the fjord

Another view of the fjord

And yet one more

Baker's Brook

Next day we were packing up and heading on our way back.  Stopped in Deer Lake for groceries and stayed at Picadilly Head just past Stephenville, right on the ocean.  We didn't have a lot of driving to do the next day so we thought we would take a drive right out to the point.  We had breakfast first and packed up in the rain, the first time this trip that we had to do it in the rain.  Driving out to the point we had to go along a dirt road, by the time we got off the dirt road we discovered we had a flat.  It took a while to find where everything was, half our stuff had to be taken out of the back of the van, in the rain.  Kevin got it changed and we were on our way again.  Went to Stephenville and found a laundrymat so Alex and I stayed and worked on that, while Kevin and Lindsey went off to get the tire fixed.  The tire couldn't be fixed and they couldn't find the proper tire so we'll use the spare for now and continue on.  Made our night camp at J.T. Cheeseman again.

Alex and our flat tire
The following morning we were up early to pack up and catch the ferry back to Nova Scotia.  It was a gorgeous day.  The crossing was very smooth, so smooth you could have waterskied on it.  This ferry was a newer one and had a 5 hole mini golf on the top deck.  You got a putter with a depoist fee, but had to buy the golf balls, obviously they lose lots of balls overboard.  We stopped for the night at Wentworth.

Next day made it to Moncton again, where we spent the afternoon at Magic Mountain in their waterpark.  We continued on driving to Fredrickton where we camped nearby.  Our final day we did a lot of driving and got back home late that night.

Over all we have a fantastic holiday, we loved Newfoundland and its people.  We never did see any moose!  Kevin and I still talk about that trip and can't wait to make it back there again with the motorhome.  When we do do it again we will spend several months there to make the ferry cost worthwhile.  I don't think we will have trouble exploring Newfoundland as I feel we only saw a very tiny piece of it during this trip.


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