Wayne and I were supposed to stay 4 nights at the Sir Richard Squires Provincial Park outside of Deer Lake on our way across the island. From the main road it was a 40 minute drive over very rough road to a campground that had no services at all, no staff, and the site we had booked was not large enough for our fifth wheel. Not the ideal spot we had hoped for daytrips to Gros Morne, so we went back out over the awful road and stayed at the RV park in Deer Lake that was directly across from the Insectarium. I forget the name, but the rates were reasonable though the sites closer together than we usually prefer.
Once settled we had different ideas of how to spend a day at Gros Morne. All Wayne was interested in was the boat tour of Western Brook Pond, and all I wanted to do was hike until my legs were jelly. After over a week together we decided maybe a day apart was a good thing so after our hour drive from the RV Park to Gros Morne that is what we did.
To take the boat tour a 30-45 minute walk is first required, and the cost of the boat tour is $65 CAD. I don't like boat tours as a rule, I just hate being cooped up and $65 for 2 hours listening to someone talk as they point out far off sights just isn't my thing, but Wayne enjoyed it.
If you're wondering what is going on with the color in these photographs Wayne didn't bother checking the image as he was shooting and therefore didn't notice he was in the mode for shooting under tungsten lighting which turns outdoor pictures an indescribable shade of blue. To me they looked like a blue freezer pop had melted all over them! Even Lightroom couldn't fix them completely but here's the best I could do.
Before he left for the tour he dropped me off at the trailhead for Gros Morne itself. It's an ambitious hike if you plan to go all the way to the top, but I figured I'd go as far as time would allow and be satisfied with whatever I could accomplish in 4 or 5 hours.
Of course when one is stopping to look at every detail time can fly by pretty quickly.
The Parks Canada website will describe the first section as a gradual ascent, but it was tougher than they make it sound. I had to stop often to catch my breath and to let my heart catch up with my legs.
One of the first stops is an overlook over a nice river with an informational board about the Newfoundland marten. I didn't bother trying to look for one since there are only 35 in the whole park.
There are a lot of lichen on the trees, rocks and ground, about 400 different varieties according to Parks Canada. That's a lot of lichen, so I won't bother with identification this time around!
|crustose lichen, tree substrate|
The fungi are doing well on the island also.
If you're only looking for a good half day hike like I was, there is a lot to see on the 4km trek to the "base", including great moose habitat and mountain views when you come out of the forest.
When I got to the bench pictured below I was a little over halfway to the base, and for those in need there is a vault toilet available.
From that point things got hairy and not only did it get steeper but there was more rock litter than trail, making things even more challenging.
Just before I made it to the end of that 4km point I stopped and picked about 10 handfuls of blueberries to keep my energy up. I don't know what I'm going to do without hikes full of food right alongside the trail, I've gotten so spoiled.
The things I saw up around the next bend were so glorious that I'm going to save them for the next post. Tomorrow we're moving on from New Brunswick to Maine already, so after I finish talking about Gros Morne I'll move on to something more current.