October 9, 2017
On June first, we left Corner Brook’s hospitality for the wilderness of Gros Morne National Park. Both John and I were really excited to get there. We stopped at the entrance of the park to get our Discovery Pass. It will allow us to enter any of Parks Canada National Park and National Historic Sites …. For a year! Now time to venture in the park.
We had been warned that the Southeasthills might pose a challenge for the little Westy engine as they are quite long and steep climbs. Thanks to Diesel Rover for the good shape it’s in, and to John’s driving skills, we made it to Rocky Harbour no problem. Our first stop was the Glass Station, a stunning little art studio, gallery and shop where glass artist Urve Manuel displays her wonderful creations. I strongly suggest to go check it out if you are in the area. Then we made it to the Lobster Cove Lighthouse to check out the scenery, have a bite to eat and a post lunch nap.
We then made our way to Norris Point, another amazing little community in the park. There are 9 communities enclaved within We met Tom Cochrane for our second sero story interview. At his recommendation, we attended a pretty good show at the Julia Ann Walsh Centre. It’s the towns’ old hospital that was repurposed into a community building with a public library, a hostel, a variety of health and wellness services and the Voice of Bonne Bay Community Radio. The Hillsburn gave a great show in the intimate space. We met great people at the show, including our new friends Meigan and Pete, friendly locals and occasional #vanlifers. They invited us for breakfast at their amazing waterfront place the next morning and they gave us great information on places to check out, hikes to do, places to camps and made us want to come back during the winter. If we do, our Westy probably will not be able to climb hills or warm enough to sustain the cold climate, so we will likely try their stunning rental cottage!
We walked on the beach for a while after that, taking in the views and some fresh air. We parked the van by the beach and got a good amount of work done in that beautiful area. After dinner, we hiked the local trails which gave a pretty good view of the village and Bonne Bay At sunset.
The next morning, we had an interview at the Voice of Bonne Bay community radio and were given a basil plant by the Julia Ann Walsh Centre Manager. Fresh basil for van food!! We had to work some more before heading out to the southern portion of the park. We stopped on our way to hike the Lomond trail, a fairly mellow but pretty 2-3h walk. We saw loads of moose tracks and poop but not one animal. It felt good to walk a bit and the entire time we did not see anyone!
We drove to Woody Point to have dinner and find camp. Let me tell you that the hills to get there were intense to get up but our little girl made it! The town is a pretty little place of narrow roads and small houses on the side of a steep hill that ends in the Bay. The downtown waterfront shops, cafés and gallery are very nice too. We were glad we stopped there.
On the next day, we stopped at Parks Canada discovery Centre to get information on the Green Gardens hike. Through a little bit of researching, we had found that the full loop hike required two river crossing and that depending on the water levels, it could be anywhere from ankle to chest deep… We didn’t want chest deep! After chatting with the Warden, we decided to make it an overnight trip an got a backcountry camping pass. If you want to know anything about our adventure, make sure to read …..blog but let’s just say here that it was quite epic, it involved not only creek crossings but beach campfire, sheep seeing, cave exploring and moose trail following!
We made it to Trout River the next day pretty exhausted but found enough energy to stroll around town. Their beachside boardwalk is the perfect place to observe the sunset and there is a lookout on the other end of town where you can observe the Trout River Pond with the mountains and Tablelands in the backdrop. A great viewing point.
After a restful night, we had to work for a couple of hours before meeting Tom Cochrane in Tablelands for a hike and photoshoot. What a marvellous place. The red, Mars like, mountains made from the earth’s mantel rising seem to be so out of place yet so perfectly integrated in the landscape. If you visit Gros Morne, Tablelands has to be on your list, no discussion. After a great time with Tom, we got back to Trout River to treat ourselves with a nice dinner at the local yet famous Seaside restaurant.
Then time had come to say goodbye to Gros Morne. Probably more see you later actually because we plan on coming back. There is still so much we haven’t seen or experienced we are now off to Twillingate and Fogo Island to see some icebergs and find our next Sero Story!
Have you ever been to Gros Morne? What are some of your favourite moments spent there?