We flew from St. John’s up to Deer Lake, rented a car and drove north up the great northern peninsula towards Gros Morne.
There we settled into the stunning Neddies Harbour Inn, which lies inside the wee village of Norris Point right in the heart of the Gros Morne National Park. I cannot recommend this lovely inn enough. Owned by a Swiss woman, Bettina (who we met and is delightful), she settled here as she found the location so very similar to her village in Switzerland. She designed every aspect of the inn and ensured all local materials and craftsmen were used to build it. The inn has a very fine dinning restaurant up on the top level and is studded with many of artist ….. minimalist paintings of the northern peninsula and Gros Morne.
We had a charming room that looked out onto the harbour as you can see below.
7) G had a very yummy chowder; 8) I ordered a beet and fennel salad
9) the halibut; 10) hand-made pappardelle with sage, tomato, garlic, ricotta and black olives
11) partridgeberry cheese cake for dessert
12) a minke whale waves hi just outside our room at the Inn; 13) Gros Morne – climbing is not permitted until mid-June once the wildflowers and etc have had a chance to develop
We drove to the interpretation centre (remember to stop on entering the park to buy a day pass) and although it was chilly and threatening, decided to climb “The Lookout” for the view of the “The Tablelands” (the mountains that look like tables and are actually remnants of the earth’s mantle left exposed). Apparently there are few places globally where this happens. Who’d have thunk.
The trail ascends through low scrub into a forest and then out into the alpine-like meadows before arriving at several snowy sections (each, oh, 200m or so) that need crossing before the last haul to the top. From there you are in a tundra like area with wooden boardwalks and then, finally, the summit. Well worth the hike!
16) the interpretation centre entrance; 17) heading up
22) into the snow we go – crossing our first snow bridge – the picture does not due justice to just how steep this is
23) looking down to Norris Point and Gros Morne (in far left)
25) a small meadow appears before the final ascent to the lookout summit
26 & 27) the summit is in sight and thanks to the Parks guys for building some ladders
28) one final snow bridge; 29) and there’s the summit
34) down we now go – you can see the boardwalk over G’s shoulder; 35) we stop to make ice angels but of course
36 & 37) Rocky Harbour Village
38) Moose – introducted to the Island in 1904 are EVERYWHERE and a real threat while driving the roads … the Park actually has a massive yellow sign that gives you a running count of moose-vehicle incidents … when we arrived it was reading 08; a day later it read 11
39) we enjoyed dinner at Pittman’s – about as family run a business as you’ll ever get. It was just G and I and 12 locales eating. The evening we ate here, the town – as part of their Tales, Trails and Tunes Festival had a “Singing Kitchen” event happening which was a lot of fun
Other days were spent visiting the various hiking trails and interesting spots in and around the Park, including:
Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse; Green and Broom Points; the village of Cow Head; and of course a 3 hike to the mouth of Western Brook Pond (something everyone should do if you visit).
40 & 41) Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse in the early morning fog
42) me at the entrance to Western Brook Pond; 43) the walk in is full of bogs – which can be as deep as 4m
44) boggy; 45) the trees are covered in this mossy growth
46 & 47) G jumps along the boardwalk through the bog
48) moss is everywhere; 49) a close up of the plantlife on the ground of the bog
50) bog bog bog
51 & 52) can you see the woodpecker?
53) these are NOT M&Ms; 54) G nears the end of the trek
55) Western Brook Pond stream – VERY cold water; 56) heading up through the pines
57) you can ford the stream if you wish … then backcountry hike for about 5 days and you’ll summit the Western Brook Pond mountains for a spectacular view; 58) the streem is made up of flint-like rocks
59) believe it or not, behind me is the fjord with its mountains taller than the CN Tower
60 & 61) heading into Cow Head we were halted by these sheep
62) at Broom Point we encountered a very friendly bunny
64) Broom Point
65) Broom Point
66) G beachcombs at Broom Point; 67) you can see how layered the rocks are here
68) Broom Point
69 & 70) Caribou are also everywhere … here they wander in front of Western Brook Pond on a sunny day
71) Western Brook Pond
72) that mountain – for perspective – is taller than the CN Tower (this is taken with my zoom); 73) here’s one showing just how far away it is … we hiked all the way there
74) me at the start of the Western Brook Pond hike; 75) Green Point
76) here we are back at Norris Point – so pretty
77) and a view of the Tablelands from Norris Point
78) the view from our room at the Inn