Soon after I entered Gros Morne National Park I headed up the road toward The Tablelands and Trout River. Beautiful drive, if you like mountains, trees, rivers, streams, lakes, bays, meadows, broad valleys … and the stark, stunning beauty of our planet’s inner geology. The Tablelands is one of the very few places on earth where the mantle of the planet has pushed itself up through the earth’s crust to expose itself, so to speak.
It. Is. Beautiful.
The short, 4 kilometer hike to the primary viewing platform provides spectacular views of the stark, vegetation-challenged terrain. I felt so wonderfully blessed I could experience such a dramatic display of God’s creation. Truly amazing. I’ve been very fortunate to see so much of this world’s great sights — this rates among the highest. My attempts at photography fail the landscape. It. Is. Beautiful.
Saturday I kicked around the harbor towns of Norris Point and Rocky Harbor, enjoying the air, the scenes, the people. The Cats End Pub, where the catamaran ferries dock in Norris Point, is a cool little joint on the water. Bar food, very friendly staff, and at 4pm live music on the deck. I shared a table with a couple from nearby Deer Lake whose friend was playing guitar and signing at the Cat this night. We talked about Newfoundland things and eventually US politics. Pete is in the same camp as me regarding President Trump: he’s a quirky bird but is doing good things for the US—even despite the impact on Canadian trade relations. I found it refreshing to hear that viewpoint. Enough politics.
After the music ended and running on diesel fumes, I filled up—at $4.14 per US gallon—and headed back to camp. Pretty lazy evening in anticipation of tomorrow’s visit to Western Brook Pond.
A Fjord that Once Was
Being 2½ hours ahead of Texas is messing with my Sunday trailer church schedule. The early service doesn’t get started here until 11:45. So I decided to later look in on the Grapevine 5pm service, hoping the iffy 4G signal here doesn’t peter out by then. I got showered up and dressed in a couple layers (one a heavy long-sleeve knit shirt) and headed to Western Brook Pond for the two-hour boat trip to view the fjords.
Apparently the Accuweather forecast of 70 degrees and sunny in Rocky Harbor doesn’t take into account the micro-climates of Gros Morne. By the time I got to the parking lot just off the Viking Trail highway, the wind was blowing at 30 knots and it was cloudy. I found a windbreaker from my Verizon International days in the truck and stuffed it into my pack. Good call.
To tour the fjords, you park in a lot off the highway and walk 5.6 kilometers/3.5 miles (round trip) to the boat dock. This gravel service road winds through scrubby forest, skirts a white-capped pond, crosses meadows of tall grass & earth-hugging shrubs until it drops into Western Brook Pond. I like that you kinda have to earn the privilege to experience the pond and its high cliffs.
Time for a bit of geology I learned: Western Brook Pond used to be an inlet of the Gulf of Saint Lawrence, way back in glacier days. But as the glaciers advanced and eventually melted, they depressed the land at the mouth of the glacial canyon below sea level. Eventually the land between the depressed area and the sea lifted, cutting the inlet off from the sea creating an isolated pond. Now the only connection between Western Brook Pond and the ocean is the brook itself which, given the size of the pond, essentially trickles into the gulf. So, while the area once was a fjord, technically it now is not because it’s all fresh water. Water so fresh and pure that it doesn’t properly conduct electricity! Ya, I know. Anyway, Western Brook Pond looks like a fjord, once was a fjord, but now isn’t. But that detracts nothing from its beauty.
The boat ride across the broad expanse of the pond was windy but as soon as we entered the narrows, we were protected from the wind by the high cliffs and the ride was nice. Beautiful waterfalls, rock slides, canyons & cliffs. Really pretty. The day was cloudy & showery so, again, my pics don’t convey the grandeur; I doubt they would if it was a brilliantly bright day. Trust me, it’s beautiful.
Return trip to the dock was blustery—no, make that raw. I was under-dressed. Strong wind and rain showers had me shivering me arse off. But I’m glad I was able to experience this rare geological “freshwater fjord.” Another awesome display of the Creator’s beauty.
Yep, Newfoundland. There’s something about this land.