August 22, 2017, 210.8 miles
Gro Morne Rv CG, Rocky Harbor, Newfoundland
Retracing part of our route which was full of potholes, the drive was 210.8 miles Guy and I took a ride thru the park and the town of Rocky Harbor, the town seems to be pretty active with many restaurants, taverns, gift stores and museums. We also rode over to the town of Norris Point which is another area on the bay with a marina, whale watching tours and ferries to other islands.
Driving thru the Gros Morne National Park was the most dynamic and picturesque landscape of Newfoundland. The park is the 2nd largest National park in Atlantic Canada. The name is French meaning ”large mountain standing alone”. The park was made a national park on Oct 1, 2005. The park is a diverse panorama of beaches, forests and barren cliffs. There are fjords and mountains that tower above the land. There are pathways leading along the coast where you can wander among the sea shacks.
The landscape is quite barren and desert like due to the magma that has been forced to the surface several million years ago. There are only 7 places in the world you can see this, 3 of the 7 are here in Newfoundland. This area is also the beginning of the Appalachian Mountains.
The area is also very rocky, due to the magma rising to the surface, there are heavy metals in the rock which make they extremely heavy. With all the rocks in the area and very little dirt normal vegetation cannot grow. There is an area called the green gardens where the area is very thick with peat soil about 12 to 15’ thick, the vegetation is much thicker here.
One of the side trips we wanted to take was into the Western Brook Pond-Fjord. We made reservations for 8 of us to go, not sure how the weather would be that day since it had been raining the few days we had been there. We all decided to brave it and hope it didn’t rain. There was a 45 min walk along the natural bog and forest, with boardwalk in places to wet to walk, then a 2 hour boat ride at the base of sheer cliff walls and waterfalls rage into the Western Brook pond. The lake is a fresh water fjord which was carved out by glaciers. Once the glaciers melted the land which had been pushed down by the weight of the ice sheet, rebounded and the outlet to the sea was cut off. The water in the fjord is the highest purity rating for natural bodies of water. There were clouds and some wind as we walked, but we were so happy that the day stayed dry, with the clouds adding contrast to the pictures.
The boat cruised into an opening between two 2000’ mountains with almost vertical cliffs. We cruised 10 miles to the other end of the pond, along the way we saw many waterfalls cascading down along the high cliffs. When we reached the end of the pond the boat pulled up to a wooden dock and let off 4 hikers that would be hiking for 3-5 days. The hike would be about 25 miles, over peat bogs and thru rivers, using gps to guide them. The guide on our boat explained that some of the areas could of peat bogs could reach up to their knees or higher.
One couple, David and Yvonne, on the tour with us did not bring a tow car which made it hard for them to get around and see things, others were kind enough to take them to see the sites. Guy and I asked them to spend the day with us. Our first stop was for breakfast, eggs, bacon, potatoes, fruit and toast, it was so nice to sit and chat with them about their travels and life.
We then headed to the Lobster Cove Lighthouse, which was outside of town on the rocky hills. When we arrived the clouds were black, the wind was blowing, and it started raining just as we arrived so just David and I were brave enough to walk along the path to the lighthouse. In 1889 the lighthouse first started with each inhabitant of Rocky Harbor contributing a pint of oil each week to help fuel the light. It was one of 4 lighthouse sites along the west coast of Newfoundland. Automated equipment was installed in 1969. The lighthouse was designated a Recognized Federal Heritage building in 1990.
Later that evening we attended a musical performance called Anchors Aweigh by a group of local musicians. The song they sang was lively and extremely funny, their songs were about their island, you could really tell they had great pride in where they lived and of their island. They brought the audience into their performance by asking everyone where they were from and then played a song that corresponded with their region or state or country. Of course, for Guy and I they played, “Sweet Home Alabama”, by Lynyrd Skynyrd.
We now head to our last campground here in Newfoundland before we board the 6 hour ferry back to North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Come on back and check out Fort Louisbourg and attend an 18th Century dinner with us.