Day 1 in Gros Morne National Park

Tim and Vaughan were up a couple of hours after we got back as they were catching an early flight to St John’s on Saturday and would be gone until Monday night. We didn’t plan it very well, but we organised to meet in Deer Lake on Tuesday afternoon before our flight back to Toronto.

I didn’t hear them get up or leave or anything so I managed to get about four or five hours of unbroken sleep. Then at nine my alarm went off and forced Glen out of bed so we could get going. We had a schedule!

We made a slight detour to Sobey’s in Corner Brook to buy some groceries for the trip. Croissants and bagels, bananas and nectarines, cereal and drinks…enough to keep the hunger pangs down. Then, finally, we were on our way.

Western Brook Pond

Gros Morne National Park is about two hours from Corner Brook, requiring us to go back up to Deer Lake to get there. At first we had a reasonably clear morning during our drive into the national park. The place is truly stunning, much like the rest of Newfoundland.

It’s got trees everywhere, large bodies of blue water, mountains and coast line. We drove through the forest part of the park up to Western Brook Pond to go on a boat ride of the pond. We parked at the visitors’ parking area, then walked for about 40 minutes along a boardwalk to the dock. The closer we got, the more the grey clouds rolled in.

Western Brook Pond is cut off from the sea and doesn’t have any major rivers flowing into it, so it takes about 15 years for the water to change over. It’s a very wide and very deep pond. Not much lives in it, apart from some fish and some eels. It’s ultra-oligotrophic which means it doesn’t have many nutrients in it (hence not much lives in it).

The boat ride took tour hours, went up the pond to one end then turned around and came back. On either side are tall cliffs, the result of glacial action. Plenty of trees on either side, a few “insignificant” waterfalls (meaning they don’t really feed the pond), and the Tin Man, a feature on one of the cliffs that looks like the Tin Man from Wizard of Oz.

The ride wasn’t too rough but it was really windy. As the ride progressed, more and more people came down from the open-air top level to the warmth of the completely enclosed inside lower deck. The last half an hour of the ride, Glen and I joined them and had a bit of a nap.

Woody Point

If I’d thought about it more, and left booking accommodation until I had a recent weather forecast, I probably would have booked our first night’s accommodation up near Western Brook Pond. As it was, we had to drive an hour and a half south to Woody Point to stay at Aunt Jane’s B&B. The further south we went, the more it rained. Still the place is beautiful but enthusiasm for going out trekking is dampened when rain is involved.

We checked in and went to find food. Our first option was completely full and we couldn’t get a table. We were also ignored by the waitstaff, something that I’ve noticed happens a bit here. We went in search of something else, looking at all of Woody Points food options, which total about three. We settled on fish and chips with a milkshake.

Afterwards we returned to our room and I think I was asleep by 9pm with the sound of the wind and rain beating on the window. It had been a long day on not much sleep.

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