Published: September 17th 2009September 17th 2009
Super Ferry Animals
Pen and I on the ferry from Nova Scotia to Newfoundland, looking for whales...no luck though.
Well we got off the ferry and we were in Newfoundland. We’d heard from so many people that it was beautiful, and we have to admit we were looking forward to be surrounded by that amusing Newfie accent. So with great anticipation we proceeded to get lost driving through the town center of Port aux Basque looking for the tourist information. After giving up and deciding to head north…surprise it was on the way out of town, with no signage (none that we saw). Bloody newfies ;o) So we went in got all the info we needed, including confirmation that we could drive up to Labrador, then down through Quebec, but it involved lots of dirt road (around 1200-1600kms of dirt road, 18 wheelers, and a whole lot of wilderness…just the kind of adventure we were looking for!) and headed off to Gross Morne national park. Yippee!! So as a result there are 2 pages of photo's here...so have a peek!
We needed to sleep somewhere in between Port aux Basque and Gross Morne National Park. So we went to some sort of Pirates Campsite which appeared to be marketed to kids. It looked cheap and was on the way,
Penny's creative shot as we arrive in Newfoundland
it worked for us. So we got there, and saw the sign to the entrance of the campsite, then proceeded to drive for 2kms through what can only be described as a building site. There were huge cleared lots that looked as if they were ready for houses to go up, and there were trucks, timber and pipes scattered alongside the road, and on the lots. We came to the end of the road which put us back on the main road. Thoroughly confused we made our way to a convenience store which it turned out would was somehow affiliated with the park and told us to just pick a spot and camp there. Penny hmmm’d and hawed so I went for a pee and a quick beer in the bar next door before coming back to Penny’s decision to wild camp there…and hope they didn’t ask for money since there were no toilets, showers, or facilities of any sort. Just a big dirt plot. We made a super camping dinner of super noodles and jumped in the truck to read for a bit…pretty quiet night. The next day we headed to Gross Morne National park and tackled a hike
There are a number of sub arctic species that exist in Newfoundland, so that told Pen and I that going north to Labrador was going to be interesting.
called Green Gardens. It was Penny’s 3rd hike since her accident, and we did about a 10 km hike down through a landscape that changed constantly. It started off through a rock field that was made up of rocks pushed up from the earth’s mantle, then climbed to a peak with small shrubs, then descended through evergreen forests to the coast where a bleak winterlike sky cast a grey feel over everything until the sun broke out for about half an hour while we had lunch looking out towards the ocean atop a sea cliff. We went down and walked the beach a bit taking photo’s of the sea stacks before heading back. It was a fantastic hike, and it was good to see that 3 hikes in a week hadn’t killed Penny, but she clearly said she needed a break. We had to find a Salvation Army because Penny was starting to get cold at night, so we managed to pick up a comforter/quilt thing, and two blankets for 7 bucks…whoo hoo! Result!
Then it was off to our campsite where we cooked corn on the campfire, and relaxed before heading out the next day. The truck was very
Boats & Coast
The reoccuring theme is definitely boats and coast out east.
warm that night with all those blankets!
The next day we did a smaller hike out (6km return) to a boat which took us on a cruise up Western Brook Pond which was a fjord boasting cliffs 2000 feet high on either side of the fjord, and as the tour guide proudly pointed out, that made each and every cliff higher than the CN Tower in Toronto. That is pretty impressive. The boat took us up the fjord and it was beautiful. In some points you would have thought it was South America with all the greenery growing along the side of the cliffs, and jagged peaks reaching into the clouds. Every now and then the greenery was interrupted by waterfalls, or great grey scars where landslides had torn the greenery from the side of the cliffs and unceremoniously dumped everything in it’s path into the water below it. I had vivid images of what it must look and sound like from the boat should you be there when a landslide occurred…terrifying in short!
After our fjord tour we went to find our campsite, which was a provincial site and perched atop a sea cliff over looking the
We just about stepped on this little fella...
ocean. So after a quick dinner Pen and I went down to catch the sun setting into the ocean, and look for whales or seals. I was reading my book while Pen was desperately combing the ocean with her bionic fish eyes looking for a sign of life. We watched a breathtaking sunset and sipped red wine as we blissfully thought…this is exactly what we came here for. As we were getting ready to go a wee seal head popped up in the darkening waters just off the beach. So Penny dropped everything to get a pic of the little bugger when he ducked down again. She waited 15 mins or so before giving up, and picked everything up when his head popped up again….and so this repeated for the better part of 45 mins before I finally dragged her back up to the campsite. When we were up the moon was full, and coming up over the evergreens that surrounded the campsite. So we couldn’t resist taking some photo’s of the moon. The day was one filled with natures wonder, and certainly helped Gross Morne live up to it’s reputation as one of the East Coasts most beautiful parks.
Power of the sea
Those stacks used to be part of the coast before it was eroded back to where it is now.
We drove up the west coast hoping to get to L’anse aux meadows, which was the site of the first Viking settlement in North America which was dated to around 900AD. We stopped at various intriguing and beautiful sites along the way including the remains of the SS Ethie a steamer shipwrecked 100 years ago, and also the “Arches” which are slowly eroding away and will eventually become large stone sea stacks. I also thought Penny was having a fit when she stared wide eyed, mouth moving but not making any noise and arm pointing out the window….she saw two moose running alongside the car on the edge of the forest beside us. She was literally speechless. Very cool though. The Viking settlement was awesome. They had the original sites excavated, and you could still see the grassy outline of the various buildings, but then they had reconstructed a small homestead to give you a feel for what it would have been like. There were also Vikings walking around inside the buildings! So you could ask away with as many questions as you’d like. The buildings were quite impressive. Made out of bricks of dried peat they were stacked to
Into the Wild
A wee path heading off into the forest...ok, where's the bears?
make various buildings. The roofs were timber, but often lined with grass which would have helped absorb light rainfall. The main lodge, or home was quite warm considering it was made solely from materials taken from the surrounding area, logs, peat bricks, and stone. We spent an hour or so in the little homestead they had set up before heading out to find a campsite for the night. This campsite turned out to be quite a bit of fun. On the advice of a couple of friendly local ladies we found an old quarry. The only way to get into it was down a steep 4 foot drop. So we put Beast into 4x4 mode and went for it….the angle we were on was most unsettling, but Pen and I looked at each other, cringed and went for it! We slowly rolled down the slope waiting for disaster to strike, but beast handled the event with ease…phew! That was fun! Then once in the quarry, which was a horseshoe shape with high 20 foot walls we found an old stack of pallets…perfect for a roaring bonfire, in a stone quarry with no worries about setting anything except us on fire!
This is more than just rock, this is actually the earth's mantle which has been exposed over time. It's a site of scientific interest as it allows geologists to study the mantle up close.
We had a great night. The next morning though we had the daunting task of making it out of the quarry. We had beast in 4x4 mode slowly crawling along the rocky floor of the quarry, and then we were facing the 4 foot climb out. We let him slowly crawl forward, and in a moment of concern I had visions of the wheels turning and sliding over the rocks not getting us up and out…so instead of letting Beast slowly crawl up, I stepped on the gas and shot him like Steve Peat on a Double up over the brow of the slope and onto the road. Penny took one look at me and said “next time less gas hey?”. But it was fun! Very cold night though!! We caught the ferry the next morning over to Labrador where the real adventure was set to begin, roughly 1500kms of dirt roads, small villages, and open expanses of land and sea. Whoo hoo!! Newfoundland, and Gross Morne were every bit as impressive as we’d hoped and we’d go back in a flash we couldn’t wait for the drive across Labrador, and down to Montreal.
There are more photos below