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Exploring North America in an Airstream

Posts from the ‘Gros Morne National Park’ category

Drive Back Down Coast to Shallow Bay Campground

Friday, August 2, 2019

It had been rainy, cloudy and cold in Pistolet Bay for three days, and it was getting to Martha. She talked about how cloudy and cold makes her sad. 46 years of marriage, and I am still learning.

I went to Woodward GMC in St. Anthony’s to have the oil changed. Mike checked me in, then I went to the visitor’s area hoping to catch up on my posts, but I could go nowhere on their WIFI. I couldn’t even get my phone to work there, so I took a nap. 

At 3:00 we arrived at Shallow Bay, set up and went down to the beach to see what it was all about. The sun had broken through, and it was a warm, beautiful day. This beach is one of the prettiest, beaches I have ever seen. Shallow water keeps it relatively warm. Several people were swimming, while others walked the huge, semicircular cove. Pristine sand without a bit of trash and no rocks make it unique in Newfoundland. It is a part of this diverse, incredible National Park, Gros Morne. If you come to Newfoundland for nothing else, come to Gros Morne. 

We walked for about 45 minutes and came back to camp. Martha wasn’t feeling well with an upset stomach, so she took an hour nap, instructing me to make wild rice in the InstaPot. Then heat up lobster claws in butter and wake her up in an hour.

The InstaPot takes a bit of power as it heats up, but after that, it uses very little. Dinner was wonderful, but Martha didn’t feel like eating. I cleaned up, got in bed and read Killing Patton.

Hike Lomond River and Anniversary Lunch

Sunday, July 28, 2019

Looking for an easier hike, we went to the Lomond River Hike. It started through a forest with orchids everywhere.



Martha found a patch of wild strawberries

We went into Woody Point for our Anniversary lunch at the Old Loft, which was OK.


Moose pie


Martha had fishcakes baked beans

Tablelands Lecture/Hike to Green Gardens

Saturday, July 27, 2019

There is a great overlook of Bonne Bay, where we sat in Adirondack chairs in the morning, watching for whales. There is a beach next to the dock, where people go for a swim.

Looking for whales


We went up to the beautiful, modern visitor’s center for some WIFI, but the speeds were very slow. I could upload a picture every 3 minutes. We had taken the tour of the center yesterday, and it explains the area quite well, but to learn more, we went up to the Tablelands for a geology lecture at 10:00.



Gros Morne National Park, where the mountains meet the sea


Model of the Pitcher Plant we see so often


Guide, Chris Rohrback is simply the best!_1GW2059

We were thrilled to see our guide from a previous lecture at Green Point, Chris Rohrback. She is a geologist, who has a great way of simplifying complex things. Gros Morne was made a national park in 1970’s to protect it’s beauty. Later a geologist, whose name escapes me, studied the area finding it so unique that he developed plate tectonics theory. 

At the Green Point site there is a walled cliff of rock that is turned up on end when two plates pushed up. Usually these are horizontal, but the verticality of this spot makes it so different. First the point is covered with big, round boulders, plowed here by glaciers. All the different layers of shale (mud), limestone, sandstone and a conglomerate, like aggregate. Because of these studies, Gros Morne was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

At Tablelands, this desert-like area was the Earth’s Mantle pushed up. It is composed of cadmium, cobalt, chromium and other toxic metals, so no vegetation grows here. Well, some does, but very little. Across the U-shaped valley is another mountain composed of sediment, so there is plenty of growth, and a beautiful trout stream runs through it. The U-shaped valley was caused by glaciers, one 500,000 years ago and one 10,000 years ago. Each left a line of boulders like bathtub rings along the sides.


After an hour and a half talk, we had a 30-minute walk back to the car. We drove to Trout River, having heard of a good restaurant there. first we drove through Trout River Campground to check it out. There was a great view of Little Trout River Pond.

Bonne Bay

Little Trout River Pond

Trout River Harbor

Trout River

Trout River

Trout River

Trout River Post Office

Trout River

Seaside Restaurant

Seaside Restaurant

We found Seaside Restaurant and enjoyed a good meal of Scallops, salad, seafood chowder, fish sandwich and Partridge berry pie. 


We were tired, but wanted to do at least part of the Green Garden Hike, which can be 9km or all day, and is rated moderate. You have to earn your keep in Gros Morne. It is a long, rather boring hike across a small mountain and down the other side down to the ocean. There are rocks and many stairs along the way. It took us an hour and a half to get there.

_1GW2084Hike to Green Gardens

Finally breaking out to a cliff overlooking the ocean and beach, the views were spectacular. Martha sat on a picnic table while I explored for a short time. We knew we had a 2-hour hike, mostly uphill, to get out, so we didn’t want to stay long.

There are natural meadows along the cliff. I was surprised to see lots of poop. This grassy area must attract lots of moose in the evening and maybe caribou. There are campsites along the coast, and I can see why you would like to stay here a while, hiking the beautiful coast. I would have to be younger to carry a 35-pound pack down here, but it would sure be fun.

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On the way back up, we passed a young couple with three small kids. How they were going to manage getting them back up that mountain concerned us. We were exhausted by the time we got back to the top, and rested at a platform with bench seats. We talked with a family who had just done the same hike. They were from Corner Brook and had a cabin near here, where they would stay two weeks. 

After a quick dinner and an episode of a cooking show, we were soon asleep. Of course our neighbors had a Saturday night party that went on until 12:00. I closed the window and stuffed my ears with tissue.

Granite Coffee House and Laundry

Granite Coffee House and Laundry

Granite Coffee House and Laundry

Friday, July 26, 2019

 We loaded the washing machines at Granite Coffee and Laundry, and went next door for breakfast. I had the works, eggs, sausage and pancakes, while Martha had eggs, bacon and toast and a pancake. They also had WIFI, slow, but it was WIFI. In fact it would be the last WIFI I would see for a while.

Granite Coffee is my favorite place in Woody Point, for the laundry, for the people, the WIFI and the food. There is a liquor store that also has food and a variety of other things, and a nice young lady running it. There is an ice cream shop with a craft store and nice restaurant upstairs. This is regatta weekend with all kinds of events going on, and it was getting busy.


We went to the lovely Visitor’s Center, where I tried to learn more geology. Behind the Visitor’s Center, there is an Lookout Hills Trail, which translated, means climb up this bigass mountain for a pretty view, and a pretty view it was! Bonne Bay, no matter where you view it form, is a spectacular piece of water.




Woody Point

Thursday afternoon, July 25, 2019

After hiking to Baker’s Brook Falls, we showered and packed up to move to Lomond Campground on the south side of Bonne Bay. Once we got set up in a nice campsite, we decided to go searching for a laundromat. A Google search was not good. The closest was in Corner Brook, two and a half hours away. We drove north along Bonne Bay through several little towns, stopping at a nice cabin rental facility with a laundromat, but it was not public. A couple of ladies told Martha of one in Woody Point, just up the road.

Turning right at a stop sign, we drove into Woody Point to find the Granite Coffee House and Laundry. They had two washers and two dryers next to a cafe with breakfast specials – perfect! We would return in the morning. Meanwhile, we checked out the little town. It has everything you need, with a liquor store and grocery, several restaurants and a big fishing business. there was a cute, little lighthouse and some very nice houses with well-kept yards. 


Granite Coffee House

There was a regatta this weekend with lots of things going on. We bought a hotdog from a man cooking them on the street for children’s charity. Bonne Harbor has some of the prettiest water on the planet, similar to the Saguenay River that flows into the St. Lawrence.



Hike Baker’s Brook Falls and Move

Thursday, July 25, 2019

It was moving day. We hated to leave this perfect site in a perfect campground, Green Point, that is so well-cared for. We wanted to take a hike before we left, so we drove to Baker’s Brook trail head and were hiking by 8:00. It is a 9.2km return hike (out and back), taking 2-3 hours. It wanders through several different growth areas, but wildflowers surrounded us everywhere. Orchids, lots of orchids grew in the first section. Then buttercups, blue flowers, white pinwheels and many more. 

We kept our eyes open for moose, but never saw one. There are coyotes in this area, but didn’t see these either, although there were lots of birds in the first section. Many signs told us of the history and habitat. It was a logging road years ago





Western Brook Pond

Wednesday afternoon, July 24, 2019

One of the highlights of the park is a cruise up Western Brook Pond. There is a 45-minute walk in. They want to make sure you get your exercise in Gros Morne! We were almost last in line, and watched people scramble for seats on top, the front of the boat and the rear. We were left with inside seats, not the best for taking pictures. After a short while, I found a spot up front, which was fine.

This fiord was made first by colliding of tectonic plates and then carved out by multiple glaciers. There was an opening to the sea at first, but then closed off. Our narrator said this is some of the purest water on Earth. There are very few nutrients here, so there are no fish. Magnificent cliff walls line the fiord with waterfalls in many places, one being called Pissing Mare Falls.

Our narrator pointed out a rock slide that occurred at a precise time on a certain date. They knew because a tour boat was traveling by. They had given us emergency instructions at the beginning of the cruise. Now I could see the possibility of a bad emergency in this very cold water. 

The last 20 minutes of the ride became a music festival, as our guide played Newfoundland music while he played the spoons, and then passed several pair around for others to try. Martha took right to it. 

As we got off the boat, several boys pointed out trout sitting under the docks, and there were some big ones.

Geology Lecture


Green Point and was our view in back of our campsite


Green Point with two Adirondack chairs in the distance

Green Point with two Adirondack chairs in the distance

At 10:00 we went to Green Point to hear a geology lecture. Chris Rohrback gave the talk, and she was great. She has a way of making a difficult subject simpler and fun. It is the eroded remnants of a mountain range formed 1.2 billion years ago. “The park provides a rare example of the process of continental drift, where deep ocean crust and the rocks of the earth’s mantle lie exposed.” (Centre, UNESCO World Heritage).

Gros Morne became a national park 1973, but it was for the geological studies that it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The complex nature of a tremendous upheaval a billion years ago made for a lifetime study by Robert Stevens and Harold Williams, who established the concept of tectonic plate movement. 

This site offers a unique, exposed view of the plates turned vertical so you can readily see all the layers. Chris explained how the world was one supercontinent, before Africa and Europe pulled away, drifting to the east, leaving parts of Africa and Spain along the east coast of Newfoundland. Parts of these Appalachian Mountains went with Europe and can still be seen today.

These mountains were the size of the Himalayas. Thousands of years of erosion have reduced their size, and glaciers gouged out U-shaped valleys, pushing boulders all the way to the ocean and this beach. There are layers of sediment, shale (compacted mud), limestone, soapstone and whatever the other one was. “Here geologists discovered fossils that define the boundary between the Cambrian and Ordovician periods and makes Green Point a world geological benchmark.” (



Once a thriving fishing village, there are many restrictions today.



One or two still fish from this great spot


Hiking Gros Morne Mountain

Tuesday, July 23, 2019


Great shower house at Greenpoint Campground



Love site #14 at Green Point

The goal of the day was to hike Gros Morne Mountain for the spectacular views from the top. It is an 8-hour difficult hike. The parking lot was filled when we got there a little before 9:00. As we read the board, a young lady was coming down. I asked her if she was done, and she said she was. They had only gotten to the base when her friend pulled a muscle. She pointed to the map and said, “This is the easy part, and this is the hard part.” The hard part was the loop around the mountain, while the easy part was getting to the base. 


It took us two hours to get to the base. Rocks, roots and mud slowed our travel. There were stairs to climb and some areas with boardwalks. At the base, a guided group, and others like us, rested for the climb. Looking across a valley, we saw a rock slide ravine going up the mountain. People were lined up, climbing the rock scrabble. I was reminded of the pictures of lines of climbers on Mt. Everest.

Always the smart one, Martha said she was going back. Always the stupid one, I took some of the food, and set out behind the guided group. As I walked across the valley, a man with a big pack and walking stick was coming down. He was camping and hiking at the top, intending to stay a week, but he got sick and lost his cooking pot, so had to come back down.


“Why not go up the trail to the right?”, I asked. A teen-aged, lovely girl said, “It’s too steep. See these tight contour lines?” “The scrabble is not as steep as it appears.” a young man said, leveling his hand at about 30 degrees. “Uh huh”, I said. A man in his 50’s, who had already fallen, asked, “What’s the worst that can happen? They can get a helicopter right up there.”

The guide said they usually allow an hour to get to the top. Well, that didn’t sound too bad. I figured the rest was all downhill. The mountain is 800m, not unlike our Appalachian Mountains. In fact, these are the Appalachians, and we had already come half way.



Looking back down the rock scrabble


Still more to climb

The first 45 minutes wasn’t too bad, but the second was a bitch. Just when you think you’ve made it, there is a turn and more mountain awaits, then again and again.

Finally getting to the top exhausted, there was actually more mountain as the loop led up and over to the other side for the classic view of Long Pond. Rocks, more rocks to walk on. I sat and ate a chocolate bar, remembering from my Appalachian Trail hike that the muscles need sugar, instant energy. My legs were cramping, so I took a spoonful of mustard.


Although this stretch didn’t look so hard, it was longer than it appeared. I tried to take it easy, but my legs were cramping, so I stopped for more water and mustard. I could see I didn’t have enough water.

Over the top and down the other side, I caught up with the guided group resting. A man with an english accent was in constant conversation with the guide. Off and on throughout the day, I heard them talking. She said the interior of Newfoundland is beautiful, much like this. No one lives there, for the most part, but some treckers love to hike it.


Rocks, rocks and more rocks

Over the top and down the other side, the trail turns left and up to the spectacular view that everyone comes for. For 15 minutes I stood there taking pictures and just looking. For miles in the distance, the “Long Range” seem to go on forever with alpine lakes, snow and waterfalls. If you wanted to hike out there, you would need very good GPS, as it all looks the same, and all of these mountains go straight up and straight down. It is a nightmare to think of hiking down to cross a valley and then climb the other side. No wonder no one lives in the interior, but with all those lakes and beautiful, pristine streams are there fish?






Heading back down

Going back down to the base was torturous. It is highly technical with so many rocks and ravines cutting through dense bushes and short trees. You have to find a proper place for your foot to land at every step, then lift your other leg over a boulder. Grabbing tree limbs helped steady the climb down, but were sometimes sharp enough to cut your hands, and sometimes they smacked you in the face. 

Of course this was a walk in the park for the fit, young people. There were some kids along, from about 5 to 10 years old. I was amazed how easy it was for them, however one was really struggling on the rock scrabble going up. Young people kept bounding past me. Then people trickled by on their way up. It was getting late in the day to be doing that. You would not want to walk up or down in the dark, but then, it doesn’t get dark until after 9:30, and the best pictures would be taken then.


Back at the junction of the loop. The young girl had been right. Going up the right side would have been more difficult.

It seemed to take forever to get back to the base, and I knew it was two hours down from there, so I kept moving. I caught up with the guided group again, and the man with the english accent was still talking. This section seemed difficult this morning, but now was relatively easy. The mud we struggled to get around this morning, I just walked through. Some was deep though, so I had to work around it. A handsome, young Japanese teenager had his shoe sucked off in the mud, and I retrieved it for him.

Cramping again, I took my last sip of water and a spoonful of mustard. 20 minutes later I arrived at the parking lot where Martha waited. She said it was like watching the end of a marathon. Good analogy. I drank a lot of water and got in the truck. As we got to the campground, I cramped up again and had to get out and walk around.

Moving to Gros Morne National Park

Monday July 22, 2019

It was about a two-hour drive to Gros Morne National Park, the jewel of Newfoundland. We made our way to Green Point Campground and checked in. While Martha checked in, I talked to two ladies riding their bikes with all the camping gear on board. They started at the Ferry and were on a three-week trip. They don’t carry food, so they eat all their meals out, which requires a lot of planning. They were staying in the campground and would take the cruise tomorrow.


Our site was lovely, in a grassy area with woods behind. At the edge of the woods were two Adirondack chairs and a table looking out on the Bay of St. Lawrence and a tiny fishing village with its man-made harbor. There was a very modern, beautiful shower house that made Martha very happy. There was even a WIFI tower, unheard of for a national park. Perfect!!


The Coastal Trail starts in the campground, so after riding in the truck all morning, we were ready to stretch our legs. It’s a 6k return walk out and back, following an old mail route taken with sled dogs. Bushes are swept back by obviously powerful winds. Underneath was very cool and offered some protection from winds and rain. A few geese rested in the grass. 



The bikes of the ladies we met earlier, who are biking Newfoundland for three weeks.


We started a fire, fixed a drink and enjoyed a beautiful, cool evening.