Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Some things not as they seem
“Try not to project ahead to what things are going to be like, because they rarely turn out like you imagine them to be. And often you‘ll be disappointed.” People that know me well will recognize those words. Now I have to eat them because Gros Morne National Park was far from what I expected. It was beautiful alright, but I was naïve enough to believe the travel brochures and travel shows that depict the most incredible natural spectacles, looking down from 2,000 foot shear faced cliffs to the sea. Forget that. The real draw is not Gros Morne itself, which is a big, bald granite mountain, but The Western Brook Pond. In Newfie-speak ’pond’ is the name for any enormous body of fresh water.
Unless you’re prepared to hire a helicopter, and I don’t know if that’s even possible, or to take a week-long hike into the wilderness, the closest you‘re going to get to The Pond is what is pictured above. The boat tour must be booked in advance but people we talked to confirmed it to be one of their “trips of a lifetime.” Of course you’d be looking up at the cliffs, not down. The pictures we normally see in brochures are from the top and are looking down to fresh water, not the ocean . Nothing wrong with that, its just not what I expected. Apparently the Western Brook Pond is some of the freshest and most pure water on the planet.
Don’t get me wrong. The drive along the seashore provides lots of interesting viewing in itself. Thinking though that there might still be something we were missing about Gros Morne, after a long day of driving, on the way back home I convinced Janice to take the fifty-five kilometer trip into Trout River. We got there just as the sun went behind the clouds and again, without a boat tour there’s not much to see of the unique topography of that area. We came home a little deflated but very happy that we’d stopped the day before at Port au Port Peninsula because it had actually provided us with much more visual stimuli than had Gros Morne. Lesson: Book the boat tour of The Western Brook Pond in advance.
We left our campground at Funland near Cormack and headed for Springdale, about halfway to one of our destinations, Campbelton, where we’re going to meet one of Janice’s co-workers from the Hot House Bistro. We set up camp at the Indian River right above the falls and headed for a little place called Beachside, but turned back because the road was too rough. We stopped at what looked like a free campsite and asked a local about things to see. He said we should turn back around and go to beachside, so we did. Man, was it worth it. An incredible little ‘secret’ cove at the end of a road where we were shown exactly where to go by a couple of friendly old guys that were there to watch the Killer Whale feed on the Catlin. (sp?) Little fish that kind of resemble sardines. We probably never would have found it on our own. Not only did we get to see one of the most beautiful places either of us have ever encountered, we got to see the whales and the hundreds of gulls and the sea hawk that were there for the same reason as the whales. We couldn’t believe our luck.
All of these little fishing outposts have been abandoned by the government since the death of the Cod Fishing Industry. All of their infrastructure, including roads, wharfs and schools are in disrepair. Most people are now forced to go out of province to work in mining, forestry or ,mostly, in the oil patch. Anybody interested will need to go up Hill Road, past the big grass field to get to the lookout.
Before hitting the road for Campbleton we took a quick trip to Rattling Brook to check out the 800 foot waterfall.
Photo: A lighthouse at Lobster Cove at Gros Morne.
Photo: A little fishing outpost at Green Bay, Gros Morne.
Photo: Western Brook Pond from the boat launch. Wear good footwear because it‘s a three kilometer walk in to the launch. We rode our bikes.
Photo: Tiring of her recent “mundane” antics, after a sip of western Brook water, Janice decides to take flight. Yes, its windy there.
Photo: Some of the gulls that were at the cove at Beachside to feed on the Catlin.
Photo: A Killer Whale surfaces while feeding at Beachside.
Photo: Janice heads down the stairs to the cove for closer inspection. The stairs were built by the locals.
Photo: The beach at the secret cove at Beachside.
Photo: A lone jelly fish at Beachside.
Photo: Some of the 205 stairs at Rattling Brook Falls.
Photo; The 800 foot Rattling Brook Falls.