Our first trip to Newfoundland wasn’t filled with the best weather, but it was amazing nonetheless. After a night camping in Cape Breton (and of course doing the Cabot Trail!) we jumped on the ferry from North Sydney to Port Aux Basques. From there we drove up to Gros Morne National Park for a weeks stay, and boy do I wish we had twice that time to take in everything there is to do!
We were saving the best for last on this trip and started with some easier hikes, like Berry Hill Pond and Bakers Brook Falls, all of which had great views. Hoped to see a moose but no such luck this time around. We also went kayaking at Bonne Bay, no pictures from that but it had some awesome scenery too.
We camped at Shallow Bay campground to be close to the beach, which was nice. The only setback was being on the north side of such a huge park, so we didn’t have much chance to check out the other side. A central location like Green Point or Berry Hill might be better if you don’t have the time for long day trips.
Next up was one of the can’t-miss-it activities of Gros Morne, which is the boat tour through the Fjords at Western Brook Pond. The pond is actually a 16 km lake that was part of the ocean once upon a time. It was unfortunately overcast for us and a little rainy but still absolutely spectacular! It’s about a 45 minute walk to get to the boat tour departure, but it’s scenic and worth it.
. The other can’t-miss-it activity was climbing the second highest peak in Newfoundland, the 807 metre Gros Morne Mountain. I would love to post a picture of how imposing it looks from the base, but we couldn’t actually see it as we picked the foggiest day possible to climb. Google has plenty of great shots from sunny days though.
The hike is only 16 km, but was definitely the most challenging hike any of us had ever done. The way up is a shorter distance, but about four kilometres in you’ll hit a steep, loose, rocky gully that leads you the 500 metres left to the top. Oh, and there are signs here saying not to continue if it’s foggy. We obviously disregarded these which was a little reckless since I know people have gotten lost on bright sunny days….but it turned out fine. The gully was really challenging and we couldn’t see 15 feet ahead of us, so every time we thought we were at the top….we’d realize we had another steep section to go! It took quite a few hours.
It was definitely disappointing to have no views from the summit but we felt accomplished for making the climb. The climb down was also quite demanding as it was 10 kms or so downwards, and steep loose rock in places as well. However, a few hundred metres down the mountain the fog suddenly began to clear and we suddenly had a little more awareness of what was all around us, which was quite surreal.
Of course, when we got to the bottom, the sun was fully out and we were able to look back at the mountain we just climbed and didn’t even see for the most part. All in all the hike was really challenging and still so worth it. It took about 8 hours and we definitely all want to give it another go.
Another famous feature of Gros Morne is the Tablelands, but we only had a chance to briefly check them out on the way home. The Tablelands are the earths mantle, which is normally far below the surface, so they’re pretty cool. It kind of felt like we were on a different planet.
Things I’d like to do differently on this trip next time;
- Bring blankets and bigger sweaters on the ferry (Wow was it ever freezing, we had no hope of sleeping!)
- Stay in a more central campsite so we could fit in more hikes
- Take more time and do the Long Range Traverse – a four day, 35 kilometre backcountry hike from Western Brook Pond to Gros Morne Mountain, with stunning views
- Bring more water for the Gros Morne hike…we cut it a little close with a few bottles each. It was more challenging than we thought and we’d definitely be better prepared next time.
This was an overall great trip that I’d recommend to anyone! Thanks for reading!