Saturday, 23 August 2014

Corner Brook to Gros Morne

Driving from the TCH to the Kinsmen Campground

The Kinsmen Park is just outside Corner Brook has several sections, a full service section of sites cut out of the forest with trees around each site, a large field backing onto the forest with semi-serviced sites, with electric and water, along the back side, and down the road an unserviced section for tents. We were registered in the full serviced sites, but mosquitos and black flies were bad so we decided to stay in the semi-serviced sites. We had our choice of anywhere on the field.

All alone, but no bugs- We were soon joined by a couple of other RV's though.

The only issue was a boil water advisory! We got out the map and headed into Corner Brook to find a grocery store. To our delight there were several to choose from. Just off the Trans Canada, [which is called the TCH by everyone, even the directional signs], was a Walmart and a Dominion store (like Loblaws in Ontario), and 10 minutes down the road was a Sobeys. We really needed large water containers, so ended up at Sobeys, as they were the only store with 4L water containers, and refills for 69 cents.

There were 2 trips to take from here.

The first one we took goes up the north shore of the Bay of Islands to Cox’s Cove.  This is Admiral Palliser’s Trail. It was a scenic drive up the coast, through small towns and villages- Irishtown, Meadows, Gillams and McIver’s.  The road wound up through forest, beside cliffs and down by the water.
Cox's Cove

The one thing that struck us both were the beautiful, tidy and well-kept homes and hedges of roses,


even in the smallest, far-out villages. Most houses were covered with coloured siding, although a few had some brick or stone on the front. 

The next day we had to go into the RV dealer to get a light bulb for the refrigerator, then chose to drive along the south shore of the Bay of Islands. This is Captain James Cook Trail. This was even more beautiful than the north side. Little towns dotted the route- Summerside, Halfway Point, Benoit’s Cove, John’s Beach. Frenchman’s Cove.

Frenchman's Cove

Giant cliffs rose on the opposite shore, and trees grew right to the water’s edge. In Frenchman’s Cove we saw one of the few sandy beaches on this side of Newfoundland.

Lighthouse and Badminton/Volleyball net???
There is a pretty little lighthouse, but for reasons unknown, there was a badminton or volleyball net beside it. We drove further to find Humber Arm South’s pretty day park with a picnic table and a play unit and one out-house with a door that wouldn’t close.

Around another bend we were able to look out to the Bay of Islands to the north


and mountains to the south. Then on to Blow Me Down Provincial Park.


We wanted to drive around, but there was no ranger available at the time, so we moved on, heading for Lark Harbour. It is a beautiful little town.


We found a small café, and decided to stop for lunch. It was a delightful café, looking out onto the water, and it had a small craft shop. John swears I can sense them everywhere we go. But I enjoy looking at the local crafts. Luckily, I am limited by the amount of room in the RV. I did find a quilted bag. Of course, one can never have enough bags.

The road continued up the hill, and ended at Little Port, a small craft harbour.



John climbed up to the top of the hill, to discover the trail was carved out of the brush, looking like a tunnel.
On the way back, we were just in time to see a unique wedding aboard a fishing boat.


Finally, I was able to get a unique shot of Corner Brook nestled in the bay.

We took one evening to drive to the nearby Marble Mountain Ski Resort 
Ski Hills
and town of Steady Brook. John climbed up to the falls at Marble Mountain,

with its Zip Line which criss-crossed the gorge, down to the bottom. One section of this was over 2000 feet.

We drove through the town of Steady Brook (it won a Tidy Towns Award). The homes are really beautiful and some very interesting styles. Each of the street names has a hanging basket of flowers on it.

When we left, we headed north to spend some time in Gros Morne National Park, 1805 sq. km. designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 for its impressive geological features.  Once we left the TCH and began to cross to the coast, there were some “wicked” hills to climb and then go down towards the shore.


And of course, there was construction.

On the way in we stopped at the Visitors’ Centre just inside the park boundaries. This gives a good overview of what is available in the park,

John sees his first moose

and suggests that one of the first stops should be the Discovery Centre for a more in depth understanding of the geology and geography of the park. Gros Morne is the Gateway to the the Viking Trail, the highway north to the Great Northern Peninsula.
Gros Morne Mountain with its flat, apparently barren top, looms high over the whole park. There are numerous hiking trails ranging from flat and easy hikes to difficult, long and challenging ones.  There are several campgrounds, most without services and several beaches, museums and heritage sites. We had chosen to stay in the Gros Morne RV Park in Rocky Harbour, one of the largest towns. This is a privately-run park that had fully- and partially-serviced sites. Washrooms were clean and sites varied. In the outer lot, they were gravelled, level and quite wide, offset, but next to each other. In the middle section they were cut into the brush and trees, wide fairly for privacy, level, and deep. We unhitched and drove around and out to the lookout

From the lookout to Rocky Harbour

and Lobster Cove Lighthouse.

There was a campfire with story-telling and singing, but we were too late, and not dressed warmly enough to stay.

We decided that we should head to the Discovery Centre, so the first morning we headed to Norris Point to catch the water taxi to Woody Point.

Approaching Woody Point

I ran and got tickets while John parked the truck. It seemed to take him ages, and I was afraid we would miss the taxi. However, the man I was talking to, said not to worry, they wouldn’t leave until he got on board. I had “forgotten” that this was Newfoundland. He asked if we needed a taxi when we got off, as they would call “Uncle Jim” and he could be waiting. When told it was only 1.5 km, I said, we would walk. Well walk we did. What he did not tell me was that it was all up steep hills. The first section was a short walk along a delightful the main street,

Pretty Main Street of Woody Point
then we started up.
Half-way up, looking back at Bonne Bay
We finally made it
The Discovery Centre

and spent a couple of hours learning the fascinating geography, flora, fauna and human and geological history of the Park. We had hoped to be able to buy a light lunch there, but there was only coffee, juice and water. Thank goodness for protein bars! We walked back
The Theatre, with typical bright colours

and found a little café just at the end of the main street and had a very good BLT, and coffee. We wandered back to the pier in time for the return water taxi. When I joked that he had not told me it was all uphill, the man on the boat just looked at me and said, “From here, everything is uphill.”


As well as hike, there were two things we wanted to do, go to the show, “Anchors Aweigh” only on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday’s, and take the boat trip on the Western Brook Pond, an inland fjord. We were able to get tickets for the boat trip for the next day, but couldn’t get tickets for Anchors Aweigh on the Wednesday before we left, as they are sold out well in advance, so we booked for a week and a half away, when we would be back at Rocky Harbour. We did put our names on the waiting list- 40 people ahead of us.

The Western Brook Pond boat dock was an easy 3km walk in from the parking lot

, through fields, bogs, fens and woods to a delightful café

The café from the boat, as we return
and lake. (Most inland bodies of water are called “ponds”.) We had a snack, then boarded the boat. We had met a group of Girl Guides on the water taxi the day before, and when we boarded the boat, they were on it too. There were 10 girls from all over Canada, and 2 leaders plus a tour guide. This trip along the land-locked freshwater lake, which was originally a fjord cut from the Long Range Mountains by the glacier,


A face in the cliff
The end of the "Pond", hikers can get off at the dock for a hike to the top.

was fascinating, with cliffs rising on either side up to about 2000 ft.

We took our time on the way back and looked at the many interpretive boards along the boardwalks, which explained the beautiful wildflowers, bushes and trees.

Since we were near the north end of the park we decided to look at the other campgrounds at Green Point and Shallow Bay. At Green Point,
we walked out to the point where the rocks are of great geological importance. Formed at the bottom of an ancient ocean, the layers of shale contain fossils which define the division between Cambrian and Ordovician periods. It is possible to see the distinct layers and the division between the two periods.

We drove to look at the sandy beach at Shallow Bay. Our pals, the Girl Guides, were there too, flying a huge kite and walking the beach. A couple of them had even been in the water- even though it was cloudy by this time and quite cool.

On the drive back down we stopped at Cow Head at a small grocery store and a beautiful memorial garden, and at the site of the shipwreck of the SS Ethie, a coastal steamship which ran aground in a fierce storm in December 1919. Parts of the ship are still in the shallow water off the shore and on the beach.

The next 2 days were rainy, so we did not go far from the trailer. John did discover that there are no grocery stores in Rocky Harbour, and none of the small convenience stores had any cream for his coffee. He was finally able to buy some of the little creamers for 10 cents each! However, we got a call at 6 pm one night to say they had tickets for us for Anchors Aweigh, did we want them. We quickly said yes, and raced to get ready to pick them up by 6:15. (We had been warned that if you were not there by 6:30 at the latest for the 8pm show, you were unlikely to get good seats.) I went in, while John parked, picked up the tickets and went to find seats. The whole room was almost full! I did manage to get a table close to the door, but with a good view of the stage. Later I invited a couple to join us as we only used two chairs. It turned out there were four in the group, three from one family and a husband. The two women and their brother had been brought up in Newfoundland. We were treated to a delightful evening of Newfie music, banter and humour, delivered with ascerbic wit.
It was a wonderful evening, not to be missed by any visitor to Rocky Harbour. Sitting with a group of Newfoundlanders made it even more fun.

We left Rocky Harbour and began the long drive up the Northern Peninsula, but we would return to Gros Morne.



1 comment:

  1. We are loving your detailed account and the beautiful photos...almost like being along with you. Hope to follow someday. Thanks, Pat and Al