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Gros Morne part one……

July 2022

We had reservations at the Gros Morne/Norris Point Koa and found it to be centrally located - which in the huge expanse of the Canadian National Park meant every day’s trip involved a bit of a drive. Not enjoyable for Jim but generally worth it at the end site! Gros Morne is a UNESCO World Heritage site for it’s geography, which shows clear evidence of colliding continents, glaciers and other rock formation. Tablelands is perhaps the best known area for that so we headed there the first morning despite a misty drizzle. Jim planned to take the ranger led tour and I actually found it more interesting to photograph and paint in the wet, changing light than it would have been in the bright sun usually seen in pictures of it.

We got there a little early and walked the dogs around the lower trail and across rock fields. Jim was especially excited to see numerous examples of peridotite. The area was originally at the bottom of a sea and the actions of millennia have brought them to their present flat plain. The rock is not very suitable for growing things, however I did see some wildflowers and grasses at the low edge.

The trail is just 2 km and suitable for all however they allow free hiking in the area with all kinds of caveats re the dangers. Jim was a little sorry he didn’t get the time to avail himself of that opportunity. While he took the trail walk I sat in the car with the dogs and got two small sketch paintings done!

Later we drove the other way up the coast to “see what we could see”- mostly scenic little villages with boats attractively pulled up on marshes or floating at moorings. We traveled as far as the Shallow Bay day use area and checked out the beach.

We did not walk the Old Mail Road Trail but I did walk up to the old Cemetary there which is surrounded by meadow and marsh with those huge Queen Anne’s Lace and iris and other wildflowers.

After turning back we stopped to investigate the SS Ethie trail. It is a steep staircase down to a rock beach upon which are strewn metal pieces of the unfortunate Ethie, a coastal steamer which went aground in December 1919 during a terrible gale, covered thick with ice. All people on board were saved thanks to a bosun chair and local folks on shore, including a baby strapped into a mail bag. The rusted metal among the varied tumbled rocks is quite interesting, enough so that I had Jim drop me off on a later day so I could paint the scene.

On the way back to they campground we stopped in Rocky Harbor, perhaps THE main town although not big in size, for an ice cream at and I peeked in at Gros Morne Crafts. I was leaving empty handed when I spied Geology of Newfoundland, the companion piece to the Nova Scotia one Jim had so I was able to surprise him with it. We also stopped at one of the small grocery stores in the area. It takes some getting used to having to plan a meal from the limited supplies available. Chicken is hardly to be found but I found chicken fingers which satisfied the desire for it!

Norris Point sticks out into Bonne Bay which has two “arms”. We were constantly driving past East Arm it seemed and one day, when we walked a short but lovely trail to the South East Brook waterfall we stopped at the boat landing on the way back. This turned out to be a pleasant space to let the dogs swim and just relax.

I always expected to see more boats out on the water but I suppose Newfoundland is a little far out for sailboat trips - although a cousin who sails mentioned taking a trip there for a sailing event. We also passed by the trailhead for the Gros Morne Trail. This is a popular but grueling trail rising 800 meters from sea level to the top of Gros Morne Mountain. I had no desire to try it but the lot was always full. Just viewing the mountain from afar was interesting after reading about the geological forces.

Another interesting hiking area is the Green Point location. The campground there has a dog park which we availed ourselves of then walked out onto the rock strata at low tide and around the point where you can actually see the various eras in the rock layers. Jim was fascinated and he and Chloe disappeared around the corner before Jackson and I got going. For me it was an opportunity to photograph some really interesting looking rock sections and wander out into the ocean on rock ledges for good compositions. If we’d had more time I would have gone back and painted but there was a fair number of people there so it took both of us to manage the dogs.

At the campground there was a nature trail around the little lake. This was great for Jim to take Chloe around and there was also a dog enclosure where I could throw the ball to them. We were still hoping to see a moose but despite one area being called Moose trail did not see one. I did put on my bathing suit and take a dip in the lake - the cold water didn’t deter me but the rocky ground hurt my feet.

Below:rocks from the beach at Green Gardens

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