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Biking and dancing in Gros Morne National Park

From the RV Desk of Melanie Anne Chambers www.gorving.ca

It's a strange world when you find yourself at a Canadian Legion dancing with fashion icon Jeanne Beker. But that is exactly what happened after an author reading at the Writers at Woody Point in Gros Morne National Park. Decked out in black leather pants and heels that gave her another few feet, she danced like she was doing mime; she later explained out on the back patio of the Legion that she actually studied mime at one point in her life, a long time ago. 

Gros Morne National Park is Atlantic Canada's second largest park with over 697 square miles of land (Torngat Mountains in Labrador is the largest). Within the park are many small communities that have cute little bed and breakfasts', cafes and craft shops, theatre and oh so many trails. And as I mentioned above, it attracks quite the cultural crowd. 

Woody Point is my favourite little town in Gros Morne, maybe because it has the most shops and cafes. The Granite Coffee Shop has killer locally roasted coffee. A view looking out onto the Bay.

But towns aside, it's the landscape that draws people to Gros Morne. And for me, it's to ride and hike a few trails.

Imagine giant glaciers sitting on top of rocky peaks taller than any skyscaper you’ve ever seen. When the torrents of ice melt, an avalanche of rock and mud come sliding down taking anything that once grew with it. What remains are valleys, and cracks so deep, tiny ponds form on the tops of the mountain creating waterfalls. Peer deeper into the grooves of the rock and it looks like a marble cake batter that froze. Gros Morne National Park is a strange landscape for sure.

 

Walking into Tablelands, it's barren yellow rock that stretches forever. The lack of trees, or any real vegetation, is a result of the high magnesuim content in the rock.  Continents collided about 470-million years ago spilling the earth’s innards: what you see is what the inside of the earth looks like. Amazing.

 

NOTE: it’s a short 4 km flat trail off the #430 roadway. It takes about half an hour to walk, but I suggest walking farther into along the river bed, off the path, if you have time.

A few notes about hiking and biking in Gros Morne National Park:

1) Be flexible.

Weather will change at a moment’s notice, which will most definitely alter your travel plans. Why, just yesterday I got a tan in the morning, but then a lightening bolt struck right in front of the RV in the afternoon; I was supposed to go kayaking that afternoon. 

2) Driving takes time. It’s a large park so make allowences for driving between towns. The park is divided by Bonne Bay: Take route 430 and you’re north in the town of Rocky Harbour; go south on 431 and you’re into Trout River, and the park’s Discovery Centre, a good starting point for your trip. It’s about an hour’s drive from Woody Point to Rocky Harbour. 

BIKE TOUR

Most of the day trails in the park are for hikers (about 20 trails ranging from 2 kilometers to 16 kilometers –the peak of Gros Morne), but many are also bike accessible. 

Trout Lake Trail – 14 kilometers there and back. Located in the southern part of the park. 

After a night of rain, the trail was mucky and slippy.

Each of us flew off the bike at least once, my second fall was off a bridge into a giant mud pit. Soon after, a wasp stung Caroline, Jamie's girlfriend, twice.

“It’s an interesting trail,” says Jamie, not wanting to say it was horrible. The rain certainly made it a challenge. Best suited to hiking, I say.

As it follows the river into the bay, the climbs are tight and twisty. But like much of Gros Morne, it opens up to the ocean. The ride back was safer and much more flowy, but Caroline still managed to get stung, again!

  The gang. Me, Jamie Harnum of Cycling Solutions in Corner Brook and Caroline Swan,  an instructor at the Adventure Tourism Outdoor Recreation department at College of the North Atlantic. 

Stuckless Pond

It’s the official bike trail of the park—and boy what a romp. Ten kilometers, about an hour’s ride, of smooth singletrack, rooty hills. The final downhills are 'yipppee' approved. 

As the sun was setting. Can you get prettier than this? Jamie thought he heard a moose so we stoped and I had a chance to take this one. 

This is the final bridge back to the parking lot. The fab trio. Thanks guys for some great riding. Now, back to the RV for a Quidi Vidi brew.