Moose on the Loose in Gros Morne.
From the RV Desk of Melanie Anne Chambers www.gorving.ca
The landscape in Gros Morne, as I said before, is so strange; days after you see it, you think, ‘was that real?’ I am also beginning to think the same about moose. I have been here a few weeks and haven't seen one. Everyone goes on about moose jumping up onto the road; moose flash lights on the highway are meant to warn drivers when they're on the road. I sure saw the flashing lights, but no moose. It's like "Snuffleupagus" from Seseme Street. When I show up, the moose leave.
I was hoping in this giant park of parks that I might see one. But in the meantime, there are two things you must do to get the full gist of the oddity and magnitude of Gros Morne: the Western Brook Pond boat tour and the Gros Morne day hike to Newfoundland’s second highest peak (806 meters).
Western Brook Pond isn’t really a pond as we know it—it’s more of a 16 km long fjord created during glacier times. At one time it was part of the ocean but was closed off a long, long time ago. Sliding between the billion year old rocks you get a sense of its magnitude as water bounces off the cliff rocks and vapourizes into the air.
Two hours, with a narrated guide, I sat next to John and Jody from Pennsylvania. Shocked by the lack of rain and beaming sunshine (weather station dead wrong), we strained our necks for most of the tour to see ponds in creavices, and really cool faces discovered. Who discovers these things?
After reaching the end of the pond (we still had to return), the boat docks and a few spry couples with backpacks the length of their bodies debark. A four-day hike traverses the top of the flattened summits. Can you imagine hiking on the top of this?
Pulling up to the dock, I heard the words I have longed to hear since stepping foot onto Newfoundland soil: “Moose!” Sure enough, standing on a little shoreline across the bay was the famous moose—just as huge and grand as I imagined. Funny that like many things in Newfoundland, it wasn’t a native species. In fact, like Noah’s Ark, a couple of moose were brought to the island about 100 years ago. Today, there are four moose for every square kilometer of this province. Beaucoup des mooses.
Tours are operated by Bon Tours www.bontours.ca. There is a ticket office at the Ocean View Motel in Rocky Harbour, or you can pay at the boat deck. The tour includes a 3 kilometer hike to the boat dock; mostly bog land, a good portion of the walk includes boardwalks with interpretive plaques about the plants and soil. Pretty and educational!
Gros Morne Hike
So, everyone says it takes seven hours to hike the 8 kilometers, 806 meters, of Gros Morne Mountain. Hmm, Hmm: I kicked it old school in five hours. Where does this competitive streak come from?
Four kilometers, about an hour, the trail is tight roots, rocks and steps. It rained the day before so muck is rampant.
There are a few look out points with benches where you can really take in the dense tuckamore—the name for the short stubby coastal trees, mostly balsam and black spruce, leveled by intense ocean winds. Wooven together like a rug, tuckamore is easier to hop over than through, I heard it said.
The four kilometers end at the foot of a giant wall of rock—and guess what? You have to climb it. Not only is it steep, it’s precarious teetering on head sized boulders. I pass a group of 20 something boys. Take that youngin’s!
The top isn’t really a traditional summit—it’s more like a plateau. It's a good spot to sit for lunch.
The next section follows the top where you can take amazing pictures over the ridge. Visiting Norway years ago, I recall that Norway was called ‘little Newfoundland,’ or was it the other way around? Fjords oh plenty.
The downhill, another 4 kilometers, completes the loop and it’s where I saw my second moose. That’s two moose in two days. I wonder if Newfoundland tourism is paying off that moose? Seems a bit fishy to me.