Wednesday, June 2: Gros Morne National Park
We woke up this morning to a pleasant, sunny day – perfect for the boat tour of West Brook Pond. I walked down to the main motel in town to purchase a ticket for the tour, then rode north about 12 miles to the trail head, where I hiked 2 miles across a bog to West Brook Pond where the boat was waiting for about 50 of us. If you’ve seen much tourist info about Newfoundland you almost certainly have seen a picture of West Brook Pond. The terrain that created this and other ponds in the area resulted from many glaciers scraping across the landscape and leaving grooved areas like this which were bays opening onto the ocean. Over time the soil at the opening of the bay rose, closing off what was now a pond from the ocean, and the pond is now completely fresh water. So it is no longer technically a fjord – it doesn’t open into the ocean and it contains fresh water, not salt. The pond is 575 feet deep, and the mountains nearly 2000 feet high. The lake is about 2 miles long, twisting around between the ridges, and is enhanced by many beautiful waterfalls and an occasional moose feeding on the steep hillsides.
The picture was taken further into the pond. Why is it called a “pond” rather than a “lake”? The tour guide (who was Irish) said it was the English who take liberties with the language, for example, they’ll talk about crossing the “pond,” meaning the Atlantic Ocean!
We saw several waterfalls – like this one where the water must drop 500 feet before hitting the side of the mountain!
When I got back to the room I had to show Elaine the spectacular photos I had taken. It served to confirm her decision not to go on the tour – these were just more mountains and lakes like she had already seen. So we both had enjoyable days – she relaxing in our comfortable room at Wildflowers Inn, and me touring the Park.
Thursday, June 3: Rocky Harbour, NL to St. Georges, NL (123 miles)
Yesterday was a gorgeous sunny day. Today it was raining when we awoke, but by the time we loaded the bike the rain had stopped, and the roads were dry before too long. This is the view we had out our window on the bay at Rocky Harbour.
Gros Morne park is more than the tour of Western Brook Pond. The highway from Rocky Harbour south winds its way through more parkland, up hills and down, and around magnificent sweeping curves. The terrain here was mountainous, as compared with the flatlands and bogs along the highway north of Rocky Harbour.
Over every hill and around every curve there was another spectacular landscape. The day was overcast, but that didn’t detract from the natural beauty of the environs.
This adventure rider was sited at the overlook at Norris Point.
For lunch today we stopped at a little convenience store and 24-hour bar in Halfway Point, just west of Corner Brook. Elaine is developing into something of a poutaine expert and here she sampled what they termed the “trucker’s special.” It was French fried potatoes, hamburger, gravy, grated cheese, and dressing. She said it was good, but I could tell it wasn’t the best she had had after she asked the server for some green peppers to add “crunch.” The best poutaine begins with freshly cut French fried potatoes, and it usually has cheese curds rather than grated cheese. If you’re lucky the cheese curds are still squeaky.
We rode 123 miles to our B&B for the night, The Palace Inn at St. Georges on the French coast. “The Palace” had been the residence of a Catholic Bishop for many years, and the local kids always called it the palace, hence the current name. It was eventually sold to the current owner who did a major renovation and furnishing job to turn it into a grand and spacious B&B.
The rooms were furnished mostly with heavy antique furniture, but the front sitting room had large leather couches and chairs. The sweet smell of new leather permeated the room, and I felt very manly sitting there working on the computer.