Wednesday, August 24, 2016

GTT Day 22-23

August 22 - Cheeseman Provincial Park, NL.
Well, today was the exciting ferry trip to Newfoundland! As I mentioned in my last post we had to be at the terminal in North Sydney by 8:45 - 3 hours early - and it was an hour or so from Whycocomagh so we had to get moving early. Good thing we're very well practiced on packing up efficiently.
It took a very long time to pack the ferry. A lot of the traffic is truck trailers full of goods shipping to the island. They take them aboard with a fleet of specialized tractors and a crew of drivers. There's a few separate 18-wheelers to get on too plus several buses, campers, motorcycles and of course cars. The ferry has 4 floors of space to stow all of them! We got loaded after the trailers and motorcycles and were directed in at the second-lowest level:
And then we had to go down one more, into the bowels of the beast:
We ended up on the very bottom deck. Upstairs (many many stairs since we didn't wait for the crowded elevator) we found a nice seat on the 7th deck looking over the stern. And then we waited for at least another hour before everybody was loaded and we finally got underway.
The seats were comfortable but kind of stinky and could definitely use a good steam cleaning! There was a handy USB port to power my iPad but no wifi. Also lots of television and movie screens that nobody seemed to pay attention to. Not much in the way of fancy facilities except a couple of coffee shops and a restaurant with a small menu. Since we were trapped on this vessel for about 7 or 8 hours (depending on weather and where your vehicle was loaded) we needed to bring our own entertainment along. Speaking of the weather, it was cloudy and occasionally drizzly when we left but quickly got very foggy. Not that there was much to see!
We were finally greeted in Port aux Basques, Newfoundland, with this lovely welcome:
Because we were on the bottom deck we had to wait a long time before we could go down and get into the van. They had to clear the whole deck above us first before we could drive off. Luckily the provincial park we were headed for was less than 20 minutes down the road. First thing we learned was here they call the Trans-Canada Highway 1 the "TCH" on all the signs. Good to know.   We got into the campground at Cheeseman and there were at least 6 other campers ahead of us and soon several more behind! We weren't worried because we had a reservation but all the others had obviously come off the ferry with us and had the same idea. We didn't really get to see much of the place because it was still raining so we just relaxed and went to bed early.
August 23 - Gros Morne National Park, NL, Berry Hill campground.
It was about a 3.5-4 hour drive to our next stop but we were glad we took the opportunity to drive down to the beach area at Cheeseman before we left. It was still cloudy but not actually raining. The beach was lovely:
And on the inside bay we watched the water birds:
Then the weather socked in again and we only partially saw the incredible scenery on our way up the coast. The Table Mountains were invisible and the nearby Twin Hills (aka Dolly Parton's Boobs) were missing their tips. (Ouch!). Just past Corner Brook there's a deep gorge that the Humber River goes through that's pretty spectacular. Then we drove past the long long Deer Lake and up towards the coast while the TCH splits off and heads east. We will eventually go that way but not yet!
We also missed the top of Gros Morne Mountain in the fog (the locals pronounce the "s") but saw quite a lot of Bonne Bay as we drove along the north side of it. For the next 3 days we're camping in Berry Hill campground. After we settled in we geared up for the drizzle and walked the trail around Berry Hill Pond:
It's big enough to be a lake and so pretty with wildflowers and glacially smoothed rocks decorating the edges. The forest around is damp and mossy:
The trail was a bit boggy in places but there were boardwalks over the worst parts. It actually stopped drizzling too so we had a very nice walk.
We're currently waiting for yet another boat - this time the tour boat that goes up the glacially carved Western Brook Pond. We just walked 3.5km to get here. They have wifi!
From the trail.

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