Saturday, August 27, 2016

GTT Days 24-25

August 24 - Gros Morne NP, Berry Hill Campground Day 2.
We were told by at least 4 separate groups of people that we had to go on the boat tour of Western Brook Pond. Okey-dokey then. With the 11am sailing as our goal we went into Rocky Harbour for ice and then drove up the coast to the parking lot for the trail to the pond. The weather was iffy but we were ready for anything with our rain jackets and stashed umbrellas. The trail is quite long, nearly 3.5km but hard-packed gravel or boardwalk all the way. This was a pond and view of the escarpment on the way:
After the hike it was quite civilized down by the boat dock with washrooms, food concession, ticket sales and really good wifi. It was not a cheap trip but for 2 hours it was very interesting. Just the story of how they got the boats down there was fascinating. The smallest one came by sledge over the frozen bog in winter and the other two were dropped in pieces by helicopters! The pond (yeah, it's as big as a lake but Newfoundland calls every body of water that isn't salt a pond!) was formed by glacial action and was actually a salt water fjord once but the land rose when the glaciers melted and became higher and closed off from the sea. The escarpments on either side are spectacular:
Lots of waterfalls and we actually saw our first Newfie moose, two of them in different spots so small in the distance that a photo would just be a dot. And this is both my favourite waterfall and has the best name ever:
Pissing Mare Falls. No, I did not make that up. Can you tell that the weather remained iffy? It sprinkled. It rained. It even showed a ray of sun. But mostly it just remained dark and cloudy. No matter. It was a fun trip and welcomed us back to the wharf with recorded Newfoundland music. What does it say about my education that I knew the words to a couple of the songs? CBC radio in the 1950's. Heh. We took the time to check out the nature interpretive signs on the way back. This is the provincial flower:
Those red things in the middle of the pic are pitcher plants. They are carnivorous! The cups hold water that drowns insects which are absorbed into the plant. Mwah-ha-ha!! Plus they're actually pretty. Also in the photo but much smaller are sundews which are also carnivorous plants. Death in the bog. Plants turn the tables on the critters.
Whew! On our way back to camp we checked out the wreck of the SS Ethie, a local trader ship (sails and steam engine) that was lost in a gale in 1919. All the crew and passengers were saved, including a baby that was stuffed into a mail sack. The people from Sally's Cove nearby saw the ship in trouble and helped everyone to safety.
  The wreck is now just a few rusting pieces of metal strewn along the shore.
Next we stopped at Green Point and sat in the Red Chairs:
Obviously the sun finally made a proper appearance!
August 25 - Gros Morne NP, Berry Hill campground, day 3.
Our last day at Berry Hill and we didn't have anything planned. We took it easy for a change until after lunch when we decided a hike was in order. So we went up Berry Hill:
It wasn't very far but it was steep with lots of stairs to climb. The trail went around the whole hill with several look-offs (as they call them here). This view is towards the south and Bonne Bay and Rocky Harbour. After we had conquered Berry Hill we took the boardwalk out on the bog:
We learned about lots more of the plants that grow in the bogs here and on the way back we saw this quite large toad:
Can you see it hiding in there? We wouldn't have noticed except that it hopped in there and caught our eye. We missed the moose that several people mentioned farther up the trail. Oh well. They are scary and I would hope that it was far away from me!

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