Destination: Gros Morne National Park (Newfoundland)
It rained all night and all morning. Christine and I both remained in our tents, hoping the rain would stop so we could pack up camp without getting soaked. But it got a little late into the morning with no signs of letting up, so we called to each other through the tents over the noise of the rain coming down and decided we needed to get moving. It takes quite a bit of motivation for us to decide to leave the tents when we know we’re going to get wet and have to pack up wet and dirty gear, but we had a tour to get to.
As soon as we did leave the tents, the clouds broke! We were able to take our time packing the car, and unlike the misty, low-visibility weather of the previous day, at that point the sun came shining down. We lay out our tents and flies so they could dry in the sun as we made breakfast.
Afterward, we drove down to Western Brook Pond to meet the tour in the parking lot. We were so thrilled about our decision to rebook the tour for today because the weather couldn’t have been better.
We waited in the parking lot for the other tourists, but we didn’t really see anyone, so we started the hike in. It was about 3km on softly rolling gravel, no trouble at all – except that it began to absolutely pour on our way in. Thank goodness we both wore clothing with the anticipation that it would rain again (it is Newfoundland, after all). Our raincoats kept our upper halves dry but our pants were soaked, though would dry quickly.
The walk in was lovely and seeing the iconic looming once-fjords in the distance made our anticipation even greater. When we arrived at the little cabin to await the boat, it was jam-packed with wet and unhappy people. We found out that the captain hadn’t decided at that point whether the tour would be cancelled, so we were all waiting on that call.
Eventually the rain did stop once more, and we were able to go outside and dry off. The captain did confirm that the tour would be leaving, and Christine and I got on one of the two boats, ready to see the amazing sight.
We boarded the small boat along with maybe 40 other people, and we went up top to the front of the boat. The rain kept coming and the wind was really intense, but we were excited and it didn’t matter. As we made our way to the fjords, the rain eased once more and the sun even came out.
The lake is really amazing because it has such slow movement that the water stays there for more than 15 years. Most lakes have much higher turnover.
It felt like moving between mountains. On either side the rock walls were so high and straight. There were lots of waterfalls, including one called Mare’s Piss.
There were also amazing rockslides right into the pond, and one of them had happened while a tour had been on the water. Apparently it had been as loud as an explosion. Although I’m sure it would have been scary, I really wish I’d been there for that. We both absolutely loved these mammoth monuments of stone.
On the way back to the dock, the rain came again, more intense than ever. We went to the lower half of the boat, but the rain came in sideways and we were totally battered by it. The visibility dropped and even though we had just left the fjords, when we looked back, we could no longer see them.
The water got super choppy and it felt a little dicey for a bit, but eventually we docked and made our way back down the 3k trail to the car. Couldn’t have asked for better timing – we saw the fjords within one of the only windows of sun during the entire day.
We drove and made a short jaunt to the SS Ethie, the remnants of a shipwreck on the ocean’s shore. It was neat to see these massive rusting ship parts scattered all over the pebbled beach.
We then visited the Lobster Head Cove Lighthouse, which was a rebuilt home and lighthouse together, set up like a museum with lots of interesting facts about what lighthouse life would have looked like for the entire family. We didn’t get to go into the actual lighthouse, which was a bit of a disappointment to us both.
Our home for the night was Green Point campground. It had come highly recommended, but I had a hard time with it because the rain had come back. By then, we had been soaked and dried like three times and it was getting tiring. I didn’t want to set up in the rain. Christine totally saved me at this point. I moped in the car while she set the tent up by herself, for which I was so grateful. The site was lovely, small and very green. Not super private but we did have a view of the ocean peaking out between a vee of trees. We just had the one tent that night because of the rain, and Christine and I spent some time in there reading before we decided to go to a communal area with wifi and see if we could download a couple episodes of a show from Netflix while we put together dinner.
There was a french couple in there, drinking and playing scrabble. It was a little awkward because there was a language barrier but also because they very much seemed to want to keep to themselves, so it almost felt like we were intruding. They left after a while and we made our noodles and mushroom soup for dinner – a sistersXcanada classic – and I struggled with the Netflix and internet issues. Eventually the couple returned and we cleaned up after ourselves and left without having managed to get any shows to watch.
Back in the tent, we both read and talked for the rest of the night. We were both tired. The rain will do that to a person. So it was fairly early by the time we called it a night, and the rain didn’t let up for a moment.