Sunday, July 23, 2017

Green Gardens at Gros Morne

The Green Gardens at Gros Morne is best known for its  spectacular coastline of cliffs, sea stacks, and the lush meadows along the coastal headland. The trail is 9km long round trip. It is ranked number 2* on the trails we planned to hike at Gros Morne, only after Tablelands "off trail" exploration.

We went hiking on Green Garden trail late morning (11:00 am or so) on our fourth day at Gros Morne - which was foretasted to be Sunny in early morning and cloudy rest of the day.

The trail head of Green Gardens  trail is near the end of the scenic drive 431 by the road side.
The initial kilometer of the trail cut through an open barren land dotted with unique and colorful flowers, with a large pond to the far right. Then the trail descends to coast through dense forest, part of it is pretty steep, and small portion of the trail was pretty muddy due to frequent rains in early Summer. 

As we were approaching the coast, the cloudy sky started to break up, Sun peeked out. The Sun was shinning on the shoreline when we got there! A large meadow was in front of us, extending all the way to the edge of the coastline cliff, some portion is "fenced" by pine trees. Looking beyond the meadow, we saw the ocean - more accurately the Gulf of Lawrence, cliffs, sea stacks. It was gorgeous and we took them all in.

Then we asked the only other persons at Green Gardens, a young couple, who arrived shortly after us, took a picture of us on the ubiquitous red couple's chair at the park!! 

Lily and I followed Nicholas' lead, who was on the beach already, we went down the cliff to the beach via broken stairs - we strolled on the beach, had a close up look of the sea stacks, checked out the water fall near the far end of the beach

It was 1pm, wind was gaining speed, clouds moved back, and we left for the Green Gardens above the beach, found a picnic table in the trees, had our quick picnic lunch. 

The hiking back to trail head felt much quicker, we got back to our rental car before the rain arrived. Our total time for this hike was about 3 and half hours including strolls and picnic, total distance walked was over 10 km.

* Gros Morne Mountain Trail would have been the # 2 trail for us - but it was closed during spring and early summer until the last Weekend in June - which was one day after our planned departure from Gros Morne.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Gros Morne and Terra Nova Canadian National Parks - Trip Itinerary

Gros Morne and Terra Nova are two national parks situated in the eastern most part of Canada, in the Province of  Newfoundland and Labrador. Gros Morne is on the west coast of  island of Newfoundland, while Terra Nova is on east cost of the island.

While researching places to visit in Canada on its 150 year anniversary, we were attracted by the two parks for very different reasons:  stunning natural beauty and unique geology at Gros Morne, and Kayaking with whale and close up look of iceberg at Terra Nova.

The following is our trip itinerary which is quite different from our original trip plan. It rains a lot at Newfoundland Island so we had to adjust to the weather. We also needed to adjust the daily activities according our physical conditions.

Day 0 leave for Gros Morne

leave DFW in the afternoon, arrive Deer Lake airport at 1:35am local time (11:05pm CDT)

Stay at Deer Lake Motel,  which is 2 km from the airport, for the "night" - very good breakfast there.

Day 1 Gros Morne (cloudy to rain)

Visited Discovery Center and hiked on lookout trail. 

Canceled afternoon plan due to weather and physical fatigue

Checked in at Rocky Barbour Cabins where we stayed during our visit at Gros Morne

Dinner at Earle's restaurant - Moose meat related food not good. No decent grocery shopping at Rocky Harbor.

Day 2 Gros Morne, The Tableland (Sunny)

The Tableland is the crown jewel of Gros More, an ember colored rocky mountain formed half billion years ago due to tectonic collision.

Hiked on off-trail to the top of tableland, where the landscape is featureless - every direction you look, it looks the same! but far away scenery is magnificent. We came down along the Wallace Brook near the Bowl of the tableland.

7 hour 10 mile loop ( A - E on the park's "off-trail"  map for the tableland)

Dinner at Jungle Jim, great food, grocery shopping at foodland, both at Deer Lake.

Watch Sunset at Rocky Harbor 

Day 3 Gross Morne (Cloudy) 

Short hikes in the morning - Berry Hill, Berry Pond, Old Mail Road and West Brook
Boat tour at West brook pond in the afternoon - a 16 km fjord formed by glacier - amazing beauty in any weather! 

Hiked Steve's trail after the boat tour

Cooked dinner at Cabin - delicious "home" cooked food

Day 4 Gross Morne (Sunny in early morning, Cloudy rest of the day)

Allan got up early to revisit some vistas along the shoreline. 

Hiked on Green Gardens (9 km round trip), beautiful beach and sea stack   - totally worth the hike!

dinner at Java Jack at Rocky Harbor - tried cod tongue as appetizer, good food but small serving

Day 5 Gross Morne and Terra Nova (Sunny)

Visited Lobster Head Light House and Norris point in the morning.

Norris point is a good place to visit - one can see the mountain of Gros Morne and the Tableland at the same time, a great place to kayak as well (we did not do it due to weather and time constraint)

left for St. John's in a 18-seater tiny plane, 1 hour flight. Drove from St. John's to Terra Nova

Arrived at Terra Nova Visitor center near its closing, visited Marine Exhibit 

Stayed at d'Bay Cabin

Dinner at Uncle Li (a Chinese restaurant) - so-so food; grocery shopping at Wal-Mart both at Clareneville.

Day 6 Terra Nova (Cloudy) - Canada Day

Celebrated Canada day with Canadians at visitor center!

Hiked on Goowiddy trail in the morning (8km loop)

Guided sea kayaking in the afternoon from Happy Adventure (a place) 

Cooked dinner at Cabin 

Day 7 Terra Nova (Cloudy to Rainy)

Hiked at Sandy Lake, Climbed the tower at Orche Hill in the morning
lunch at visitor center
Hiked on coastal trail in the afternoon

Dinner at Clode Motel - food was OK.

Day 8 Terra Nova (Sunny)

Boat tour to see iceberg and puffin  - awesome iceberg,  skittish puffins and beautiful scenery 

Drove to St. John's after a late lunch, arrived at St. John's ~ 6:30om

Dinner at Pitto Pizzeria - great pizza, nice setting, St. John downtown area

Stayed at Motel 8

left for home early next morning.