We had a lovely final day, sad to leave, but it’ll be nice to see everyone!
A bit of a lazy start, but our final day was planned as more of a drive around and see what we found, explore as we go type of day.
First stop: checking the tidal pools for crabs – found two!
Coffee and another giant molasses cookie next on the plan! We were hoping to see the tuna again too, but no luck. Did see a sculpin fish. One of the tour boat workers identified it for us. He also offered to let us join a cruise tour on Friday since we missed the boat tours of Bonne Bay that were regularly scheduled in September. Very kind, but not worth missing our flight for, haha. We did see eels though! Very cool!
We decided to do a short, 1km-ish coastal hike. Turns out it was 1km… pretty much vertical haha. Wish I’d finished my coffee first! Ah well. My hiking boots have been fantastic, and the expensive hiking socks – worth every cent!
After our hike, we did a quick walk to South Brooks Falls on our way to Woody Point. We didn’t see that much of the area around Woody Point/the tablelands the first time we went since we were hiking in the rain! This time was much nicer!
We checked out the upper deck and just happened to see a pod of dolphins or pilot whales (to be determined!). Then on our way to the car we saw a HUGE bull moose up on the hill about 400 meters up. The parks guy saw us pointing and ran out to bring us their amazing binoculars, the moose was massive! It was so nice of him to make sure we could see it clearly, and he was impressed G spotted it on the hill. We came back up to the Discovery Centre for lunch in the cafe, and hoped to see more dolphins as we ate overlooking the bay.
We drove back to Trout River to beach comb (was raining last time too!), and I found a beautiful blue piece.
On our way back, we saw three caribou on the Tablelands and then another huge caribou a km or two down the road! We were so lucky with wildlife today!
Once the sun started going down, we figured it was time to work our way back to Deer Lake. Had dinner at the Irving, filled up the rental car, got to our Airbnb and prepped for our verrrry early start tomorrow!
Day 8: Woke up at 3:45am… got to the airport, our tiny jar of $7 peanut butter got thrown out in security (who knew??), and we had our bumpy flight home!
Chilly stay last night. Older place, and the heat didn’t really get through that well. We picked up bread and peanut butter on the way back from Port au Choix, so we had that for breakfast. Food isn’t necessarily that much more expensive, but eating out constantly adds up.
Chilly start to the day too (much different than GTA weather! We saw on the news it was 30C there!), but the sun was out and once you’re hiking you warm up quickly. We drove to Green Point to do the coastal trail, and walked through a forest section, along the beach, and some boardwalk. We got to the river and then walked back after a quick snack (we’ve eaten so many granola bars this week!).
The other side of the coastal trail is the Green Point cliffs that show layers of earth that were horizontal but with the plates shifting got smooshed up more vertical (I’m so technical haha). It’s neat to see all the layers, some dating back 500 million years.
We walked along the tiny group of cottages in the area, beach combing and flipping rocks in tide pools looking for crabs. Found a few old urchin shells that were in good shape, but nothing much else!
By now it was time for lunch so we went back to town (they now know us really well since it’s more or less the only place open in town – and cheapest). I had a BLT, G got chili. We shared a slice of partridge berry pie for dessert!
After lunch we stopped off at our Airbnb for tonight. We’ve stayed in this one before and really liked it. Met the owner (he lives next door), and chatted with him.
We decided to explore Norris Point, and the sun was peeking through the clouds in the most beautiful way, so I made G pull over so I could take photos. We stopped at a cafe, and got a molasses cookie that’s the size of a hamburger bun haha. They know how to do cookies here!!
We beach combed along Bonne Bay, and then before we left, we noticed there was a weird wave in the water, it looked like just how the current might meet, but was odd enough that G got the binoculars out. As I watched the white spot, a HUGE tuna jumped right out of the water! We knew they were in the area the past few days from what the locals told us, but we didn’t expect that! Luckily my shock of seeing a dolphin-sized tuna got G’s attention enough that he saw a second one jump out of the water a few seconds later too! We watched for another 20 mins or so, then saw they’d moved back into the East Arm, so we hopped in the car and drove around to where they moved. We saw them in the distance before we left but didn’t see them again, and I wasn’t fast enough with my camera, so no photos. It was super cool though!
We came back to town for dinner (hot turkey sandwich with mashed potatoes and carrots for me, fish chowder for G), and we’re settled in our sweatpants to watch tv!
Hard to believe tomorrow is our last day! We’ll see what else we want to see here in the morning before heading back towards the south end of the park and then Deer Lake. Our flight is very early Thursday morning.
We got up around the usual time we have been lately (8ish, that’s 6:30 your time) and had our breakfast once I did a quick check on the beach.
We immediately went to check the lighthouse for caribou but had no luck! We had a windy rainy drive to Rocky Harbour, but the rain cleared up so we stopped at some lookouts along the way. At Broom Point, we saw seals in the water! Did a quick beach comb at a few places and enjoyed the sun being out, finally after three days of rain! We met a couple at the lighthouse from Etobicoke haha. Lots of Ontarians here, and Albertans too.
We looked at doing the Green Point coastal trail (it has fossils), but needed to get a park pass, and figured we’d get a solid hike in this afternoon, so we went into Rocky Harbour to get the pass and find a place to stay for the night.
We decided we had time to do Baker’s Brook Falls trail. It was so beautiful, and we saw a ton of moose tracks – surprised we didn’t see any actual moose! It was marked as a blue square trail (moderate), but was super easy! Flat, boardwalks, only 10km round trip! We did a total of 15.6km today, not bad. Green Gardens was marked as a blue square trail, but it was way harder!
Along the trail there was a moose exclosure that was installed in 2009. It has gates to keep the moose out, and shows the stark difference between the forest now (sparse), and the lush enclosed space, about a couple acres. They’re allowing hunting within the park now to try to control the moose population better. It all started with four moose I think?
We came back to Rocky Harbour and did a quick beach comb while the tide was low. I found a neat piece of pottery (blue willow), and then had dinner at the last restaurant that’s open! We both had burgers, they were great.
Time to relax a bit before bed – and plan which trails we’re doing tomorrow!
Today’s edition is not as full since most of the day was spent in the car in pouring rain.
I got up a bit earlier than G, so I did a quick beach hunt until he was ready for breakfast. This motel is older, but clean and breakfast (eggs any way you like, bacon, fries, and homemade bread) was included!
We did a quick drive towards the lighthouse in Port au Choix to check for caribou. I saw tracks on the beach and others said they saw them nearby earlier. No luck, but we’re going to check it out tomorrow again.
We drove the approximately three hours up to L’anse aux Meadows, rain the whole way and so many potholes! The water also doesn’t drain off the road very well so it makes it tricky to drive on.
The Discovery Centre was neat, there was a 15 minute movie about the history and the area, and then a walking tour. It had paused raining for about half an hour but started again right as the walking tour started. We ended up bailing on the walking tour. It was interesting, but we were just getting drenched, and we weren’t wanting to have another soaker. We checked out the smaller huts and found three characters/actors in the main “house”. A married couple and blacksmith. They were funny and talked about life in the camp. They also made this delicious pan fried flat bread over the fire. It was fried in a LOT of butter. Butter is used in quantities about 3-4x what we’re used to lol. ALL toast at any meal is dripping, fully saturated in butter. G is running out of lactaid lol. They put partridge berry jam on it, and it was great! I could have eaten ten of them haha. It was fun to learn about it all and warm up by the fires. They showed the main bedroom reserved for the highest ranking crew member, then the kitchen and other sleeping area, then the back room was set up for the women’s workroom for weaving and fabric making.
Three hour drive back, more rain. We stopped in Dark Tickle for a bite. I got ham and cheese (buttered on both sides and panini pressed), G got ham, rhubarb and pickle (it sounded so interesting he couldn’t resist). Also buttered on both sides and panini pressed. We also got molasses crowberry buns. They’re like giant dense gingerbread cookies with something like blueberries in it. Very good. The owner was really nice and we learned about the polar bears in the area!
The motel had a live band tonight in the bar which was great!
Tomorrow we’re back to Rocky Harbour to keep exploring the park!
Another day packed to the brim. We both feel shockingly good after yesterday’s hike (was that only yesterday?!)… nervous tomorrow may be painful instead, but hoping for the best!
We got ready for the boat tour and picked up our tickets by 10am. We knew the competition for a good spot on board was fierce so I went into “on a mission” mode. Tidied the Airbnb, packed the car, and once we had coffee and muffin tops from a place in town that will be closed for the year as of tomorrow… we were off to jockey for position on the one hour hike to the boat dock. Side note: muffin tops were delicious. Blueberry, partridge berry and chocolate chip were the best.
The hike to the dock was super easy and on a flat road. We passed a bunch of people but ended up chatting with a couple near the front. We got there with plenty of time (they let you board about 15 mins before the 12:30 tour). I basically found any reason to hang out near the line up area for an hour. G had strict instructions to get us a spot in line if he saw others lining up while I went to the loo before the two hour tour. Luckily I was back in time and being in line early/first wasn’t a problem lol.
Another couple started the line up frenzy, with another couple just behind them, so we were in third place, but we strategized the best seat would be top deck, back row. That way there was no one behind us and we’d have a good 180 degrees behind of view. It was VERY smart. The couple that started the line actually ended up moving in front of us because they liked the strategy and we chatted with them a lot, they were really nice – as was everyone we met. I took likely several thousand pictures. It was stunning. Some cliffs are 400 feet higher than the CN tower!!
After the tour information the last part was traditional music with the spoons and tambourine made of wood and beer bottle caps. It was really fun! Freezing and windy but great fun.
We drove up to Cow Head and checked out some beaches along the way, as well as stopping at the Arches Provincial Park. Saw a number of Grey jays and a bald eagle too!
All day we’ve been running into people from the boat tour. They had two boats running, about 70 people on each boat, but between chatting on the hike, waiting in line, and hiking back, we met enough people that we ran into them as we went north towards Port Au Choix.
We got a cheap motel room in Port au Choix and met a few tour people at dinner too. Most were from Ontario (Leamington, North Bay), others from Edmonton but a couple grew up in Etobicoke.
The sun was going to set soon so we did a quick beach hunt before dinner (beach was right behind the motel!), and enjoyed pretty colours as we waited for dinner. I opted for chicken ceasar salad and G opted for cod again lol. Day three. Haha
Tomorrow we’re off to the Viking settlement, then likely coming back south either stopping here (very few places open now including restaurants!) or continuing back to Rocky Harbour depending on how we feel/how long we’re at the Viking settlement. Supposed to rain all day, unfortunately.
Since there are so many photos from the boat tour, I’ve put them into a slideshow below, with a few of my favourites under it:
Started off a bit later than we’d hoped but it’s tiring cramming in everything we can each day!
We started off at the Discovery Centre in Woody Point which has the most amazing view, and some really neat information about how the tablelands were formed.
We set off to the trail a couple of kilometres down the road and hiked it in the rain. It let up a bit and we got some neat photos! Then we drove to Trout River and had lunch in the only restaurant in a 30km radius haha. Luckily it was delicious and had an amazing view of the beach. We both had fish burgers which was a pan fried piece of cod on a soft bun. It was fun to see the birds chasing the fishing boats coming in as we ate.
We drove back to Green Gardens trail and set off with the rain coming down, but every single person we passed saying how worth it the hike was. It was a tough hike! Up and down over and over, some really steep areas and tons of water and mud. We both slipped in the mud. I landed ever so daintily on my butt. G caught himself and only got one hand muddy. The hike was so all over the place but we finally reached the end and it was totally worth it, although there’s no doubt we’ll both be sore tomorrow! The views were great. Apparently in the summer, sheep graze up here (lots of evidence of them being active still, you had to watch your step so you didn’t slip on a pile of poop and slide off the cliff lol) and the field is filled with irises!
Coming back, the rain and wind picked up, the fog rolled in heavy, and it had been about 4 hours in the pouring rain, so nothing was waterproof anymore other than our boots. Sweaty feet but warm and not wet from the elements. We saw a bunny! That was fun. The fog was so heavy we couldn’t see anything, not even the car 100 feet in front of us! The trail was supposed to include another loop back, which I’m guessing is what made the trail a blue square (moderate) hike, but having to turn back once we got to the end of the first trail (the loop was closed due to erosion) meant going back up and down all those stairs again!
We drove back with the heat blasting and the seat warmers cranked up. On the way, we saw a car pulled over so we slowed (no one behind us) and saw the giant moose they were looking at!
According to my app, we hiked 17.7km today, and did 91 flights of stairs. I’m scared how I’m going to feel tomorrow!
Had a bite to eat at the only open restaurant in town after 8pm, and sitting down to watch some tv!
Tomorrow is an easier day with the boat tour and deciding if we’re staying in the area to hike again Sunday or heading north to the Viking settlement, and then resuming hikes in a couple of days.
So thrilled to finally take this trip to Newfoundland. I’ve wanted to see Gros Morne for easily a decade, and can’t wait to start exploring!
We landed at 1:20 in the morning, and luckily the car rental place was still open! We thought we’d have to cab it back in the morning, so we lucked out there, and picked up our Nissan Murano for the week. It was very fancy compared to my little baseline Rabbit lol.
The Airbnb we booked for the night was super close to the airport which was great. We basically fell into bed and slept until about 9, getting moving around ten, neither of us slept that well. Having the flight and the car pickup so late we saved a lot of time being able to get the car last night, but it ate into sleeping hours. Went to an Irving station for breakfast which was pretty good (bacon and eggs).
After breakfast we drove through Gros Morne Nation Park up to Rocky Harbour. The drive through the park was absolutely stunning. I took photos from the car, but it doesn’t even comes close to how beautiful it is.
We got to Rocky Harbour and immediately found the beach so we did a quick comb and then headed to the Airbnb to drop our stuff off. It’s pretty nice, about 500sq ft with a kitchenette and there’s a huge back patio with a BBQ.
We looked at everything we wanted to do this week and chatted with the person at the Parks Discovery Centre who was very helpful in showing us on a map what we wanted to do, what she liked best, giving us suggestions and recommendations.
We’re going to the Tablelands tomorrow and doing the Green Gardens trail since it’s in the area.
Saturday looks like the best weather so far, so we booked the boat tour on Western Brook Pond.
Saturday we’ll also look at the weather and decide if we’re staying another night and doing Gros Morne Mountain on Sunday or heading up to the Viking settlement and then coming back to do Gros Morne Mountain afterwards. I really want to do it but since it’s 806m high – you need a clear day or you’re up in the clouds and seeing nothing for a 10 hour hike.
The Parks person was also kind enough to let me in on her secret beach for beach combing! She could tell how much I’d appreciate it, and it was so nice of her to tell me! (The location will remain a secret.)
We had a couple of hours left of daylight, so we decided to explore the area a bit, and headed up to Lobster Head Cove where we could see the light house and off another road and over some big rocks, a driftwood beach shelter.
After our beach adventures, we realized it was getting later and we hadn’t eaten at all since breakfast so we had dinner at a popular local place. They close Saturday for the year so we’re just squeaking in for places closing. We both had pan fried cod and fries. The cod was also topped with salted pork scrunchions. They were delicious and seemed to be tiny cubes of pork fat heavily salted and fried. Delicious.
We figured we’d get a few snacks and granola bars for the hike tomorrow, which were crazy expensive! We chalked it up to location then found another store with much better (but still up there) prices.
We were told the sunsets would be gorgeous at the beach in Rocky Harbour so we did another quick hunt and watched the sunset.
We thought we should do a bit of a night drive to try to see a moose, but halfway through we decided to call it a day.
I think everyone ends up feeling that “September = Fresh New Start” vibe. For years and years September meant the start of a new school year, a new planner, new supplies, and new things to learn and experience… and sometimes a promise to yourself that you’ll do things differently this year!
It’s natural for us to carry this through into adulthood, and is probably especially true for business owners, with Q4 around the corner, September is a great time to take advantage of that motivation and spend some time sitting down to plan what the rest of the year will look like. See where you’re at with the goals you might have set earlier in the year, and see how priorities might have changed since then.
I’ve always loved watching the air show, in particular the CF Snowbirds. Back when they were in town for the Raptors parade in July, I spent ages up on the rooftop patio so I could watch them fly over. Their level of skill is just outstanding, they put on such a great show! This year was the 70th anniversary of the Canadian International Air Show, so they also flew with the RAF Red Arrows!