We had the opportunity to spend four nights at Gros Morne National Park on the western coast of Newfoundland. It is definitely in my top ten National Parks! It has great geology, terrific hikes and the ocean. I loved it and hope we get to stop over for at least another night as we make it back to the ferry terminal and back to Nova Scotia.
The first day in the Park we headed out to take a guided hike at Tablelands. We got a nice lesson on the geology of the area – the rocks on Tablelands are peridotite. It is very rare to find peridotite on the surface since it is from the earth’s mantle.
Originally, we were only going to take the guided hike but later decided to keep going to the top. There was a fantastic view!
The next day we went back to the far end of the Park to hike out to the shore and the Gulf of St. Lawrence. There was a very cool sea cave that you could access at low tide.
I loved searching the tide pools for something other than snails and mussels.
There was also a sea stack. We had never found the sea stack we went looking for after landing at Port aux Basques so this made up for that!
We spent last night camping on the beach at Port au Choix. We drove up the coast today and have made it to Quirpon, near the L’Anse aux Meadows National Historic Site. Tomorrow we will learn about the first Viking Settlement in North America.
I still have pictures from Gros Morne (the Moutain) that I will try and get posted before we leave here since we finally have some decent internet at the camper!
P.S. Thank you all for your kind words about my pictures. I really just take a lot and then pick the few that are good enough to share.
Somehow I had missed the pictures I took the day we drove around Port au Port Peninsula when we were staying at Barachois Pond Provincial Park. It was a lot of driving but we saw some really interesting rocks.
First there were the 300+ million year old tree fossils in Blanche Creek near Stephenville.
A lot of the bigger fossils were in the stream but there were smaller specimens you could hold in your hand (but not take home!)
We also saw these clearly bent rocks along the beach:
At the very northern tip of the Peninsula, out a long dirt road, we found a small fishing village that had some serious construction going on on their dock. This magnificent shoreline was worth putting up with the big gravel trucks on the road!
There was even a small arch:
We saw a lot of rocks that day, including these:
Driving the trailer right up inside a ship was definitely an experience. It was somewhat difficult to get reservations on the trip from North Sydney to Newfoundland and we ended up on the “cargo” run. There was only a sunset for entertainment, unless you wanted to talk to the truck drivers that made the trip regularly.
The clouds were much more interesting as we left port – these would have made for some dramatic sunset pictures!
We didn't have a plan for camping after we arrived in Port aux Basques but we managed to find a spot for the night and then made our way to Barachois Pond Provincial Park (with a stop for lunch along the coast.)
Not sure exactly which ocean-dwelling creature this was:
The weather was a bit overcast for our one hike at Barachois Pond so I mostly have plant pictures to share.
We've stopped in Corner Brook for supplies. We have reservations in Gros Morne National Park for the next couple of days. Hopefully, the internet connection will hold up well enough here for me to post these and then I will be mostly caught up!
We learned how they made doreys in Shelburne and enjoyed a beautiful day in Lunenburg.
We toughed out a tour of the Citadel in Halifax despite the rain.
Taylor Head Provincial Park had fabulous views of the Atlantic Ocean, even on a cloudy and foggy day!
That is the highlights from Nova Scotia so far. We took the ferry to Newfoundland where we are as I post this. We still have to explore Cape Breton after the return ferry trip!
We have only had internet occasionally the last week or so. As I write this we are on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. (Newfoundland was officially renamed Newfoundland and Labrador in 2001.)
After Fundy National Park, we headed over to Nova Scotia (which is not an island but a peninsula – no bridges or ferrys were required.) A couple of highlights follow.
Joggins Fossil Cliffs:
We took a guided tour and learned how to better spot fossils. Joggins is known for the large number of 300 million year old tree fossils, along with other plants and insects.
In Grand Pre´ we learned the story of the Acadians and waded into the mud of the Bay of Fundy (it took a little getting used to the sucking feeling and two days to get the mud out from under my toenails.)
We had spectacular weather passing through Anapolis Royal. We hung out at Fort Anne and enjoyed the sunshine and the views.
We had a grand adventure on Digby Neck. (Some day I'm going to do a blog post with pictures from all of the Balancing Rocks we have seen!)
Still more to come from Nova Scotia …
On our way to Hopewell Rocks we stopped at Cape Enrage. There had been a discussion about having lunch at the cafe in the old lighthouse keepers house but mostly we went there to hunt fossils in the rocks.
Both the fossils and the lunch were way better than expected!
One of the best places to appreciate the Bay of Fundy high tides is at Hopewell Rocks. They really are hoodoos on the coast! When the tide is out, you can walk around the base of the rocks. When the tide is in, you can kayak around the islands that are the tops of the rocks.
We are in a parking lot at Walmart near Halifax. We had dinner in Lunenburg (which was really lovely!) and got in late. We will head to a campground later today and stay in the area for a few days.
I’m going to try and load some pictures from Fundy. It was a nice Park but not exactly what I expected from a National Park. We did have pretty good wifi at the campground and everyone working there was very nice. The shoreline was pretty but not as grand as Acadia. Still, it was a great place to spend a few nights, do some hiking, take a day trip to Hopewell Rocks and wait out “Andrew.”
I can't believe how far behind I am in posting and we are only two weeks into this trip! We have already left New Brunswick and are cruising around Nova Scotia as I write this.
Our first stop in Canada was Campobello Island – the summer home of FDR. You can't get to the rest of Canada from there so we went back into the states, stopped at the eastern-most point in the US and then went back into Canada at St. Stephen.
We stopped in St. Stephen long enough to tour the chocolate “factory” and eat a lot of chocolate. We continued along the coast to St. Andrews. Alan and I toured the Ross Memorial Museum and then we all met up to explore the Blockhouse. Canada Day meant all the camping in the area was full so we kept driving and spent the night further along Route 1 at the New River Beach Provincial Park.
We spent Canada Day driving with a few scenic stops along the way.
We got into Fundy National Park in time for Brian and Will to see the fireworks in neaby Alma. (We are far enough north that it stays light very late and I couldn't stay awake!) We enjoyed a few days of hiking at Fundy along with a day trip to Cape Enrage and Hopewell Rocks and then we waited out “Andrew”.
On our second day in Acadia we got the bikes off the roof of the truck and took a Park bus into Bar Harbor. We road around the town for a bit, had a fantastic lunch at Side Street Cafe and then headed for the Carriage Roads.
The weather was perfect. We had a really fun day and ended up riding about 25 miles. You can tell Alan was having a good time because he stopped and actually posed for this picture!
We loved the carriage roads so much that we scheduled a long run before we left so we could get out on them again. I would volunteer at this Park just to have the opportunity to run on the Carriage Roads every day!
There are close to 20 of these beautfiul stone bridges all along the Carriage Roads.
The next day was overcast but we headed out for another hike, this time up the coast. We drove to the closest Parking Lot – Otter Point and just walked North until we got to Bar Harbor. The bus brought us back to our car later that day. The bus system in this Park is really terrific.
I could of sat on these rocks for hours on a sunny day just watching the waves. We saw people doing just that later in the week!
There were tide pools to play in but I never did find a sea urchin. The creatures that live in the little barnacles were out waving in some places!
We had lunch overlooking Sand Beach. There were only a few people here this day.
Large parts of Acadia are still private property. There are a lot of beautiful “cottages” but this one may have the best view!
Brian and Will met us here. Next stop: Canada!