Tag Archives: Gros Morne

Newfoundland: Taking a Hike and Liking It….

Travelling across Newfoundland in a Recreational Vehicle, as we did, affords us a great deal of time to try new pastimes. As such our go to activity since arriving here has been hiking. 

Beaches of Burgeo. Miles of seaside pleasure

Let me say that walking for pleasure is something that I have taken up late life like the last five years. For much of my adult life I was pretty much a “couch potato.” However health challenges about twenty years ago forced me to re-think some my lifestyle choices. One of the new health conscious changes I made was to become more active and walking was a key  part of my health strategy going forward. 

Beach near Lumsden NFLD. Stormy walks…

I have taken the occasional walk in the woods or Recreational trail but I can’t say I made any effort to do so regular. I was pretty much an urban walker. Well let’s say that all of that changed we arrived in beautiful Newfoundland last July. 

Hiking and walking trails in Newfoundland are a key piece of their tourism infrastructure. All levels of government here have invested in developing and maintaining trails dedicated to hikers of all levels. The quantity and quality of the trails seemed tailor made for retiree’s like use with time on our hands. It didn’t take long before the call of the trails had us hooked. 

Tablelands Hike Gros Morne National Park

We are very much novices when it comes to the hike game. We limit out hikes to between 5 & 10 kilometers on any given day. The trails I choose are usually rated easy to moderate although Martha, who has always embraced physical challenges, has done a difficult trail with a friend while in Newfoundland. 

Newfoundland is a fabulous place to hike and not just because there is an abundance of trails, but because it an Island in the North Atlantic. There are many unique plant and ecosystems that make every walk interesting. Add to that incedibly scenic Mountains and Coastline and there is always motivation to take another hike. 

I don’t know if I have become more observant as I have aged or I just walk slower and therefore I see more. The fact is there is much to see in the forest here. Much of which I have never seen until now. Plants, varying  terrain, world class Mountains and amazing Coastline make every hike an adventure and a journey of discovery.

Trailside plants Terra Nova National Park

Since we have been here we have hiked the Coastline, explored miles of beach, circled lakes, climbed high bluffs using hand built stairs and walked over bogs on board walks that are popular throughout the province. 

I will not recommend specific trail simply because there are so many that can offer a variety of experiences. The internet is a great resource for researching your next hike or you can go old school and just speak to locals or other tourist throughout your journey. Most people you encounter are happy to share their favourite hiking discoveries with you. 

We will offer you a little advice however. Although hiking is a great way see the world and enjoy the great outdoors affordably. The experience can be greatly enhanced with the right equipment. Invest in good quality hiking shoes or boots and breathable rain gear. There are also a number of “technical” clothing options that although not necessary will keep you dry and comfy from both the rain and the heat and thus worth considering. Finally I highly recommend investing in some hiking poles. They are great for adding stability over rough terrain and helping with difficult climbs. For those of us who are “aged challenged” it is like having a portable banister with you all the time. 

Any Newfoundland vacation would not be complete without a few days exploring the vast network of hiking trails. Whether you’re a bird watcher, a plant lover, a walker or someone who just loves fresh air and open spaces; just take a hike because you just might like it.

Barachois Pond Provincial Park NFLD. Erin Mountain Trail. View from the bottom and the top. 360 meter climb of hiking splendour. All photos taken by Eric Morin

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Explore Canada: Gros Morne NL

Like many National Parks, Gros Morne National Park has the tree jewels of big mountains, big water and big sky. But Gros Morne has a fourth jewel; big personality making  it jewel laden grandslam . 

As National Parks go, Gros Morne is a relatively new park established in 1976. Because of this there are many coastal communities within the park along Newfoundland’s west coast. Each Community with their memorable names such as Rocky Harbour, Woody Point and Cows Head have a proud and rich local history. However it is the people of these communities that give Gros Morne it’s big personality. Whether it is a casual encounter with a waitress or a shopkeeper,  the warm welcoming demeanor is always present. It seems that every sentence ends with love, honey or sweetheart. 

The province’s is storied history of song and famous Newfie humor is readily present and available. Local bars and pubs offer nightly entertainment that provide a party like atmosphere by demanding unfettered audience participation. 

For those who prefer a more formal setting for their viewing pleasure the Gros Morne Theatre Festival offers a series of plays and concerts all steeped in local history, songs and laughter.

The physical features of Gros Morne are breathtaking. It seems that wherever you look the is a postcard perfect view in front of you. Some memorable sights include the Table Top Mountains, picturesque seaside towns and lighthouses that dot the coast. There are numerous hiking trails from easy to difficult. The beach at Shallow Bay offer hours of walking and exploration with it’s massive sand dunes. 

The highlight for most people is the hike into West Brook Pond followed by a boat tour of the Fjord. There no question that this magnificent combination of sparkling water and towering rock walls is a national treasure. 

All business at Gros Morne are owned and operated by local people. I found the absence of national brands refreshing. All forms of accommodation are available. Motels, Bed and Breakfasts, Cottages along with campgrounds can be found throughout the park. Restaurants featuring local specialties of seafood and moose are also abundant. 

Gros Morne is a feast or the eyes and the heart. If you have not been to Gros Morne National Park it should on your bucket list. You will not be disappointed. Promise!!!