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It’s Like Walking on Mars – Tablelands of Gros Morne

After two days of being in the concrete jungle of a major Canadian city, it was very refreshing to spend a week on holiday in our beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Day 1: Tablelands

There is something magical about visiting the Tablelands, a World UNESCO Heritage Site in Gros Morne National Park. Each step you take, you feel as if you are on another planet. On the opposite roadside there is normal vegetation, but where the Earth’s mantle was pushed upwards and exposed, the pinkish brownish rock and masses are quite barren. This highly educational experience is also a photographers dream. Well, you know, it was a half billion years in the making!

I highly recommend the daily guided tour at 10 AM by Parks Canada staff. However, if you happen to miss it, there is an App where you get an interactive  tour along the way from a Parks Canada staff member. With my Discovery Pass good until June 2018, when visiting the Discovery Centre, I was given a tablet with the App pre-loaded that worked by GPS coordinates and proved very helpful on my trek.

Without the App, I would have missed intricate details about boulders being out of place, where the water comes from and many other features of glacial formation along the way.

It was nice to see the provincial flower, the Pitcher Plant on display along the trail. This is a carnivorous plant that is found at the end of every single tourism commercial we run.

Along the two hour return hike, I encountered a range of visitors from the enfant to senior, from California to Ontario to Germany. There must have been 100 people on site, as there was no room for parking in the lot. Its fascinating to see all those with an interest to walk someplace so geological unique where the Earth’s mantle lies naked. It is most likely the best place in the World to see such a wonder and a great place to begin your adventure in Gros Morne National Park.

Trout River

A few kilometres down the road is a quaint fishing village of Trout River. It boasts a beautiful beach and walking trail and a few years ago have a whale beached along this very coastline. There is a nice restaurant, accommodations and some small shops. There’s a photo to be taken around every corner.

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Woody Point

Given my stay in Gros Morne would be very short, I decided to reach Woody Point for a later than normal lunch at the Loft Restaurant, which was full of buzz. I was quite fortunate to get an outdoor table overlooking the beautiful Bonne Bay. While eating the EmmCat Boat Tour came by for a cruise and we waved to those aboard.

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I had the fish and a salad with a glass of house white wine, that was generously poured. The fish was perfectly prepared, very moist and flaking apart as you placed your fork into it. This restaurant comes highly recommended and is open until September 30th.

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Walking around the waterfront, the downtown of Woody Point, seeing the historic buildings it something that just makes this place a must visit location. The Merchant Warehouse is a lovely place for pub grub and usually evening entertainment. There is a classic diner on site and the Legion is next door. Studios, craft shops, coffee shops and general business seem to keep growing. Including Gros Morne Summer Music, Woody Point Writer’s Festival and the performances that take place as Woody Point Theatre. This Town has a lot going on day or night and likely was a reason there was no accommodations available. Be sure to book early if you wish to stay here and many places on the island of Newfoundland and Labrador. Tourism is growing in numbers!

Norris Point – Overnight

I love Norris Point, it is home to the Trails, Tales and Tunes Festival, which kicks off the season in early May. I was fortunate to get two nights at Neddie’s Harbour Inn. The view is just spectacular and it truly is the perfect getaway.

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The first two images below is that of Jenniex House, a heritage home and the view of Norris Point as you enter. It truly is breathtaking. I love the vibe here, including the Voice of Bonne Bay (VOBB) Community Radio. There are pubs, restaurants, coffee shops, boat tours, adventures, craft shops, Bonne Bay Marine Station and so much more.

The final 4 images are the view from Neddie’s Harbour Inn and some great eats at the Black Spruce Restaurant at the same location. It has a view of the Tablelands and the Appalachian Mountains of either site. The view, atmosphere and food is all of the highest quality. It’s no wonder they were a focus of Air Canada’s En Route Magazine.

I pack a lot in a one-day adventure in Gros Morne. If you have more time, you may want to space out your activities over several days. There are many great walking and hiking trails and places to visit that make for a unique experience.

I look forward to sharing more of my experiences on the Great Northern Peninsula and across the province of Newfoundland and Labrador with regular postings. Follow me on twitter @MitchelmoreMHA

Live Rural NL,

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA for St. Barbe-L’Anse aux Meadows and Minister of Tourism for Newfoundland and Labrador

Cascading Waterfalls & Fjords of Gros Morne National Park

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The fjords of Gros Morne National Park are a remarkable sight. This prominent flat laying mountain chain runs north until about Daniel’s Harbour. The best viewing vistas is Western Brook Pond where one can take a two hour boat tour of the ancient fjords carved out by Glaciers via BonTour (Visit their website at: http://www.bontours.ca/tour/western-brook-pond-boat-tour/).

The landlocked fjord of Western Brook Pond is a rare sight, especially in our part of the world. Carved by glaciers, and home to plenty of waterfalls and wildlife, it’s worth the trip alone. – Bon Tours

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Driving up Route 430 one will not miss the parking area jsut 27 km North of Rocky Harbour, as it is almost always nearly filled, even between boat tours. Digital signage clearly marks when the next tours will commence, as well as information about the boardwalk distance and what one can expect along the way. Interpretation panels share valued knowledge, as well as binoculars, washroom facilities and rest stops are provided. 

I encourage you to come and experience cascading waterfalls, billion year-old cliffs, and bird and wildlife sightings. The tour is one of the many incredible offerings on the Great Northern Peninsula.

Live Rural NL –

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North
@MitchelmoreMHA

Even with Grey Skies Gros Morne National Park is a Gem of the Great Northern Pen

Even when skies are grey, Gros Morne National Park is a gem to drive on the Great Northern Peninsula.

It never ceases to amaze me – the natural beauty of this Provincial wonder, that attracts 180,000+ people annually to visit  this place. The reflection of the rock onto the glazed body of water is to be embraced with a warm smile.

I always spend some time at the National Park – there are many walking/hiking trails and an array of outdoor activities that include a Boat Tour of Western Arm Brook or kayaking in the heart of scenic Bonne Bay. Even the beginner can enjoy a cheap canoe rental at the KOA campground in Norris Point. I rented one for an hour for just $10.00.

No matter what age or interest, Gros Morne National Park is to be explored and experienced. After you have had your visit, be sure to head North for several days and it would also be a treat to add Labrador to your journey.

The Great Northern Peninsula awaits, whatever the season you choose to dig in and enjoy our nature, culture and lifestyle!

Live Rural NL

Christopher Mitchelmore, MHA
The Straits-White Bay North

 

Moose Hunting at Gros Morne & Terra Nova National Park

                                                                                                                          

Moose Antlers in Gros Morne

The Rick Mercer Report  brought National attention to the moose population by tacking a helicopter to track and tag moose at Gros Morne National Park. He coined Gros Morne, as home to the more moose per square kilometer than almost anywhere on Earth.  Newfoundland & Labrador has a growing moose population, which CBC.ca has reported there are more than 150,000 moose in the province, with about 5,000 in Gros Morne National Park alone. This is a large number considering the human population of the island portion of the province is about 480,000 people.

 
 
I support the issue of approximately 500 moose licences in these National Parks. This is a good start, considering the damage and impact they are having on other species, habitats and on human life. Just two weeks ago, when driving through Gros Morne National Park the sign states, so far this year “7 Vehicle Collisions involving Moose”. I have seen this sign reach the mid-thirties as the summer continues. CBC reported in a link below, that one woman had hit three moose in May.
 
The management of the moose population is becoming a growing problem in Newfoundland & Labrador. The Provincial Government is taking some action, as they are grooming greater parts of the highway and issuing 5,000 additional licences, after continued pressure from SOPAC (Save Our People Action Committee) and a class-action lawsuit against the Crown from victims of moose-vehicle collisions. The Federal Government has finally taken action regarding the growing problems at Gros Morne National Park.
 
The Federal Government should work with local outfitters that have the planes and resources to provide them with additional licences. The economic impact on the local economy can be great.
 
Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore
 
 
 

Killarney National Park – Killarney, Ireland

Serene Morning at Killarney National Park

 
After spending an enjoyable day visiting Blarney Castle, Rock Close, visiting Kinsale‘s Farmer’s Market and Charles Fort, we took a scenic drive to Killarney.
 
It rained that night, very heavily. It did not prevent us from going to the pubs. In fact, we did a pub crawl after eating a lovely meal we visited three other pubs and got to take in some music from five very talented people, playing a hodge-podge of instruments. My mother even had a pint of Murphy’s that night.

Two Baby Red Deer at Killarney National Park

 
An early morning arrival was a real treat to Killarney National Park. In the photo on the right, to the very far right one can make out two tiny Red deer as we pulled into the parking lot.
 
We spent some times walking the trails and exploring Ross Castle.

Ross Castle, Killarney National Park

 Ross Castle, according to a panel, is a tower house that was built sometime in the 15th century by the O’Donoghue family who ruled the Killarney area at the time. The castle is on a lake with wonderful views for those who wish to breathe in the beauty of this National Park.

My mother explores remains of Ross Castle

 The grounds have sufficient seating. Once can even feed the ducks or swans. The surrounding area has a good trail network. We were even able to see some early morning joggers and dog walkers.  For those coming to Newfoundland & Labrador, but for those in Ireland, a day at Killarney National Park is a must! 
 

One last view of Ross Castle

 
Live Rural NL 0
Christopher Mitchelmore
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