4 September 2015

Along The Viking Trail: Part Two - Port au Choix south to Deer Lake

Moving southerly now ...

Rainy weather dictated our activities somewhat on this first days drive along the southern half of the VIKING TRAIL. At this time of year, some seasonal business operations, small town museums and points of interest are shutting down. We missed out on a couple of places we would have stopped to investigate ... like the Nurse Bennett Heritage Home.

We were able to visit the Torrent River Salmon Interpretation Centre and Fishway. Years of logging and other resource developement in the area had an adverse effect on the Atlantic salmon and before 1965 only a small population survived. The Fishway is a  success story that combined the initial efforts of the local community and the eventual participation of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

" Soaring fjords and moody mountains tower above a diverse panorama of beaches and bogs, forests and barren cliffs. Shaped by colliding continents and grinding glaciers, Gros Morne’s ancient landscape is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander coastal pathways and beachcomb among sea stacks. Cruise the dramatic, sheer-walled gorge of Western Brook Pond. Spot moose and caribou. Hike to alpine highlands where Arctic hare and ptarmigan thrive on tundra. Explore the colourful culture of nearby seaside villages. "

Hiking the Trail to Western Brook Pond
Access to the boat tour departure wharf is by an easy, 3 km (one way) walk along a gravel and boardwalk trail. Grade changes < 100 metres. Views of the gorge at Western Brook Pond, through coastal bog and forest. 


We were here, nearly 20 years ago, in 1996. We walked this same trail at that time, but didn't do the boat tour. The following photo taken then, is from a poor quality analog camera, the image has deteriorated and it has since been scanned. It's interesting to note the solid bog foreground showing below compared to the amount of water in the foreground of the 2015 photograph that follows.



Boat Trip Through Western Brook Pond
Description: Western Brook Pond is a Canadian fjord in Gros Morne National Park on the west coast of the island of Newfoundland. It's located in the Long Range Mountains, the most northern section of the Appalachian Mountains. Surrounded by near vertical rock walls 600 m (2000 - 2400 ft) high, carved by glacial action. The fjord was cut off from the sea after the glaciers melted. The lakes catchment area is composed of igneous rock with relatively thin soil. The waters feeding Western Brook Pond are low in nutrients and the lake is classified as ultraoligotrophic, making its' water one of the world's purest. Several waterfalls cascade to the shore; one of these, named Pissing Mare Falls at 350 m (1150 ft) is one of the highest in eastern North America.

The boat tour departs from where the walking trail ends. We sailed on the West Brook II; a capacity of 99 plus crew. The return trip takes about 2 hours over a distance of approximately 32 kms.

A hanging valley

An iconic view
                                                                       Pissing Mare Falls near the terminus

Pictures From Another Day ... Random View Points, Walks and Hikes
More cold rain, trails are slick and slippery, we did what we could. 

A pleasant path, a plunging waterfall, a silent pool, bricked rock from up high, a wild rose ....

Woody Point, Newfoundland on a rainy day. The end of the road for us, this day.

To Get Here: Follow Highway 430 south from Rocky Harbour. There are some steep grades and the road is under construction in places. At Wiltondale switch to Highway 431, where the grades get even steeper ... the highway is new, grade %'s haven't been posted yet, but I suspect, based on the sound of LOAF's transmission braking at 4000 rpms downgrade, that they are > 15% in places. What a simply, beautiful location for a community ... even on a rainy day.

We're pushing on. From here we traveled south to the end of the VIKING TRAIL at Deer Lake. An extensive wet weather system has settled into the southeastern corner of the province and we're right in the middle of it. It's brought a cold rain, limited visibility at some of the higher mountain  crossings and gusty, cross wind conditions. A section of the highway we traveled yesterday had been closed due to high wind and dangerous driving conditions.

We've have plans to spend a few days hiking around Doyles in the Codroy Valley and then catch the ferry from Port aux Basques to North Sydney, Nova Scotia. Port aux Basques also marks the end of the Circle Tour through Newfoundland and Labrador.

See you on the mainland ... My Son!
Crusty ...

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TEAM: LOAF, Crumby, Wry & Crusty