Gros Morne

August 20 to September 5, 2005

Woody Point

Friday, September 2nd, 7:50pm, Blanchard House, B&B, Woody Point, NF

One good thing about staying in a B&B is the people you meet. We encountered some really neat fellow travellers last night in L'Anse aux Meadows. We met a family of four from Dawson Creek BC who were taking a sabbatical to do a year-long driving tour of Canada.

They got "take out" curriculum for their two kids, a van and a really tight schedule and they're on the road. We spent a good time chatting with them about education, child rearing, and a number of other topics. They have a blog of their trip.

The Viking Nest B&B was a clean, well-lit place of the contemporary, massive screen TV school of B&B.

Tonight we're back in Woody Point at the funky, old woodgrain cabinet style of B&B.

This one is an old, provincial two-storey house with wide pine floors, wood strip ceiling, and ornate furniture - antique-ish. It's an aspiring to greatness in a Newfoundland fishing village kind of way. Apparently before the creation of the park, Woody Point was the main supply depot and administrative centre around these parts. However when they created the park, Rocky Harbour, across the way, took over due to "politics," according to one long time villager.

Unlike Entente Cordial, it actually is an old house - the tilt to the upstairs and walls attests to that.

Our room is neat - a bay window and a view of Gros Morne Mountain across Bonne Bay. We seem to be the only ones here. The owner-operator doesn't live here. She has the house next door.

Today we spent mostly driving. We stopped in L'Anse aux Meadows again and spent some more time chatting with the lead interpreter/actor which was great. We learned a lot about ancient Icelandic politics and gender relations.

And then began the long drive south past Port aux Choix, past Porter Creek, St. Pauls, all the way back to Rocky Harbour and then eventually to Woody Point. It was sunny, which made the drive easier, but windy. The wind screwed us out of the 9am boat tour in St. Anthony. Oh well, no whales for us. In truth, the boat tour seemed expensive.

At Rocky Harbour we walked around Lobster Head Cove lighthouse for a bit, refilled in Rocky Harbour with the first of the Katrina gas, and then continued around Bonne Bay to Woody Point. We started out from L'Anse aux Meadows at around 11am and reached our destination at 6pm.

I'm glad driving isn't the only thing we're doing on this trip.

September 3, 5:13pm, Blanchard House, Woody Point

We were up for our 8am breakfast and out the door by 9ish to drive to Green Gardens. I probably could have hiked in shorts, but there are so many waist-high thistles along the cliff tops down by the water that long pants are best, even when it's hot.

When we reached the shoreline an hour after we started walking, it was still beautiful. Apparently if you get here at low tide, you can walk around a point and into a sea cave. I couldn't see how you could do it comfortably at high tide.

We followed the trail along to the second set of campsites. I like the first set best, actually) and had lunch. Irene set up to read for a while. I kept hiking along the trail toward the creek where I knew it was closed.

Just after the second set of tent sites, the trail heads back inland, seriously uphill. Then it descends via a series of switchbacks and box staircases until you're back down at the ocean where Wallace Brook empties into the gulf.

It was a pretty spot, no tent platforms but enough flat ground either grassy or on a pebble beach to put up a bunch of tents. You're right by a creek, so there's fresh water to filter or boil. And there's an outdoor privy.

It would likely be easier to get to those sites from the other direction, but the trail has been washed out and the park staff have closed it.

When I got back, we hung around and read a bit, but the wind was picking up, bringing some very water-laden clouds into our neighbourhood, so we started to hike back. By the time we were climbing back up to the tablelands, the sun was back.

We were back to the B&B by 4:30, all hot and stinky, only to discover that our new room doesn't have a shower - it has a bath. A lovely, claw-footed tub. How quaint. Shit.

I do like the feeling of dipping my body into hot water after a long hike, but I just don't see how it gets you clean. I am a shower boy, through and through.

We're using the wind as an excuse to go out for dinner to the place in town. Last night we dined on a hillside near the Woody Point lighthouse. It was okay, but we couldn't really find a level spot for the stove, and the ubiquitous wind threatened to get everything airborne.

We're now seriously trying to shed food. We have all these half meals (chili mix but no beans, pasta sauce but no pasta etc) and we don't want to go buy more food. We gave our UHT milk to our B&B host. Maybe she'll want the applesauce and canned soup too.

Boiling sea:  Lobster Cove Head, looking out across Bonne Bay

Boiling sea: Lobster Cove Head, looking out across Bonne Bay

Evening calm: Gros Morne Mountain, from Woody Point.

Evening calm: Gros Morne Mountain, from Woody Point.

Seen twice: Green Gardens, complete with sheep.

Seen twice: Green Gardens, complete with sheep.