Gros Morne Mountain - What a hike!!!!

Trip Start Aug 13, 2009
Trip End Oct 15, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , Newfoundland and Labrador,
Saturday, August 29, 2009

Saturday (Aug 29) Staying at Candlelight Inn - Usual B&B breakfast - ( far too high in sugar and fat!) then headed out for the long awaited assault on Gros Morne mountain. Cool day but no rain and a bit of sunshine at times. An easy trail in for the first few kilometers (approx hour and a half) then reached the ‘decision’ point. Signage advised to turn around and head back if “weather looked bad/not confident to hike very strenuous mountain terrain” etc. We looked up and far off in the distance could see a thin line of earlier hikers creeping up the side of what appeared to be an almost vertical mountain side. With some trepidation and in somewhat sobered spirits we proceeded cautiously. The next couple of hours involved a tedious and methodical assault on what turned out to be the most challenging climb either of us has ever faced. The climb up was relentless and seemingly endless. We actually witnessed one woman breaking down in tears on the trail up! (She did ultimately make it up we found out later) Our son is probably snickering now, as this would probably be just be a routine scramble in for him prior to starting a hard days climb.

However it was with a great deal of satisfaction and pride that we ultimately made it to the summit and posed for pictures. The reward was well worth the effort and sweat. The description “breathtaking view” is, in my opinion, a much overused term in our culture. However, I feel that for once, this is the only way to describe what we were rewarded with when we looked down from the top of this summit. Having left essentially sea level we were now looking down from a vantage point approximately half a mile higher. The views are hard to describe and pictures we took cannot truly do justice. Deep, inland fjords, green cloaked mountainsides and far off, the unbroken blue of the Gulf of St Lawrence stretched to the horizon. Truly a reward that far outweighed the sacrifice! We were glad to have several layers of clothing on. At the beginning of the hike, we quickly peeled off several layers but by the time we reached the summit, we were glad to don all layers and pull out our gloves.

The climb back down took another four hours (including lunch on the trail) on a more extended but gentler route around the back side of the mountain. We were lucky enough to see 2 caribou grazing, seemingly oblivious to our presence. While we were ’lunching’ on a rock, we enjoyed watching 3 moose off in the distance. We conversed with one woman on the path who said she had been hiking Gros Morne Mountain every couple of years for the past 43 and, as yet, had not seen caribou. So, we felt very lucky. We arrived back at the trailhead about four o’clock and headed from there to a beautiful little harbour (Norris Point) where we had a small meal and drinks taking in a local performer on guitar and mouth harp. He was singing traditional Newfie music as we sat on the edge of the dock and had our meal - truly a great way to wind down after our hard work!

Our accommodation for the night is Ocean Acre Inn B&B - Hannah is our hostess. She and her husband, Clarence, come each summer from Nova Scotia and open this B&B. Her daughter, Dorothy, who is a teacher in Labrador, seems to assist with the management of the inn, as well. A simple accommodation filled with ‘down-home’ hospitality. We have concluded that the ‘star’ rating given to accommodations is irrelevant - you simply can’t rate hospitality.

Something we learned today….Gros Morne means gloomy / sad mountain. I guess the frequent lingering fog over the mountain does seem to create a gloomy feeling.
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