I’ve been in to the mood to write lately, but since I haven’t been traveling, I’ve been at a bit of a loss for what to write about. Then it occurred to me that I’ve never blogged about one of the most beautiful places I’ve been, my home province of Newfoundland! This past summer, Seth and I drove across the province to visit Gros Morne National Park and to visit my grandparents in Corner Brook, so I decided to write about home for a change.
Driving across Newfoundland often makes me wonder why I feel the need to go chasing new sights all over the world when I already live in one of the most beautiful countries, and certainly the most beautiful province, in the world! I love all the rolling hills and lakes on the east side of the province, driving through outport fishing communities, and finally, the mountainous west coast of the island.
For those of you not from Newfoundland, Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site on the west coast of Newfoundland. The Long Range Mountains, part of the Appalachian mountain chain, run right through the park. The park is particularly famous for the beautiful fjord, Western Brook Pond, which was carved by glaciers during the last ice age. In addition to many glacial valleys, the park is also home to the Tablelands, a long section of the earth’s mantle that was overturned by plate collisions more than 100 million years ago. To top it off, the park is located right along the coast and boasts beautiful ocean views along with a huge variety of wildlife. I don’t know how else to sell it to you; it’s seriously one of the most beautiful places!
We spent the majority of our time in Gros Morne hiking. There are so many trails and sights to see, you really can’t go wrong on any hike. Unfortunately, we couldn’t actually hike Gros Morne mountain when we were there because it’s closed until July to give the baby animals a little bit of time to mature before being interrupted by hikers, so we did a hike along the Green Gardens Trail instead. I loved this hike! It starts off in the tablelands; because the rock is all mantle, it doesn’t support much life, so it’s very barren. However, once you wind your way through the tablelands, you hike into the woods before reaching the coastline and hiking along the cliffs. Eventually you come out of the woods to grassy picnic areas, sea stacks, and beaches. We had our lunch on the side of the cliff before spending some time exploring the beach. I loved this hike because you really got to see a little bit of everything that Gros Morne had to offer – it was all very beautiful.
We also made sure to hike out to Western Brook Pond to take a boat tour up the fjord. We got incredibly lucky with the weather and it was sunny and warm throughout our entire trip. Western Brook Pond is definitely one of the most breathtaking sights Newfoundland has to offer! You can take a small boat up through the valley of the fjord to the small wharf at the end where the boat picks up and drops off brave hikers. There’s nothing but wilderness in the fjord, so you have to have a special permit just to hike there.
After we left Gros Morne, we drove to Corner Brook to visit my grandparents. I’ve spent a lot of time in Corner Brook growing up and it is definitely one of my all time favourite places. I love skiing Marble Mountain in the winter and swimming in the rivers in the summer. This trip was especially great because I finally got to do the Marble Zip Tours! Marble Mountain has a zipline that goes back and forth across Steady Brook Gorge, coming down the mountain. It starts about halfway up the mountain and has 10 lines going down to the bottom. I was nervous at first, but I absolutely loved it! You get a great view of Steady Brook and the Humber River as you come down, I would definitely recommend you do it the next time you’re on the west coast!
Now, my Grandparents don’t actually live in Corner Brook, but they live right outside in the small town of Mount Moriah. It’s located right along the bay and the view from my grandparents back deck is gorgeous! I took Seth to my favourite swimming hole, Cook’s Brook, which I’ve been swimming in since I was little, and out to Blow Me Down Mountain. I love Blow Me Down because it has some of the clearest mountain spring water flowing down. If you hike in about half an hour, you come to a small waterfall and a pool. It is beautiful, but it is also some of the coldest water to swim in. I usually won’t swim there until the middle of summer, but Seth couldn’t resist and we ended up going for a swim even though it was only mid-June.
We finished off our last day with a trip to the Insectarium in Deer Lake. It’s something I’d done many times as a kid, but I hadn’t been there in years, and I knew Seth would just love it. It was definitely better than I remembered it. If you’re ever in the area, you really need to check it out. My favourite part of the exhibit is definitely the butterfly room! I love hanging out and trying to get as many butterflies to land on me as possible.
To finish off, I had a great summer being a tourist at home and I’m hoping to do a few more road trips around the province this summer as well. Newfoundland really does have some of the most beautiful views and one of the most unique cultures in Canada – it makes me proud to be a Newfoundlander.