Sister Visit + Gros Morne Trip Both a Success

I have been putting off writing most post about Gros Morne for whatever reason. I think I just didn’t want to sort through all of the photos to narrow it down to a select few I liked.

Leslie Saunders, Alex Gibson, and Beth Saunders at Gros Morne National Park- Newfoundland and Labrador

We arrived Friday August 17th at KOA Gros Morne to pouring rain. We had to setup our tent and make a fire to cook dinner on which ended up working out okay with our team of three. The top of the tent is basically a mesh screen without the rain tarp on it so we got a lot of water inside setting it up. As a team we managed to dump most of the water out the front door and wipe up the rest with our towels. We went to bed relatively early this night as we were getting up early to hike the Gros Morne summit.

We woke up around 6:45am (which we did most days because of the sun and what have you). We got ready to go and went down to the store to use their kettle to make some oatmeal. To our disadvantage the store didn’t open for another hour so we thought we would check out the visitor information centre. That too wasn’t opened yet so we decided to make some peanut butter and jam sandwiches and get our food together for the hike.

ARE YOU READY? Gros Morne Summit

We had a good mix of food for the day- PB&J sandwiches, trail mix, fruit and nut bars, apples, and carrot sticks. Alex and I stupidly only brought one water bottle each but we survived. After getting our food and gear together the visitor information centre opened and we made our way in there. We purchased our park pass for the day, got a map and a few brochures and headed for the summit.

The first bit of the hike was pretty leisurely but all the stairs definitely got the heart pumping. It was around 4km in through the woods to the base of the mountain. We stopped at the look outs on the way and took our time making it to the base.

We met other travellers along the way, asked them where they were from and if it had been their first time in Gros Morne.

This photo is VERY deceiving- Gros Morne Mountain

This looks like a tiny hill but it’s really not. We looked at it thinking it wasn’t bad at all until some passers by pointed out the little red people on the mountain. Yeahhhh, it’s A LOT bigger than it looks, I swear!

To the right of the photo is where you actually hike up the mountain itself. It’s pure rock and gets extremely steep in parts. Rocks do slip around as well which can make things hard. We took frequent water breaks going up here. This was by far the most physically demanding part of the hike. The rest of it is pretty straight forward (although still super rocky) but it is really long and more of a mental battle near the end of it.

The hike ended up taking us 12hrs total. It was really difficult for Alex at times and we took things really slow to ensure we were all safe and not exerting ourselves just for prides sake. Once we completed the hike we went back to the campground and lazed around.

Gros Morne Summit- Conquered

We hung out in the “lounge” area of the store for a while when we got back where Leslie charged her phone and went on her tablet and I just crashed on the couch.

We ended up meeting two guys from Ontario who have been travelling around Eastern Canada for the last three to four weeks. They both just graduated from university and had never been out east so they decided to road trip it out here. We hung out with them periodically during our stay- made some food, played cards, and shot the shit.

Water Trike

That Sunday was pouring rain all day. We went and saw Norris Point and Rocky Harbour since we couldn’t really do any intense hikes in the rain. We went to the Bonne Bay Aquarium, a few small museums, and to a local restaurant for food. Once we got back the rain had died off and we decided to rent this sweet gem of a water trike for an hour.

That evening we decided to go to Cow Head to try and see the theatre festival. Unfortunately we arrived 5 mins too late and weren’t allowed in =(. BUT- on the way there I saw my first ever moose! Five years in Newfoundland and had never seen a moose; yes b’y! We ended up grabbing a beer at the hotel next door and ordered some Greco garlic fingers haha. It was a good time considering we missed the show.

I can haz stick bug?

I can haz stick bug?

That next morning we grabbed our things and hit the road for. Our first stop on the way back was this AWESOME insectarium! We stayed there for over 2hrs looking at all the awesome bugs and live displays. The staff there were amazing and we were so pleased with our visit. We couldn’t believe it only cost us $10!!

Alex with his butterfly friend

Alex with his butterfly friend

They have a huge live butterfly exhibit with hundreds of tropical butterflies. They were so gorgeous but it was so hot in there. They all loved landing on my hat. We were told next time we go we have to wear yellow because the butterflies are very attracted to it, apparently. Overall this trip was suuuuper fun and I really wish we could’ve stayed longer. Next time I go I want to see the Tablelands and do the Green Gardens hike. Another visit in the near future is definitely in order! Perhaps next year once I graduate and have no commitments. Buuuut….also no money haha. We shall see what time brings!

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The Excitement’s Setting In

I’m slowing handing off my commitments and now that my mind is getting clearer I have been able to focus more on my travels and am starting to get more excited. August is going to be a great month.

One of my best friends I haven’t seen in a year will be arriving tomorrow evening. When he gets in we will be going out for some beers at the Duke of Duckworth, his favourite bar. It’s Regatta Day on Wednesday, a civic holiday in St. John’s. The Regatta is North America’s oldest sporting event; a fixed-seat rowing competition. If the weather is suitable we have the day off; if not we go to work and the next suitable day is the holiday. Thankfully right now things are looking good. I would much prefer to have some beers with my buddy and not have to go in to work.

As I mentioned in my last post my sister is arriving August 15th. My brother was supposed to go out to Gros Morne with us but he couldn’t get the time off work. We’re looking for one or two other people to tag along with us. We are looking at kayaking and a small hike on the Saturday and then we’re possibly attempting the James Callahan Trail on the Sunday. The trail is a 16km hike up the mountain which we’re all somewhat nervous about being inexperienced hikers. This is the view we want to see though, it’s THE view of Gros Morne.

Another one of my friends gets back soon from being on the boats all summer, my best friend gets back August 25th after a summer in Gagetown with the reserves, and then I head home to Nova Scotia for a two week visit.

Next week my work term report is due and then I finish up my work term the following week. I think August is going to flew by.

Until next time.

Weekend Camping Trip- All the Fun

Some of the group hanging out at the campsite

This past weekend I went camping at my friend’s family campsite with a bunch of my close friends. We went swimming, had a BBQ and a campfire, played washers, sang songs around the fire, played some games of beer pong, and just enjoyed one another’s company. Overall it was a great weekend, the best in a while.

Myself at the campfire roasting a marshmallow

In three weeks time my sister will be visiting Newfoundland for 6 days. We will be heading to Gros Morne for the majority of her trip. I cannot wait, I have lived here for over 5 years now and have never been. We will be staying at KOA with a tent site right on the lake from Friday August 17th to Monday August 20th. We will spend most of our days hiking the summit and soaking up the  view.

Hikers at Gros Morne National Park- Photo Credit to the Newfoundland Tourism Website

This week I will be going to price tents and sleeping bags for the trip. I purchased hiking shoes last week which will most definitely be used on the trip. I also purchased a hiking bag for my trip to Prague but I haven’t decided yet if I will use it in Gros Morne. I guess I will decide once the trip is closer and I have more details about what I need to bring and if we will be leaving our things at the site.

 

Sing along around the campfire

Speaking of Prague, MY VISA HAS ARRIVED! My mom just informed me it arrived at the house this morning. The processing time was supposed to take up to two months, I wasn’t expecting it until late August! I sent it to Nova Soctia in case it took a while to process and arrived in Newfoundland when I wasn’t here anymore. I guess it was an unnecessary precaution 🙂