Saturday, June 26, 2010

Gros Morne National Park - Part 1

Gros Morne National Park has been a United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage Site since 1987. This reflects the fact that the rocks in the park are 420 to 570 million years old and have been used to support plate tectonics theory. The rocks were once part of an ancient ocean and later were thrust up as part of the Appalachian Mountains. All that said, that is not why we are here. The mix of water, land, plants, animals and people with the many small fishing villages make this a truly beautiful place. We really only scratched the surface with a few hikes and driving the length of the park. We did not get into the back country as there are no roads. Hikes of several days across unmarked land is the only way to see it. The drive along the coast to Cow Head and a hike on the Coastal Trail is a great way to see the interaction of all these elements.
On the Coastal Trail at Bakers Brook you can see the water, rocks and an active fish camp with the mountains soaring behind. Even though the highest mountain is less than 2700 feet, the closeness of the water makes them appear to be higher.
This rock formation at Broom Point is different from the one just across the water.
All that is left of the S.S. Ethie, a coastal steamer that ran ground here in 1919, is part of the boiler and engine. All 92 passenger and crew were rescued.
The harbour at Cow Head. Most of the lobstermen here still use the wooden traps. That is snow you see on the mountains and they claim they had a mild winter.
Looking across the water to the winter side of Cow Head. Years ago families crossed a narrow spit of land and lived in the fish camp on the summer side, then moved back to the village for a winter of cutting wood.
Left is the Woody Point Lighthouse that is in the south side of the park. Center is the Cow Head Light that is in obvious disrepair but the hike there offered some beautiful views. On the right, over looking Rocky Harbour, is the Lobster Cove Head Light that was the only one to include a lightkeeper's house.
Everyplace we drove we saw signs warning about the consequences of an encounter with a moose. As you can see, Nanc chose to ignore the warnings and got up close and personal. The two live ones pictured here are proof that you do need to be careful. Moose are not native and were brought here in 1904 to provide a source of meat for hunting. The experiment was very successful as there is now one moose for every five Newfies. I don't think any of them have been Screeched-In.

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