Distance = 430 km Gas = $33.35 ($1.30/L in Woody Point)
Moose! I saw two today – one right on the highway and the other just off the side of a trail in the park. The one on the road was a cow, the one in the park was a bull, and they were both big, beautiful beasts with funny looking feet. Bowman says they’re actually more dangerous than the local black bears, especially now during the rut (mating season) because they can and will charge you just for shits and giggles (and because they’re full of testosterone, I guess).
Travel tip: If a moose comes after you, run. It’s pretty simple. Unlike with bears (climb a tree? play dead? run? don’t run? apologize?), moose are not complicated creatures in terms of their aggressive behaviour. They will either ignore you and be on their way, or they will charge you and kick your butt. It’s one or the other. But being big gangly things, they’re not very good at turning a corner, so if you can run in a tight circle, preferably around a tree, you can usually get an enraged moose to quit its pursuit. At least, this is what I hear from Bowman, but he’s actually an American, so I wouldn’t take his advice as gospel truth.
Anyway, he was my tour guide in Gros Morne National Park today and we saw a lot of it, driving around the bay from Woody Point, past Norris Point and up the coast. We also accidentally saw a pretty huge chunk of Newfoundland’s coast north of the park because we were talking so much during the drive that we didn’t realize where we were till we got halfway to the top of the province. Literally. I checked my GPS. Bowman is an artist (the real kind – he’s actually sold a bunch of paintings) and has a lot to say about art and politics and philosophy, etc. and the conversation flowed so well that neither of us noticed we were outside the park bounds till we were way, WAY out of the park bounds. However, there was still time to get back to see Cow Head (beautiful beach with nary another soul to be seen), Western Brook Pond (a lovely walk in that’s only about 6 km round-trip, and where we saw the moose) and the Coastal Trail, where we saw the sun set and the gulls getting ready to spend the night on the rocks just off the shore.
Travel tip: I missed the Western Brook Pond boat tour, which leaves twice a day from the dock at the end of the trail we walked, but I’ve heard it’s great, and probably something to check out if you have more time to spend in the park than just one day. Cost is $60 for an adult for a two-hour guided tour up the lake to see the fjords. Call 1-888-458-2016 to reserve.
Gros Morne is a gorgeous place, full of tuckamore trees (stunted, wind-gnarled balsam fir and spruce), moose and very few people. Granted it’s early autumn and the end of the tourist season, so it’s not surprising it wasn’t overrun with other hikers, but I was also extremely lucky to be here today because, as the folks at the info centre told me, this is the first blue sky day here in almost a month. This is a huge park with a lot to see and I’ve barely scratched the surface, but like the Littlest Hobo, I must be on the road again tomorrow… this time to Gander.
NEXT POST: Woody Point to Gander