Tuesday, 6 August 2013

What’s new in Gros Morne National Park

 by Keith and Heather Nicol  

     On Thursday, August 1 we headed to Gros Morne National Park to check out some of their new offerings. First up was a “Yaffle of Chores” which takes place at Broom Point. This programme is part of  Experience Gros Morne which runs from June 28 to September 2 and covers a range of activities from guided hikes to nature interpretation. A “Yaffle of Chores” is a new programme that was started this year. Angie Payne, our leader for this activity started out by handing out aprons and described a bit about the Mudge families who once lived at Broom Point and what their day to day life might have been like. We were joined by a family from St. John’s and another family from London, England and the 10 of us followed Angie about doing everything from collecting firewood to using a scrub board to wash clothes to making toutons and doing some rug hooking. These would have been activities that the Mudge families would have all done by hand like we were doing. This is a good activity for anyone that would like to get a hands on experience and taste some food cooked over a wood stove as would have been done here 50 years ago. A “Yaffle of Chores” runs Thursdays and Saturdays and you need to pre-register at the Visitor Centre in Rocky Harbour. 
We learned how to rug hook at a "Yaffle of Chores"
We then headed to Java Jacks (http://javajacks.ca/) in Rocky Harbour for supper and were glad we reserved a window seat for 5:30 since the place filled up quickly.  We enjoyed mushroom soup as an appetizer and we had scallops with nicely cooked vegetables as our main course before splitting a large bread pudding for dessert. Java Jacks has a well deserved reputation for being one of the most popular places in Gros Morne Park to eat and they even get some of their fresh greens from their garden in front of the restaurant. 
Check out Java Jacks for good food in Rocky Harbour
     Then we headed to Shallow Bay to try out the new oTENTik which is a new way to camp that Parks Canada is developing. An oTENTik is basically a large tent that is already set up with a sleeping platform, table and chairs and a BBQ on the front deck. All you need to do is arrive with your food, sleeping bags and pillows. What could be easier! There are nearby showers and restrooms and you get a large bundle of wood with the oTENTik to burn in the outdoor fire pit. A real bonus that evening was the beautiful sunset at nearby Shallow Bay beach. There are 2 oTENTiks at Shallow Bay and 2 at Berry Hill campground and they would suit people who either don’t want the hassle of putting up their own tent or want much more room and more comfort than you would normally get tent camping. For more info on the oTENTik and the Experience Gros Morne programme see: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/index.aspx
oTENTik's are new in Gros Morne this summer
        The next day dawned sunny and with light winds so we decided that this was a perfect day to be on the water. We phoned Sue Rendall at Gros Morne Adventures and booked ourselves for the 10:00 am kayak tour. We joined a couple from Gander and 3 people from Saskatchewan and spent the next 2 relaxing hours paddling past coves and cliffs. Our guides, Peter Broderick and Ben Murphy ably interpreted the human and geological history as well as pointing out an eagle perched in a tall tree.  With Gros Morne Mountain and the Tablelands as a backdrop you couldn’t ask for a more scenic place to paddle in the province. For more information see: www.grosmorneadventures.com
Try out a kayak tour with Gros Morne Adventures

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