Sunday, 13 July 2014

Whales and Sunsets in Gros Morne National Park

  by Keith and Heather Nicol                             
     On Friday afternoon, July 11 just as the skies opened up we started driving from Corner Brook  to Gros Morne National Park. The forecast was calling for good weather so we hoped the heavy rain was localized and sure enough as we headed north from Deer Lake it began to clear and by the time we reached Woody Point it was sunny again. We checked into the comfortable Victorian Manor Efficiency Units ( and shortly thereafter our friends Martin and Molly Ware arrived. Our plan was to show them some short hiking trails that we had discovered the previous fall and have dinner at the Merchant Warehouse which just opened last year on the Woody Point waterfront. 

Walking the Beach Trail in Woody Point
     After a short hike along the Beach Trail (trailhead 21 0433316 E 5482899 N) we wondered down to the Merchant Warehouse and chose a table on the deck overlooking the ocean. No sooner had we sat down than we spotted a couple of minke whales cruising for their dinner. Our waitress told us that minke whales had been frequent visitors to the Woody Point area this summer but we think it is the very first time we have seen whales from our dining room table!! 
We saw minke whales from the deck of the Merchant Warehouse
     For supper we had a mix of dishes and we really enjoyed their most popular dinners – the “cod bites” served with a caesar salad as well as the deep fried cod . The Merchant Warehouse is more than just a place to eat. One of our favourite groups, the “Once” was playing there to a sold out crowd the next  night. Contact the Merchant Warehouse to find out what other musical events they have planned for this summer-ph. 709-453-2485.
The deep fried cod and caesar salad were delicious
   After supper we headed to Trout River where we wanted to walk on the waterfront boardwalk and see the sunset.  We weren’t disappointed and the warm weather had lots of people strolling along the beach. A high band of cloud came along and the sun highlighted the cloud as it set.  Awesome!
Head to the Trout River boardwalk for great sunsets
    The next morning (Saturday, July 12) we enjoyed a great breakfast on the deck of the Victorian Manor. The sun shimmered off of Bonne Bay and we could see Gros Morne Mountain in the distance. This deck is a real bonus and we feasted on eggs and sausages while we planned the day.
We enjoyed eating breakfast on the deck of the Victorian Manor
     We suggested to  Martin and Molly that they might like to check out one of the community trails in Trout River so after packing up we drove to the Old Man – Lighthouse trailhead in Trout River (21 U 0418042 E 5481221 N) . The 800 meter (1 way) trail climbs steeply at first before traversing the flat marine terrace. This trail has very good vistas of the community of Trout River as well as its fishing boats and wharves.  The route traverses past fields of wildflowers and we saw buttercups, hair bells , blue flag iris, and daisies along the way. There is a 140 meter side trail to the Old Man which is a pinnacle shaped rock formed when sea levels were higher at the close of the last ice age.   
Walking on the Lighthouse Trail near Trout River
     For our picnic lunch we headed to the Parks Canada day use area at scenic Trout River Pond.  Then before heading back to Corner Brook, we drove to one of our favourite lookouts in this area which provides an excellent view of Trout River Pond. The coordinates of the lookout are: 21 U 0418535 E and 5479155 N. The southern part of Gros Morne National Park has much to recommend it and we will be back before the summer is over to check out more of its hikes and other activities.
The southern part of Gros Morne Park is also home to the unusual Tablelands

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