Gros Morne National Park
Visit Gros Morne and offroad trip to abandoned zinc mine
Drive to Rocky Harbour
June 9-14: After leaving the Viking RV Park, we stopped at the Dark Tickle store in Saint Lunaire-Griquet. It was time for a coffee, but they didn't open until 11 AM. We found many other goodies like a 2023 calendar, a postcard and a Bakeapple Spread. This was the first time we heard about bakeapple. The flowers and leaves look like strawberries, the ripe berry has big orange clusters. The taste is unlike any other spread we ever had. It is so good that we hope to buy more on our journey. We highly recommend you to stop there and take some time to browse and read the displays about Wild Berries.
Anchor Cafe in Port au Choix
In Port au Choix we stopped at the Anchor for lunch and on the way in we took a picture of the restaurant. When we walked up the stairs, a guy in an overall asked "Do you want a picture taken with you?" I replied "No, I didn't put on my makeup this morning". He replies "I put mine on my overall" Me "What do you recommend for lunch?". Him "Roast Beef Burger, I cured it a day ago. I own the place". So burger it was, they were really very tasty, tender and fully loaded.
After the great meal, we went to the Parks Canada Limestone Barrens and the Riche Lighthouse, also in Port au Choix. The exhibit is about the Dorset people that lived here. The information is based on archeological findings.
The lighthouse is not in operation anymore, but makes a good background in any picture.
Arches Provincial Park
Still on our way to Rocky Harbour, we passed the Arches Provincial Park. We had to revisit the arches. We were there in 1992 and they are still standing. The picture here is from 30 years ago. The larger one below was taken this year.
Norris Point KOA near Rocky Harbour
After several stops, we made it to the campground after 7 PM. Our site was hidden in the trees. The facilities are top notch and well maintained. A walking trail follows the shoreline around the pond. It is nicely laid out.
Java Jack's Restaurant in Rocky Harbour
We were driving through Rocky Harbour and noticed Java Jack's Restaurant. Reading up on the place, we immediately knew that we had to go there. It is in a house converted to a restaurant. I asked for a recommendation and she suggested the wild rabbit prepared from a family recipe. Ursula ordered JJ's Lobster Linguine Tutto Mare. What a delight. The towels to dry your hands didn't go unnoticed. Now that is style.
Gros Morne National Park
Two days before we drove to the park, we made reservations for the Western Brook Pond cruise. We were excited about revisiting the place. Our memories of this cruise 30 years ago are very fuzzy. Contrary to the forecast, we expected precipitation, but the heavy wind blew the rain away. When we entered the trail, a sign said 'cruise cancelled' but we decided to do the hike anyway. The really strong winds created a mist that could be seen from the parking lot. Beside the trail was a body of water. Even this small body of water threw mist in our faces. The wind was so strong that we were stopped in our tracks at times. The moderate trail, according to the travel guide, turned out to be an exciting encounter.
We took pictures at the dock. Sheltered from the wind, we had our lunch behind the building and then returned to the Jeep where we met a Swiss couple with an UNIMOG. Needless to say, we engaged in a long conversation about travelling in Newfoundland and Canada in general.
Tablelands Gros Morne
There are not many places on this earth where you can walk on really, really old rocks, like 1.2 billion year old rocks. Here is the only known place where the Earth's mantel is exposed for us to see. They feel as hard as any other rock and they look like any other rock to us. We learned that these old rocks were instrumental in redefining the tectonic plate theory. It was an amazing walk from the parking lot to the water fall. The wind was gusting down the valley. Staying on the boardwalk was a challenge at times. The site was well visited. Good luck during the tourist season.
Seaside Restaurant in Trout River
After hiking on Earth's mantel and facing gale force wind, we found shelter at the Seaside Restaurant by the shore. I had fish and chips. They called it Cod, lightly panfried with rice. The language barrier turned the rice into fries.
The shipwreck of the S.S. Ethie has been left there since 1919. Not much of the wreck has survived. Contrary to the tragic demise of the ship, all passengers and crew survived. We explored the remains of the ship, ranging from small metal trims to drums and gears. A big piece of unclear origin is left half submerged in the water. The story that goes with the S.S. Ethie as well as the song that was written is more intriguing than the wreckage.
Lobster Cove Head Lighthouse
The lighthouse is part of the Gros Morne National Park and was constructed back in 1897. It is a cast-iron construction. Ursula climbed up the few steps, but the door into the tower was locked. The attached building had some historical information, but not all of it was specific to the time period. Nevertheless, it was a well maintained building from times long gone. We read that the lighthouse is a fitting foreground for stunning sunsets.
We were more excited to meet a local Jeep enthusiast at the lighthouse. He encouraged us to take the hydro line service road from Bellburns to Devil Cove. We were intrigued and planned this adventure for the next day.
Abandonded Zinc Mine
We consulted the Gaia App and decided to start with the Abandend Zinc Mine on the way to Devil Cove. From there we would review the trail conditions. The clue that this was a zinc mine was the name of the road. It was called Zinc Mine Road
All the structures were bulldozed. Metal rods poked out of the ground, washers, sidings and other kinds of debris were partially buried, making the area a nightmare for our Jeep tires. We parked the Jeep and explored on foot but found not many exciting treasures.
We decided to return to the highway and not continue to Devil Cove. But we took the long way heading north. This was a typical Service Road built likely by Hydro. The condition was, well, drivable for as long as there were power lines nearby. We found all kinds of interesting artifacts that got our imagination going. One long stretch was more interesting. My rubber boots were not high enough to make it all the way through, but the ground, hidden by the murky water, was mostly rock, I thought. So, in the Jeep, 4-wheel low, and off we go. The Jeep got a good underbody wash, the Side Steps were submerged and after resurfacing, the Jeep was dripping water. It was a marvelous picture.