Wednesday, August 10, 2022
Twillingate to Rocky Harbor, NL
Mid 50s and overcast , clearing later with a high in the low 70s
We got on the road at 8:05 for a four plus hour drive to Gros Morne National Park. We stopped along the way in Grand Falls / Windsor for gas and a few groceries. We were pleased that the roads were pretty good and scenery, as always, was beautiful and changing.
A major stop for the entire caravan was the Newfoundland Insectarium & Butterfly Pavilion in Riedville. Note that the butterflies are all imported as larva and hatched on site. All of them are tropical and, even if they did escape, could not survive in this climate.
In addition to a huge butterfly garden housed in large greenhouse-type building, the place featured a huge insect collection of both live and mounted specimens.
And, just to keep things interesting, they had a gargantuan colony of leaf cutter ants with a building-wide network of plastic tubing connecting nests with “feeder” boxes. The feeder boxes were refreshed several times daily with new tree branches. The owner also explained in great detail how his bee hives worked including the day-by-day development of workers and drones and how queens are replaced.
Then we continued on through part of Gros Morne NP to the town of Rocky Harbor. The scenery was beautiful with steep up and down roads, mountains cascading down to the sea and fjord-like inlets. We settled in at Gros Morne RV Campground. Sadly, our sites were all arranged in a large, gravel parking lot, not exactly inspiring!
We did a quick drive down to the harbor and through the Rocky Harbor downtown area. Not surprisingly, the town caters to tourism with lots of cottages and small inns to stay with several restaurants and gift shops.
Since it was already 7:30, dinner was pizza with a salad.
Thursday, August 11, 2022
Rocky Harbor, NL
Cumulative mileage: 4,572
Partly sunny with a high in the low 60s
First thing in the morning we headed for the Visitor Center downtown for info on the area and, especially, for the availability of places on a boat tour of a fjord. We were lucky to score three seats for us and Nan on the 1:30 excursion.
We visited the Lobster Cove Lighthouse just north of town. It had an especially large living quarters for a lighthouse. It turns out that there were only three light keepers over the entire existence of the light, the third of whom was both born there and died there.
Then we drove to the Western Brook Pond parking lot for the fjord boat tour and walked the three kilometer trail to the dock. We were fortunate to have very calm water that day. Our captain explained that, with a little wind, it can become very rough. In fact, kayaking is discouraged because people frequently become trapped by unexpected weather.
Western Brook Pond is located in the Long Range Mountains, the northernmost section of the Appalachian Mountains in Newfoundland. It is a fresh water fjord that is ten miles long. Carved by glacier some 10,000 to 25,000 years ago, it started out as a conventional fjord. Then the land rose when the glacial ice melted, cutting off the fjord from the ocean.
Sandy & I have never seen anything like this place! Inside, it is an amazing sight with nearly vertical rock walls rising some 2,000 feet above the water. We came in very close to Pissing Mare Falls; they have such colorful names here in Newfoundland! At 1,150 feet high, it is one of the highest waterfalls in eastern North America.
That evening the caravan staff provided dinner. It was chili served over corn chips with a side salad and cake for dessert. Yummy!
We’ll head further north tomorrow to St Anthony with a side trip to Labrador, but will return later to spend more time in Gros Morne.