Rocky Harbor, NL

Monday, August 15, 2022

St Anthony to Rocky Harbor, NL

Overcast, for, rain showers, mid 60s

Finally, we get a taste of normal Newfie weather; hot and sunny is not the normal pattern here. We were on the road back toward Gros Morne NP by 7:30 traveling the same potholed roads we used on our way here. In spite of the rain and bad roads, we made a couple of stops along the way.

The first was the Port au Choix National Historic Site. This site was inhabited by four distinct ancient cultures for thousands of years, including the Maritime Archaic people, Dorset people, Groswater people and more recent indigenous groups. As the state of the climate changed over time, the groups came and went as it suited their ways of life and cultures. There was an excellent visitor center that explained the history of the area and documented the discovery, in 1904, of bone, stone and ivory artifacts uncovered by chance by a local person that lead to the archeological exploration of the area.

Depiction of How Early Peoples of Port au Choix Lived

Next, we drove to the Point Riche lighthouse and it was interesting to observe three distinct landscapes. First, were grass covered sand dunes. Next, was an area covered in wind bent, small dense trees referred to as tuckahoe. Finally, were limestone barrens, almost perfectly flat, barren areas where almost nothing grew.

Point Riche Lighthouse
Almost Nothing Grows on Limestone Barrens of Port au Choix
Stand of Wind Bent Tuckahoe Along Road to Point Riche Lighthouse

We also walked the short Coastal Trail which is part of the Port au Choix site and which follows the shore to a meadow named Phillip’s Garden. Groswater Palaeoeskimos came to Phillips Garden on and off to hunt seals between 2,800 and 2,200 years ago. The shore is rocky, as is most of Newfoundland, but these rocks were apparently limestone and exhibited a curious fracture pattern that went on for most of the length of the trail. In places the rocks almost looked like manmade walls.

Walking Path to Phillips Garden
Fractured Limestone Shoreline Almost Looks Like Manmade Walls
Not Much Sunbathing in Port au Choix Today
Phillip’s Garden Was an Encampment for Seal Hunting Several Thousand Years Ago

We then continued south to Arches Provincial Park. This tiny park features a massive, porous rock that has been eroded by waves to form three natural arches. Situated right on the stony beach, it’s cool to watch the ocean’s waves break through the arches.

Arches of the Provincial Park Named for Them
Breaking Seas Are the Force That Carved Arches
Rounded Pebbles Make Up Beach at Arches

Arriving back at our campground in Rocky Harbor, the whole group headed out for dinner that evening to the Ocean View Hotel. The dinner was quite good. After a long delay, it was followed by an excellent five-piece band known as Anchors Aweigh. The delay was partly due to the late arrival of one of the band members who was flying back from his mother’s 105th birthday celebration. When he finally entered the room to cheers from some in the audience, we recognized him as the accordion-playing captain of the tour boat we took up Western Brook Pond the previous week! It turns out that most of the band worked as boat captains or crew for their day jobs.

Sea Echo Motel Draws Travelers’ Attention With Painted Rocks

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Rocky Harbor, NL

Cumulative mileage: 5,311

Bright sun, mid 70s

Back in Gros Morne National Park, we made the hour drive around East Arm to the park’s Discovery Center in Bonne Bay.

Shuttle from Norris Point Approaches Bonne Bay

There we learned some things about the geology of the park that makes it especially unique. One of the most unique features of the park is the Tablelands. This approximately nine-square mile, flat-topped outcropping of rust-colored rock is made up of an igneous rock called peridotite. Its high concentrations of iron, magnesium, nickel, cobalt and chromium make it poisonous to many plants. Formed in the Earth’s upper mantle beneath an ancient ocean, it was thrust to the surface by plate tectonics. It turns out that this is some of the oldest exposed rock in the world. Exposed nearly half a billion years ago. In fact, analysis of the rock’s composition led to the modern theory of plate tectonics.

There is a trail that leads up into the Tablelands terminating part way into Winter House Brook Canyon. The canyon was carved by a cirque glacier. Numerous streams issue from the heights. Unlike most streams issuing from mountains, there is almost no plant life surrounding them. In this instance, water flowing through fractured peridotite picks up calcium and deposits it at the surface as rare, white travertine.

Not Much Vegetation on Tablelands
Boardwalk Near End of Tablelands Trail Makes for Easier Walking
Looking Up Into Cirque at End of Winter House Brook Canyon
Travertine is White Deposit on Rocks

One plant we did see quite a few of, though, was the insect-eating Pitcher plant. The pitcher plant is the Provincial Flower of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Pitcher Plant is Provincial Flower of Newfoundland and Labrador
Actual Flower of Pitcher Plant
Some of the Few Other Flowers Along Tablelands Trail
Iconic Red Chairs Make for Restful Place to View Tablelands

After completing the hike, we drove along Long Point Brook to the Trout River Campground and, on our way back, stopped in the tiny hamlet of Trout River to have a cup of traditional Newfoundland pea soup.

Long Point Brook Recedes Into Distance
Trout River Village Shoreline at Mouth of Long Point Brook

Heading back to Rocky Point, we stopped to walk the short trail to SE Brook Falls. This 130 foot falls flows over a billion-year-old ridge of resistant granite. The peaceful walk to it passes through a lovely balsam fir and white birch forest. Nice!

Trail to SE Brook Falls Passes Through Pleasant Woodlands
Tree Clings to Unlikely Base
SE Brook Falls Makes Its 130 Foot Drop

Dinner back at the camper was burgers and broccoli salad.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Rocky Harbor, NL

Mostly sunny, mid 70s

That morning we walked the park’s Coastal Trail, or, rather, Sandy did. We started out on the trail together but I turned back part way in and returned to the car to pick Sandy up at the far end. We returned to the campground after a brief stop at Green Point Geological Site.

Coastal Trail Begins at Mouth of Bakers Brook
Marshy Flats Along Coastal Trail
Trail Alternates Between Gravel and Boardwalks
On Their Faces Tuckahoe Look Neatly Pruned …
… But Underneath Things Are a Bit Less Orderly
Sandy Loves to Deadwood Shrubs but She Could Spend an Eternity Here

Returning to Rocky Harbor, we boarded the water shuttle at Norris Point, riding across Bonne Bay to explore the little town of Woody Point.

Rental Kayaks on Beach as We Depart Norris Point on Shuttle
Gros Morne, in Background, (Name Means Large Lone Mountain) Is the Second Highest in Newfoundland
Woody Point Light Comes in View as We Cross Bonne Bay

While Sandy wandered through a number of small shops, I met up with others from our group for a beer in a waterside café. Unfortunately, I neglected to tell Sandy where I was and she spent a frustrating half hour before she finally spotted me!

Quidi Vidi’s Day Boil Beer is One of the Best I Found in Newfoundland
Even Tiny Hamlets Like Woody Point Have Libraries

Newfoundlanders leave their trash for pickup in trunk-like wooden structures beside the road in front of their houses. They are often hexagonal in shape but come in all shapes and sizes. What is cool is that people decorate them. And that afternoon I decided to make a small collage of some that we saw in Woodie Point and Norris Point.

Trash Collection Boxes of Woody Point and Norris Point

Dinner was pork chops, brussel sprouts and broccoli salad. Afterwards, Jim built another campfire in his portable fire pit.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

Rocky Harbor, NL

Overcast, light rain turning heavy later and into the night, very windy, mid 60s

Today was a quiet one. I made eggs and home fries for breakfast. Then Sandy did several loads of wash, made some phone calls and wrote out cards. Afterwards she drove into town where she got in some steps while exploring several art galleries. In the afternoon she played several rounds of Mexican Train dominoes in a pavilion protected from the rain.

We Saw a Number of Small Motels Like This With Brightly Painted Units

Me? I worked on this blog and did some reading.

Dinner was chili and a salad. Afterwards Nan stopped by so she and Sandy could play scrabble.