Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Return to Canada Part 2: Green Gardens Hike (Newfoundland)

BEG & I arrived in Deer Lake, Newfoundland at different times, and since I had several hours to kill I found ways to effectively do so. Thanks to the town website, I found that there was a community center with a swimming pool that conveniently had open swimming time the evening of my arrival. I figured I'd head into town, pick up some fruit for our first few days, swim, wander around, and then mosey back to the airport.

It turned out that trying to lap swim in the community pool when there is nothing else to do in the community but jump around like hooligans in the community pool is rather difficult. My swim was cut short.

I picked up a Bolthouse Farms C-Boost juice partly because I had managed to sit directly in front of Coughy McPhlegmy Pants on the plane (which made me nervous for my health), and partly because I was entertained at finding a Bakersfield product on the extreme opposite end of the continent. It was tasty. And expensive.

BEG's flight was delayed half and hour which pushed our rental car picking up time to after midnight and 30 minutes before the rental desk closed. With the car "in hand" we drove off to Gros Morne to find a place to set up camp in Trout River. Although the plan sounded simple, the signage to the park was less than stellar and it was dark and it was the wee hours, so after a turn around at the Tim Horton's and listening to a cute/amusing pronounciation of the letter H (haytch), we were en route on the Viking Trail. We eventually pulled in to the camp at Trout River Pond at around 3am, and the place was packed full, not a site for a tent to be found. After a brief discussion we settled on using the apparently abandonned "walk-in" sites, which were available, and collapsed into a much needed sleep.

The next day we set off to find some camp fuel (FYI Kerosene is NOT white gas, there's a story, but I don't feel like typing it), some coffee, and get out on the Green Gardens trail for a leisurely backpacking 1 nighter. After NOT finding camp fuel, we figured the worst that could happen is that we'd eat cold rehydrated camp meals. Gross, but no one would starve. Through sheer luck we were able to mooch some fuel off campers who we encountered in the parking lot who had just finished the trek when we arrived. Meanwhile our morning had consisted of visiting some of the most poorly stocked "convenience" stores ever imagined, and at the 3rd one BEG finally found a toothbrush - ironically it carried a price sticker from the 1st convenience store we went to that didn't carry them... Que???

Green Gardens was fabulous - we started by walking, literally, on a slab of the earth's mantle. For the geologists that we are, this was ridiculously exciting. My new boots got their first REAL initiation, and once we plunked our packs down at our site for the night, we set off to explore the rest of the thrust up Iapetus oceanic crust. For this exploration we needed our swim suits, sandals, snacks and cameras - for it would involve sea caves, sea stacks and waterfalls, all carved into an ophiolite suite.

lacing the boots up in the parking lot

holding up a chunk of mantle (aka peridotite) - almost nothing grows on it

delicious ophiolite outcrop; big blobby pillows above, sheeted dikes below, BEG for scale

hidden waterfall and (cold) pools - nice for a dip if you're not me!

funky basalt sea stack

After an extensive period of exploration we set back to camp to set up the tent, make dinner, and get our pumps to filter some drinking water. Upon nearly reaching our stuff my right sandal started flopping about uselessy, this too was ironic as I had been loudly proclaiming (prior to the trip) how awesome those sandals were and how long they had lasted... I had bought them in 10th grade, and at the time they were quite the investment. While BEG took care of stove/pot/dishes type things I meticulously duct taped my sandal top back to its bottom.

doh! but check out our view!


After a dinner of Mountain House long grain rice pilaf (we ranked it ***) and Lindt sea salt chocolate (*****), we went to sleep by the ocean. The next morning, from inside the tent, I heard the following:


BEG & I both sat upright in the tent, awoken from our slumber.

"did you just hear a bleat?" I asked
"I think so" was the response

She unzipped the tent door and peered outside. There were about 10 sheep grazing and lolling about, one of them was black. This was NOT what we had expected of Newfoundland wildlife.

"it must be because I smell like wet sheep with all the merino I've been wearing" I said

Once we got up we actually saw a cluster of these sheep gathered on a basalt outcrop by the sea, nestled on it the way one would expect to see seals on a rock in the ocean. It was incredibly cute.

"baaa" - note the one black sheep and the visibly confused facial expression on the white sheep making eye contact with the camera

We saw many a spectacular ocean view, overtly fluffy sheep, and face-high overgrown raspberry brambles (among other face-high prickly greenery) on the remainder of our hike. At many times the overgrownness of the trail was frustrating, especially due to the "grabbyness" of it on our hiking poles, but at other times, especially due to the raspberries, it was quite tasty.

spectacular ocean view - this was after a particularly steep climb through some particularly grabby brambles... anyone know what kind of plant that bush with red berries is?


Missy said...

You're right. That sheep looking into the camera has a pretty funny expression...
The pics are great! The last picture of the ocean makes me want to overcome this fear of flying I have and see more of the world (other than Hawaii and the East Coast)!

Kilometres said...

I do enjoy when hiking is tasty. Hiking to my local grocery store is often tasty as I find a vast assortment of berries there. Raspberries even, though decidedly not as fresh as you must have had.

The sheep gasping at being photographed kills me. It's like he's afraid that you're stealing his soul.

But I have to say I'm a little confused as to how you did all this... girls can hike?