Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Hey! My feet hurt!

Yes. Tis' the cry of the aging hiker: "My feet hurt!" But what a great time I'm having doing it. 

Last weekend, our hike was 10.5 km (6.5 mi) return and one of the most popular hikes in Gros Morne National Park because of it's variety and beauty. We began across from The Tablelands, a majestic flat-topped mountain range where you are actually walking on the earth's mantle (normally found under the earth's crust)! (Haven't done that one yet as they recommend a guide. $$$) But we were walking towards the ocean; so our walk progressed quickly from the earth's mantle to scrubland. 

We were walking on a steady descent, through scrubland to forest, over barrens, down wooden "steps" and footpaths full of tree roots, with the occasional break of flat surface.

Finally, we could see the water! Through more forest, down more "steps", and then we reached our destination at Green Gardens  overlooking the Gulf of St Lawrence.  The sea was full of wonderful rock formation. There was also a motorized dory in the water which we were all curious about as there are no fish that close to shore.

We had to walk down that staircase (75 steps total) to reach the beach below where we had lunch. It had warmed up considerably by then; and the sound of the surf was magnificant!

This is the reason the hike is called Green Gardens. At the top of the cliff beyond the beach area there are several connected fields, green and lush. We were told that farmers still graze sheep here in the summer; and indeed, the evidence was underfoot!

Remember that dory we saw in the Gulf? Well, while we were in the last field, we heard the tinkle of little bells and 2 young men came through the back of the field with half a dozen sheep. They herded the sheep to the steps ..... led those sheep down those 75 steps!!! ...... then along the beach to the very end where they carried the sheep into the dory and off they went .... out to sea and onto (I assume) the farm where they belong! What a sight to see! 

That last green field was the end of the path unfortunately. What is actually an 18 km hike is cut in half because of erosion which has happened on the seaside trail. So, being now fed, watered and rested, it was time to begin our uphill return journey.

These are the "steps" I mentioned: 4x4s filled with dirt and rocks; and you really need to high-step it to get from one to the other. The foliage is beginning to change already here in NL; and you can see the amazing orange colors from the dying ferns. 

The Pitcher Plant is a
carnarvous plant
As we walked, we passed lots of mushrooms, ate juniper berries right off the branch (bitter with a peppery-medicinal taste but very beneficial to one's immune system), saw bunnies (but no moose), went through clouds of black flies and saw lots of NLs provincial flower, the Pitcher Plant.

The return trip required lots of rests and water breaks. But we finally made it back to our cars; and then continued to enjoy one another's company at dinner in Rocky Harbour again. 

While the rest of Canada and the U.S. are enjoying very high temperatures, the weather here in Newfoundland is seasonal. And as we have a very short summer season, the leaves are changing already and mornings and nights are actually cold. The group hopes to hike at least until the end of October. And if the weather cooperates, that will make for some spectacular hikes.

Let me at those mountains!


sabine said...

Dear Sandy,
I am impressed by the beauty of the landscape. What a wonderful hike! I hope your feet get well soon to start for the next.
Sabine xxx

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

How wonderful to have such a beautiful place to hike and enjoy the season while you can. Our weather has been very hot, but after today we will cool down a bit. Thanks for sharing this wonderful pictures of your adventure.


what a glorious place to be. bet seeing the sheep get to the waters edge was interesting, indeed.