Wednesday, September 3, 2008

An Inland "Fjord"

There is a lot of gorgeous landscape around Gros Morne National Park in Newfoundland. Much of the sculpting was performed by glaciers in the most recent ice ages. One of the most spectacular places is the valley that holds a lake called Western Brook Pond. This valley used to be a real fjord and was open to the sea. But within the last few thousand years, the rebounding land rose and cut the valley off from the sea. The salt water was flushed out and eventually replaced with some of the purest water to be found. We had heard and read that the boat tours in this place should not be missed! But rainy weather caused us to postpone visiting Western Brook Pond until we came back down through Newfoundland after visiting Labrador. This time we were rewarded with a nice, mostly sunny day.

To get to the boat tour you first have to hike 3 Km (about 1.8 miles) from the road to the boat dock at the edge of the lake.

The trail is fairly level, but crosses a series of low ridges with bogs between them. Luckily, they have built boardwalks through the bog areas!

They have the insect eating pitcher plants here. The plants have pitcher shaped leaves that collect water. Insects in search of water fall in, can't climb out, and the plant digests them and absorbs their nutrients.

Once we were on the lake, we kept mentioning how much it reminded us of Yosemite Valley, but with a lake at the bottom.

They also have the classic "hanging valley" where a tributary glacier flowed into the main glacier valley. When the glaciers melted, the side valley was left appearing to "hang" above the main valley.

And being in a very wet climate, they of course have waterfalls. This "hidden" waterfall was back in a ravine and couldn't be see until we were very close.

And others seemed to just leap off the top of the cliffs and fall onto the rocks below.

This is a view of the upper end of the lake and the valley continuing beyond.

This is the view down the lake taken about the same place as the previous image.

This is definitely a place not to be missed if visiting the area. Just be prepared to hike in and back out. Also buy your tickets ahead of time in the town of Rocky Harbor or take cash, because they don't take charge cards at the boat dock! Reservations are highly recommended because this is a very popular tour and it is a long hike to get to the boat and find it is full!


Bob said...

Your photos of Western Brook Pond remind me so much of Tracy Arm, a fjord near the Inland Passage, and a place descibed by John Muir as reminiscent of Yosemite.

Kate said...

Art and Barb

I just love your blog. The combination of historical writing, your travel enthusiasm and the photography makes for a perfect experience.

Keep it up!