Opening Weekend in Gros Morne National Park

This was it – the first weekend of the summer season in Gros Morne National Park! Lots on the go and mostly outdoors, sounds like my kinda thing.

The Merchant Warehouse

My partner, Mike and I and our Bubbles husky, hit the road from Corner Brook, arriving to our accommodations well before dark. You will notice on your visit to this island, that most locals plan their travel time according to the day light…and for good reason. MOOSE! Moose everywhere, in the ditches, on the road, hanging out in swamps, maggoty with moose. Plan to arrive into rural Newfoundland before dark, which in the summer is still pretty late 7-9pm.

We settled in and around 7pm headed to the Merchant’s Warehouse, where we met owner, Jenny Parsons in the retro fifties diner. Welcomed in, we had choice seating for our meal – views of Bonne Bay. Cheese burger platters all around with our choice of Shiraz red or Iceberg beer. Our stroll back to the rental house was leisurely as we walked past the lighthouse, enjoying the sunset and our conversation.

Trout River Bowl

After enjoying our birdsong alarm, we had a hearty home cooked breakfast overlooking the bay, calm as glass. Our Saturday adventures began with a pop out to Trout River Bowl (Tablelands Trail) to see if our friends were up there skiing. No sooner did we crest the hill, then we were spotting skiers hiking up the side of the bowl. WOW – epic weekend for some “backcountry riding”. With blue skies, 180 cms of snowpack left, and bay views, we were wishing we were up there! Sitting in the sun we watched the first group summit and take their unique line back down the bowl.

Java Jacks Restaurant & Art Gallery

My friend, Alice Will, works for Parks Canada and has been working hard to get the discovery centre ready to go for the season. We dropped by to drop off some copies of Hikes of Western Newfoundland and we thoroughly greeted by the gentleman at the desk. Welcomed and with our Discovery Pass in tow, we enjoyed the art displays, collected some info and dropped off the hiking guides in the gift shop (operated by the Gros Morne Co-operating Association).

Then we drove around the bay to enjoy lunch at Java Jacks in Rocky Harbour. Java Jacks is always a stop on our park visits or Northern Peninsula trips. Showcasing the best coffee on the north side of the park along with a selection of the areas finest art pieces, it is always a fun place to dine! You can sit inside the funky saltbox cafe or stroll through the gardens with your coffee. Again we met with the owner, Jacqui Hunter, as she was working in the gardens, getting everything ready to provide fresh herbs and greens for the summer.

We drove through Norris Point to see what was on the go for Trails, Tales and Tunes. Mid-day it was mostly families out enjoying the waterfront activities. We were disappointed to find out that the ferry between Woody Point and Norris Point wasn’t running this weekend, so we didn’t taking in any music in the evenings, because we didn’t want to drive back in the dark. En-route back to Woody Point, we stopped for soft serve ice cream in Wiltondale and to stretch our legs and let Bubbles out of the car.

We enjoyed supper tonight at our accommodations in Woody Point with our friends, Alice and Erin. Mike and I spend the evening by the camp fire looking out over the bay and watching the stars dance on the water. It had been a wonderful day!

Sunday morning we were up and ready for another warm, fun park day. Coffee was had on Alice’s deck where we watched a Minke whale feeding along the shoreline. This is one of the best parts about staying seaside in Gros Morne, there is so much marine life to watch! Mike helped me film my review of the Osprey Viva 65 and Daylite 13 for Get Out There Magazine, then we packed up and headed back to Corner Brook….but we got hungry!

Lunch at the Jack Ladder it was. The Jack Ladder is a popular stopping point for snowmobilers as it is right on the groomed trail. After our moose burgers and fries we continued home, having thoroughly enjoyed out 2 days in the park, excited to come back for more!

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