Last weekend, I adventured up to Gros Morne National Park to sneak in one more hike before the impending snowfall. I have hiked the 2km base trail umpteen times but never have I summited the Tablelands. The Tablelands were the last of the four ophiolites I needed to summit…so off we went!
We drove up from Corner Brook and arrived at the trail head at about 10:30am ready to climb. We walked along the main trail until the second bridge (the base trail is in great shape) then veered off heading up towards the waterfall. The route to the waterfall is rougher than the main trail but easy enough. Around the waterfall we went, picking our way up over the rugged, rocky terrain until we came into Trout River bowl. This place I have heard so many stories about; sweet powder lines, big hits, and great spring skiing but not yet have I been able to enjoy this backcountry skiers paradise.
The bowl is big. Way bigger than I imagined. And there is life in it; a brook babbles through the centre, providing water for small shrubs, pitcher plants, and a variety of mosses and lichens. I image this is a very vibrant place on a sunny summer day. But the rocks take the cake this time of the year; serpentinite, peridotite, olivine nodes, pyroxine textures…and the colours! We tucked in behind a rock outcrop to hide from the swirling wind to have our lunch, my friends sharing their stories of winter adventures in this very spot.
We traversed our way up the edge of the bowl, aiming for the top lip. At a point, the wind just hits you – SMACK – in the face, forcing you to go slowly and step carefully. I love natures challenges, the way it forces you to endure, how crazy it feels initially and how you eventually settle into a rhythm. With the wind gusting to 70km/hr that day, we couldn’t talk to each other, you couldn’t walk in a straight line, it made your eyes water and I loved every second of it!
We all rendezvoused by a large boulder, getting into a team huddle just to hear each other. We decided this was a s far as we would go since there is no discernible ‘summit’ to the Tablelands and we wanted to get on the road before dark. After our group shot, we each fell into our wind-walk stride as we began our descent. Sometimes, going down is harder than going up and up here, you have to really take your time. But this doesn’t have to stop the fun when you find some snow to slide on!
We worked our way down and then divided up as some of our group wanted to see what a winter route looked like with out snow and the rest of us wanted to take the proposed Wild Women trip route to scout the difficulty of the descent.
Coming down by the waterfall was surely the easiest route down. We made our way back onto the main trail, revealing in the flat terrain. Walking headlong into the wind, we still couldn’t hear each other but you could tell everyone enjoyed the adventure. Back at the car, we piled in, laughing at how ridiculous the wind was throughout the hike and how awesome it was to have been up there.
As we drove away, I gazed out the window and looked back at where we had been. I am always amazed at how you can summit, explore, and be back inside the warm car in just 4-5 hours when you play in the mountains in Western Newfoundland.
How was your last hike in the Tablelands?? Share your experience in the comments below:)