Moose on the Mountain

As many know, Gros Morne National Park is a UNESCO world heritage site for its spectacular beauty and the wide variety of geological features, often leading the park to be called the “Galapagos of Geology”. The name Gros Morne roughly translates to huge round hill, which refers to the second highest mountain in Newfoundland and the highest peak of the park- Gros Morne mountain.

Summit group shot: Carlene, Crystal, Forest and I at the summit of Gros Morne Mountain!
Summit group shot: Carlene, Crystal, Forest and I at the summit of Gros Morne Mountain!

Today Crystal, Carlene, Forest, and I decided to hike to the top of the mountain, as only seemed appropriate for visiting the park. The hike up to the summit is a daunting 5 km of a 16 km trail and rises from sea level to 806 m. One of the most difficult parts of the hike is the final 400 m altitude change over a mere kilometer, which is made even more exciting by consisting of solely loose rocky “scree”. Needless to say, it was an intense hike although the trip was well worth it. The top of the mountain consists of a tundra-type ecosystem, complete with rock ptarmigans and arctic hares, both of which we unfortunately did not see. From the top of the mountain the enormous size of the park (1805 km2 or 697 sq mi) could begin to be grasped by the 360 degrees of emerald green beauty. The surrounding mountains, which were once part of the Appalachian chain, were speckled with high altitude ponds, bordered by lakes and fjords, and of course back dropped the ocean.

Moose and calf on the descent from the mountain in Gros Morne National Park.
Moose and calf on the descent from the mountain in Gros Morne National Park.

The tundra part at the top of the mountain was dominated by insect life ranging from wasps and butterflies to numerous large and speedy spiders. Around one corner during our steep descent Carlene and Forest motioned Crystal and I to be silent and check out the view- a moose and her calf nearly on the trail. Both of which were not very phased by our presence and continued to slowly meander onto and down the path. We did not mind as we had been waiting for a long time to see any moose (especially after seeing our first caribou yesterday). Despite all our excitement today we have a big day tomorrow starting with Crystal being interviewed on CBC Radio Corner Brook at 7:40AM (6:10 EST) followed by servicing all three of our sites and sorting the many creatures we’ve collected!

Jill

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