Backpacking in Gros Morne National Park
The Long Range Traverse
|Western Brook Fjord|
|Starting point for Long Range Traverse|
|Visitor at our campsite|
There is no marked trail to get you from Western Brook Pond Fjord to Gros Morne Mountain, just a series of animal paths made by moose and caribou. We picked ones that led us in the direction we needed to travel and followed them, always referring to our map and compass to ensure that we were staying on course.
Weather can be extreme at any time of year in the Long Range Mountains. In preparation for this trip we had tents that could withstand high winds and heavy rain. In choosing a sleeping bag we kept in mind that temperatures in early September could drop to 5C. As for personal gear, hiking boots offering some waterproofness is preferable. Gaiters offer extra protection when crossing brooks and walking in bogs. Quick dry clothing, good rain pants and rain jacket, insulating layers, a hat and gloves made up the rest of our kit. Black flies and mosquitos can be extremely annoying throughout the entire summer and fall so we did pack a bug net however the cool evening and morning temperatures that we experienced in September did keep most bugs away.
Another unusual feature of hiking the Long Range is the amount of fresh water. There are plenty of bogs which most people expect. What is surprising is the number of ponds and brooks. It is quite beautiful however navigating can be a challenge because every body of water looks the same and distinguishing one pond or lake from another on a topographic map can be difficult.
We left Little Island Pond campsite and headed for Green Island Pond. Knowing the route quite well and having good visibility we reached Harding's Pond Campsite by late morning. We decided to push on beyond the Harding's Pond valley to the top of the hill for lunch. This put us in a good position to reach Green Island Pond campsite by late afternoon.
For me, the trickiest section to navigate was across Middle Barrens, between Harding's Pond and Green Island Pond. It is a treeless, barren section often shrouded in low lying cloud or fog with numerous indistinguishable ponds and streams. We were much slower on this section, always checking our map and compass to ensure that were taking the right route. We crossed the barrens with no problems and it wasn't long before we saw the tent platforms far below us at Green Island Pond.
|Green Island Pond Campsite|
With rain in the forecast, we decided to get an early morning start from the Green Island Pond campsite. We packed all our gear while it was still dry, walked slightly upstream from the campsite and found a suitable place to cross the brook. In no time we could see Gros Morne Mountain and Ten Mile Pond Fjord. The rain held off which made navigating this section much easier and also made it worthwhile to take a side hike to a great viewpoint to overlook Ten Mile Pond fjord.
|Ten Mile Pond Fjord|
|Overlooking Ferry Gulch and Gros Morne Mountain|
|Descent from the Long Range Plateau to Ferry Gulch|
Interested in doing the Long Range Traverse? Gros Morne Adventures offers fully outfitted and guided trips. For more information follow this link: http://www.grosmorneadventures.com/backpacking.html
If you are an experienced wilderness traveller and would like to do this trek on your own, you can find out more information on the Gros Morne National Park website: http://www.pc.gc.ca/eng/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/index.aspx.
For details on the boat tour on Western Brook Pond Fjord, go here: www.bontours.ca