A view on the view

2009/07/02

 
We never thought we’d say this: we hiked in Gros Morne National Park today.

With the help of advice from the Gros Morne Visitior’s Centre and its knowledgeable staff, a walking stick and Phil’s patience, we were able to hike the Coastal Trail. It’s an easy hike, as Gros Morne goes, and it’s not very long but it felt like an achievement, given my knee.  The up close and personal contact with the ocean was the reward.

We have lunch in Norris Point at Pitmans, what seems to be a large, typical restaurant. Ladies in the back cooking fresh fish and seafood to order, making killer french fries, friendly, motherly types out front, making sure you’re happy and well-fed.

Norris Point must be one of the prettiest towns on the Western coast — at least we think that until we get to Woody Point, across Bonne Bay. Before the road was put in, to get from Port Aux Basques — where the ferry from the mainland docks at the south end of the island — to Rocky Harbour or up the northern pennisula, you had to take the car ferry from Woody Point to Norris Point. The ferry still runs three times a day but only for foot traffic, tourists from one visiting the other.

In Norris Point, the must-see Bonne Bay Marine Research Station. Here is where I begin to understand Newfoundland — how it was created, its land and sea form, close up (hands on!) introduction to the marine species, the history and state of the fishing industry, the reason Norris Point is such a research hot spot. Best fact learned: it’s plankton, not trees, that provide 80 per cent of the world’s oxygen.

We have coffee later in the nearby harbour bistro and stare, like idiots, at the panorama. How can we go home to boring old Toronto and look out windows at views that stop dead in 30 yards in buildings and cars? I know that mountains make some folks claustrophobic but the combination of mountains with their endless vistas and the equally endless sea are freedom to me.

For an even better view, we go to the lookout at the strange little Janniex Museum, what must be one of the 100 greatest views in the world.

 

 

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