Day Fifteen: Gros Morne Park (Part Two)

We are now halfway through our trip. We have seen so much yet it feels like we have only skimmed the surface.

Speaking of which, today we had the rare opportunity to walk on the Earth’s mantle. The Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park look like a barren desert with steep slopes rising to flat-topped mountains.

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The golden brown rock – peridotite – is thought to have been forced up from the depths several hundred million years ago during a collision between tectonic plates.

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The rock has toxic amounts of heavy metals and lacks nutrients to sustain plant life so the area looks like a moonscape.

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Yet the land and mountains on the opposite side of the road are lush and green.

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The plants that do grow on the tablelands are alpine and found only in the lower part of the landscape. The pitcher plant (a carnivorous plant like the Venus flytrap) is vibrant red and prevalent.

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So is the creeping juniper. We saw some tiny ferns near a waterfall as well as some purple asters.

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The whole day was one of contrasts. I had no idea that this part of Newfoundland was so mountainous. Every time we came around a corner, a new breathtaking view arose before us. And what a mix! Snow-covered mountains, jagged peaks and flat table tops, lush valleys, deep lakes and fjords…

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We stopped as always in a few coastal villages along the way. We were particularly charmed by Norris Point nestled between Bonne Bay and the East Arm and surrounded by rolling hills and mountains in glorious fall colours.

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In a couple of valleys we saw the unmistakable crimson of maple trees – the first maples we’ve seen since Quebec. It actually made me feel a bit homesick for the range of fall colours we usually see this time of the year.

Tomorrow we continue south to Stephensville, and the next day, we’ll be catching the ferry to Nova Scotia. Only two more sleeps in Newfoundland. I will miss the extraordinary land and sea as well as the open and welcoming people who have made us feel so at home.

Oh, and the partridge berry pie!

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