On our first day at Gros Morne, we had done a lot of hiking. On our second day we sat in a boat. On the third day we decided to do a bit of both. After a morning exploring the Tablelands (more on that in another post) we spent the afternoon hiking to and then having a boat tour on Western Brook Pond.
Western Brook Pond used to be a fjord but when the ice age receded the surrounding land rose enough to isolate it and turn it into a lake - a lake surrounded by impressive towering cliffs.
As we drove north from Bonne Bay we could see the hills and cliffs getting bigger in the distance. Just as things were starting to look awesome, the view was obscured by trees as we pulled into the trailhead parking lot. Before we got to the boat, we had to walk a few kilometers through some light forest and on a boardwalk across some marshes and peat bogs.
As we cleared the forest, we got our first view of the spectacular entrance to Western Brook Pond dominating the horizon.
It reminded us of the fantastical landscapes from The Lord of the Rings movies - so we were inspired to do our own version of the Argonath:
As we got closer to the pond, the view got more and more spectacular. I kept saying to myself, "these are going to make amazing desktop pictures!" - and I was right.
We got to the visitor centre / dock with a fair bit of time to spare before the scheduled boat tour. There's a little beach there and we discovered how clear the water is in this pond:
It turns out that due to a geologic fluke, the water in Western Brook Pond is among the cleanest and purest in the world. In fact, the tour boats are certified to not pollute these pristine waters.
We all boarded the boat and started the tour. Soon we were in among the thousand-foot-tall rocky cliffs. Everything looked even more like The Lord of the Rings. I kept hearing the blaring fanfares of the soundtrack in my head at every turn.
At first I thought the entire pond was what we could see from the visitor centre, sort of like the view you get at Lake Louise. Then we passed the first headland:
(If you have the bandwidth, I recommend watching this in full-screen HD.)
The water and the cliffs and the trees just keep going and going, getting more and more spectacular as we went.
There were waterfalls, some with outrageous names.
There were rock faces with actual faces in them.
After several zig-zags and dramatic reveals, we finally reached the far end of the Pond - where there was a little pier that adventuresome back-country hikers disembark for a multi-day trip back to Bonne Bay over steep hills and densely-forested valleys. Nobody got off this time.
So I took a few pictures. Well, actually, I took a lot of pictures, both with my iPhone and my GPS-and-14x-zoom-equipped Canon PowerShot SX230 HS. Remembary took a full tally of the day's shots and even put them all on a map:
I guess I got a bit snap-happy, but I couldn't help myself: a new spectacular vista appeared every few minutes:
The boat eventually made it back to land, and we decided to avoid the crowds by taking a hike along a side path that skirted the edge of the Pond for several miles.
We stopped at a water crossing, but before we headed back we took some more epic pictures of the rocky shore and the looming cliffs.
We then drove back south to Bonne Bay, passing a ridiculously scenic fishing village:
We finished our day with another pint of Quidi Vidi on our favourite patio in Norris Point, which once again proved to be one of the most scenic patios in the country.
Click below for a slideshow of all of my pictures from Gros Morne: