Gros Morne: hikes in August, Long Range Traverse?
Replies: 12 - Last Post: Aug 30, 2012 1:32 PM Last Post By: littlechilds
Jul 9, 2012 8:29 AM
Gros Morne: hikes in August, Long Range Traverse?Hi,
I am planning to travel to Newfoundland in early August. I plan to spend just over a week in Gros Morne doing some hikes, then make my way down to St Johns. Total time will be about 2 weeks.
Has anyone done the Long Range Traverse? I have no experience with compass reading or GPS navigation, but I have trekked in the Himalayas and the Andes, so can handle altitude and terrain. I am wondering whether it is "easy" to hook onto other trekking groups, or whether you would recommend finding a tour guide (although from th prices online, it seems that they all charge $1000+ to do the 4-5 day Traverse hike).
As well, any recommendations for ABSOLUTE must-dos in Newfoundland? I love hiking, trekking, being outside...would love to see the fjords, floating icebergs, miraculous scenery, travel along the coastline.
Any and all input greatly appreciated. Is it necessary to do rental car in St John's or Gros Morne?
Jul 9, 2012 10:07 AM
1I would definitely recommend the hike to the Western Brook Pond fjords. No GPS or map necessary - I did it last spring, and the trail is very well laid out and marked. From what I remember it would be difficult to get lost.
We rented a car for our stay in NFLD. Drove from St. John's to Gros Morne, then drove a bit around the park. We stayed in Rocky Harbour - drove up to the fjords trailhead, then hiked in. Same with the Tablelands drove to the trailhead, hiked in.
Jul 9, 2012 4:00 PM
Jul 9, 2012 5:47 PM
3You could always take the 10 minutes needed to learn the ins and outs of a compass. Similarly, a GPS is not particularly difficult to use, it has a manual.
From what I understand, The Gros Morne area is fairly well travelled, the trail should be beaten pretty well in August.
My only warning would be to keep an eye on the weather and be prepared for the worst. I spent September 2010 working in the bush near Corner Brook, and I remember the weather turning on us in very quickly. The wind and rain can hammer that area pretty good.
Jul 9, 2012 6:01 PM
I was debating between flying into St John's, exploring there for a bit, then flying from St John's to Deer Airport outside of Gros Morne, and doing my second week there. Seems I would lose 2 days (1 day each way) driving from St John's to Gros Morne and back...can you tell me whether you'd recommend the drive to Gros morne, or whether it took up valuable time and flying would be worth it?
Jul 10, 2012 4:44 AM
5Flying might be worth it. There's not much along the way (Gander, which is worth a visit, or so I've been told. We didn't have enough time to stop.) It took us 8 hours to get to Rocky Harbour - but to be fair, there was torrential rain, and we weren't going much above 60Km/h for a good portion of that 8 hours.
If you're only planning on doing those two spots (St. John's and Gros Morne), flying might be cheaper (although you'd probably have to rent a car in Deer Lake). If you're planning on doing much else, I would rent a car in St. John's. If you go through Air Canada's website (you don't need to fly AC) to rent the car, it's about $486 for an intermediate sized car (as opposed to going through Budget or Avis directly, where it's over $600) for a week.
I was travelling with a friend, and it was cheaper for us to rent a car than to fly, so that's why we went rental. If time is more important than cost (which I totally understand, and is why my next vacation I'm flying everywhere) than definitely fly.
Wow, I'm long winded sometimes. :/
Jul 10, 2012 5:45 AM
Jul 10, 2012 6:56 AM
7The Long Range Traverse has no marked trails, therefore navigating by compass and GPS is important. I did not hike the trail but have watched the orientation video at the NP centre that is required watching before you go. It opened my eyes as to the challenges the terrain presented. You will also have to demonstrate proficiency with map reading and compass use to the park wardens before being given a permit to hike the trail. <http://www.pc.gc.ca/pn-np/nl/grosmorne/activ/activ2e.aspx>
I flew into St. John' and drove across province in one day. I thought about flying into Deer Lake and renting a car there. It was all a little more expensive that way but not prohibitively so. In the end flying into St. John's fit my overall plans better so I don't have details on Deer Lake. If you are not interested in the east part of the province then flying into Deer Lake is a good option. I would double check rental car availability and costs first if you are going in early August.
Jul 13, 2012 7:41 AM
8I did the hike many years ago. You will be required to prove your skills with a map and compass before they will issue a permit - that's not quite as easy as others make it sound, particularly given the lack of high points to use for reference as you hike. Also - the tuckamore (I think that's what it is called) is brutal - it will swallow you alive (okay - maybe not THAT bad, but it can make for very unpleasant hiking in some spots) and weather (rain and fog can come in and totally obsucre your views.
Another option would be to hike in to the area on the left side of Western Brook Pond and camp there (I believe the name was either Golden Beacnh or Pebble Beach). From there you can day hike up on to the plateau. By the way, if you start the Long Trail from the far end of the Pond, it is one hell of a steep climb up (at leats it was 13 years ago!).
Other nice hikes are Gros Morne itself (a real arctic feel on top), Green Gardens (very pretty downhill hike to the water) and Trout River Pond (flat, but very pretty along a lake and gently up to a viewpoint beyond)
Aug 30, 2012 5:51 AM
9I guess you've already taken your trip, so it's really too late for me to offer any advice, but...the Long Range Traverse, and the North Rim Traverse hikes in Gros Morne are for EXPERIENCED backcountry hikers, and you will be required to demonstrate a profiency with map and compass, wilderness backpacking, etc before they issue a permit. Both of these hikes will take several days to complete( eg, the Long Range Traverse is a 35 km (22 mile) hike through some difficult country with very primitive, often unmarked, trails( but some stunning natural beauty and wildlife). If you aren't comfortable/familiar using a map and compass, and have no experience with wilderness camping, do NOT attempt these hikes. However, there are many day hikes in Gros Morne that require no permits, are suitable for novice hikers, and will reward you with incredible scenery...Green Gardens, Trout River Pond, Bakers Brook Falls, The Lookout, and Western Brook Pond are among the best.
Edited by: augiedawgie
Aug 30, 2012 6:52 AM
10#9...you are correct in everything you said...but those rules are pretty funny. We just got back from there and a monkey could navigate there. Basically if you see the ocean, and know the main peaks, it would be pretty hard to get lost. Gros Morne Mountain is right in your face. Here in the Rockys...its a different story...and no map experience is manditory here lol.
Aug 30, 2012 10:54 AM
11The rules make sense when fog sets in up on the plateau (not uncommon) where you do the Long Range hike - you can't see any landmarks and, as augie said, the "trail" can be hard to follow/find. Apparently they put the rules in place after many parties got stuck in the fog and wandered in circles for days.
Aug 30, 2012 1:32 PM
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