Cruising Western Brook Pond Fjord

I had seen Western Brook Pond’s fjord in the Gros Morne tourism paraphernalia, but ignored it to hike the Tablelands and Gros Morne Mountain. This fjord is a part of the Long Range Mountains, and also the most northern part of the Appalachian Mountains. Glaciers carved out the area thousands of years ago, leaving behind hanging valleys, serrated cliffs and freshwater so pure that its low ion content won’t even conduct electricity. When the depressed land bounded back from the glacier, the pond was cut off from the ocean. Ancient whale bones have been found here.

It’s deep, quiet, and only navigable by guides with Bon Tours. Apparently you can canoe or kayak, but it’s strongly discouraged because of the lack of emergency response nearby and the unpredictable conditions of the area (i.e. rockslides).

To get there, you drive 27 kilometres north from Rocky Harbour, and then take a quick 25-minute hike from the parking lot to the boat launch. Because the lake is classified with a special “ultraligotrophic” status, Bon Tours is the only boat operator allowed to use motorized vessels on the water. Word from the unwise: pack mosquito repellent. How I managed to forget such a necessity after growing up in the backcountry marshlands of the province is beyond me.

The cliffs go from flat-topped, even-edged rock to grassy jaggedness, and at times I had to remind myself that I was still in Newfoundland. No rustle of wind or presence of wildlife disturbed the trip, and if it weren’t for the crowd of tourists jostling each other for a better view, I think it would have been eerily silent. The water is black as tar, and streams cascade over the tops of the fjord from sources unseen but apparently originating from Stag Brook. One is named Pissing Mare Falls, at 1150 feet high.

Pissing Mare Falls in the upper-right corner

We dropped off two groups of backpackers on the other end of the fjord, brave souls taking on the epic Long Range Traverse or the North Rim Traverse. These hikes extend 35 kilometres or more from the end of Western Brook Pond, or “as the crow flies,” according to Parks Canada. Both require map and compass skills as well as special permission from the park, and can take a week or more depending on conditions.

On that note, who wants to join me on the hike next summer?

  • September 13 2011

    Pissing mare falls???????????????
    that is all :)

    • September 16 2011

      We so eloquent with our words!

  • September 13 2011

    I would love to join you, will there be beer and a gondola to get me there.

    That second picture, ugh, killing me.

    • September 16 2011

      You should definitely come join me. :)

  • September 14 2011

    Pissing Mare sounds like a great name for a bar (or a brewery).
    And that sounds like a loooong trek (hopefully it leads to a nice cold case of Pissing Mare)!
    (Absolutely stunning photographs, Candice!)

    • September 16 2011

      Hahaha, agreed, someone should get that started!

  • September 14 2011

    Wow, I am going to jump on the already-stated-bandwagon and say, these are incredible photos. And to reask Linlah’s question, do they serve beer there? Cause if they do, than this is as close to a version of heaven on earth than I could ever imagine.

    • September 16 2011

      I’m sure they wouldn’t mind bringing your own beer on board. ;)

  • September 15 2011

    Looks serene. I’ll bet it gets might cold there in the winter.

    • September 16 2011

      Yeah, lots of snow on the west coast! They love their winter sports though. :)

  • September 15 2011

    That second photo is beyond amazing. I love it!

    • September 16 2011

      Thanks Amanda! I couldn’t believe the view either.

  • September 15 2011

    I want to do the hike with you!….at some point in the future. That is awesome, I did not know about that place.

    I resent ‘backcountry marshlands,’ buddy!

    Also: amazing pictures again, good job.

  • September 16 2011

    me! me! me!

    That place looks amazing. I really want to go. I should just quit my job next summer, to much to do!

  • September 17 2011

    Ooh, those views are so gorgeous. Looks a lot like my trip through the Misty Fjords in Alaska’s Inside Passage. I guess not surprising since Alaska is adjoined to Canada. Wish I could join you next time :)

    • September 19 2011

      Aghh, Alaska! Would LOVE to go there!

  • September 19 2011

    Wow. That is amazingly beautiful!

  • September 20 2011

    Wow…had no idea this place existed. Beautiful photos.

    • September 21 2011

      Seriously, I didn’t either. It’s phenomenal.

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