Music, literature, and continental drift in Gros Morne

Music, literature and geology. So far my time in Gros Morne for the Writers at Wood Point festival has been an odd medley of things that somehow fit.

We crowded in the Heritage Theatre, a former Orangemen’s lodge, to kick off the Matthew Hornell and Hey Rosetta! shows. These guys sell out concerts in St. John’s and elsewhere, consistently playing for thousands of people, and there I was with maybe 100 other souls enjoying the most intimate setting for some stellar music. Just three songs in, Hey Rosetta! started playing “Yer Spring.” Probably because I had tweeted earlier that I would kill myself if they didn’t play my song.

Just kidding.

(I also tweeted at Matthew Hornell, “You single? Just wonderin’.” He didn’t respond.)

Hornell started with a comical song about how he hates he the great outdoors, which had the entire theatre laughing along. I’ve never been to a concert that started out with such laughter, at least not for a good reason. Then Hey Rosetta! stepped onstage, commanding all our attention at once. As our emcee said, “These guys are on the verge of something big.”

Indeed. Most times I couldn’t tell if it were the breeze flowing through the window or the music that was giving me a chill.

I love how they’ve branded themselves in such subtly genius ways: the initiation of the slow claps, the classic sing-alongs. Because of the video for “Yer Spring,” concert-goers now show up with sparklers.

Folks, if you want that “sense of community” feel, attend a Hey Rosetta! concert in Newfoundland.


I got up bright and early the next morning to take the Water Taxi to Woody Point, hopped in the rental Venza, and zipped through a Mars-like landscape on my way to Trout River Pond for a three-hour kayaking expedition with Ocean Quest.

I got lost. For about an hour. Withhold your “women can’t drive” jokes.

When I got there, the guide Adam took me for a quick ride in the zodiac to test out the lake’s condition. It was too windy for kayaking, unfortunately, but I was offered a two-hour zodiac tour with the most entertaining geology lesson I’ve ever had from a guide named Andrew. The lake, deep enough to sit a 40-storey building, was carved out by glaciers and is surrounded by two extremely different landscapes: on the left, the peridotite rock of the Tablelands, where plants can barely grow; to the right, the greenness from flourishing vegetation allowed by the gabbro rock. Here you’ll find some of the world’s rarest geology demonstrating the process of continental drift, and the Mohorovicic Discontinuity. The contrast of landscapes is so insanely different, you’ll exhaust yourself taking it all in.

Note: don’t remove the rocks from the beach, and don’t push ants into the carnivorous Pitcher Plant. Parks Canada will hunt you down and slap you.

  • August 19 2011

    OMG! So beautiful! I have to be in that water like, now.

  • August 19 2011

    Looks amazing, Candice… wow!
    Although I can always tell when Canada is upset with me. She does that thing where she acts all calm at first and claims she’s not really mad. Translation: No, I’m not mad. I’m FURIOUS! At which point I take my rocks and hide.

  • August 21 2011

    You make me want to go back to gros morne SO BADLY! I don’t have enough vacation time in a year. I should just quit my job. ;P

    I can’t imagine what that concert was like… I’ve seen Matthew Hornell in a small venue, and he is entertaining :) But Hey Rosetta I’ve only seen with hundreds of other people… and even then, there is a great sense of connection in the crowd. The sparkles at George St Fest made my life. Amazing.

    Also, thanks for the tip about rocks and ants. I’d totally do both of those things.
    (I took sand from the beaches in PEI as a child a LOT… shhh… don’t tell… apparently that’s slap worthy as well..)

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