Eastern Canada road trip - Western Brook Pond, Gros Morne National Park

It was late afternoon by the time we arrived at Gros Morne National Park. After pitching our tents, we laced up our boots and headed out on a short hike (3km one way) to Western Brook Pond, one of the easiest and most beautiful hikes in the park.

The day was beautiful. The sun was shining, the sky blue and full of fluffy clouds. Even as more clouds rolled in and the wind began to blow, it only added to the atmosphere of the landscape. We passed over limestone ridges. The wind whipped the water from the bogs onto the boardwalk.  We arrived at the lake just as the clouds completely covered the sky, but hot chocolate from the shop warmed us up. Boat tours were available through the fjord but we arrived too late to catch the final cruise of the day.

The fjord was incredible. More than a hundred glaciers surged through the Long Range Mountains during the last Ice Age, each one scraping, carrying and wearing down metres of rock. The movement of the glaciers created deep ravines, forming dramatic landscapes such as the cliffs that tower over Western Brook Pond. The weight of the ice sheet put pressure on the land, forcing it downwards until the lowlands were below sea level. When the ice started to melt, the valley between the 2000-foot high cliffs filled with saltwater, turning it into a fjord. The departure of the heavy ice caused the land to rebound, as 2km thick glaciers were no longer pushing it down. The lake was cut off from the ocean by the rebounding land and the deposits left behind by the glaciers. The salt water was eventually flushed out and the fresh water now found in the lake has an extremely high purity rating.

Eventually, threatening skies and the encroaching darkness forced us to head back to our campsite and a warm dinner prepared over an open fire.