22-23.04 Gross Morne National Park, Labrador: Touching the earth’s Mantle
Since the Redhead/Dutchy duo proved a house on fire, Alana and I decided to head to Gross Morne National Park together. Labrador is a big island; it is a 13 hours drive from St. Johns to the ferry on the other end. No trains and only one bus per day, so we needed a rental car.
Gross Morne (2,000 square km!) is one of the only places in the world where the earth’s mantle [and deep ocean crust] lies exposed on the surface. This is due to unique ‘continental drift’; when tectonic plates (in Dutch: aardplaten) collide, they push up and form a mountain [or an ocean if both dive down]. In Gross Morne, not the crest but the earth’s mantle got pushed up and flipped over, just like a wood chip shaves off from wood. The mantle starts at 30,000 meters below the surfac, so this event is a very rare. It consists of a high concentration of magnesium and heavy metals, which is toxic for normal life forms. Its presence forced of an ‘extraterrestrial’ micro-ecosystem. In other words, Alana and I had found E.T.’s home 🙂
Gross Morne is even more spectacular because it has additionally had glacial activity recently. It still has glaciers and glacier valleys, fjords and steep cliffs. We took maximum advantage and packed our days with hiking and road trips.
Our base, Woody Point, was coincidentally celebrating their annual culture festival. We got it al; country & western, jazz, poetry, limericks and stand-up comedy. Embarrassing detail….Newfoundlands is very difficult to understand. I thought it was simply my [poor] English level but then Alana confessed she struggled too. Big relief!
24.04 Gross Morne National Park, Labrador: MOOSE!!!
We were warned over [and over] for moose on the road. Hooding one can be lethal. Fortunately and unfortunately, we hadn’t even seen a single hoof print. Until I spotted one in the field from the corner of my eye. I was steering on a very curvy dike. I saw the moose, shouted ‘MOOOOOSE!!!’ and instantly slammed the brakes. ‘CARRRRR!’ Alana screamed. I yelled back ‘NOOOOOO…MOOOOOSE!’. Then her words sank in. Our vehicle was [a tat] over the middle line. Whoa, I quickly recovered, turned the car and stopped [safely].
The moose looked different than I had imagined but then again I had never seen one in the wild. Alana added that white moose -which ours was- were rare. I had also expected bigger antlers but reasoned that it was likely that females had smaller ones so this should then be a female. Anyhow, who cares, we had seen our moose. Right? Wrong! My moose turned out to be a caribou. A caribou is not much more then an ‘upgraded’ deer. Can you imagine I almost tolled the car for that? Moohoo!
Still pumped up with adrenaline after our (van) dike adventure (gotta admire that word play, right!), we thought to try and top it by hitchhiking to the ferry in stead of taking the public bus. It was a 5 hours drive, the island had only one road to the ferry and we were two chicks at the side of the road, one being a redhead. How difficult could it be?
We started off well [warning: sarcasm!]; Alana kindly declined a request to ‘babtise a pick-up truck’, and yes, it is really was what you are thinking, seriously! I had found a mother and daughter that were willing to take us so we quickly got in their car. Hasta la vista, pervert! The ladies proved great tour guides; they stopped at all cool places for pictures. But when they dropped us off an hour later we had still another 4 hours ahead…
Our second ride took much longer to secure. Eventually, two guys drove us to their town 2 hours ahead. Still not at the ferry yet. The bus was on our tail. We ended our hitchhike adventure. It didn’t make sense to risk missing the ferry. The two guys proposed to have a beer and play pool to kill the remaining waiting time. Who said hitchhiking wasn’t a ton of fun?
We caught the ferry and set sail for Novo Scotia. We left without having seen one Newfoundland or Labrador dog… Pitty!