Western Brook Pond NL Boat Trip

Today’s fun Stuff was a trip over to Western Brook Pond…which is actually a lake despite the name. Way back during the last ice Age…what is now known as the extinct Western Brook Glacier gouged out a valley leading basically out to the Gulf of Saint Lawrence…at that time the glaciers went all the way to the Gulf. Then the ice age ended and the glaciers melted…and what resulted some 12,000 years ago was a fjord. For those of you who don’t know what a fjord is…it’s a valley that was gouged out as a result of glacial action and is connected to the ocean and hence is salt water. See Norway and places like that for further examples. So what happened was that 12,000 (or so…I’m not sure on the precision of that time estimate)…years ago there was this fjord. Unfortunately for the fjord…the land near the mouth of the fjord into the Gulf had been depressed by the weight of the glacier…so over the next some thousand years the land…no longer being depressed…rebounded and rose above sea level…thus isolating the fjord and turning it into a salt water lake separated from the ocean by about 3 miles of land…except for what eventually became known as the Western brook draining it to the sea. Over the next some thousand years…the salt water drained out to sea…the now lake being constantly refilled by melting snow and glaciers…and it became a fresh water lake known now as Western Brook Pond.

Some pond though…it’s about 10 miles long and 2 miles wide at it’s widest point. Sheer, almost vertical cliff walls…at one point we were within about 20 yards of the shore and the depth finder in the cabin still showed a depth of over 200 feet. It’s surrounded by sheer rock walls that average about 1,800 feet or so tall with a highest elevation of 2,200 feet…and the lake…despite being slightly below sea level…has depths ranging up to about 800 feet deep with most of it being in the 350-500 foot deep range. The temperature of the lake today was 4 degrees Celsius…about 41 Fahrenheit…due to the constant feeding of snow melt water into it. By the end of August the temperature will be all the way up to 20 Celsius or about 68F as the sun warms it after the snow quits melting…although Ima thinking the deeper parts will still be closer to 4C than 20C.

Anyways…we drove down about 18 kilometers (12 miles) south and parked…ready for our almost 2 mile hike from the parking lot into the boat dock. The only troubles were that the temperature was only about 50 F…and it decreased to the low 40s by the time we got to the lake due to the cold water in the lake…and the wind was blowing right off of the Gulf at about 25 knots.

The good news was that whenever we were in the trees on our hike…which was essentially down the gravel road that gets fuel, parts, food, and other necessities to the boat dock area…was that the wind died down and the walk was actually not all that bad. The bad news was that about 2/3 of the hike was out in the open. Fortunately…the wind was at our backs on the way in…which meant that it was in our face on the way back to the parking lot…but by 1500 when we were heading back it was a lot warmer and the winds were down…not much but less than in the morning.

So at the dock…we had a sausage dog for lunch…that’s very similar to a hotdog except it was much longer and fatter, cheaper, and actually tasted good. A little mustard on it and it made a pretty darned good lunch. After lunch we sat out in the sun…protected from the wind…for awhile and then got in line and boarded the boat…about a 60 foot standard tour boat.

We then spent the next two hours boating to the far eastern end of the lake, dropping off a couple of hikers that were hiking 5 days eastward through the park, and coming back to the starting point. Fortunately…once we got into the narrower portion of the lake…it was in between the walls of the former fjord and the wind died down. So we spent most of the time out on the bow of the boat taking pictures…Connie had to keep going in for a few minutes to warm up but overall we had a pretty good tour…the photos and views were excellent, we met a couple of people on the boat and talked to them, and it was a great day overall.

After the ride…we hiked the 1.65 miles back to the parking lot for a total of about 3.3 miles total on the day…and headed home. Being as it was now 1600…we declared it to be 5 o’clock in Tel Aviv and headed off to Neddy’s Pub…the only drinking establishment in Cow Head for a beer…and a fine and excellent place it was sez Connie…me and Neil too.

Short aside here…Neil invented a cocktail today…but then this is the second time this week he’s invented one so let me give you the details on both of those.

First one…everybody (well, almost everybody) has heard of a Black Russian and a White Russian. These are made of Kahlúa (which is a coffee flavored liquor), vodka…and in the case of the White version cream. The Russian in the name comes from the vodka which is the traditional Russian drink. So the other day…Neil made himself a cocktail of Screech Rum (standard golden non-spiced rum), Kahlúa, and cream…hey, we don’t keep vodka around…and it was delish. So good that we figured we would make it again…which means it needs a name…and since rum is a Caribbean thing we (actually…Neil) decided to call it a White/Black Cuban instead of Russian. We thought about calling it a White/Black Jamaica-mon (pronounced with a Jamaican accent of course)…I think we’ll let the two alternatives percolate a bit and see which one sticks.

But I digress…back to today’s invention. The only draft brew they had was Black Horse which is a lager style beer…and hence doesn’t have a whole lot of flavor…so Neil ordered a shot of Captain Morgan’s Dark spiced rum on the side. After a couple of sips of the beer…he split the rum between the two pints and it really, really improved the taste of the lager…making it taste much more like a craft brew than it did before. Now you’ve probably heard of a drink called a Boilermaker before…it was invented in the western PA steel mill area and is a draft beer with a shot of whiskey dumped into it. Since this was a very similar concoction…we thought on it a bit…and continuing the riff on Caribbean culture decided to name it the Sugarmaker. It was so tasty that we’ll do it again whenever we’re forced to have a light lager style beer.

After our brews…we made it the last 500 yards back to the RV park and had dinner…which consisted of leftover fish/bacon/corn/potato/orzo pasta/shallot/roasted garlic/chopped chili/cheese/cream concoction…we call it fish chowder but it’s basically a cream type soup with whatever leftover protein we have, potatoes, bacon, and corn soup. So I gotta tell ya about one more invention we’ve come up with…although this one is a long standing one and not recent. You’ve probably noticed…assuming you eat leftovers anyway…that soup, stew, or pretty much anything tastes much better the second day than it did on the day you originally cooked it…and if you’re of a curious mind you’ve probably wondered just why that is.

Well…the proper culinary term for it is oodling…yes, oodling I said…and it’s the process by which things always taste better the second day. Just thought you should know what to call it…almost anything improves with oodling we always say.

Ok…enough of that blather…let’s have some photos.

A couple more shots of that cute l’ill black bear from yesterday…

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Panoramic shot taken from behind the parking lot…this is the Long Range Mountains…which again are part of the Appalachian range from the old Pangea days as you recall from yesterday’s post…just left of center you can see a notch between the left and right sides of the fjord with the back of the fjord in-between them.

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What the well dressed Sweetie…that’s how Neil has addressed Connie for 40something years now…wears on her hike in 40 degree 25 knot wind weather…jeans, heavy hiking socks and boots, t-shirt, sweatshirt, hoodie, Scottievest, headband to cover her ears, and gloves. The couple in the background turned out to be one of the ones we (well Neil actually) met and chatted with on the boat…her husband along with Connie kept succumbing to the cold and going inside to warm up while she and Neil stayed out on deck because…of course…we could always warm up later but we wouldn’t be in the fjord on the boat later.

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Mostly…I’ll let the photos from within the fjord speak for themselves…except for those that deserve a little better explanation.

Closer up view of the notch of the fjord with the center section being another 3-4 miles back…the fjord itself curves to the left after it starts and goes mostly to the left of the background piece you can see.

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The bog on the way to the boat landing.

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Our boats…the larger one to the right had about 2/3 of our group and the smaller one to the left was what we rode. Our tour guide Colin said that it was the Fun Boat©…and while I don’t know if there was any fun on the larger boat Colin and his partner in crime (sorry, didn’t get her name, Megan maybe is the best we can remember…Colin spoke with a Newfie accent and was a bit tough to make out)…along with our skipper Randy…made our trip fun and informative. I asked Colin shouldn’t his name be Gilligan since we had a Skipper…but he said the hat didn’t look good on him.

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Entering the fjord proper…south side.

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And north side.

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Hanging valley…formed when a smaller glacier comes in from the side and joins the main glacier…in this case the Western Brook Glacier. The side glaciers are smaller and hence lighter and therefore don’t cut the land as deep…resulting in the hanging valley once they recede.

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Looking inland on the fjord…our companion tour boat is at the bottom…those cliffs are 1,800-2,200 feet high. 

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The wall of the north side…we’re about 20 yards max from it here and the water is more than 200 feet deep.

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Taken immediately after the above shot about 30 degrees to the right…we were on the port side of the bow. You can see the steepness of the side as it enters the water…that slope continues quite a ways down resulting in the depth close to the shore.

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The first of many waterfalls…they told us the name but I forgot all the names but one…I’ll get to that one later.

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Overview of the above falls…remember the cliffs here are on the order of 2,000 feet tall…so this one is probably 200 feet tall…and it was really the smallest one we saw.

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Result of a landslide back in 2010.

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Another landslide from 1994…they told us the exact date and time but I didn’t write it down…anyway one of the tour boats was about 500 yards to the left (west) of where several hundred thousand tons of rock fell into the lake. Scared the crap out of them Ima thinking.

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Probably 30 yards wide and 500 feet tall.

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Same falls as the above but wider view…at about 2,000 feet from lake to rim you can see the size…it’s really hard to appreciate just how large these are…but this shot was taken from probably 4 miles from the falls.

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Looking back to the west…better photo of this later without the boat wake after we turned around.

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The other named falls that I remember…Pissing Mare Falls. I’ll explain the significance later.

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Pissing Mare Falls showing both the top and bottom sections. The lake surface is just out of frame at the bottom…google says this one is 1,148 feet tall and among the highest in North America. I’m not sure whether the 1,148 covers just the main drop or also the lower portion…but given the height of the fjord walls I’m guessing it’s just the top portion.

While I’m not sure why it was named that…there’s a lot of spray coming off of the top portion as the wind hits it…my guess is that female mammals of the equine variety tend to spray when they dispose of excess fluid from their bodies.

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The Old Man feature. Just left of center you see the rim curve downward onto the man’s forehead, followed by his eye socket and nose, then mouth. He’s looking up at about a 40 degree angle and you’re looking at his left profile.

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Almost to the end of the lake…that’s our turnaround just ahead another mile or so. We dropped off two hikers at the far end, just to the left around the last point you can see on the left side there’s a little dock…they’re embarking on a 5 day hike across the park. It was about 1330 when we dropped them off and they still have a 2,000ish foot climb to the rim for their first campground…and there are no marked trails so they’re basically making it up as they go along.

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This is aa different fall from Pissing Mare…but you can see how the wind picks up a lot of spray off of the fall as it comes down. Don’t know the exact height…but based on the rim elevation it’s probably 100 feet wide and 500 or so feet tall. 

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Looking eastward after we turned around…by then the morning overcast had mostly cleared and it was a beautiful blue sky day. We have been amazed how blue the skies are here in Newfoundland on clear days…must be the lack of air pollution.

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Our fearless explorers as we headed back towards the mouth of the fjord and the dock…one of the folks we met took this one for us.

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Another hanging valley.

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Another named rock feature…this one is Tin Man from The Wizard of Oz. You’re looking at his face from his front left…and you can see his right eye socket, nose, upper lip and mouth. Look just left of center.

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Closeup of Tin Man to help you make out the feature. The face is probably 400 feet tall.

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One last shot of Pissing Mare Falls just before we rounded the corner and lost sight of it. Colin said it was the most famous one in the park.

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With that our day was done…so we headed for the aforementioned Happy Hour, dinner, and a shower.

After dinner…Neil went out for a couple of sunset shots around 2115 as it was a nice evening.

The rig sitting in site 6 at Seabreeze RV Park…Neil was sitting on a rock at the shoreline to take this…Big Red is maybe 100 feet from the water.

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Downtown Cow Head looking east from the campground.

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Looking west as the sun started to set.

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East again…wanted to show the campground office on the right side and the road you can see just in front of Big Red 3 images back…we’re right on the water.

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Ahh…a great end to a spectacular day…one of the best we’ve had in awhile for Fun Stuff©. Sure…it was cold and windy but the DLETC did a super job today. Thanks Connie!!

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Interesting things found on the net…just a couple today as it’s already an image intense post and we have slow internet.

I would laugh every time I went into the toilet room if we had this one.


Is he still faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, and able to leap tall buildings in a single bound?


Rules is rules ya know.




About Gunther

The full time RV travels and experiences of Gunther the Bear and Kara the Dog…along with their human staff neil and Connie.
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