I woke in a sweat. My heart was racing and palms clammy. Where was I? I was confused. The laptop was beside me on the homemade quilt I was laying on; I must have fallen asleep editing photos.
I was still trying to pry my tired eyes open and adjust to the light in that orange glossy cabin room when I glanced to my left. Suddenly my heart jumped and my stomach sank as I saw a man standing beside my bed.
I panicked, fleeing off the bed and into the corner of the room as my eyes corrected themselves. I realized it was not man, just my jacket hanging in the closet.
As I caught my breath, I walked to the closet and yanked my jacket down from the hanger. It was like I was experiencing a double nightmare. The reason I had awoken so flustered was because I had been in a nightmarish state moments ago.
The nightmare felt so real…
I dreamt I was in an angular glass house, and darkness was all around it outside. Someone, or something, was trying to break it’s way in and kill me, and I had no escape when it finally did.
I used to have these types of nightmares after my father passed away. After his passing, For months I lived in that old creaky house I grew up in, all alone, and I constantly dreamt that someone would break in and steal the last item from my childhood away from me.
But why was I having these nightmares now?
Though it was only a dream, I was restless. The red 3:12 AM digits on the alarm clock mocked me; we had a whole day of hiking ahead and I desperately needed to rest. But you better be damn sure I slept with the table lamp on and the covers pulled over my head like a little scared boy…
So began day 2 of this epic travel blogger road trip to TBEX.
The travel blogger G-Team (G for Gnarly of course) convened late morning after all of us reluctantly scraped ourselves from those warm homemade quilts. They were like marvelous people ovens…keeping us nice and toasty as it was still quite a bit nipply outside.
I shook off the bad mojo from the nightmare and got excited to see my first ever fiord. Or if you aren’t a ‘Merican, then you know it as a fjord.
“Damn, Canada, It’s May. Why does it still feel like winter?!”
Obviously Mother Nature didn’t give a damn, as the wind bellowed outside our cabins while we discussed plans for the day. First order of business when in a National Park? Not watch the sunrise, nor a brisk morning walk by the harbor.
No, us bloggers need our coffee and wifi to start the day!
Best thing about a tiny bay-side town like Rocky harbor is that there is always a nifty coffee joint to hang out at. Java Jacks was the savior to our grogginess, allowing us check our emails (and Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, Google+, Vine, etc.) before heading out for our hike.
This is what travel bloggers look like when notifications come pouring in after a day without wifi…
After feeding our social media addictions…erm…obligations, we peeled ourselves away from the computers and hit the road.
Small clusters of weather-worn houses over flowing with fishing cages lined the harbor along the road to the trail. The topic of jokes in the car on the way was the repetitive place names all over this park.
“So, we’re headed to Western Brook Pond Fjord? That is like three different natural forms of water…”
Yes, we were headed to Gros Morne National Park’s Western Brook Pond Fjord for a hike. Try to say that five times fast. Add in the bogs and marshes we’ll be passing through to that and you’re totally screwed!
The trail would be an easy one; only about four kilometers long round trip on a flat trail. Even though I lived in New Zealand for nearly a year, I never managed to make it to its world-renowned fjords in the South Island. I still kick myself in the ass for that, but today I’d at least get to lay eyes on one finally.
“What the hell makes a fjord…a fjord?” I asked, as we walked on a narrow gravel path that cut through the dark green pines.
The wooden planked path snaked through bogs and marsh lands, with bone white trees clawing out of the dark pools of water which dotted the landscape.
Dark grey clouds loomed above, foreboding almost, but at the same time gave a beautiful contrast to the golden wind-swept grasslands that sprawled out in all directions.
Mountains stretched across the horizon with the gaping fjord drawing ever closer.
“MOOSE POOP!” We all called out in excitement.
Not because we are Scatologists (one who studies dookie) with innate fascination for feces, but because we have been desperately trying to spot a moose ever since we left St. John’s.
We were being led back into a tree-line. Though we spotted plenty of poo, the forest had otherwise been quite dead. Dead as in the silence of the forest, with just the high winds passing through the trees, and the sounds of our shoes on the path. Not even animal calls.
Dead also in the landscape itself, for it seemed as we got closer to the water, old flaky white trees began to pepper the forest.
Some twisted and seemed to writhe in pain. They shouted at the sky for a saving rain, but were frozen forever in a dried up agony.
It was plenty rainy while I’ve been in Canada, but I guess these old trees hadn’t faired well over time.
While I was caught up photographing those two animated trees, Candice, Zak, and Seattle had continued walking ahead, disappearing out of sight.
Suddenly I was alone, and the thought of a bear strolling up with an appetite for a scrawny blonde blogger consumed me.
I ran off down the path as fast as my chucks would take me, but before long, I was at a split in the road. I could see the pond close by, and I called out for the others, but had no reply.
Probably because the call was a quiet one…I didn’t want them to think I was panicking. I decided to head right, which turned out to be the wrong way, but it offered up a stunning sight of the fjord.
Eventually I found my way to the others, who were on the pier which stretched across Western Brook Pond. And after taking in the breath-taking views while breathing in fresh mountain air (cliché alert), of course we posed for a ton of photos.
The Red Queen Candice commanded epic photos to be taken by Zak, and then Zak prayed to the fjord gods. Or was taking photos. Whatever.
Meanwhile, I photographed random objects in front of the fjord like all bloggers do.
Seattle frolicked in the distance, and eventually had us pose for some more goofy photos. Don’t lie, you do it too. Just not as cool.
I will say the fjord itself had me awe-struck. Even though we couldn’t experience it close up, the giant chasm through the distant mountains was stunning.
To straighten things out, I knew what the general meaning of a fjord was! But if you want to get technical:
Fjord (Fiord to Americans) – A narrow inlet of sea between to high cliffs, typically formed by the melting of glaciers.
The dark choppy lake slapped waves on the shore line as we headed back, as I gave one last look back at the Western Brook Pond Fjord of Gros Morne National Park. And laughed at the name. Again.
As we meandered back the way we came, I FINALLY spotted some life in the trees. A fluffy white bird with a dark grey head landed on the branch right beside me. I froze, for fear of scaring it off before I could snap a photo since I knew the others wouldn’t believe me. Still not a moose though.
After leaving the park and heading back into Rocky Harbor, we decided to grab some grub to hold us over for the night. Since dinner was to be the standard backpacker money saver, spaghetti, I thought I would indulge.
We stopped at Earl’s, which was apparently world-famous. It seems like places such as Earl’s are always world-famous, located in small towns, and nobody else has heard of them. No mater, we were famished.
Since I was frustrated at how elusive the ninja mooseses, or moosi, or moose were, I decided to spite them by trying my first ever moose burger. Juicy, slightly gamy, and a flavor that is difficult to describe. Utterly delicious.
And heck yes I photographed my food. If I can’t spot the moose in the wild, might as well on my plate. Compliment that with some local beer made with iceberg water and you have one of the best combinations of food I’ve ever had.
Another day of this road trip came to a close, but I knocked off a few more things from my travel virginity list. We capped off Day 2 by watching the sunset over the lighthouse on the point, and got ready to hit the road the next day.
Have you been to a fjord before? Eaten moose? (Out of spite or not?) Remember to follow along the road trip to TBEX and subscribe with the widget on the upper left!
*Gros Morne Cabins provided us accommodation for our visit, but has nothing to do with my real obsession with homemade quilts and cabins.*