gros morne fatbike 2016

Easter fell during a prime time for fatbiking Gros Morne this year, so Darren and I made plans to go there for the week.  We had a short, preliminary exploration of the park last year and knew that there was lots more we wanted to ride.  We weren’t disappointed…

Our Good Friday feast. At the junction of the Trans-Canada highway and Route 420 is White Bay Convenience. The food is fantastic - we had supper, breakfast and lunch there.

Our Good Friday feast. At the junction of the Trans-Canada highway and Route 420 is White Bay Convenience. The food is fantastic – we had supper, breakfast and lunch there.

 

Western Brook Pond

Day 1

 

Here's the route we took. (Darren McD image)

Here’s the route we took. Taylor’s Brook Road begins on Route 420. Drive in 3 kilometers and you will find Taylor’s Brook Accommodations. Ask for Terry – he will set you up with a place to park for a small fee (we paid $15 for 3 days, two nights). He will also have LOADS of knowledge about trail conditions. Pick his brain. (Darren McD image)

Here's the route with elevation. (Darren McD image)

Here’s the route with elevation.
(Darren McD image)

Darren and I at the start.

Darren and I at the start.

Looking west, on Taylors Brook Road.

Looking west, on Taylors Brook Road. The first 24 km are groomed. At Km 24 our route took a left off the groomed stuff and our real work began.

PR take 2

 

This is the view looking west. That is Matty's Pond in the left of the picture. The arrow shows the cove we camped in.

This is the view looking west. That is Matty’s Pond in the left of the picture, where we made camp.

On Matty's Pond.

On Matty’s Pond.

Stats from our first day.

Stats from our first day. We began at 10 AM and stopped at 5 PM. Elevation gained, fully packed bikes and loose trail for the final 16 km kept average speed low.

Running water was scarce; luckily I found these ice fishing holes near our camp. Unfortunately, they were frozen over the next morning.

Running water was scarce; luckily I found these ice fishing holes near our camp. Unfortunately, they were frozen over the next morning.

Day 2

It went down to -18C our first night and -15C our second.

It went down to -18C our first night and -15C our second.

Our camp on Matty's Pond.

Our camp on Matty’s Pond.

The start of Day 2. Blue sky and no wind.

The start of Day 2. Blue sky and no wind.

The riding was fantastic.

The riding was fantastic.

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Mountain take 2

 

Click on the image above to enlarge it, then look for Darren on the ridge line to get perspective on the vastness we were riding in.

Click on the image above to enlarge it, then look for Darren on the ridge line to get perspective on the vastness we were riding in.

We did it!

We did it!

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Everyone wants their photo taken at The Gorge.

Everyone wants their photo taken at The Gorge.

Parks Canada staff were checking for park passes. Yes, we had ours.

Parks Canada staff were checking for park passes. Yes, we had ours.

Leaving The Gorge.

Leaving The Gorge.

We stopped to watch the sledders high-pointing.

We stopped to watch the sledders high-pointing.

A friendly snowmobiler offered me a beer.

A friendly snowmobiler offered me a beer.

Stats for the trip from our camp to Western Brook Pond look off and back. Check out that max speed!

Stats for the trip from our camp to Western Brook Pond look off and back. Check out that max speed!

Day 3

The descent down onto Matty's Pond was a scream; the climb back up, not so much...

The descent down onto Matty’s Pond was a scream; the climb back up, not so much…

Snowmobilers were always courteous and encouraging. (Jeff Spurrell photo)

Snowmobilers were always courteous and encouraging. We were loosing elevation on the way out and the trails were firmer, so it only took 4 hours to reach the car versus 7 hours to get in. (Jeff Spurrell photo)

Wigwam Pond

The weather was lousy all day Tuesday but we did manage to get in a night ride on the Wigwam Pond trail.

The weather was lousy all day Tuesday but we did manage to get in a night ride on the Wigwam Pond trail.

Ten Mile Pond

Ten Mile Pond sits at the base of Gros Morne; anyone who has climbed to the summit has looked down onto this pond.  We went looking for the chance to be on the pond looking up at the summit.

Logistically, this is an easy ride.  Park at the Gros Morne Visitors Centre in Rocky Harbour.  Ride up to Route 430 and across the road you will see a road that leads to Eastern Arm Pond.  Follow the snowmobile tracks.

 

Heading in to Eastern Arm Pond. That is Gros Morne to the right.

Heading in to Eastern Arm Pond. That is Gros Morne to the right.

On Eastern Arm Pond.

On Eastern Arm Pond.

After crossing Eastern Arm Pond the trail twists and turns through a small forest.

After crossing Eastern Arm Pond the trail twists and turns through a small forest.

A river, a forest, mountains and a twisty-turny snowmobile track to follow; fatbiking doesn't get any better than this.

A river, a forest, mountains and a twisty-turny snowmobile track to follow; fatbiking doesn’t get any better than this.

Careful where you step, though...

Careful where you step, though…

(a Darren McD photo)

(a Darren McD photo)

The entrance to Ten Mile Pond. (a Darren McD photo)

The entrance to Ten Mile Pond.
(a Darren McD photo)

Ten Mile Pond with Gros Morne in the background. (a Darren McD photo)

Ten Mile Pond with Gros Morne in the background.
(a Darren McD photo)

(a Darren McD photo)

Click to enlarge for the full perspective. (a Darren McD photo)

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At the end of Ten Mile Pond.

At the end of Ten Mile Pond.

Returning from Ten Mile Pond with The Tablelands in the distance.

Returning from Ten Mile Pond with The Tablelands in the distance.

Stats for our ride into Ten Mile Pond and back.

Stats for our ride into Ten Mile Pond and back.

Tablelands / Trout River

This was our view of The Tablelands. Visibility was poor so we didn't venture up there.

This was our view of The Tablelands. Visibility was poor so we didn’t venture up there.

The postmaster came out to ask if we were the fellows who biked to The Gorge. She had heard the piece on the radio and seen our picture on Facebook.

The postmaster came out to ask if we were the fellows who biked to The Gorge. She had heard the piece on the radio and seen our picture on Facebook.

Link to the radio interview on CBC Corner Brook: click here.

The beach at Trout River.

The beach at Trout River.

The bumper sticker says it best.

The bumper sticker says it best.

Thank you:

  • Tim C for use of your GPS and your local knowledge
  • Darroch W for letting us stay at your house while we were in Rocky Harbour
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fatbike gros morne

From R-L: Darren, Ross and the writer go on an exploratory mission to Gros Morne National Park to see what the potential is for fatbiking.  We are happy to report the news is all good.  (a Darroch W photo)

From R-L: Darren, Ross and the writer go on an exploratory mission to Gros Morne National Park to see what the potential is for fatbiking. We are happy to report the news is all good. (a Darroch W photo)

We stayed at Old Lincoln Cabins, seen here.  We arrived to 30 cm of fresh powder on top of the 400+ cm that had fallen in previous months.

We stayed at Old Lincoln Cabins, seen here. We arrived to 30 cm of fresh powder on top of the 400+ cm that had fallen in previous months.

On Day 1 we left from Rocky Harbour and headed up the town's water supply road, following a fresh snowmobile track.  We were soon rewarded with great views of Gros Morne.  We had to turn back at this pond as we lost the track due to drifting.

On Day 1 we left from Rocky Harbour and headed up the town’s water supply road, following a fresh snowmobile track. We were soon rewarded with great views of Gros Morne. We had to turn back at this pond as we lost the track due to drifting.

Pro tip: Replacing lost fluids after a ride is critical.

Pro tip: Replacing lost fluids after a ride is critical.

Ross demonstrates proper fluid replacement for those of you new to this sport.

Ross demonstrates proper fluid replacement for those of you new to this sport.

Daytime highs were in the minus teens while we were there.  We woke up to -26C one morning.

Daytime highs were in the minus teens while we were there. We woke up to -26C one morning.

Fatbikers are a cultured lot; we attended this artsy evening of poetry and music at the old cottage hospital in Norris Point.

Fatbikers are a cultured lot; we attended this artsy evening of poetry and music at the old cottage hospital in Norris Point.

This is Tom Dawe reading some of his poetry - I liked him a lot.  The highlight of the evening, without a doubt, were Sherman Downey & Matthew Byrne.

This is Tom Dawe reading some of his poetry – I liked him a lot. The highlight of the evening, without a doubt, were Sherman Downey & Matthew Byrne. Yes, that is an old hospital ward room we are in.

Day 2 we left right from our cabin and headed to a feature called The Sinkhole.  We followed high traffic snowmobile trails.

Day 2 we left right from our cabin and headed to a feature called The Sinkhole. We followed high traffic snowmobile trails.

The sections through the trees were lovely.

The sections through the trees were lovely.

Some of the open areas were a bit more difficult, even for our motorized friends.

Some of the open areas were a bit more difficult, even for our motorized friends.

Ross looking boss.

Ross looking boss.

Lots and lots and lots of snow.

Lots and lots and lots of snow.

Fatbike heaven.

Fatbike heaven.

We made it to the warm-up hut at the turnoff to The Sinkhole but couldn't get any further due to drifting.  We were quite a hit with the snowmobile crowd.

We made it to the warm-up hut at the turnoff to The Sinkhole but couldn’t get any further due to drifting. We were quite a hit with the snowmobile crowd.

Day 3, our last day, was the best by far.  Here we are driving in to Rocky Harbour to meet up with Darrock W who works for Parks Canada and is an old roadie aquaintence of mine from "back in the day".  We brought a fatbike for him and in return he guided us on an excellent ride, cooked us moose burgers and had a great selection of beer waiting at his house.

Day 3, our last day, was the best by far. Here we are driving in to Rocky Harbour to meet up with Darrock W who works for Parks Canada and is an old roadie aquaintence of mine from “back in the day”. We brought a fatbike for him and in return he guided us on an excellent ride, cooked us moose burgers and had a great selection of beer waiting at his house.

Gros Morne to my right, primo trail to my left.  Happy.

Gros Morne to my right, primo trail to my left. Happy.

We had some blue sky and light winds to start the day.

We had some blue sky and light winds to start the day.

Darroch.

Darroch.

PnS 046

The descent into Bakers Brook Pond was an absolute scream!

The descent into Bakers Brook Pond was an absolute scream! (a Darroch W photo)

Some friends of Darroch's had the cabin at Bakers Brook booked, so we stopped there for lunch.

Some friends of Darroch’s had the cabin at Bakers Brook booked, so we stopped there for lunch.

On our way out.

On our way out.

PnS 050

This was our route, 30 km total, starting and ending at the Visitors Centre in Rocky Harbour.

This was our route, 30 km total, starting and ending at the Visitors Centre in Rocky Harbour. That is Gros Morne in the upper right and Bakers Brook Pond in upper left. (a Darroch W image)

Random bits

  • we stayed at Old Lincoln Cabins.  4 nights cost us $225 each, taxes in.
  • we would stay there again – the owners, Luann and Carter, went out of their way to be helpful.  There is a barn with a woodstove to store bikes in and an outdoor hot tub. Coyle’s general store is one minute away. The only minor complaints were no cell service there and a weak Wi-Fi signal.
  • we ate a great meal at The Jackladder, just 10 minutes from where we stayed.
  • having some local knowledge from Darroch was invaluable.  Thanks again from all of us.
  • we barely scratched the surface of what is possible  in Gros Morne.  Given that it is the only national park in Canada that allows snowmobiles it stands to reason that it will have the greatest potential for fatbiking of any national park.