Last week while we were waiting to go into the Warehouse Theatre in Cow Head to see Theatre Newfoundland Labrador’s acclaimed play “The Known Soldier,” we were chatting with some visitors on a bus tour.
They told us they had seen icebergs, been to L’anse aux Meadows and had even seen Red Bay, Labrador.
“The only thing we haven’t seen is a moose” one fellow told us. “Well you are in the right spot since Gros Morne National Park has lots of moose” we told him, “it is just that they are hard to find in the summer.”
Had they not been on a bus tour we would have told them to try one of the hiking trails in the park since that is where we most commonly have seen moose at this time of year. In fact, the day before on our drive to Cow Head from Corner Brook, we stopped to hike the Baker’s Brook Falls trail and saw three moose, two of which were quite close to the trail. Last summer when we were hiking the Western Brook Pond trail we saw a moose just 20 metres from the trail.
The 10 kilometre (return) Baker’s Brook Falls trail is located in Berry Hill Campground near Rocky Harbour and takes anywhere from two to three hours to complete. It had been many years since we had done this trail, so we were interested to see if there had been many changes to it. The trail is a mix of boardwalk and packed soil trail and is generally flat although there are some steps down to Baker’s Brook when you get close to the falls. The main attraction of this trail is the series of waterfalls that occur on Baker’s Brook which drains Baker’s Brook Pond which is just upstream. In the bogs there are pitcher plants and in the drier areas there is a balsam fir-spruce forest. Also keep your eye out for various wildflowers, depending on the season that grow along the trail’s edge.
Perhaps the biggest change that we could recall is a large area in the middle of the hike where few trees have come back from a previous insect infestation. The bushes and trees have been heavily browsed by moose and they still evidently like this area since we saw three on our hike. The park even created an enclosure in 2009 which basically keeps moose out of a fenced in area. As you walk through the enclosure you don’t have to be a biologist to see the big difference in the height and density of the vegetation and it really shows what kind of an impact the moose are having on the vegetation in this part of the park. There are also many interpretative signs along the trail which help to explain what you are seeing. The trail ends along Baker’s Brook where three different lookout platforms give you varying views of the falls. Be sure to walk to the end to get the final view which is the best.
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org