Backpacking the Long Range Traverse in Gros Morne National Park: Day 2

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I left you a while ago at the top of the gorge after my first day of backpacking the Long Range Traverse in Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park.

Today I’m back on the trail and continuing the journey under slightly cloudy skies with a few rain showers – thankfully the only rain we see at all in four days.

The scenery on day one definitely packed more of a punch than day two, but cloudy skies always skew my impression.

We started the day with a quick descent to the campsite where most people spend night one. It’s been washed out so there’s only one tent platform and it was terribly buggy so I’m thankful we were allowed to camp at the top of the gorge.

"normal campsire on Day one on Little Island Pond"

This is the normal campsite on Day one – very glad we didn’t stay here

From there we ran into one of the few navigation challenges on the whole trip, heading in the opposite direction than we should have been, but fortunately only for about 15 minutes. We followed game trails instead of looking at the map – but never repeated that mistake again.

"Trying to get our bearings"

Trying to get our bearings – and retracing our steps on and off for 15 minutes

Showers showed up a few hours into the days hike, but no hard rain. And we never had fog on the entire trip which can make navigation a nightmare.

You do have to cross a stream to get by Mark’s Pond. We elected to do it on the east side to save some time. From there it was a climb to the top of a hill, some of it on snow. You could generally follow a trail through here though we did refer often to the map to make sure we reached certain landmarks.

"A pack cover is essential"

A pack cover is essential

"The area near Mark Pond"

The area near Marks Pond

"Crossed a number of snow fields in early July"

Crossed a number of snow fields in early July

It was a soggy and straightforward hike down towards the warden’s cabin overlooking Hardings Lake. The last part of the hike involved a steep descent. Along the way we stopped to enjoy numerous bird sightings including blackpoll warblers, white-throated and chipping sparrows, fox sparrows and a greater yellowlegs once we were on the lake. We didn’t see any large animals on day two.

"The warden's cabin on Hardings Pond"

The warden’s cabin on Hardings Pond

"By evening the weather turned for the better"

By evening the weather turned for the better

The campsite, a muddy and boggy one, was my least favourite on the trip. There are a couple of tent platforms up from the lake that might offer a bit of blackfly relief. A head net would come in handy here – as would bug dope.

As evening rolled around the skies cleared and it actually looked very beautiful. We spent an hour or so after our dinner walking the higher ridges and admiring the views.

"The view over Hardings Pond from the upper tent platforms"

The view over Hardings Pond from the upper tent platforms

"Moose tracks on the beach"

Moose tracks on the beach

"New ferns just coming out"

New ferns just coming out

"Backpacking the Long Range Traverse"

The area around the campsite is very beautiful especially in this light

"Mesmerized by the light"

Mesmerized by the light

"Pools of patterned water"

Pools of patterned water

"The Long Range Traverse in Newfoundland"

John checking out the scenery from a high point

"The magic hour over Hardings Pond"

The magic hour over Hardings Pond

All told it took us just over five hours to hike from the top of the gorge to Hardings Pond, including a lunch stop. That left plenty of time for an afternoon nap and some time for reading as well.

You can read about our first day on the Long Range Traverse here.

Have you considered backpacking the Long Range Traverse? There’s still time this year and the bugs are dying off.

Thank you to Western Newfoundland Tourism with help on some parts of this trip.

Leigh McAdam

HikeBikeTravel
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