Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Gros Morne, Newfoundland
In the summer of 2002, I had the pleasure of backpacking the stunning Long Range Traverse, on assignment for Backpacker magazine. Nestled within Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unique combination of quartzite rock and wetland terrain, the Long Range Mountains could very well be the one of the last remnants of pristine wilderness within a three-hour flight of New York and Boston. There were no manicured trails with requisite wooden signs showing us which way to go and exact mileage to get there. The Long Range Traverse is a 35 kilometer semi-circular route where topo maps and a compass are a necessity to find your way among the web of caribou paths. Indeed, caribou and moose far outnumbered the four other backpackers we saw on the four-day traverse, averaging one hiker per day.
With limited amount of time, my friend and I decided to hire an outfitter, Bob Hicks, co-owner of Gros Morne Adventures. The advantage of having a guide is obviously you won’t get lost for hours, sliding knee-deep in the muck or coming out of the brush with sharp tuckamore branches nesting in your hair (tuckamore is Newfoundland’s version of the stunted balsam tree, comparable in appearance to krummholz in the Alps). You also won’t miss the slight detours from the route that lead to striking overlooks above three landlocked fjords. I’m sure you’ve seen a version of this photo on many advertisements for clothing and travel. This is a shot of Bob Hicks taken by my buddy, Jeff Katz.
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily at Active Travels.