30 Nov Long Range Traverse: In-depth
Hiking the Long Range Traverse
The Long Range Traverse located in western Newfoundland, takes you across 3 freshwater fjords over 4 days in Gros Morne National park, including 10 Mile Pond and Western Brook Pond. During the 38 km trek you will cross rivers, traverse a series of hills and deep valleys with a mix of low shrubs (tuckamore), bog, rock outcrops, streams and lakes. The Long Range Traverse is not a trail, it is a back-country route, which is generally wet, rough, remote and inaccessible.
Weather can be extreme with highs reaching 30°C+, and lows near 0°C, therefore preparing for the trip we strongly advise that you take the appropriate, high quality clothing (NO COTTON), boots, backpack and sleeping bag. For more information, please take the time to look at our equipment list. Please note the black flies and mosquitoes can be extremely annoying throughout the summer so it would be wise to pack a bug net/jacket.
Finally, drinking water. Please bring your own method of water treatment – chemical or mechanical. Steve has contracted giardia
twice three times while trekking in western Newfoundland… it won’t ruin your trip as it takes a few weeks to really kick in. There is plenty of fresh water along the route with numerous ponds and brooks (can make navigating difficult in the fog!).
Day 1 - The Beginning
10km, 500 meter climb
After getting dropped at the eastern end of the pond and its Jurassic Park like micro climate, we start the ascent of the gorge (4km and 400 meters) to the parks most recognizable view – Western Brook Pond. It’s a tough climb to say the least, where people often have to use their hands to grip, boulders, roots, whatever they can, to hoist themselves up… to say it’s a trail would be misleading. If it’s raining, you would be hard pressed to not get your feet wet, as you’re often walking in river beds.
Depending on time, weather, and how the group feels, we either camp overlooking western brook pond (5 km, and 150 meters) or continue on to Little Island Pond (6.5 km) and supper! Supper consists of pasta and rice mixtures with dehydrated assortment of vegetables, sauces, and spices…. and we don’t forget desert either!
Day 2 - Western Brook Pond View to Hardings Pond
We usually aim for an 8- 8:30 a.m start, meaning we are up bright and early at 7:00 am. Breakfast consists of hot cereal mixed with dehydrated fruit (mango, strawberry, banana), and hot tea or coffee. (Coffee tastes so much better in the back-country!). We will caution, although the big climb -and what most people describe as the hardest part- is behind us, some people find day 2 harder, perhaps when the sun’s out and it’s hot, or residual tiredness carrying over from the exertion on day 1.
The sights and sounds of Western Brook Pond are an amazing experience to wake up to, and as we crest a ridge and lose it’s view, we look south to the interior of the Long Range Mountains. It’s a 5.5 km walk by glacially carved ponds, alpine meadows, streams, and granite outcrops until our first river crossing (10th km), where there will be no bridge for help!
Despite being up on the alpine plateau, we will still see (and hike) plenty of rolling hills as we continue on to Hardings Pond, another 3.5km (13.5km) which requires a good 150 meter climb until we descend to the pond, where we skirt the westerly end before a short climb to our camping spot for the night (16km). The groups pace, fatigue and time of day all come into play on deciding where the group stays, and whether or not we can continue on to potential camp sites #2 (17km) .
Day 3 - Hardings Pond to 10 Mile Pond
Day 3! We start bright and early again with the option of a 5km return hike to Bakers Brook Pond view Point! The decision will be solely up to the guide, and based upon group pace, fatigue and timing.
Guests take note of the changing landscape as it becomes more harsh, changing from lightly forested alpine pastures, to rocky ridges, and exposed granite… the hills become shorter and steeper. We make our last river crossing after 5 km at Green Island Pond (22km), just after the Parks Canada Campsite, and continue onto our campsite overlooking 10 mile pond (24.5km) – it makes for amazing sunsets!!
Day 4 - 10 Mile to Finish!
At last, the final day! At this point, people are often planning their post trip meals, thinking of hots showers and warm beds… but don’t let your thoughts get to far from you as we still have another 10km to cover, a full day of hiking, where we get to see Gros Morne Mountain – the second highest point in Newfoundland – Ferry Gulch hanging valley, and Bonne Bay.
It’s common for guests to get a felling of wanting to be done, especially after 4 days of hiking in buggy hot weather, or cold rainy weather, however, we treat the final day as we did the previous three, taking lots of breaks, having a lunch and taking our time. If we get out early, great! However, most of the time we finish up around 4:00 p.m.
Finally I should note depending on the time of year, early July mostly, there can be significant amounts of snow on the trail.
The Long Range Traverse is located in Western Newfoundland, near the towns of Norris Point, and Rocky Harbour.
The nearest Airport is Located about an hours drive, in Deer Lake, with Flights from Air Canada and WestJet. If driving, take the Ferry From Nova Scotia (North Sydney to Port Aux Basque)
There is no trail, and you must be experienced in Map and Navigation. It is 35km long, however, the distance is no indication of the difficulty. Typically people take 3-5 days, and it is open from mid-June to Mid-September depending on snow coverage and weather.
You need a reservation to hike the route. The park limits the number of people on trail each day. Visit the Gros Morne National Park Website to make a reservation.
You are required to attend an orientation session the day before your start, make sure you include that in your travel plans. Your group leader will need to pass a map and compass test.
Finally, to start the route you need to take a boat to the head of Western Brook Pond via Bon Tours. You end at the Gros Morne Mountain Trail Head, about a 45 minute drive from the start.
If you need a knowledge guide, please contact us
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