Explore the past, experience the beauty
Hiding between the great Tablelands and the vast Atlantic Ocean sits quiet Trout River. While proclaiming itself to be Newfoundland’s best kept vacation secret, a more accurate account would be Canada’s best kept secret. This destination should be on every travellers list when exploring Newfoundland. Situated 86km from Deer Lake International Airport, in the glorious Gros Morne National Park, it is a rare and beautiful find nestled within another rare and beautiful find.
Begin the day with a zodiac ride and guided tour with Ocean Quest around Trout River Pond.
You will get up close views of the Tablelands which are large desert-like mountains that at one time were under the earth’s crust. These dry, sandy rarities are pieces of the earth’s mantle that were thrust up when the tectonic plates crashed together several hundred million years ago. It is one of only a few places in the world where you can not only see, but walk on the earth’s mantle.
Gliding down the royal blue waters of Trout River Pond with the dusty, rust coloured Tablelands to the left and lush green mountains to your right, it is hard not feel very small. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience that should be on every travellers bucket list.
Our guide, Ryan, was amazing and would stop the boat at different points to explain to us exactly what it was we were looking at. He informed it is the only place in the world where you can see Moho rock, an under layer of the earth’s crust. Ryan explained the geological make up of our surroundings in a way that made it easy to understand and extremely interesting. He is incredibly knowledgeable and passionate with everything he talks about. When this point was brought up to him, he stated,
“Most Newfoundlanders really love where they are from and really love talking about it. If you can share a piece of Newfoundland with someone and bring a smile to their face, then it’s a good day.”
Our tour of Trout River Pond was definitely a good day, everyone left the boat smiling.
Once back on land it is time to discover the Town of Trout River. The salty sea air teases your nose as the waves crash upon the sandy shore. A charming boardwalk lines the beachfront with brightly coloured houses framing the backdrop to complete the perfect postcard photo. It appears that this town could be a Long Beach, Wasaga Beach or Sauble Beach; all of which are Canadian tourist beach towns. Packed with people all summer long but there is hardly anyone here in Trout River which adds greatly to its charm. It is as though you have stumbled upon a place that time has forgotten; a place where there are no tacky tourist shops. Hand knit items made with love hang from clothes lines on the lawns of Trout River residents, waiting for you to knock on the door to purchase them.
A small fishing village snuggled into a sheltered cove on the coast, Trout River was first settled in 1815. It is working to preserve its fishing heritage by showing visitors a glimpse into the traditional way of life for an Atlantic fisherman. Marsha Crocker, a local fisherwoman leads the Wave Over Wave Heritage Walk. This informative walk starts at The Jacob A. Crocker Historical House, a museum house built by one of the first settlers in Trout River. The tour continues down the boardwalk to Fishermen’s Museum. She guides you through what life was like as a Trout River resident in the past and what it is like today. Marsha informs on the breeding cycle of lobster and caplin as well as how to clean and salt a cod fish. She also explains how the current fishermen of Trout River found that the crab population was depleting so they took it upon themselves, without the interference of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, to put a stop to the crab fishing for two years. This allowed for their population to replenish. It was quite the blow to the fishermen’s income, but was necessary in order to preserve their income for the future.
“Trout River has always been a fishing town and hopefully always will be,” Marsha said.
The walk finishes in perfect time to catch the workshop at the Interpretive Centre. Every Tuesday at 3:00pm throughout the summer there are different cultural workshops that include learning to play the spoons, making an ugly stick and building and racing your own boat.
Late afternoon is the perfect time to enjoy a beautiful hike that gives you a bird’s eye view of this charming town. Take a moment to sit, listen to the waves, breath the sweet salty air and watch the town below. It feels like time won’t even find you here. Just don’t sit too long or you will miss Passing the Time in Trout River, a musical and cultural experience not to be missed. Every Tuesday at 8:00pm Passing the Time in Trout River hosts local musicians and story tellers to amuse and enlighten visitors.
Mike Madigan was hosting and entertained the audience on guitar, spoons and bass. We were then charmed by the tales of Zach Sacrey, a quiet, mild-mannered, unassuming man and an amazing story teller. Be sure to listen carefully for he speaks softly, but with great wisdom, humour and love for Newfoundland. The entertainment continued with a button accordion player named Lloyd Hollett and a guitarist named Guy Romaine. Together, they played songs that told the story of the fishermen in towns like Trout River and the hardships they faced after the Cod Moratorium. You could almost feel the fishermen’s pain through the haunting notes they played.
A day spent in Trout River will leave you feeling educated by having a glimpse into the challenging life of a fisherman, inspired by the raw and ancient beauty of the Tablelands and entertained by the music and stories of the people. It is a destination not to be missed while exploring Newfoundland. Passing the time and the other events take place through the summer months
Ocean Quest Zodiac Tours run every day @ 9:00am, 11:00am, 2:00pm, 4:00pm for 2 hr for $89 www.oceanquestnl.com
Wave Over Wave Heritage Walk takes place Tuesdays & Thursdays at 2:00pm, commencing at the Interpretation Centre
Passing the Time in Trout River is every Tuesday night from 8:00-9:30 www.townoftroutriver.com