There are rare moments in time where life comes along and slaps us across the face.
For me that was hiking to the top of the bottom of the earth. I was visiting friends in Gros Morne National Park, Newfoundland a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We were setting out to hike the Tablelands; a 1000 foot high rock formation of the Earth’s mantle that had been thrust to the surface millions of years ago during a tectonic plate collision. It has no clear paths or marked routes, we had to navigate the path of least resistance ourselves. My timing was perfect, it was August and the snow had almost melted from the top.
The Tablelands consist of rough rocks, stones and boulders in a deep burned rust colour that seemed to glow against the powder blue sky. Equipped with my hiking boots and a backpacked filled with water and snacks we set out to conquer the ancient beast. Hiking on rocks on an increasing incline is tricky. A few centimetres of a miss mark and you have rolled your ankle. Each step must be mindful and requires consent concentration. After a few hours of this my feet were throbbing, my lungs were raw and I was certain I was about to collapse. Yet my two feet and stubborn perserverance continued to carry me forward. I was focused, determined to reach the top, to prevail over nature, to be a success. I was so engrossed in reaching my destination that I almost missed the beauty of this incredible journey. Because of the toxic amounts of heavy metals in the rocks not much vegetation can grow on the tablelands. It is how I picture Mars looking; rust coloured dry rocks covering everything, barren landscape, cool air and not a soul in site.
When we finally reached the top I lost my breath, not from the climb but from the shear, raw beauty before me. I was literally in awe. I was witness to all of Gros Morne. The lush green rolling hills falling into the dark blue sea. The barren valley below from which I climbed and only the clouds above me. Unable to speak or move I let the beauty of the place surround me. All of the pain and fatigue faded away in a fog that the cool air took down to sea. It was difficult to catch my breath as I realized I was standing on something that was UNDER the ground millions of years ago. I knelt down to pick up one of the jagged rocks that had been my nemesis for the past four hours. This little piece of peridotite had been around since the dinosaurs. That’s the thing about life, in the moments when you least expect it, it suddenly makes you feel very small. Like a tiny grain of sand in the hour glass of time.
Would you like to experience this epic adventure? Tour Gros Morne leads private guided hikes from June-October