After planning, unsuccessfully, to snow shoe to the top of Pic a Tenerife on my two previous trips to Gros Morne South this winter, I finally made time to get to the summit over my Easter break. Pic a Tenerife is a rare jagged peak that is located in the granite hills that lie just south west of the Tablelands in Gros Morne National Park. The 479 meter peak looks quite out of place among the flattened plateaus of the surrounding hillsides, and was once an ocean reef when eons ago this area was submerged under the sea. For me the hike was well worth the wait, as the view is probably the best view that I've seen during all of my excursions in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The Pic is located in Southwest Gulch, and access to it can be gained by both trails outlined in that trip report. One is a long gradual rise, while the other is short, but steep. It makes a great day trip if you are spending a few days in the park operated ski chalet. From the chalet in Southwest Gulch you make your way up over the steep wooded slope to the right of the cabin to the until you reach the top of the saddle-shaped mountain. Just keep in a straight line across the top, dipping down, and then rising back up as you near the summit.
The back of the peak looks quite different than the view from the front, and is basically a barren, bald, hill that is rounded on the back before dropping into a sheer cliff on the front. At the top little grows, except for the Tuckamore and the other dwarfed trees that creep along the ground like a snake. In the valley just 20 meters below Birch and Black Spruce grow to normal size, but look like giants compared to their nearby cousins.
The view from the summit is an absolutely breathtaking panoramic of Bonne Bay and the majestic Tablelands. The communities that line the south shore of the bay are reduced to tiny specs and on a clear day you can see past Rocky Harbour to the Northern Peninsula in the north. For ten minutes I could do little more than just sit there and take it all in. Growing up I had spent plenty of time in Bonne Bay, but seeing it from this new perspective was eye opening to say the least. I finally managed to break out my camera for a few shots before heading back.
Whichever route you choose to take you back, it will be much easier because it is all downhill. I didn't bring a pair of skis on this trip and I was wishing for them when the late afternoon sun began to overheat me on the way home. For experienced skier's there are plenty of wide open tree runs to be found on the way back down the reef. There are plenty of moose along the trail and if you are lucky you might spot one grazing in one of the many cutovers that exist all along the park boundary.
This route is a must do for anyone planning to visit Gros Morne South, winter or summer. The countryside is beautiful and the views are just plain stunning. It is a fairly safe route, but always be aware of snowmobiles that may be traveling in the area, and make sure not to wander too close to the edge. It is a long fall! One more thing if you want a partner for this route I'd be happy to go againÂ—so drop me a line.
Take route 430 from Deer Lake and follow it to route 431 at Wiltondale. Take route 431 into Bonne Bay South. See the report for Southwest Gulch for more information on directions.
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