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Wednesday, May 24, 2023

Steady Brook Falls and Marble Mountain

Wednesday, May 24, 2023 

Marble Mountain is a major monument that looms over the Humber River and Corner Brook in Newfoundland.  It is the base for a Doppler Radar installation, and it is a well-loved local ski resort.  We learned that two of the area's most interesting hikes are to climb to Steady Brook Falls, which tumbles down a ravine on one side of Marble Mountain, and then climb the mountain itself to the top of the ski runs.  We decided to give it a try.  We found the trailhead:

Our trail clambered up some long staircases and the side of a slope, past a few zipline platforms, and then we burst out on this view of Steady Brook Falls:

Look at this video to see how much water was rushing over the falls. 

From the viewpoint for the falls, we moved steadily up the mountain until we reached "Country Road," a gravel road that climbs the mountain and doubles in the winter as one of the ski runs.  We heard that it is possible to find a trail out to the top of the falls, so we sought that out.  Finally, we found a break in the trees leading off Country Road in the direction of the roar of the water, and decided to try it, even though it looked as if it had not been maintained in some years.

Below, Kathy straddles a tree that was impertinent enough to fall over the trail.  Where is the trail maintenance crew when we need it?

Eventually, we reached a point where Kathy found an overlook with a view of the water as it spilled over the top of the falls --

-- and David found a lost Nike sandal, discarded on a steep trail down to the water's edge where the torrent threatened to pull any bystanders over the edge with it:

That was already enough adventure for one hike; but we still had a mountain to climb, so off we set in search of the top of Marble Mountain.
As we climbed, the air got colder and, in the shadows, larger and larger patches of snow remained.  Kathy decided to honor this snowy patch with its own snowy inuksuk or snowman (as you prefer):

By this time, we were walking up a steep gravel road.  Periodically, we encountered gushing, tumbling cascades that found their way through culverts under the road:

Beautiful spring flowers -- yellow as dandelions, but more resembling small daisies -- were springing up along the roadside, even as patches of snow hung on stubbornly:

 We approached the top and encountered our first signpost naming the ski runs descending from where we stood, which was the top of the chairlift:

There was still enough snow at the top of the chairlift that, looking down the slope, we might have thought it would be possible to ski down:

The road itself remained clear, and we walked it around to another junction of ski trails where, past the signboard, we could see the city of Corner Brook and the Humber Arm flowing out toward Bay of Islands in the distance:

Looking the other direction, to the East, upstream along the Humber River, we could see the Trans-Canada Highway following it in the direction we would take this Friday, toward Deer Lake, before turning northwest and heading toward Gros Morne National Park:

One of our objectives on the climb was to see the Doppler Radar installation on the top of Marble Mountain.  We imagined that it would be near the high end of the chairlift, but we discovered it was yet more than another half mile of climbing to get to it, and we were hungry for lunch and had plans for after the hike.  So we decided to pause in the chairlift area and simply gaze on the radar equipment from afar:

At this elevation, the temperature had gotten significantly colder and the winds were brisk, so we had to layer up and look for a sheltered spot to eat our lunch.  Dave found a large rock in the lee of a rock ledge, where he had the company of a snowdrift as he munched his peanut butter and jelly sandwich (on sourdough, he points out):

We rested a bit, rehydrated, digested our lunch a mite, and then stretched our stiff legs to start the 2 mile hike straight downhill.  The total mileage for the hike was 5 miles (2 miles up and 2 miles down, with side trips), and our elevation gain over 1200 feet, which made for steep walking, although the road was less strenuous than a trail would have been.

Nevertheless, by the time we reached our Jeep, we had built up a powerful thirst, and repaired to Broomstick Brewing in downtown Corner Brook to sample some of their locally brewed beers.  Kathy added a little protein from salmon skewers and curried chick peas to her meal; David merely sampled small bites of Kathy's dish.

With that, we headed back to Ruby the Adventure Cat, some chores around the RV, and a scrumptious dinner of Poached Halibut and Stir-Fried Garlic Scapes à la Kathleen, which filled our bellies and put us in the mood for a restful sleep.

Tomorrow is mainly logistics, and the next day we move on to our next campground, so we may not have another blog entry for you for a few days.

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