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Tuesday, June 05, 2012

My Favorite Small Outfitters, Bob Hicks at Gros Morne Adventures


In the summer of 2002, I had the pleasure of backpacking the stunning Long Range Traverse, on assignment for Backpacker magazine. Nestled within Newfoundland’s Gros Morne National Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unique combination of quartzite rock and wetland terrain, the Long Range Mountains could very well be the one of the last remnants of pristine wilderness within a three-hour flight of New York and Boston. There were no manicured trails with requisite wooden signs showing us which way to go and exact mileage to get there. The Long Range Traverse is a 35 kilometer semi-circular route where topo maps and a compass are a necessity to find your way among the web of caribou paths. Indeed, caribou and moose far outnumbered the four other backpackers we saw on the four-day traverse, averaging one hiker per day. 
With limited amount of time, my friend and I decided to hire an outfitter, Bob Hicks, co-owner of Gros Morne Adventures. The advantage of having a guide is obviously you won’t get lost for hours, sliding knee-deep in the muck or coming out of the brush with sharp tuckamore branches nesting in your hair (tuckamore is Newfoundland’s version of the stunted balsam tree, comparable in appearance to krummholz in the Alps). You also won’t miss the slight detours from the route that lead to striking overlooks above three landlocked fjords. I’m sure you’ve seen a version of this photo on many advertisements for clothing and travel. This is a shot of Bob Hicks taken by my buddy, Jeff Katz. 


Posted by Steve Jermanok on 06/05/12 at 12:00 PM
Hiking • (3) CommentsPermalink Bookmark and Share


Thanks for the article, Steve! That seems like a long way from Chingachgook. You've included a beautiful picture, too. I wish I could click on the embedded pictures to enlarge them ...

Picture of Kyle Baxter Comment by Kyle Baxter
on 06/05/12 at 08:15 PM

Thanks Kyle! You'd love this little tidbit. We were hiking with our guide up to the peak shown in the photo. We had spent the previous night camping with a former Marine who insisted on hiking alone. We were eating lunch on the peak the next day when we spotted the Marine bushwhacking through the thick forest. When he reached us, he was bleeding and exhausted. "You don't mind if I hike with you the rest of the route?" he asked. Have a great trip to Scotland!

Picture of Steve Jermanok Comment by Steve Jermanok
on 06/05/12 at 08:38 PM

Hahaha. That's funny, Steve. Marines can be pretty hard headed, but they learn sooner or later. As officers, we did a LOT of land navigation in the Corps using topographic maps and compasses. In peacetime, I'd rather use marked trails any day! I'll let you know about Scotland when we return. I'm looking forward to haggis, blood pudding, and LOTS of Scotch!

Picture of Kyle Baxter Comment by Kyle Baxter
on 06/05/12 at 11:02 PM

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Longtime Boston Globe travel writer, Steve Jermanok, dishes out his favorite travel locales and provides topical travel information that comes across his desk. is an Austin-Lehman Adventure's Top 125 Best Travel Blog Semi-Finalist

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