Local News

Scouting The North Arm Hills
12-08-2013

On June 28-29, 2013, IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol and IATNL member Ryan Oxford guided a group of Boy Scouts and their leaders from Millbrook, Ontario on a two-day trek of the North Arm Hills. The adventure began in Cox's Cove with a one-hour boat ride by True North Charters & Tours across Middle and North Arms of the Bay of Islands to Stowbridge's Cove at the base of North Arm Hill.

After being ferried ashore by Captain's mate Joey,

the group took the official "expedition portrait", then headed out along the shore for the base of North Arm Hill.

Before beginning the 2,000ft vertical ascent, they encountered a young caribou by the ocean, perhaps drawn to the salt water.

Like the more famous Tablelands - as well as the Lewis Hills and Blow Me Down Mountains - the North Arm Hills are ultramafic behemoths with a colorful tectonic legacy. The rust-colored mountains of peridotite are part of the earth's mantle forced to the planet's surface by continental collision, where they oxidized when exposed to the earth's atmosphere.

The climb provides magnificent views of the outer Bay of Islands and Stowbridge's Gulch,

IATNL member Ryan Oxford taking a scenic break above Stowbridge's Gulch

while the large serpentine barrens at top are reminiscent of a martian landscape.

Crossing the headwaters of Stowbridge's Brook, one almost immediately enters a vastly different environment, with rust-colored rocky barrens transforming into a lush green gently sloping valley

that leads to the Liverpool ravine, not far from the two kilometer-long ponds that feed the wild river valley.

Here one will find a nice large campsite above a small tributary

just minutes from a series of refreshing waterfalls, ideal for a cool dip on a hot summer day!

IAT Chairperson Paul Wylezol cooling off after a long day's hike

Day Two began with a backtrack up the gentle grassy slope that follows a small stream, before returning to Stowbridge's Cove via the opposite - right - bank of serpentine barrens.

From the 2,000ft height of land before descending a long slope to the mid-mountain plateau between Stowbridge's and Liverpool valleys, hikers - and a pair of rock ptarmigan

receive a terrific panoramic view of the surrounding sea and landscapes.

Once at the plateau below, Paul and Ryan leave the group of scouts - and a solo moose

to descend into and explore the lower reaches of Liverpool Brook,

which required 5-6 kilometers of rock hopping stream crossing head dunking adventure!

Once back on the beach and aboard the True North charter, the group headed back to Cox's Cove, but not before stopping for a chat with a large group of sea-kayakers about to pull up at Stowbridge's for the night.

Along the way, the tired and relieved group of IAT scouts were serenaded by Captain Tony Oxford and his first mate wife Joan, who did a fine job playing a collection of traditional Newfoundland tunes. A nice finish to a great two-day adventure in North Arm, Bay of Islands!