This is part two of my walk report on my hike of the East Coast Trail. By dividing it up, I can share more about the hike and the not-hike; the days off the trail and some of the other thoughts I had on the subject.
Day 5 Deadman’s Bay Path, St. John’s to Blackhead. 10.6 km
This day took me through the east end of the town, and along Southshore Road to get to the trail head. I passed some of the official working harbour, coast guard (or should I say Coast Guard) until I finally arrive at Fort Amherst. It was a shame to have missed the little lighthouse at the end, but after little sleep, I needed to get on that path. It was a fairly steep clamber up, but like most of the trails, it was not as long as expected. The plateau of the South Side Hills was tundra like with a series of lost lakes along its depressions. The climb down was work, but uneventful and before going across the rock bar dividing Fresh Water bay from the lake, I passed a group of students taking a bbq pic-nic break.
I took my own break on the shorter peninsula just after Small Point. It was not a long hike from there to Blackhead Bay. My Air BnB host came and collected me, and I was able to prepare for my transfer to the stage the next day.
Day 0 Rest Day, move to The Stage
So it is grey and chilly and I have so far managed the first of the “Stage Challenges”, make a fire. Fire, fir, it was the fir that saved me, coni of the first name. The last building on the north side of the St. John’s harbour, it is a quaint, messy cabin from which I can hear the constant lapping of the waves. Before Steve pulled away, he nailed two boards across the deck that is now the entrance to the Stage; an attempt to discourage the many passers-by from stopping for a break.
I will try and write until my power runs out since that is not in great supply here.
As a rest day my other goals are to find accommodation further south on the trail, catch up with this writing and read as long as there is sun. Maybe I can avoid a run into town – which is on view from my two windows, but we will see.
There was no need to go back into town, but my first nights’ sleep was somewhat poor until I remembered my puffy coat that I added to my three other layers. The next nights were perfectly toasty with the addition of a full on duvet.
Day 6 Blackhead Path, Cape Spear Path; Blackhead to Maddox Cove 15.2 km
Returned to Blackhead by cab, and found the trail head. It was a sunny day, and the views back to Blackhead and the previous walk were stunning. Fairly straight forward walking. I experienced my first rain, but only for a short while and it coincided with me taking a pass at Cape Spear, the most eastern point in North America. This second section was a long lovely walk across a sea-side meadow. I crossed paths with hiker Bob, who was on the third leg of his East Coast Trail adventure and it was nice to see a friendly face. I was touched by the kindness of two hikers who found my green nerd pouch and returned it as they blasted past me. Another detour out to Lady Point where I settled down for a quick snack, and then onward past the many coves of Motion Bay to Maddox Cove. It was my first weekend hike and boy, could I tell; I never saw so many other hikers.
Day 7, Mickeleens Path, Beaches Path, Tinkers Point Path; Bay Bulls to Tors Cove, 18.4 km(no wonder I was so tired)
It was my third combined-path day, and I had my doubts at the beginning, given that I didn’t start walking until 11:00. I caught a shuttle to O’Brian’s Boat Tours in Bay Bulls. The great bit about the first path, Beaches, was that one stayed close to the water. The smells, sounds and views were very different from other days. Points to remember, the great smell of the woods when I’m finally on the path. The smell of the ocean sometimes, and of the fallen leaves. The sound of the rocks being rolled smooth by the waves, almost like thunder. The sound, constant, of waves breaking on rocks, and cliffs and beaches.
Another moment I enjoyed was at Tinkers Point with its clear and open view around; you could feel the route turn toward the final leg of the day, which ended up being another meander down farm lanes. A shout out to the people who made the day doable; Jocelyn at O’Brians in Saint-John’s for the encouragement, Loyola (what a name) who brought me to my first trail head, Paul, who made little of the 5.4 km Witless Bay Community Link by picking me up and Edna, my hostess with the mostess, who came looking for me, all the way to Ambroses Lane, which was just a sample of her kindness in the days that followed.