Completing the East Coast Trail!

Hi folks! This week I hiked the Island Meadow Path and the Bear Cove Point Path, thus finishing my East Coast Trail trek! I guess you could call that a lifetime through-hike. I think I’m a ways off from an actual through-hike given the aches and pains I’m experiencing today!

When you hike alone, transportation can be a bit of an issue, and on this hike, I was lucky to find help at every turn. The hike, initially a three-day walk starting in Cappahayden and ending in Aquaforte, started with help from a stranger: I asked on Facebook and found Chris who dropped me from one trailhead to the other. I later was offered a ride between trailheads in Renews by a nice guy named Terry, and finally, after bailing on the Spurwink Island Path leg, I was picked up by some kind strangers whose names I didn’t get and dropped back to my vehicle in Aquaforte. Only in Newfoundland.

On to the hike! The Island Meadow Path starts crossing the meadows at the edge of Cappahayden, crossing behind private properties before reaching the edge of the small town. Once the trail enters the woods, it starts to get wet, and this is the story for about 75% of this trail: wet and muddy. By the time I got off of it I was muddy to my knees. Along with this, of course, comes a large number of black flies: every time I stopped to get a drink, I was mobbed. I’m sure the numbers were sufficient to carry me away. I didn’t stop long enough to find out.

That said, there is some spectacular scenery on this trail, in particular the trail’s namesake and gulches like the one found at Peter Power’s Cove. These few gulch traverses constitute the only real elevation changes on the trail, but the condition of the trail makes it a little challenging in places.

I was off the Island Meadow Path by 5pm and headed into Renews for the approximately 5km trip around the beautiful little town. At the halfway point, a kind man stopped and gave me a lift to the trailhead, giving me some advice as to where to set up camp.  With many kilometers before me I felt the need to press on beyond that though, and instead of spending the night in comfort, I set up in a tiny clear patch just past a water source somewhere around the 3km point. My glasses are still there: I’d ask hikers to keep an eye out, but my camp was so pitiful that I doubt it’s visible from the trail!

I got an early start the next day and was quickly at the Bear Cove Point lighthouse; not the most impressive structure but an interesting destination with an aging lighthousekeeper’s property and a view available. I took a quick break and fired on along the last 5.8 km of trail. Passing mostly through woods with not nearly as many wet patches as the previous trail, I made spectacular time on this leg of the trail, passing the remains of former settlements and some spectacular rocky shores before arriving in Kingman’s Cove at 10:30 am. It was here that I called off the final leg of the hike: my knee was starting to bother me, and I decided not to exacerbate it.

Here’s the way to end my ECT traverse: about 100 m from the final trailhead, a grouse hopped out in front of me. Not a totally rare sight. I waited for her to do her thing, and when she hopped up to the side of the trail, I started past her, but then I spotted the reason she was on the roadway: one of her babies was down there too and he couldn’t get up the steep embankment. I approached cautiously and he didn’t move. Afraid he’d be stuck or left, I gingerly cupped him in my hands and lifted him up to the mossy bank where momma waited anxiously. I can honestly say I’ve never held so delicate a creature. What an experience!

And with that, the East Coast Trail is complete! Now to do it all again! Check out some pics below.

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