Tag Archives: Cape Broyle Head Path

Cape Broyle Path – Always a Challenge!

Hi folks! So these last few days of summer are all about me squeezing in my favorites, like I said… all of the hiking that I should have been doing in July and earlier in August. I couldn’t do a favorites list without Cape Broyle Path, which features my favorite place on the entire ECT: Lance Cove Beach. Just a treasure. I didn’t explore it for long this time around, but that just leaves more reason to go back again!

First, let me say this: the treadway is incredible. The last time I hiked this trail, the first 10km of it were badly overgrown, to the point where I lost the trail a couple of times. Thanks to the ECTA volunteers who have put incredible work into clearing that mess, I don’t recall a single point on the trail where there’s a clear width of less than 5 ft. What a job they did, and the work must have been very hard: hats off.

As I left St. John’s I still hadn’t arranged transportation from one trailhead to the other, but I was optimistic. I tried the two “cab companies” on the Southern Shore. Laughable quotes. At least the guy at Southern Shore Taxi was nice, explained himself, and let me know I’d likely find a ride if I was wearing a backpack anyhow. A+ Taxi and Tour, though, definitely get downgraded to an A-, at least, after quoting me $75 for the ten minute cab ride. Look, I know Cape Broyle is a ways away from Witless Bay where both cab companies are based, but you can get a regular cab fare in CBS, for example, which is pretty close to the same size if you’re talking Topsail to Seal Cove.  $75 is enough for ten trips to Cape Broyle for goodness sake. You can’t call yourself a taxi if you’re charging people an arm and a leg just to come down the road… if I’m not paying what the meter says, you’re at best a tour company or car service, at worst, you’re preying on tourists.

Anyhow, rant over, I gassed up and bought supplies at the Ultramar in Cape Broyle, and immediately found a ride when I asked around (thanks Danika!). Since my ride was leaving to head towards Calvert, I decided to hike the trail south to north, the opposite of last time. I think it was a great decision… it meant the long day was day 1, and it meant climbing Cape Broyle Head at the start of, rather than the end of, my hike. So, so much better.

Early in the hike was this burned out section:

IIRC, the supposed cause of the fire was a lightning strike. Scary stuff. However, think of these pictures when you’re lighting open fires along the trail… there’s a reason they’re not allowed, and this is it.

Anyhow, Cape Broyle Head was as fun as ever, but despite that I made good time to Long Will. That said, my plan was to set up, head down to the beach, and hang out there as it got dark to do some astrophotography. All human plans are subject to ruthless revision by Nature, as they say, though, and the clouds prevented that from happening. I had my fire and my time sitting in the sand so it was all good.

This morning was misty so I packed up the electronics, hence no pictures from day 2. The few times the sun peeked out weren’t enough to justify unpacking it. The only thing I saw that I really regret not catching on film was an immature bald eagle, perched on the rocks about 50 feet from the trail. It was pouring when I saw him so it wasn’t meant to be.

A few pics below, I was hoping to get more on day 2 but them’s the breaks!

Cape Broyle Head Path for May 24th!

Hi folks! It’s been a long time and the blog had fallen into a bit of disrepair, but I’ve migrated servers and patched up most of the holes, and I’ve been working on my knee to get it hiking strong again. The test of both the retooled blog and the strengthened knee falls on the Cape Broyle Path, and a test it is!

Cape Broyle Path: an interesting one to say the least. This mostly woods trail presents more than its fair share of steretypical woods trail obstacles. I started in Cape Broyle, where hikers have to park at the Ultramar on the main road and hoof it in South Side Road to the end and on to the beach below. The instructions on the ECTA website were easy to follow and accurate, but this is definitely a section that could use some signage. No trailhead makes me feel like I’m missing something.

Hikers should note the red and black plastic blazes that mark the early path, as they’ll be your best friend for the next 10km. Some kind soul, I’m assuming one of the ECTA volunteers, has marked this severely overgrown trail, and that’s a good thing, because there are places where a less than confident hiker might think they had somehow gotten off track and started following a moose path. The obvious, recent moose traffic on the trail doesn’t help with that suspicion. I saw one and I’m sure more than one saw me.

Anyhow, as I said, the first 10km of the trail are pretty overgrown for large stretches. I attempted to capture it on camera as you’ll see below, but it’s hard to get a good picture of the worst of it, where the trees were at eye level across the trail and you couldn’t see the uneven ground at your feet. My guess is this remote trail hasn’t been maintained in years, but the markings make me think a grooming is in the plan, especially given that the last 9km of the trail are well groomed. My advice to hikers is to keep a sharp eye on those red and black blazes: in the densest sections, they’re close enough together that you can always see the next blaze from the current one.

I stayed the night in spectacularly beautiful Long Will Campsite, where three of the five (the map says six) tent platforms are perched on a steep-sided point on the trail to a viewpoint overlooking Lance Cove Beach. I stayed at one of the more sheltered sites. Arriving around supper time, I quickly set up, stowed my gear, grabbed my camera, and headed out to explore Lance Cove Beach. It was worth the slow slog through dense brush: a kilometer-long stretch of sandy beach like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Completely isolated, the sun beating down, the waves crashing, it’s a slice of heaven.

The next morning I set out over top of Lance Cove Beach once again, and a couple of climbs and drops later, was happy to see that the trail was wide and well-groomed. God love the ECTA volunteers, because I don’t know if I could have done the hills that followed if they were as densely packed as those around Gallows Cove. The climb up to Blow Me Down and Cape Broyle Head is a slog, up over a steep hill through trail that’s at times little better than a river. The drop is quick on the other side of Cape Broyle Head approaching Calvert, so be ready to put work in walking this trail in either direction!

Best of all… no knee pain whatsoever! Knock on wood! 🙂

Check out the pictures from my May 24th adventure below!