Tag Archives: Mickeleens Path

Mickeleen’s and Biscan Cove to End the Summer!

Hi folks! Back to work, so the last two weeks of semi-regular hiking are coming to an end, but I managed to squeeze in one last hike on an old favorite on Friday, Mickeleen’s Path, and with my work schedule being somewhat sensible today, I got out for a speedy afternoon hike on Biscan Cove Path. I count that as my last summer hike because I’m mentally not 100% back to work yet ­čÖé

It looked like a nice, cloudy day for my Mickeleen’s walk on Friday, but as I pulled onto Quay’s Road, it was raining. Just a shower, but there were enough little showers at the start of the hike to have me stowing the camera for the vast majority of it. While I don’t have many pictures, it was a wonderful hike: I made great time, saw some awesome scenery, stood in the wind on South Head and sat on the rocks at Chest Cove. Good memories, if not good pics. It was great to see some traffic on the trail as well. Here are a couple of the pics I did take:

Today’s hike on Biscan Cove was definitely one for the ages. I was finished my afternoon session at work at a sensible hour, and having predicted that, packed my bag at lunch so I could scurry off to the trail. I vowed to power through the hike but saw lots of picture opportunities and explored new territory a little bit (which is incredible, given that I’ve hiked this trail about 20 times).

While I didn’t get any pictures to prove my stories, I had three very cool wildlife experiences. There is an eagle nesting somewhere along the trail, probably two different nests actually, and I always see one south of White Point. Of course on arriving at White Point I scan the trees to the south, and very close to me is Mr. Bald Eagle. I gingerly set down my pack, reach in, grab my zoom lens… and he takes off and is, in moments, gone around a cliffside. So close. Next, walking out along the road to Cape St. Francis, I was humming to myself, when a bird of prey swooped low over the trees in front of me, across the road, and then down over the edge of the trees on the other side. I ran to see if I could catch a glimpse but couldn’t get another look. I barely saw anything, so there are a wide variety of birds it could have been (a downward-looking hawk or an owl?) but it was cool nonetheless. Finally, pulling out of the softball park (at which there was a softball game and half of Pouch Cove by the look of it), a GIGANTIC moose, full antlers, ran across the road about 10 feet to my right!┬áHe was quickly in the woods behind a house along the main road. Pretty wild.

Anyhow, a few pics from today’s hike, with a little physics chat! Enjoy!

The First Half of May on the ECT – Lots of Hikes and New Gear!

May has been about getting myself back into hiking shape. I started the month by taking Heather out to see Cripple Cove for the first time. There was no talk of rope-assisted climbs or kilometers of dirt road, which Heather tells me would have led to a veto of the activity. It was for the best as this is can’t-miss trail IMHO! Anyhow, we had a heck of a day, saw a bald eagle (or two), one of which chased a smaller, unidentified bird of prey away from a perch which could have been a nest: I consistently see bald eagles near Cripple Cove and so I assumed they were nesting in the area. A few pics from the Cripple Cove leg of the White Horse Path; more hike talk below:

I experienced┬ásome knee pain at the end of that hike so along with an exercise/stretch regimen I decided to make the next few flat: my issue is “hiker’s knee,” which flares up when too much strain is put on the knees walking downhill. The next one for me, then, would be┬áthe first few kilometers of the Stiles Cove Path as far as Shoe Cove. This is mostly flat with one glaring exception on the approach to Shoe Cove itself. I felt a little tinge but it was a spectacular day and overall my knees held up.

There is a moose carcass at Shoe Cove, it is somewhat decomposed at this point but some folks would probably still find it a little unpleasant. It’s in the middle of the beach and is hard to miss. Kind of sad and gross in this prime hiking destination; I understand that it’s the circle of life etc. but┬ásome folks are going to be turned off from Shoe Cove which is sad because IMHO it’s one of the highlights of the ECT. Pics and more discussion below, WARNING, there is a pic of the moose carcass:

Next up was the north end of the Cape Spear Path. I was disappointed to see very clear mountain bike tracks on the trail. Bikes are clearly prohibited on this section of trail and as you can see there is a clear impact on the treadway. I saw bike tracks heading off the trail and into sensitive flora. Not cool.

Anyhow, I had never hiked the complete side trail to North Head, and when I got out there I was feeling good, so I checked it out before heading down to Summerside. This is a part of the trail that fascinates me: apparently, there was at one time habitation at this location, complete with its own trail. I have searched and can find no sign of this habitation. It must have been a windswept, difficult location in winter, completely open and somewhat wet in places. In one of the pictures below I have indicated a linear collection of rocks that could be clearing for human activity, a rock wall, or even the base of a building of some sort, but it’s really reaching. There remains little to indicate humans ever resided here. There’s something fascinating about ┬áthat to me! A few pics of that hike; and more hike talk below:

Another day, another hike: next up was a tester on the Beaches Path┬áfor my new backpack, an Osprey Exos 48, lightweight for the extended trips. I picked mine up at liveoutthere.com, a great little Canadian shop. I packed a couple of things but left it basically empty, wanting to get a feel for it without adding too much weight to strain my knees. I was thoroughly impressed with it. I hadn’t yet removed the Cotton Carrier from my Marmot bag though, so I left the camera home, hence the iPhone pics below.

It was a foggy, chilly day along the Beaches Path, but it made for a crisp hike and some good pictures, and the smell of the ocean was something else. If there’s one smell that brings to mind memories of home it’s the salt air on a cool, crisp day. I breathed it deep as I hiked. There was a fair bit of mud and water along the trail; it was far wetter than I remember it. Perhaps it just needed a few more dry days. More hike chat past the pics:

Last but not least, Saturday started mauzy but turned into a heck of a day for a hike once the sun came out, so I hit Mickeleen’s Path for Saturday afternoon jaunt on another relatively flat trail. There was a ┬álot of traffic on the trail which is great to see. The treadway itself was much drier than Beaches a few days before, but there was still mud in spots, and for hikers looking to take the loop back to Bay Bulls, the Old Track had a few wet spots as well. These were easy to avoid, however.

Today’s gear test was the first hanging of my new hammock, a Hennessy Hammocks Expedition Asym Zip. I didn’t fully string the rain fly but did successfully lash the thing into place, and then proceeded to nearly fall asleep when testing it out. I packed up the hammock and fly in the “Snakeskin” wraps and put it all away, and left the site with a grin on my face: can’t wait to try the hammock out on an overnight!

Best news of all, which also had me grinning… no knee pain on either of the last three┬áhikes! Fingers crossed that the work I’m doing (exercise/stretching, losing weight, improved trekking pole technique are all partially responsible for the improvement IMHO) continues to bear fruit!

A few pics of the hammock and hike below. Have fun on the trails!

Mickeleen’s Path Gets the Better of Me

Hi folks! Excited about the prospect of a sunny Saturday with temperatures above zero, I had been planning all week to finish the trio of short Southern Shore hikes by heading out on the Mickeleens Path, but with the huge snowfall we received early in the week, I knew it would be a challenging walk. It turned out to be much tougher than I had anticipated!

I started a little late in the afternoon to complete the hike, but I figured that if the conditions were anything like those I had seen on the Beaches and Tinkers Point paths, I had tons of time. I quickly realized, given the conditions and the deep drifts, that I likely wouldn’t complete the Path today. I decided I’d do a chunk of it and head back along the path I created. At least one brave snowshoer had been on the trail in front of me. Many times I found myself thankful that I had footprints to follow and walk in.

That was true until the trail split. I followed what I thought the most likely route for Mickeleens Path, and I think it’s likely that the trail was followed for the most part, but the going was tough. There were places where the drifts were so high that I was climbing on a precarious slope at treetop level, and when the trail started winding around gulches at the 1.2 km point, I didn’t feel like it was safe to continue on my own, despite the tracks in front of me. At one of the final gulches the trail wound around the gulch a little too close for comfort, and so I decided I’d turn around and try the other trail.

When I got back to that point I noticed that there was indeed a ECT blaze on the tree. That was the first and last blaze I saw on either path, though. That’s something I think could be improved: in summer, it’s easy to follow the trail despite the scarcity of blazes (they’re reassuring but not necessary), but in the winter, any number of possible paths could be the right one, and more frequent blazes would help snowshoers find the path should they go astray. Sheesh! As if the trail volunteers don’t have enough work without keeping up with those of us crazy enough to be trekking the trails when there ARE no discernible trails!

Anyhow, the second path I took was obviously not the right one either. I took a break and checked my GPS: I was very close to the Old Track. I pressed onward and the snowshoe path took a right turn and eventually scrabbled through the bushes to the old track, where a snowmobile had beaten down an easily followed path to a point. I continued past this point for a while, but without a real destination, my plans for a loop completely dashed at this point, I used the deep snow beyond a clearing as an excuse to turn around and make my way back. I rejoined the ECT path just before the Mickeleens trailhead and made my way back to my vehicle at Quay’s Rd.

A short but exhausting trip! I don’t recommend Mickeleens Path in its current condition for folks who don’t know it well or who aren’t experienced snowshoers: it’s not an easy walk. For the brave, though, it’s an adventure! You beat me this time, Mickeleen, but I’ll be back! Check out the pics of crazy drifts in the gallery below!