Two Days on the Outport Trail in Terra Nova!

Hi folks! Not wanting summer to end, I’m going to spend my weekends trying to cling onto it by hiking as much as possible. This past weekend the opportunity presented itself for a bit of an adventure, and so I decided I’d do a hike I had my eye on for a while now: the Outport Trail in Terra Nova National Park. What a trail, and what an experience!

The plan was to hike to Minchin Cove (about 12 km), set up camp at the campsites located there, and spend Saturday hiking past South Broad Cove (the next set of campsites) along older, unmaintained trail to the sites at Lion’s Den and beyond. My interest in that particular part of the trip started to wane when I read reports of “kilometers of bog” that the trail had devolved into, and having the condition of the trail confirmed by the park staff at the Interpretation Center sealed the deal for me. I decided Saturday would be a day of short hikes and late summer camping.

I was on the trail at about 2pm on Friday, and made good time, despite stopping on multiple occasions to take pictures and breaks.  The trail is a very nice, mostly woodland trail, which breaks out occasionally onto the coast of the Sound, most notably at the Mud Flats. I reached Minchin Cove before 6pm, with time to set up camp and get supper cooked before sundown. I had initially planned on staying at a campsite on Minchin Pond (a few minutes walk from the Cove and the source of water for campers), but finding no fire pit at that site, I decided I’d  check out the other sites, and decided on one of a trio of sites at about the midway point of the campground, near the remains of the burnt out mill. I highly recommend this location to prospective campers, especially if there are no other campers at the other sites… just a spectacular view, a beautiful spot, a slice of heaven.

The next day I lazed around camp, soaking up the sun, eventually motivating myself to take a short slackpacking trip to South Broad Cove (about 6km round trip). Another lovely location for a hiker/camper, the sites are located along the shoreline about five minutes’ walk from the South Broad Cove wharf (there are wharves at both locations, and campers can choose to be boated to either instead of hiking in/out). I have a feeling this is the more private site.

Two boats full of people showed up at Minchin Cove during the afternoon, and they were big fans of Great Big Sea. Not being as big a fan, I took this opportunity to do some fishing at Minchin Pond and maybe get myself some supper. I caught fish on almost every cast, unbelievably, but none of them were keepers. I tossed the little guys back and resolved myself to Mr. Noodles. Turns out this was the right decision on a whole bunch of levels, since fishing is prohibited on Minchin Pond for stock replenishing purposes (probably why I caught and released so many little guys). I really need to read the signage.

The final day was a bit of a grey day, but still very warm. I packed up very slowly and was on the trail around lunchtime. I made even better time than on the trip in, but this was probably more about the rain motivating me to get off the trail ASAP… I was hiking for an hour or so when it started. I was back to the car and stripping off my dripping clothes in about three hours.

Folks, I can’t recommend this campsite and trail highly enough. It might not have the breathtaking cliffside views of the ECT, but the views are unique and spectacular here too. The camping is unbeatable and the staff were very good to me, leaving a stack of junked up wood at the site, waiting for me. Just a spectacular weekend. Check out some of the pics below!

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