Saturday, 15 September 2012

East Coast Trail

I was heading to St. John's, Newfoundland, for a conference so decided I'd like to take a few extra days and do some hiking on the East Coast Trail (ECT).  The ECT is 540 km long, running along the coastline running north and south of St. John's.

My route took me from Cape Spear to Cape Broyle, approximately 102 km over 4 1/2 days. The weather forecast couldn't have looked better for the first week of September! I took a taxi out to Cape Spear and, with it being the holiday Monday of the Labour Day Weekend, it was somewhat busy with day hikers around the Cape and on the trail. The only other over-night hikers I came across was a young dad, with a boy about 8 years and a girl about 6 years old. Dad was loaded down with a huge pack and the little ones with very little packs. It was great to see them out!

Some of the day hikers were also picking wild blueberries and I enjoyed a few handfuls every day!

My second day was much different, not seeing a single person on the trail until I got to Bay Bulls. This section was a bit harder (rated "difficult to strenuous") with lots of up & down and fighting through knee-high shrubs. Awesome, rugged coastline though which was definitely worth the extra effort of the day!

The highlights of the trip were seeing "the spout" and the La Manche suspension bridge.

It's okay to camp anywhere just off the trail and that's what I did the first three nights. Luckily I stayed at the Roaring Cove Campsite on the fourth night as it had raised tent platforms which I think saved me from getting flooded out in the massive rain storm that evening! The following day was windy but warm and, although it didn't rain, I got totally soaked (i.e. wringing the water out of my socks!) due to the very wet vegetation.

In Cape Broyle, my final destination, the Riverside Restaurant staff were amazingly friendly and helpful in finding a place for me to stay and the Icehouse Meadow Cottage was perfect for drying out gear and getting cleaned up before heading back to St. John's.

I would highly recommend this hike!

  • St. John's city taxi to Cape Spear (about $40)
  • ECT Association maps (Don't bother with the guidebooks unless you want history and flora/fauna info. The maps have great written route descriptions on the back and the trail is very easy to follow.) 
  • Southern Shore Taxi to pick up anywhere south of St. John's ($130 from Cape Broyle back to St. John's)
  • Restaurants along the route which I stopped at : O'Briens in Bay Bulls, Irish Loop Coffee House in Witless Bay, Riverside Restaurant in Cape Broyle. 
(Click on photo to see slide show.)

Cape Spear Lighthouse . . . love the sky!

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