Day 0 ~ Distance: 1km, Climb: 5m, Cumulative: 1km My flight landed in St. John’s by early afternoon. I’m excited for my adventure on foot across Newfoundland. I catched multiple city buses to cross the city. I went as far as the city bus was allowing me. From there, I walked 2.5km to a highway where I hitchhiked. Three rides later, I made it to the trailhead by sunset. I walked 1km to get out of Cappahayden to camp. I will be falling asleep to the sound of the sea. *Special thanks to Kevin, Laurine and Lauren, and Graham for being my trail angels and giving me rides to the trailhead.
Day 1 ~ Distance: 41km, Climb: 850m, Cumulative: 42km First real day on the trail. I woke up to a beautiful sunrise. It doesn’t get easternmost than Newfoundland in Canada, which means it is one of the greatest place for sunrise! After about 1h walk, the rain started and it was on and off all day. Some part of the trail was overgrown and felt more like bushwalking. As the day continued, the trail got better. I came across some small fishing villages, countless nice views, cool cliffs, and lots of small up and down.
*Special thanks to the lovely seniors that offered me to refill my water bottles in they kitchen sink.
Day 2 ~ Distance: 39km, Climb: 1300m, Cumulative: 81km Lots of up and down today as well, it’s going to be like this for the entire East Coast Trail. When I arrived in Ferryland (founded in 1621, so they celebrate 400 years this year!), the grocery store was closed (it’s labour day). I always thought grocery, gas stations, and hospitals are part of essential services and never close on holiday. Apparently I was wrong… I sat down and calculate the amount of food I had left. It wasn’t enough to get me to my next resupply. But it should get me through the day and I will come across a gas station early tomorrow. Not the best choice, but I got to adapt. The last 10-12km were much rougher than the rest of the day. More climbs with a rockier and muddier trail. The views were fantastic though. I’m starting to really dig this trail. Finding a flat campsite was difficult, the trail constantly climbed or descended. I finally found a campsite that wasn’t ideal, but my feet hurt quite a lot from hot spots and blisters. So I called it a day.
Day 3 ~ Distance: 40km, Climb: 1250m, Cumulative: 121km I have learned that the Hurricane Larry will probably hit the coast (where I am) by the end of the week. With 150km/h wind gusts and 50-100mm of rain. It will hit in exactly 3days (if it doesn’t change course). I have to push and maintain a 40km/day pace to make it to St. John’s before it arrives. It would be a nightmare, and possibly life treat to be out in the woods with landslides, floods, falling trees, etc. Nothing more motivating than a hurricane coming towards you! (Well, maybe a pack of hungry wolves chasing you would be better, motivation-wise.) I have reserved an hotel room for the evening it suppose to pass through.
Today, I saw Graham (my last ride, when I hitchhiked you get to the trailhead), he stopped to greet me and we talked. Yesterday, I also met Lauren (another of my rides). He was out on a run while I was hiking through the village. These little villages are so small you always run into familiar faces. This morning my motivation was low, it was raining and my feet was still hurting from getting used to the hardship. It was supposed to rain all day with strong wind, but I got lucky and only had drizzled for about half the day. To my surprise, the gas station where I resupplied (because the last grocery store was close on the holiday) was more of a big convinienece store. I was happy to have a good variety of food. The trail was wonderful today. It was more exposed to the weather but also had more viewing opportunities. High cliffs, countless coves, rocky beaches, you name it. I enjoyed it a lot. I camped just pass the small village of Mobil. I set up camp in the rain. All this doesn’t matter now, I’m comfy, toasty, and ready for a good night of sleep.
Day 4 ~ Distance: 35km, Climb: 1100m, Cumulative: 156km What a beautiful day! It will be hard to chose the pictures to send, so many nice ones! At Bay Bulls, I resupplied and took a meal on the spot. I then pushed for what is suppose to be one of the hardest section of the ECT (East Coast Trail). It didn’t feel as hard as some of the past sections. Maybe motivation was a little higher?! I saw beautiful rock formation, probably some of the nicest so far. Waterfalls coming off cliffs that end right into the sea. One of the main highlights was a wave-powered geyser. It was impressive and shoots as high as 3x my size. I briefly met two other hikers, they were telling me that they lost a ziplock bag with their cellphones and wallets. They were backtracking their step trying to find it. Multiple kilometres later, I arrived at a primitive campsite. I saw something in the wood that looks like some garbage. I went to pick it up. To my surprise, it was a ziplock bag that was teared open with cellphones, passports, wallets all over the place. I picked everything up and was thinking of that couple that I met earlier. By what I could see, it was an animal doing, one of the wallet had a piece chewed off, the cellphone cable was also cut in half. Apparently an animal lives here and big enough to carry that ziplock bag around. Probably a fox or a raccoon. It didn’t take long after I settle in my shelter that I saw a black fox coming around. I made sure to tie my food up a tree and keep all my stuff close overnight.
On a different note, I turned on both cellphone to see if they were password protected. If not, I could have maybe found a contact number to call (like a parent) to try to find a different way to get in touch with them. No luck, both phone were locked. Their wallets and passports didn’t have any emergency contact information either. They passed me quickly so I don’t even know where they were heading (to track them down). My best course of action, was simply to leave it on an obvious spot that can be seen from the trail. I put their stuff in one of my brand new ziplock. At least their stuff will be protected from the rain. If I were them and lost all my valuable, I would go over and over to find what I lost. That’s what I hope they do… I’m sure it’s a nightmare for them right now. Hopefully, they will come back and find their stuff.
Day 5 ~ Distance: 35km, Climb: 1050m, Cumulative: 191km Another beautiful day along the coast and its dramatic cliffs! I made it to Cape Spear which is the easternmost point of North America (excluding Groenland). I’m camping only 7km from St. John’s, which is good news! I made it before the hurricane level 1 (scheduled to arrive tomorrow evening).
Day 6 ~ Distance: 8km, Climb: 50m, Cumulative: 199km As soon as I woke up, I walked into St. John’s. The hurricane is suppose to hit in 12h. I was too early to check-in. So I went to a grocery store for some food and enjoyed walking through St. John’s with his colourful houses. Once in my room, I hand washed the few clothes that I have and enjoyed a bath/shower. I also took multiple cold feet bath during the evening to prevent swelling. I wanted to wake up in the middle of the night and go outside to witness the hurricane. Ironically, I slept through (how?). I mean I woke up multiple times (because of some noises) but fell right back asleep.
Day 7 ~ Distance: 34km, Climb: 980m, Cumulative: 233km I left the room by 9:30am, the hurricane is over since 6am. I’m ready to face the aftermath. The city is still in good shape, just lots of branches all over. Today, I’m expecting lots of mud, some blow down, fallen trees, and still some strong wind on the trail.
The wind was pretty strong, I fought with it all day (wind gusts of 90+ km/h). Considering that the strongest wind gust recorded yesterday was 182km/h. It’s easy to imagine how crazy it would have been. That’s only a hurricane level 1…. Imagine level 3?! It was a beautiful day. I had to be very picky when it came my campsite. I had to be well sheltered, without weak trees and branches above me.
Now I’m all comfy in my shelter and I heard the wind blowing against the trees, the trees tweak and crack. I hear a few far away branches falling off. My campsite is good, I feel safe, I’m ready for a dream to come and take me away.
Day 8 ~ Distance: 40km, Climb: 2150m, Cumulative: 273km What a day… I started by making my way to Pouch Cove. It had a convenience store. I stopped for a snack and a jus. I then pushed to Cape St. Francis that marks the northernmost point of this peninsula. At Cape St. Francis, I already had 21km done and was about to start the hardest section (elevation-wise) of probably my entire trip. I pep talked myself ("I want you to smash these kms like they are a walk in the park.") the pep talked worked! I did the 19km in half the time recommended (by the East Coast Trail) for a fast hiker. (Alright Ego, you said what you wanted to say, now go back in your corner!) They were multiple steep accents and slippery descents some were even rope-assisted. The day was long and I’m happy to be off my feet. I’m sad that the East Coast Trail is coming to an end. I should finish this section of my trip tomorrow. This is such a amazing trail, with breath taking views the entire way. Next will be the T’Railway which is an old railway that was transformed into a recreation trail.
Day 9 ~ Distance: 38km, Climb: 580m, Cumulative: 311km Today is a landmark on my trip, I finished the East Coast Trail. Which sums about 1/3 of my trip. I started the T’Railway through multiple subdivision and nearbouring towns where I resupplied for food. I will for sure miss the East Coast Trail. It was such a wonderful trail. I recommend this trail to anyone that loves the ocean and high cliffs.
Day 10 ~ Distance: 45km, Climb: 210m, Cumulative: 356km First full day on the T’Railway, this trail is quite underwhelming compared to the East Coast Trail. It’s basically a gravel road through woods and marshes. I was expecting this, that’s why I filled my phone with podcasts. On a 1000kms journey, it’s normal to have highlights and average parts.
Day 11 ~ Distance: 43km, Climb: 230m, Cumulative: 399km I started the day making my way to Whitbourne, one of my resupply towns. I was happy to find everything I needed in their small convenience store (in the village). It prevented me to walk to the bigger grocery supermarket 3km out (one way). The trail climbed all day but very slowly. At some point, it almost seemed like I was above treeline, since it opened up and allowed me to see much further.
Day 12 ~ Distance: 39km, Climb: 200m, Cumulative: 438km I woke up at 1:45am and couldn’t fall back asleep for some reason. At 3am, I heard a scratching close to my head. It was a tiny mouse stuck inside my open bivy bag. At this point, I was too awake to sleep so I decided to start walking. By 3:45am, I was back on the trail. It worked out great since I was planning to spend the night at a campground in a provincial park that was right beside the trail. So by starting early, I arrived early as well and it gave me plenty of time to do my laundry, take a shower, and charge my stuff. Also, the campground store was making French fries, bring these calories to me! I’m sure I don’t have to tell you that I will be sleeping well tonight!
Day 13 ~ Distance: 42km, Climb: 220m, Cumulative: 480km This morning was chilly and very humid from all the rain we had yesterday. I am officially out of the Avalon today, which means that I have to be more bear aware. I have learned that a tropical storm is supposed to hit eastern Newfoundland. Not as crazy as the hurricane, but still 80-100km/h wind with 50-80mm of rain. I’m no more on the east coast, lucky me! But I’m still eastern enough to have a lesser storm after tomorrow. So tomorrow night, I have to make sure I have a good campsite since I will probably spend 2 nights there and camp through the storm.
Day 14 ~ Distance: 37km, Climb: 225m, Cumulative: 517km I hit the trail around 6:45am. It took me 13km before I made it to Clarenville, one of my resupply. It marked the half of my trip, 500km done, 500km to go. The upcoming section is the longest on this trip (138km). On top of that, I have to carry an extra day of food for waiting out the storm.
It’s always a joy to enter a grocery store on long hiking trips! I always have a big smile (like a kid in a toy store). I definitely bought too much food this time. My feet won’t be happy about the extra weight, but my stomach will be grateful. I walked until I found a good spot to wait out the storm. Over the last day, the T’Railway was underwhelming. It was a lot busier than I expected. There were multiple mini subdivisions of cabins here and there. Over the last 2 days, it got even busier with ATV and off-road rigs. Probably the combination of the hunting season and the weekend. I just hope it won’t be like this all the way to Deer Lake.