After hiking the first half of the Washington Pacific Crest Trail, it was time to do some cross-Canada adventuring. One of my best and longest-standing friends was having a wedding vow renewal ceremony near his original family home in Newfoundland. There was no way I was going to miss it!
I had been to Newfoundland twice before. My first time was a summer trip in my late teens. I got to visit lots of the tourist sites, and get to know my friend’s Newfoundland family. My second trip was a February visit during a college reading week break. The snow drifts were taller than me, and we spent lots of time indoors socializing with friends and family.
Getting to Newfoundland from the Pacific northwest involves a long, long day of air travel, plus 4.5 hours of time zone shifting. Canada is truly a HUGE country!
While planning our trip, I had done a little bit of research on hiking in Newfoundland. Turns out Newfoundland is a bit of a hiking mecca. There seem to be hiking trails everywhere, from short shore-line wanders to the more ambitious East Coast Trail and International Appalachian Trail.
I laid my sights on the East Coast Trail and decided to figure out how to hike a couple short segments. The whole trail is over 300 kilometers long along the east coast of the Avalon Peninsula and is split into 10-15 kilometer segments.
Our first day in Newfoundland was a postcard-perfect day. After a lazy morning we headed out to Cape Spear Lighthouse for a wander and a picnic lunch. After that we drove about 20 minutes south to Petty Harbour where we connected with the south end of the Cape Spear Path.
It was a surprisingly hot afternoon. Even the sea breeze wasn’t very strong. We trekked a couple kilometres along the trail, taking us through meadow, forest, and rocky shoreline. The trail had a good amount of ups and downs (though of course nothing like in the PNW…)
We had set a turnaround time for ourselves of about 2:30 pm. Our furthest point was a fantastic narrow cove where the waves were booming and crashing. We sat and enjoyed the waves for a good thirty minutes before heading back to the trailhead.
Our second foray onto the East Coast Trail was just down the road from our AirBnB accommodation. We walked about 30 minutes down the road to reach the trailhead. The first 30 minutes or so took us through scraggly coastal forest, with wooden planks to help get over the roots and mud. Once we reached the coast, we veered left towards Torbay Point, a large rocky outcrop. We spent a good while exploring the rocks and watching a couple whales breech. I would have loved to head south along the East Coast Trail but we had friends to meet up with.
We only got a taste of the East Coast Trail but it was enough to stimulate a discussion of when and how to tackle the whole 300 kilometres. However, I think the East Coast Trail will have to wait a decade or two. It’s an easier one to do, if a bit finicky on the weather, and there are simply too many trails in this world, and not enough time.