I’m Hiking Newfoundland’s 320 Km East Coast Trail – Part 1

“I’m a free spirit who never had the balls to be free.”
(Troy, in,  Wild: From Lost To Found On The Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed )

300+ km Coast Trail in Newfoundland

I am so flipping excited i can barely type this story. Like Really! Act your age Andy!

I have been sitting on this news for almost four months now, and I truly thought I might pop, if I attempted to hold this excitement in any longer. I have to tell someone. So here you are….

My son and I booked our tickets for Newfoundland. It is a go.

Ahhhhh, it feels so good to get that off my chest.

The ETC skims along the rugged Atlantic coastline, where you find amazing vistas,  and the home of Cape Spear, the easternmost point in North America, near St. John’s, Newfoundland.

Imagine, being as far East into the Atlantic Ocean as you can be.  The East Coast Trail takes you to, and by this point. The ECT is a true coastal trail, currently just under 320 kilometers, with a further 250 km in future development. There are now 26 completed sections with two more longer, and more challenging trail sections added just last year.  N7 and N6 trails are new.

This Article is a Great Summary. Be minful it is 2011, and the ECT is significantly longer now.

The East Coast Trail Is One Of Canada’s Hiking Holy Grail

“The five days of hiking the ECT transformed Kathy and me into proselytizing zealots.”

I have been eyeing up the East Coast Trail  (ECT) for six years now, because I want to see some beautiful things, and some beautiful things require work to see. You can’t  see them from a car or couch.

“One must labor for beauty as for bread, here as elsewhere.” (John Muir. Yosemite)

The East Coast Trail is partially the reason I hiked the Confederation Trail. I needed to know if I could cover such a distance and be OK with it. Let’s face it, the Confederation trail is a gravel road walk, in the wilderness. You are not pressed up against rocks, nor dodging bolder or trees, as you would on a foot path. Rather, one is taking a scenic walk past such things, though close by, like off the side of a ditch on a small country road, which is fine.

However, I prefer smaller paths, where you step over rocks and roots. I like a little adventure. You know how it is, the novelty of the path in your own backyard wears thin as an adventure when it’s the same trail you’ve walked for decades.

However, the Confederation Trail did give me a bug, and a little confidence to think I could actually hike the ECT.  It no longer feels like a “pie in the sky” dream. I am no longer afraid of wasting of my time, or money, by travelling to Newfoundland to try the ECT.

They say the ECT is an extremely scenic trail, right up there with other world class hikes, yet it is relatively unused because of its geographical isolation.   I will write more about this trail in the coming weeks.

However, here is the big plan, the dream.

Summer 2017 – The East Coast Trail,  in Newfoundland.

My eldest son and I are getting a head start on the plans, and if my wife can get the time off work, she will join us too.

Will my work schedule permit the hike? We will see. I am going to fight tooth and nail to resist the sucking sounds of material life, that love to suck the time and life right out of us. I permitted this to happem for too much of my life. None the less, from where I stand at this point, I am “ALL IN”, having ordered my trail maps, guidebook, and a few pieces of needed hiking gear, and a flight.

Can I really hike all 320 kilometers? I hope so, but it does not matter to me. I will have one hell of a great time in the wilderness regardless. Completing any section of this trail will be a memory of a lifetime.

Of course this is outside my confidence bubble. So I am both nervous and excited at the same time.  You might think that a guy who runs around the back bush of Africa,  to some of the least developed places in the world, hundreds of kilometers from major civilization,  would find a hike in NFLD a cake walk.

It is the apprehension of the unknown. We all struggle with this, don’t we?  Don’t we permit apprehension and fear to kept us from trying so many things in life?  I guess when you get to be my age you no longer give a crap.

The next factor, after time and fear, is probably money. It costs to undertake such things, and most of us have economic tentacles pulling at us from many directions. Those are not easy to get free of.

Read Eric’s East Coast Trail Hike.

He breaks down the ECT into his daily hikes with pictures of each days hike. He did 30+ km days.  But it will give you a very scenic overview of the trail.

I think the more realistic concern is weather. One could very easily get into rain for the entire 15-20 days in Newfoundland. That could make such a hike pure hell, a whole other worldy challenge.  I have thoughts to share on this concern in the next post.

“Just by deciding to even try this, you’re already ahead of 99.9% of the population. You will lose count of how many times day hikers and bartenders will tell you, “I wish I could do something like this…” They’ll trail off and you’ll lose count of how many times you resist telling them, “but you can! You really can!” You are living proof of this.” (Gary Sizer. Appalachian Trail)

I keep thinking about possible encounters with bears or moose while hiking there, too. Did you know moose issues surpass bear or coyote in hiker issues with animals?  But I can think of many worse ways to die than to get killed in the bush of Africa, or drop dead on the East Coast Trail. Like taking two months to die in a hospital. Gosh, spare me good Lord.

Well that was a cheery thought, eh? Dude, don’t be a hoser, eh! Be a hiker. (Hoser in Canada is slang for, “a hose head”, a loser or idiot)

Oh, that is good. Let’s brand that on a T-Shirt for a line of outdoor apparel.

“Be a Hiker, Not a Hoser”

How would we graphic design that one?

“Oh, these vast, calm, measureless mountain days, inciting at once to work and rest! Days in whose light everything seems equally divine, opening a thousand windows to show us God. Nevermore, however weary, should one faint by the way who gains the blessings of one mountain day; whatever his fate, long life, short life, stormy or calm, he is rich forever.”     (John Muir. My First Summer In The Sierras)

In the next post I will pull together some information, sites, tools and resources  to help with planning.

We would love to hear from you on this one.  Tips, words of encouragement, a heads up, or a story?

Love To Hear From You

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