Hiking The East Coast Trail in Newfoundland Part 2 – No Picnic.

“Those who do not move, do not notice their chains.” (Rosa Luxemburg)

Just in case you think this 320 km hike is a cake walk. Read the experiece of these two women.  It seems the weather turned ugly on them and it rapidly transformed there thru-hiking trip into a monumental challenge. 

“So You Want To Hike The East Coast Trail.” 

Hey, I’m a fisherman on the East Coast of Canada, on Prince Edward Island. I know that a good North Easter brings rains and winds, and on water, or near the coast, it can turn a good day into a miserable, bone chilling fight to stand on two feet.

Even before stumbling on this ladies story, i had already said out loud to my wife,

“If a Northeaster suddenly blew up wind and rain for a week, this ECT hike would turn into an experience of pure hell for thru-hikers. A hiker would have little portection from the houling elements on that coast.”

 Be sure to follow her links to all four parts of their journey, as it will force one to ask good questions, such as,

“What would I do, what should I do, in a similar weather situation? Is there a plan B? 

“…when I was sauntering on the meadows, I noticed a massive crimson cloud growing in solitary grandeur…

The rain was still pouring in torrent abundance and the wind at gale speed was doing all it could with the flood-making rain…

Eager to get into the midst of the show, I snatched a piece of bread for breakfast and ran out. The mountain waters, suddenly liberated, seemed to be holding a grand jubilee.” (John Muir. Yosemite)

When A tourist or day hiker would simply go back to the hotel, shop, visit a museum and be fine with that, instead. A thru-hiker is not so ready to give up a week and lose their dream of doing the trail.

Yes, people experienced with the trail refer to it as mostly moderate, with some sections rated as difficult. I think the weather will be the real key factor.

“The ECT is a good challenge for a first time thru hike – I’ve said before that it’s a pretty easy ride. However, consider that if you were to ask any hiker that has just completed a long trail; “What was the hardest part?”, inevitably the answer will come back “The first couple of weeks”. On this path, that’s the whole path. Luckily, the great thing about long distance hiking is that there’s no first place winner – last place also wins. If you take your time, you will make it.”

Hiking a trail by sectional or day trips, from a B&B, is not the same as a thru-hike. There are a whole different set of questions to be answered, logistics that day hikers takes little thought of. 

  • Where will i camp? 
  • Can I make it that Far? 
  • Where can I resupply on water or food? 
  • How do i get to the southern trail head. 
  • Where are good emergency bailout points?

So we are trying to pull together as much thru-hiking information on the ECT as we can.

Here is a great ECT thru-hiking resource: 

ETC (The East Coast Trail) Thru-hike 

The author writes,

“The East Coast Trail, currently at just over 300km in length, is the perfect project for a first time thru hike. In terms of long hikes, it’s a pretty short one. The information that the East Coast Trail Association has online however is not really intended for a distance hiker – that’s why I created this Portal.

We are not going to get into an introduction of the trail itself here – path names, environment characteristics, etc. – that information is already online. My intention here is to provide to backpackers of varying experience levels the raw data they need to plan a thru hike.”

On youtube, the author has posted a video run-down of each section of the trail- All 26 trail sections.

Be sure  to order your print trail maps here

ECT Trail Maps & ETC Trail Guide

Unfortunately  volume one of the ECT trail guide is not in print at this time, though i was able to grabed a copy from an Ottawa store.

Also you can download East Coast Trail Guide as an IBook on Itunes,  for your apple Iphone. People are raving that it is an exceptional resource.

At this time we are gathering as much information as we can. I am reading and gleaning from time to time.

I ordered a replacement hip belt for my backpack. Fixed that onto the external frame and put my gear in. There are still a few more base items to go, so its hard to tell true base weight yet. But my base weight is at 23 lbs right now. Not bad considering none of the equipment I own is classed as lightweight. I opted to use what we already own from kayak  camping days rather than waste more money. So feeling better about weight. 

I ordered the new hipbelt for my Alps external frame pack direct from the Alps company. The ladies in the sales/parts departement seemed dully impressed to have a call from someone in, West Africa, which is where I placed the order from. External frames are not popular, but about the only packs that will fit a big 250lb man like me. 

I ordered new hiking boots today. I have determined that what I now have are not suitable.  The hikers are not that old, and I love them. Never had a blister in them yet. But they are a half size smaller than i need for hauling a pack, that old foot expansion. And the support is fine for the day hiking I do around here. But i think the added pack weight will cause sharp rocks to be felt through the souls a bit more than i like. The furthest I have hiked in them was 16 km, and not with 45 lbs on my back. 

In June, when things warm up more, we will also need to do a full gear test run. Go camp a night, several times, to use the gear and cooking equipment. This assures our gear works well, and that we are comfortable with its use.

Using my Hennessey hammock tent for this trip. 

“Time spent in nature does that to you. It envelops you, puts your heart on your sleeve and makes wet socks irrelevant.”  

~ Lanna Campbell. Hiked 150km of ECT October 2016

Not sure how  i can pull a night away when in peak lobster fishing season. So, any over night gear testing will probably end up taking place it the back yard. Serves the same purpose. 

I will have to set down some local hiking plans, to get in shape. Until the snow leaves I have been snowshoeing, as I  do every year, upon return from Africa. 

I love to get out in the woods and break new fresh trails in the back woods. I very refreshing change from living just south of the Sahara Desert for four months.

Yes, I’m excited about this dream. 

Hope we can see it through. 

Love To Hear From You

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