Last preparations – or sightseeing with Tom!
Full of impressions and joy over our time in Haiti, we board the plane to St. John`s, Newfoundland, Canada. Here’s a short summary / conclusion of our visit of Haiti:
We now have 56 days to explore Newfoundland and want to “log” a few kilometers of hiking again. We’re looking forward to it!! Very first task: to buy a new Iphone. Phew, back online! Then we visit one of the local Rotary clubs in St. Johns. Founded in 1921, it is the oldest of the 7 clubs. We get 5 minutes to introduce ourselves and our project, which of course we like to use. Our business cards are in great demand, and the response is huge. Many promise to support our project via the homepage. We are excited if it is done and looking forward to it. In any case, we enjoy the meeting, chat with the Rotarian friends and get to know Tom. He spontaneously offers us to show us St. John’s and the surrounding area the next day. Wow, of course we do not say no and we are really happy! Shortly doubts come up, we actually wanted to plan the trail, oh well, we will manage without preparation! Such a great offer to spend the day with Tom. We are sure, everything will work itself out. As promised, Tom picks us up in the morning and off we go. First stop: Cape Spear. Great view! We look at the old and new lighthouse and enjoy the sea view. 7-9 whales frolic there, awesome! Good start! We take the time to look at the jumping and diving of the great mammals. When do you see something like that? Terrific! Then it goes on, Petty Harbor, a small fishing village. Here is a great place for fish and chips, noted for our lunch. We visit Torbay and Flatrock – all the communities we’ll meet again on the East Coast Trail later – and then come back to a terrific lunch in Petty Harbor. Tom then helps us with organizational things, such as a new prepaid card, and he offers us to keep our laptop while we hike the East Coast Trail. What a wonderful person, thanks Tom for this great day!
Day 1: Portugal Cove to 4km (3 miles) behind Bauline, approx. 19km (11miles)
On Facebook we found a nice Newfoundland lady who offers to drives us in the morning, just like that, to the trailhead to Portugal Cove. We are thrilled by the experienced warmth and hospitality of the Newfoundland people! We use the 20 minutes’ drive to chat with Kelsie and thank her as often as possible for her niceness. Since she drove us before her work, we could not have breakfast before. Our hope was for a small cafe in Portugal Cove, but, no, there’s nothing that’s open. So, we start “sober”. The view of the coast is breathtaking. The weather is good. We have been told that there are only about 3 good weeks on Newfoundland on the East Coast. Ohha, …. and that you can experience all 4 seasons in one day. Sigh. Inwardly we arm ourselves for cloudy weather, but first the sun is shining, great!
The first two stages of the ECT (East Coast Trail) are not yet complete, there is only a draft map. Our driver also said that they are still a bit “rough”. OK let’s see. Right at the beginning it goes steeply upwards. But – hold on – with stairs! That’s luxury! Then planks lead over muddy places. Well, if that is “rough”, then that will be a comfortable trail. Hats off to the ECT Commission, which does an excellent job here!
For the first time since the end of the Te Araroa in New Zealand (March!) We have all our luggage with us. Phew, exhausting! We are unprepared like never before: little snacks, no cereal, no nuts. But – all is good – chocolate and rum are with us! “No whiskey ??” you’ll think now. Yes, if you’ve been to a Caribbean island, then of course it has to be rum. A Haitian rum, long stored in the barrel, we are looking forward to it. You also have to change things … Let’s talk about the lack of snacks. This is scary, but we are sure that we can buy everything in the first village. After a few kilometers, we first unpack the stove and treat ourselves to a coffee! It was time! My mood had sunk rapidly. Coffee, A granola bar with a fantastic view – that’s how easy it is to make Alex happy and peaceful again! The path leads us through small groves and over large areas always lagged on the coast. Unlike the thought of coastal wandering, not flat, but constantly up and down. In our perception, not a single piece went straight ahead. Uff. Altogether 800 meters in altitude. My knee is not excited and starts to protest. Crap. I ignore it, it does not help. The up and down leads to a slow progress, but we have no fixed goal, so, no stress! After a meager lunch – thank God, the town is coming – and a spectacular steep descent we reach the few houses. Oh dear, that’s nothing! A man is standing in front of his house confirming what we feared: no cafe, no supermarket, no gas station. Niente. Well, well, so off we go without shopping. After the next water source, we are seriously looking for a place to sleep. Not easy at all, it is very steep. But then we will find it. Where a will, there a campground – or something like that! Although our new tent is much lighter, but it looks very filigree – is that going to keep us dry? We will see! Choclate and rum – we are coming!
Day 2: Behind Bauline to Anvil Head, approx. 19km
The first night in the tent is wonderful. Everything stays dry and we sleep well. It was exhausting.
We do not have cereals, so a granola bar has to serve as breakfast. Not so bad, and also much easier to carry. The most important we have, namely coffee. Strengthened, we start walking. The first altitude meters of todays 800 are strenuous. My knee also” speaks out” loud at the following descent. We are seemingly a bit out of shape … no “mimimimi”, bite your teeth and through! The path is varied lonely and beautiful. It reminds a bit of Greenland, also the temperature is similar. It is cloudy but dry. If you have climbed a summit, a cold wind blows. As often as today, I have never put on and taken off my jacket. The change of clothes gives us welcome breaks during which we enjoy the view. The trail is sometimes very demanding. We cross mud tracks, small lakes, climb over or under fallen trees, so, at least we stay warm! Again and again it goes steeply uphill and then down again. In one of these descents overlooking the sea we see whales again. You hear them even whistle!! How cool is that? It’s just amazingly beautiful! In the mud we also find moose tracks – that’s a positive aspect of the mud! The associated moose is unfortunately hidden. Pity! At lunchtime we make ourselves a noodle soup in the absence of our beloved tuna wraps. Concerning food, we are still really not well equipped. But during our time in United States, driving around in our little bus, we have eaten a little more than needed, so there is a little bit of reserve, so it doesn´t hurt to eat less! 😉 As long as rum and chocolate is still on stock, everything is fine!
We do not see anybody the whole day, only at the end we meet two groups of hikers. Great, so far a trail completely to our taste! It starts to rain, eh. Enough for today! We look for a place and make it into the tent before it rains properly. Very well. But wait – who goes out now and cooks dinner? Who do you guess…. 😉! Dear Heiko of course. We even have dessert today. Chocolate cheesecake. Just add cold water, stir and enjoy. Not that bad! Good night!
Day 3: Anvil Head to Flatrock, approx. 21km
It’s raining all night, eh. And, the place was a little bit steep. I mean: the pillow slips down if you do not hold it – steep. Well, not perfect, but we still slept. In the morning, on the other hand, there is a disciplinary question. Imagine that: you lie in the warm sleeping bag, the rain drums on the tent. You know that it is cold and wet outside and you still have to get out anyway. BRRR! Well it is not solve itself, we have to get up. Except for a dry spot, it’s like we’ve never been there. We start hiking. While I do not think it’s that bad, because now everything is packed and – above all – I do not have any knee pain this morning, Heiko grumbles to himself. The rain stops. And as Heiko’s mood rises, mine sinks. The next piece is densely overgrown. That means, in minutes I’m soaked to the skin. While the water is spilling in my shoes, Heiko still has dry feet. Clearly the better shoe choice! Well, we’ll be coming to Pouch Cove soon. On the map, it looks like there are a few houses. There are even three churches marked, well, there will certainly be a cafe! Great! In my mind, I already put off shoes and socks and dry myself. Very nice idea! After two hours we reach – soaking wet – the village. A woman rushing by we ask immediately for a cafe and supermarket. Short frown, then decided head shaking. She explains that there used to be a cafe and shows us the direction where it was. That cannot inspire us now … But there is a glimmer of hope: There could be coffee in the small grocery store. Yeah! It is a small “mom and pop shop”. Food, a few tools, everything you need. And indeed, a coffee machine! Wet as we are, we enjoy two coffees. While standing. There goes the idea of drying shoes and socks. But nevertheless we are grateful that we are out of the rain and wind and can drink something warm. So on we go. We are still wet, but it does not rain anymore!
The path is breathtakingly beautiful. Rugged rocks, crystal clear sea, wide green meadows. Again and again we stop and enjoy the view. An eagle is circling. WOW! Every glimpse to the sea is rewarded with whales. One shows us his fin, unbelievable! Of course, the photo was not ready again! In the afternoon, the missing break makes itself noticeable. The knee hurts, the feet are still wet, cold, bah. When I reach my absolute low point, it gets a little warmer. Then suddenly I see my shadow, uiii, the sun comes out! And when she actually fights a bruise in the sky, we come to a bridge over a river that falls as a waterfall into the sea. All of a sudden all negative thoughts are forgotten and we enjoy nature. We rest extensively, enjoying the sunbeams that tickle the bare – dry – feet. What a life!!
It continues, always along the steep coast. Beautiful. A particularly beautiful place lets us stop. Shall we pitch our tent right here? But a look at the map and the dwindling supplies let us continue. Slowly it gets tedious again! Our self-imposed goal moves closer at a snail’s pace and again it means “biting” as it goes steeply up and then again steeply at sea level. Our campground is beautifully situated by the sea, but relatively close to the first cottage of the town Flatrock. No matter, here we stay! While I “nest” in the tent, Heiko cooks with a view of the sea. Suddenly an exclamation: whales! When I join, Heiko is still quite “flattened”: Right in front of him fish suddenly jumped, followed by a whale, which devours them with open mouth. Wicked!! Uh, it goes without saying, that I don´t move away anymore and look as if spellbound on the whales. The whale lets me wait a little, but while we eat, he begrudges us both again the spectacle. How nice!!
Day 4: Flatrock to “Somewhere”, about 16.5km plus 5km drive
We wake up to bright sunshine. That’s the way it has to be! As the sun dries our dew-wet tent, we have a coffee overlooking the sea. Again, and again a whale whistles and appears to take a breath. The perfect breakfast! We start walking, first through the nearby village of Flatrock. We do not see a cafe; it would have been a bit early for a break anyway. We cross a small promontory and enjoy the view in good weather. After about 6 km we meet a couple from North Carolina, USA. We have a nice chat; they have escaped the heat. She says she read from hiking4haiti in a magazine. Really? Would be funny. Or are there two other crazy people who do the same? Anyway, on to Torbay. This looks really bigger now. I would like to have a real lunch! Shortly before Torbay we meet a local who goes for a walk with his daughter. So far, we have not seen a hiker who runs the entire trail, crazy, although that is such a beautiful trail! We ask him if there is a bar where we can have lunch. Yeah, we’re lucky! He can show it to us from afar, perfect! We still ask if the food is good. He cannot answer that, he has never been there. So again: A place with 1 bar and the young man in our age (about 40), who lives there for over 10 years, was never there. Insane! Thanks to his description, we find the bar, but unfortunately it is still closed. Probably better this way, we think, as we read, that there is “happy hour” from noon to 6 pm: Two beers for the price of one. It is 11.30. As a native of Bavaria (ie beer drinkers) and drawn Swabians (so pleased, if they can save money) we would otherwise probably still be in this bar …;)
Next to it is a Newfoundland fast food restaurant with focus on fried chicken. Good as well! We are hungry!!! After the delicious chicken parts, it is somehow much slower progress. Out of the city, first back to the coast. Somebody actually placed two beautiful chairs for the hikers. Great. It’s still too early for a break, but of course a short stop always works! Then the path follows a piece that is described as “undeveloped”. We expect big obstacles. But apart from a river crossing, which one with a little skill (which of course we own) can wander dry-footed, we see nothing. That was easy! This trail ends at a beach piece. It is the time of the year when the capelin comes to spawn in the shallow and warmer coastal waters. Many thousands of the fish cannot make it back and are flushed to the beach. The people of Newfoundland seem to love these fish, which are fried one at a time or salt-dried and then consumed. That’s probably the reason for the many whales we see. It makes sense that the whales also love these little fish. Great, how lucky we’ve just caught these few weeks where the phenomenon occurs! We come to the beach piece and look at the fish. Would like to try some now …
To get to the next trail piece, you have to walk 5km on the road. We are lucky, the first car stops. It is a native Russian, who lives on Newfoundland for 20 years and drives us to the trail entrance. Great, so nice!! The path continues, first in the forest on planks, later again on the coast. The last water source according to the map looks a bit brackish. In Heiko’s bottle it looks as if it were iced tea. Well, is only in the head, because it is naturally safe thanks to filtering. Close your eyes and drink! We walk for a while and find a flat campsite. Here we are going to stay. After three long days, we earned the early end of workday. The tent is standing and it starts to rain. Good timing! As we had a good lunch, the kitchen stays cold today anyway! For the rest of the afternoon, evening and far into the night the rain drums on the tent. But it stays dry! Very well!
Day 5: Somewhere – Quidi vidi – St. Johns, about 15 km
It rains all night, but in the morning the sun wakes us up, good timing! The tent does not dry anymore, but we come to St. Johns today anyway. There we treat ourselves to a hotel and a rest day before we tackle the next 210km. Elated we start walking and enjoy the morning mood. We are quickly at the end of the trail. To get to the next trail, you have to overcome 5km of road. This time we can´t catch a hitch. Not because nobody stops, but because we do not see a car the whole time. But we are still fresh and are fast at the trail entrance. First always along the coast, accompanied by whizzing whales. But then one is led back to reality: The trail passes through the forest at a landfill. The wind blows parts of the garbage into the forest. This is not only unpleasant but also sad and we are glad when we leave the short piece behind us. Then we follow beautiful woodland again. The trail goes up and down but not so many meters. Kneeling status: no pain! Yeah!! Slowly, the muscles seem to have rebuilt! The sun is shining, the way is good and the view breathtaking!
After a short lunch break, we come to a steep view on a good vantage point. From here you can see the so-called Quidi vidi lake and behind it st.Johns. Nice, almost there. We meet a nice couple with whom we exchange about Hikes. The two are here for a wedding, but they are thinking about hiking the East Coast Trail. Although we have only seen about 90 km so far, we can highly recommend the trail! The two are so nice to drive us at the end of the trail to the hotel in St. Johns. Yeah, shower, we’re coming!
Unfortunately, our room is not ready yet. The nice lady at the front desk recommends us a few bars to wait. Nah, we just stay here, it’s a great lobby. We have not sat for a minute; she comes up to us and says she would upgrade us for free in a suite and that would be ready. Would we agree? Of course we are! Win win! She is glad to get the two dirty, smelly hikers from the beautiful lobby and we are happy about the beautiful suite. Shower we come !!!! We deserve it!!
Day 6: Rest Day
Day 7: St. Johns until just before Madox Cove, approx. 26km
Oh, the rest day was good. It is difficult for us to leave the room in the morning. But we cannot stay in a hotel room forever, can we? The trail is calling! We take the taxi to the entrance and leave at 8.00 am. The weather is supposed to be nice for the next few days, which comforts us over the lost bed in the hotel room. Right at the beginning it goes steeply upwards and then steeply down to sea level – pointless up and down! Phew, exhausting! Hello knee! The very first view of the sea today is rewarded with whales. Just awesome! The path leads us over a dive and then, as usual, up and down. Coast, forest, coast. In the forest we observe squirrels, on the coast whales. Fantastic weather makes us get on well today. We meet two nice Newfoundlanders, Theresa and Jeanne, who give us their number. We should contact us if we need a car ride. Oh, how nice is that? We later see that they even donate to our cause, wicked!
We reach Cape Spear, the easternmost point of the American continent, relatively quickly (and in spite of the backpacks loaded with food again). We were already here with Tom. After cape Spear, thick fog suddenly appears. What about the good weather? But the fog is passing. First sun, then thick fog, then sun. Everything in ten minutes. Cool.
As we get tired, we look at the map. Crap, we must have missed the place we wanted to go after 19km. Well, after 4 more km, there should be a place with water source. We run and run. There comes a place where someone pitched a tent and made a fire, that must be it. But the place is so hunchbacked and uninviting that I do not want to sleep here, so on.
The path leads us to the coast at sea level. At least 6 whales are very close to the shore. Great. The campsite search and tiredness are forgotten and we sit down and watch the whales. Jump, clap fins, dive, everything! Finally, we break away. After a long search, we find a great place. Exposed, but currently there is no wind and no storm are forecast. It’s just gorgeous, here we stay! Overlooking the whales at dinner. Great.
Day 8: Short before Maddox Cove to Miners Point, approx. 16 km
The exceptionally beautiful place gives us a great night. We are lucky and it is calm. Rested, we wake up in bright sunshine. Since we are just before the two towns Madox and Petty Harbor, we decide for a “treat – day”. Lunch at the “Chaves Landing” restaurant already visited with Tom the other day and then a super short day and only 3km walk. Keen! First, we enjoy coffee overlooking the sea and many whales. We do not get bored watching the gentle giant boil and jump.
We stroll the 2 km to the town and drink a second coffee in a small shop. Cozy we kill the time until the restaurant opens at 11 o’clock. We treat ourselves to a beer to the fish and chips. Mmh, is that a good idea? It’ll work. Then we are well-fed and a little bit tired. The sun burns. Mmh, we had discarded the sunscreen due to weight. Well, let’s not complain when it’s finally nice! We hike without much thinking, suddenly the way is impassable. Is that still the path? After a while, we have to admit that we have lost our way. No problem, you can see the coast, does not look so difficult to get there. What looks so simple turns out to be a scratchy business. Scratched, we finally get on the path again. Was the beer to blame, that we lost the way? No certainly not…
Actually, we wanted to run only 3km, but we probably missed the place. We just seem never be able to do such short days … map checked, ah, there is a nice tent opportunity, so we continue! The first time on the trail we meet two other hikers who want to run the whole trail. They also chose the campground as their destination. Well after all this time, it’s also nice to talk a little bit. On to a great evening!
Day 9: Miners Point – Bay Bulls, approx 19.5km
A as strenuous marked part of the trail is in front of us, and we really do not know where our goal is today. No matter, just start going! It is slightly cloudy and dry. We are a little happy about the scattered clouds, as we have already burned us the day before. Our tent neighbors get up ½ h ahead of us. How motivated! When we crawl out of the tent at 7 o’clock, the two are already finished packing and having breakfast. Anyway, that´s what we thought. We have breakfast, pack together slowly and are then somehow ready to go at the same time. Sigh. But we go off and do not see them again. Thank goodness we probably hike different pace.
The path is a steady up and down through mud and over scree. It is very tiring and every kilometer is worked for hard. After several hours we see in the distance the “Spout”, a seawater fountain. Cool!! We’ll take a picture from a distance, to be sure. We keep walking, losing sight of the fountain. Funny, where is it? After another hour, we are sure that we somehow missed it. Too bad. Another turn, uh, there it is! Heiko ventures closer and even despite the spray shower. Great, now we just need a nice place for lunch. Freshwater sounds like a good place, so go ahead. As we approach, we see two girls with a dog, who are already taking a break here. Well, there is room enough. Well, the dog is not so enthusiastic about two hikers with a backpack and comes towards us barking and growling. He ignores the ever louder, desperate calls of the owner. Scary! Always good when dog owners have their animals under control. The animal is content to growl at us, thank God, but lets us pass by. So no lunch here …
From far away we have seen a lighthouse, which is a good place for a long break!
Then the way becomes super easy and we can already see Bay Bulls from afar. There is also a supermarket, wonderful. Unfortunately, between trail end and supermarket a paved road with 4 km length, less good. We see a couple in front of us who also stroll in the direction. Wonderful! We accelerate until we pass them accompanied by a friendly smile. Then we wait in the parking lot until they arrive to ask for a ride. Yes, sure! Bingo! In the supermarket we refill our snacks. So, now the question, continue, or bed and breakfast and shower? The temptation is too big. We call the bed and breakfast and are lucky. The owner is even so kind to pick us up from the supermarket. The subsequent shower is an absolute treat! With a glass of wine, we let the hard day fade away comfortably!
Day 10: Bay Bulls to behind Mobile, about 20.5km
Rested we get up and leave at 8.00 clock our unexpected treat. First it goes through the town. Then follows a 7 km easy way with again great views. Just as we step on the cliff edge to watch the whales, a young bald eagle comes down from below. He has to change course so as not to get too close to us. Wow. He climbs up and meets another, together they fly out of sight. Wow, that was great! Meanwhile whales whistle, attention-grabbing, but we only look upwards. Unfortunately, the two do not come back. The sun is shining and we quickly come to Witless Bay. The next trail entry point is a good 5km on the road. Does not necessarily have to be, if we can avoid it. We ask a tourist couple who stops at a rest area, if they can take us to the trailhead. They are very friendly, but according to their statement go in the other direction. Otherwise they would be happy to! Bad luck. We watch them get in and drive away. In our direction?!?! A bit confused we start to walk through the town. But we only come a few steps, until we pass a house. The owner sees us and immediately offers us to fill our water bottles. How nice! After we drop the offer, she offers us to drive to the trailhead. Oh, we are happy! She disappears briefly in the house and comes back with two pieces of homemade cake. For the way. Two different encounters in such a short time! The cake was fantastic!!
It is 8 km easy path to the next town. The way through the village is so short this time that we do not even try to hitch. Then we feel we hiked enough for the day, as we come to a nice tent opportunity. A little exposed, let’s hope the weather does not change. After cloudless day now dense clouds are raised. Somehow a great mood! We sit on the beach and look at the sea, nice!
When it starts to drizzle, we prefer to go to the tent. Good night
Day 11: Mobile – Roaring Cove, approx. 18km
It rained again during the night, but we had a wonderful night. In the morning it is cloudy over the sea, but the sun is shining through and it promises to be a great day. After 4km we arrive in a small town. We pass a bakery. No, something is wrong with the sentence: Of course, we go in and buy coffee and cake! 😉
We enjoy the view and the chairs behind the bakery when suddenly two Koreans come. Then two, then two … Did a coach stop there? The silence is over, but it’s also fun to watch the big group and talk a little. “Ah, you hike?” We got asked. “We too” … said it and then sat in their 6 cars and drive off 😉
At some point we iron ourselves off the beautiful stop and continue walking. Only past a few towns and then on a moderately classified trail. Again, a lot of coast (makes sense on a coastal trail) with many whales – never gets old. In between groves and high meadows. Of course, as usual, up and down. But not as extreme as we already had. Pain? None!
The sun is burning down, but we do not want to complain. We even find a shady spot with a view to lunch. A passing native Polish couple who now lives in the US comes over. We talk so nice, you always meet so many nice people, it’s just wonderful!
We define our destination for today – a “furnished” camp site with wooden platforms. Just sleep without constantly sliding in one direction. Great! A perfect day!
Day 12: Roaring Cove – Long Will Campsite, about 19km plus 6km car
After a dry night on a flat surface, a cloudy day greets us. Very good, we are still struggling with the sunburn. Breakfast and coffee and off we go. Heiko does me the favor and goes ahead. Spiders spin threads over the way overnight. The first who passes gets them all off. Really annoying. Nice that Heiko does that, is just a gentleman. First he basks in his niceness, then he admits that it does not make much difference to him. Since I’m smaller, he also gets a lot of cobwebs behind me. I’m glad in any case. Suddenly Heiko stops abruptly. A dog – no, he has a seal face. A seal – no, the tail fin is missing. An otter! He digs in the ground, sees us, hesitates and disappears into the undergrowth. Strange, I thought Otters are near the beach and eat fish. But we both saw him. Funny. We keep walking. This time I hesitate, is this a stone or an eagle? Let’s see. We’re getting closer and in fact it’s a bald eagle watching the ocean from the cliff. Would be nice if he takes off now. But he does not. We would rather not mention our pitiful whistle attempts now.
A short time later, we see a whale school (is it called like that with whales? I wouldn’t know) 6-7 whales close to the coast. We stop again for a longer time. Well, we are not going far with this pace. But it is just so great.
After noon we reach Admirals Cove. Oh, again 6 km road to the next trailhead. The first house is a beautiful house with a gigantic view. A woman is standing on the terrace and we quickly get into conversation. She is also an enthusiastic hiker and offers us to drive us to the trailhead. We do not say no! Perfect!
The next 7 km look like this: steep ascent over mud and stones in the forest. Above, short, beautiful view, then steep descent / slides again at sea level. And then again from the beginning. When we arrive at our destination, we are exhausted. It is a beautiful place with a view of the bay. Here you can comfortably end the day!
Day 13: Long Will Campsite – Ferryland, approx. 17km plus 5km drive
It’s already humid in the morning. Now the summer has arrived in Newfoundland. The path, marked as difficult, lives up to its classification. 11km up and down in the forest. In between times a view of the sea – rewarded with whales. A photo-scarred woodpecker busies us for a while – every excuse to stop, we assume! Then we reach a beautiful plateau with many flowers. Very nice, break! After 11 sweaty kilometers we reach a small town. We hope for a hitch for the 5km road, but the village is dead. A couple comes up to us – on foot. Too bad. Although after 4 days we certainly no longer smell fresh, the two stop and we chat a bit. A car comes over but from the wrong direction. The driver knows the two, stops. We are presented as the Germans who run the East Coast Trail. He immediately offers to take us to the trail and turns. Perfect! This friendliness of the Newfoundlands is really extraordinary. We are excited!
The next piece is relatively simple, but unspectacular (we are already a little spoiled). We reach Ferryland and see a restaurant right on the road. Perfect, a cold beer we would already tolerate. For license reasons, we can not only order beer, you still have to order something to eat. I’ve never heard that before, cool sales strategy. All right, so we take chips. On the positive side you get fish and chips for the price of chips…. 😉 But the view is fantastic and the beer is wonderful! After the beer, our motivation to run is at zero, so we decide to spend a night in a B & B. We need the shower! Hit. A wonderfully cute B & B (www.dunnesbnb.com) with a free room. Charly even drives us to the supermarket. Satisfied and clean, we treat ourselves to a nice glass of red wine. Cheers!
Day 14: Ferryland – Port Kirwan, approx. 20km
Oh, how comfortable. We sleep divinely! With nice chat with owners Charly and Maxine and other guests we devour eggs, ham, toast and pancakes. Sooo good!
The next trail section is closed due to disagreements between the city and the landowner. That’s a shame, but we’re lucky, Charly takes us to the next trailhead. Perfect! It goes the first 8 km through the forest. Up and down with muddy spots, not so nice. The breakfast is still in our stomach (pleasant, but it slows us down significantly). The sun is laughing, another wonderful day. Then the shrubbery opens and we have again beautiful view of the cliffs. We come to a freestanding arch. So impressive. We cannot tear ourselves free.
In the afternoon at three we reach a nice campsite, relatively flat, on a large river that flows into the sea. So nice, here we stay! We set up our tent and go to the river for a bath. Oh my god, what a great place. We see a seal swimming in the water and of course the obligatory whales. Suddenly people come, they had chosen the place as a destination for a short hike. Pete & Sandy and Harold & Joy are two friendly Newfoundlander couples from the west coast of Newfoundland. We talk magnificently. Suddenly the invitation is in the room to come with them to their cabin, there would be “snow crabs” for dinner. We do not hesitate, of course, sure we will come! Harold and Pete are two adventurers who have set out to paddle once around whole Newfoundland by kayak. Every year they take another piece. They are just back from their adventure of this year and enjoy with Sandy and Joy a few more days in the cabin of Pete’s father. Reason enough for a snow-crab feast!
We pack up our tent again and walk with them the 4km to Port Kirwan. First a cold beer, then Frisbee play, more beer and then a terrific dinner with tons of snow crabs and elk sausage (self-hunted by Pete of course). Oh my god, what a hammer! Such a great evening with new friends whose company feels like they’ve been known forever. What a great encounter on the river, which incidentally is called “Chance Pond”.
Day 15: Port Kirwan until just before Renews, 10km
After a relatively short night, we welcome the sunny day with good coffee. And Prosecco, of course! Another gourmet breakfast: egg, fishcake, bacon and beans. Concerning the fishcake: I was rather skeptical of the Newfoundland specialty of “Fishcakes” for breakfast. But was taught a better. Delicious! The perfect start to the day. Sandy and Pete plan to stay another two days and then drive to the West Coast. Our plan was to spend a few days in St. Johns after the East Coast Trail ended, and then consider how to get to the West Coast. What a coincidence. The two offer us to take us directly. Perfect! Shit, it occurs to us that our laptop backpack is still with Tom in St. Johns. This is also solved: Pete’s father ends up in St Johns and then comes to the cabin and can take the backpack. Wow. Thank you to Pete’s father Scott – without knowing him – for picking up the backpack! So, everything is organized and we only have to walk the last few kilometers from the trail.
You could easily hike it in a day, but we are in no hurry. And we are not quite fit today either, so we’ll do two easy days. As soon as we have left we stumble into a big family reunion having a picnic. Whether we want a little smoked salmon? After family recipe? Not really, we are still full, but of course one does not say “no”. Two muffins for the way and then we say goodbye happily. Like this we will never get rid of our food …
The path is rather spectacular through the forest with here and there a view of the coast. The looks are rewarded with seals that bask in the water, a majestic bald eagle – but hold on to it – no whales. It seems we had really caught the perfect time!
After a few hours, we find the perfect spot with breathtaking views of the coast and the sea. It could not be better for the last evening on the East Coast Trail!
Day 16: Renews to Cappahayden, about 12km and 5km drive
What a night! No wind, a thousand stars. We had decided to sleep only with the mosquito net. Every time you wake up, you look directly into a fantastic starry sky. So great! We can barely get away from this spot, but the last few kilometers also want to be hiked! So, go, 2km to Renews, a small village. We walk directly from the trail to a house. A man is standing outside. 3 minutes later, the friendly gentleman has already put us in the car and drives us to the trailhead.
The last 10km fly away, a simple way. In the last bay we stay a while and watch the seals dozing in the sun in the water. Then we approach Cappahayden, a, as we find, very small village with few houses. Mmh, there will probably be no B & B. How do we get away from here? No matter, first winner photo! Just as we get ready to take pictures, a young couple comes by. They take a picture for us. Not long and they ask us what we have planned now. That’s easy, we want to go to a B & B, but where do we not know. The two offer us to take us until we have a reception, so we can pick a B & B. Perfect. Why not go back to Charly and Maxine in Ferryland, that was a great B & B. Wonderful, the two drive us there. So nice!! Just great people here in Newfoundland. And we do not just say that because the two even give us two cool beer after they drove us to the B&B. Perfect to celebrate the finish of the Trail. Wicked!
Cheers, on a wonderful trail with great encounters and super nice people!
Sandy and Pete pick us up the next day and take us to the West Coast. There are still a few hikes to discover! And, as we heard: the west coast is the best coast! We will see!