Start: Cape St. Francis. End: Shoe Cove. Mileage: 10
“This East Coast Trail will make you feel like you died and gone to heaven,” said my hiking sidekick Bad Influence.
First, I really enjoyed my stay at Wild Roses B &B last night. Mary’s place is a one-stop hiker’s oasis, providing airport shuttle, home cooked dinner and breakfast and make-your-own sandwich lunch lunches plus a morning shuttle through a long and seriously cratered-up gravel road of sorts. Mary’s brother Frank is retired from 32 years working up at the Churchill, Labrador power station and helps out with his sister’s business. Frank and I discovered that we both are friendly with Happy Valley, Labrador’s Joe Goudie.
This Newfoundland family supporting this lodging/ shuttle business is the real deal. For example, this morning’s breakfast features lassi tutons, a Labrador legendary delicacy of soft cake consistency, that is dosed by the fortunate consumer with blackstrap molasses.
The rain that had been falling all night stopped as we exited Frank’s Caravan just below the Cape St. Francis lighthouse at the northernmost tip of the Avalon Peninsula. The evergreen boughs bordering the path released showers of cold rainwater on my shirt as I rubbed by against them drenching my pants, shirt, and shoes. It’s unavoidable, and the sun that is breaking out should help dry things as the day passes along.
We’ve been hiking along dramatic cliffs punctuated by gorges that frame the churning blue and green waters hundreds of feet below us. We’re camped here tonight at Shoe Cove, where we scored a couple of dramatic spots of for my tent and BI’s hammock.
Beside my tent there is a talkative brook flowing that is draining into the ocean, with a view of the North Atlantic framed by sixty degree cliffs on both sides anchored by the floor of the sea.
In the morning, we’ll head downstream, and follow a traditional cow path cutting up an eastern slope.
Backpacking here on an abbreviated schedule ( started at 10:45 AM) this first day out was “world class hiking”, a term I reserve for the top 5 percent of the trails that I have experienced in my life.
The trail is segmented into sections that each have their own maps. Our first segment was detailed on a topographic map that covered 7.3 kilometers, and we are already half way through N#4 which adds another 15.1 k down.
Bad Influence and I are excited about how interesting it is to hike here in Newfoundland. The trail reminded me of hiking in New Hampshire’s White Mountains, where roots, rocks, wetness, twisting progress and relentless ups and downs, almost with every step, made total focus a priority.
Both of us felt good today.
It is beyond understanding why we saw no one else all day. The air off the ocean is so fresh. The post- rain clearing rain triggered a mild cleansing breeze that felt like a cosmic air conditioner was stuck on the Low setting. Perfect hiking weather if you ask me. No black flies or mosquitoes. Tics don’t live here!