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Monday, October 3, 2016

East Coast Trail Day 11: Brock's Pond to Comfort Inn St. Johns

September 18, 2016

Distance: 5.0 km (3.1 miles). Cumulative: 312.02 km
Path: Piccos Ridge
Communities: Portugal Cove

I was awake by 8 am and ready to complete the final 5 km to Portugal Cove. I had looked at the map and decided that I could road walk to the Comfort Inn where I had a reservation for the night.

Ursack


I climbed up to a great view from Brock's Head.


Brock's Head





Bell Island




I could see the ferry returning from Bell Island.



Looking back at a steep ridge.


The ferry started returning to Bell Island.



I reached a section that had structures constructed on it.

Portugal Cove was visible down below.

Portugal Cove

I could see the final trailhead sign below.

There was a steep descent to the trailhead.



I enjoyed the final few steps of coastal hiking.

The end of the Piccos Ridge Path and the East Coast Trail.


Terminus of the East Coast Trail at Portugal Cove

I ate my last Twizzler to celebrate and began my road walk to the hotel near the airport.

Waterfall in Portugal Cove

Portugal Cove

I followed Portugal Cove Road all the way to the airport. I passed a scenic pond on the way. The road was quite busy, but there was a wide shoulder.

I stopped to take a break at Round Pond and then it started to rain.


The road continued next to Gladneys Arm and Windsor Lake. A sign indicated that I was entering St. Johns.

I reached the Comfort Inn and checked in. I quickly ordered and devoured an entire large pizza and pasta order from Dominos.

Overall, the East Coast Trail was an excellent trail.  Much of the time it all felt like a blur of supreme coastal scenery.  I did my best to remember which paths I had even been on the day before.  It was even harder to remember which communities I had walked through.  The entire trail was well maintained and many times I wondered how the trail designers had managed to allow the trail to reach so many dramatic and towering cliffs.  The trail isn't an easy trail as there is a surprising amount of elevation change, but it's not hard either.  Completing the ECT in 10+ days was a fairly relaxing hike and would have been even more so with longer days earlier in the year. It is hard to predict the weather though.

Before hiking the ECT, I was somewhat concerned with the amount of road walks, but they were actually quite scenic and a good change of pace.  Newfoundlanders were so friendly and I felt bad turning them down when they'd offer me a ride.  I was even invited into someone's house for tea and to use their washroom.  Someone else offered a stay in their cabin.  The on-trail hiking was great as it was remote with very few, if any road, crossings.

Hiking the trail in September was probably later in the season. The trail wasn't particularly busy, but I did see quite a few day-hikers around St. Johns. I didn't see more than a handful of backpackers on the entire trail. Earlier in the season, there would have been the opportunity to see icebergs and whales, but there were many berries on the trail.  I had anticipated spending a night in one of the many communities along the trail but ended up camping on the trail every night.

I would like to thank the East Coast Trail Association for all the hard work building and maintaining this excellent trail.  I'd also like to thank thru-hiker Randy Best for all his work providing resources for thru-hikers.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for sharing your adventure with us. I loved your pictures and descriptions of various places along the ECT. I have been a volunteer with the ECT ASSN for several years and volunteer leading guided hikes and also on maintenance outings. Hopefully your write up will encourage people to come to Newfoundland and experience the East Coast Trail for themselves.

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    1. Thanks for the hard work, Jim. While I certainly appreciate all the hard work needed for all the trails I've hiked on, I think the work done on the ECT is some of the most impressive! Many times I wondered how the trail designers created a way to get up to the scenic view points. Overall, the trail was one of the best marked and easy to follow that I have done. It's a real treasure and I'll do my best to spread the word.

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  2. Thanks so much for the great photos and comprehensive report on the trail, Eric! I would like to do a solo section hike of the ECT, and your blog gave the best idea as to what to expect and how to plan my hike out of everything I have researched so far.
    Again, many thanks for taking the time to put together such an informative piece.

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    1. Thank you! Hope you have a wonderful hike!

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  3. Thank you for this!
    I grew up in Flatrock and have hiked the section from pouch cove to torbay. I was considering doing a Thru hike in the summer of 2018. This was very helpful.

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  4. Thanks for the great pictures and description Eric. My husband and I will be thru hiking the trail in early September this year and your details provided us with a lot more info. Happy Hiking!

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About Me

I've been born and raised in the great state of Michigan. I recently graduated from physical therapy school. I enjoy being active, playing sports, and running. Backpacking has become a great interest as it is a physical challenge that provides many rewarding views and experiences. I strive to make a difference in the lives of those encounter in every day life, on the trail, or even just on this blog. May God bless each of you. Now go find an adventure! It's only a few feet away!