Located on Newfoundland's Avalon Peninsula, the East Coast Trail is a 300+ km hiking trail from Cappahayden to Portugal Cove. The trail includes 26 different paths and connects over 30 communities. The East Coast Trail website states that the trail "takes you past towering cliffs and headlands, sea stacks, deep fjords, and a natural wave-driven geyser called the Spout. It provides access to abandoned settlements, lighthouses, ecological reserves, seabird colonies, whales, icebergs, world's southern most caribou herd, historic sites, a 50-metre suspension bridge, two active archaeological dig sites, and many more attractions."
Even with the road walks the ECT provides an excellent thru-hiking opportunity. Planning is straight forward and logistics easy. One of the greatest and only resources for thru-hiking the trail is available at ectthruhike.com, provided by thru-hiker Randy Best. Randy has done a fantastic job creating an excellent spreadsheet with everything a thru-hiker needs to know including trail and road walk distances, camping, water sources, resupply info, and more. Randy has also filmed a youtube playlist for all the paths on the trail. Many thanks to Randy for all his hard work!
One of main things that needed careful planning during the day was where to camp. Many times there are few suitable places to set up camp on the trail (camping technically allowed nearly everywhere) and getting stuck on a road walk in the dark wouldn't be ideal. Randy's info was really helpful to avoid this. Otherwise water sources were frequent with a few exceptions and resupply was easy.
The trail is extremely well marked with one exception being the road walks. A few times the road walks were confusing and they are rarely marked. I used a gps track from Randy's thru-hike and didn't have any issues. I also carried the maps from the ECTA for use on trail.
The East Coast Trail is a great trail for someone looking to get into thru-hiking as it is very scenic, but has many bail out points. Hikers have the option to stay at the many bed and breakfasts along the trail. There is also taxi service available along almost the entire trail.
Continue to Day 1