Intrepid ECT Thru Hikers lay claim to the coastline before McMansions pop-up

Today marks the first time, to the best of my knowledge, that hikers have included Miner’s Path (Topsail Beach / St. Thomas) and Goat Cove Path (St. Phillips / Portugal Cove) in a ECT Thru Hike.

Erika Cleroux and Luc Sylvestre @ Topsail Beach on Sunday June 18, 2017.

Most recently this concept was floated by 2017 hiker Craig Steele. Craig’s revised start date is June 30, but he kicked off the 2017 list last year when indicating his intention to do a northbound thru hike, starting at Cappahayden and ending – not at Portugal Cove, but 14 kilometres on at Topsail Beach. Soon after Craig posted, friends of his and others indicated the same intentions.

Earlier today, prior 2016 Thru Hikers Erika Cleroux and her partner and Yoging-Master-In-Tow Luc Sylvestre started in Topsail Beach and headed north, for an overall-southbound thru hike of some 326 kilometers. Erika and Luc had a rough start last year with their tent nearly taking flight as they camped near the ballfield in Pouch Cove on a very windy Night Number 2, but they’ve come back for more… and intend to be the first to include the unofficial northern trails in a complete thru hike.

Good luck to all the trailblazers!

Re-supply Updates and Sharing the Joy

While driving last weekend to hike my final mysterious non-official southern ECT sections along the coast toward Cape Race, I seized the opportunity to do some research. While a hiking buddy made pit stops for ice cream, I checked out hardware stores and post office locations.

The final post office before Cappahayden is at Fermeuse. It’s tucked away in the most unexpected of spots… on a quiet subdivision side street at the top of a steep hill. At 350 meters off the road route and 28 km from the southern terminus, it’ll probably be of more use to northbounders than southbounders.

During this drive I also passed Dalton’s Home Hardware in Cape Broyle (@ km # 218)… for once while it was actually open. As I expected, Methyl Hydrate is available in the paint department. The real surprise however came at Witless Bay Home Hardware (km # 173). Not only do they have Methyl Hydrate, but also Isobutane Canisters… in a dedicated camping section! It’s expensive @ $12 for a 220g, but it’s a second re-supply option for those using gas (the first being The Outfitters @ km # 96).

20170601_162521_hdr-01

This info has been added to the Spreadsheet and Notes & Tips page.

The #ectthruhike tag has also been suggested by thru hiker Marc Gärtner. We’d better grab it for this real trail before it’s claimed by a theoretical one. This will allow thru hikers to share info online while en-route for a variety of advantages: it will not only allow hikers to publicize themselves and their effort, but also help them identify fellow thru hikers. Sharing in this way also provides great exposure for the trail and serves to inspire next year’s group of thru hikers

Links have also been added to the Thru Hikers 2017 page for two Facebook groups; Hiking the East Coast Trail (preaching to the choir, but local hikers love following along) and Backpacking in Eastern Canada (which has a greater percentage of backpackers as well as people that are unaware of the ECT and the idea of thru hiking it).

Unofficial ECT: Miner’s Path

Please note: This path is unofficial, unhardened, unsigned and unmapped by the ECTA. It is however marked with flagging tape as indicated and totally manageable for the determined hiker.

Miner’s Path: 5km (aprox.)
Community @ South: Topsail
Community @ North: St. Phillips
Specifically: Topsail Beach Rotary Park to Laurie Road, St. Phillips

Marked @ Ends?: Yes. Pink / Black Ribbons
Marked on Route?: Yes. Most recently, Pink Ribbons

Other Info:
Side trail to viewpoint at Topsail Bluff. Marked with double Pink 0.5km from southern end. Steep climb.

Perfect path for sunset pictures.

This path has ample parking on the southern end, but in general is easy to hike from either direction. It leaves the coast on the northern end when it connects with a few other trails – so you need to be a little more observant of the Pink / Black “trailhead” ribbons and the following few Pink ribbons until you’re sure of the track when starting from the north at Laurie Road.