It’s time for the pre-season review for thru hikers – our list of things-to-be-aware-of for those getting ready for an end-to-end hike of the East Coast Trail. Only one new problematic addition for 2017… Blowdowns! On the plus side, it looks like it’ll be a banner year for Icebergs. The remainder of tips are from last year and are unchanged… copied verbatim below.
Note the following:
- In terms of direction of travel, these tips generally assume southbound.
- Green line = Trail.
- Red line = Redirects and Trouble Spots.
- Black line = Road Walks.
- (click on a map to enlarge)
1. Blowdowns from recent wind storm.
2. Cobbler South.
For Northbounders, it’s considerably more difficult. You’ll want to stick to Red Cliff Road (important!) until you see the turn-around area / end of the road off in the distance – you’ll round a turn in the road and see a metal gate. This is the really important part… Half way between that turn and the gate, just a few metres before the last house on the right, you’ll notice a tiny, steep path heading into the woods – also on the right – take that as it veers left up the hill through the forest. From this direction, you’ll notice that it’s somewhat overgrown and may doubt the route… Just stick to the path as it veers left. At the top of the hill, head straight past the communication tower and you’ll see an ECTA sign near the cliff – and you’re back on track.
For a visual on this often problematic area check out the southbound video for Cobbler (starts at 13m 10s).
3. La Manche Village Path North.
In the past, this path had about 3km of asphalt road walk that was considered part of the trail – which always puzzled me. Luckily, it apparently puzzled someone at the ECTA too, because the trailhead has now been moved (from 1, as indicated on the image) to where the asphalt and double track stops (to 2). This is a welcome change – and it’s the same route as always for the hiker. Not so much confusing as it is something of which you want to be aware – if you’re following the current map, the trailhead is not where you’d expect it – it’s actually just over 4km on.
4. Cape Broyle Head North.
Simple change for Cape Broyle Head… Likely a dispute with a landowner. The trailhead has moved down the rocky beach a few dozen metres. As the paved road that you’ve followed off the highway passes a turn-around and reduces to double track, follow it to the coast and rock hop a bit until you see a colourful rope hanging along with some flagging tape. This is easy to find, as long as you’re aware of it.
For a visual, check out the video for Cape Broyle Head Path (starts at 2m 20s).
5. White Horse North / Biscan North.
6. Sugarloaf South to Deadman’s Bay North.
This is basically just an explanation of the route through St. John’s – mainly where to find a footbridge that’ll save you nearly 2km of road walking. For a deeper explanation and visual on the bridge, check out the Deadman’s Bay video (starts at 2m 40s).
The image for this one is pretty self explanatory. Points of interest are (1) Sugarloaf South Trailhead, (2) Dominion Memorial Market (a large modern grocery store… with a kitchen and pre-cooked food!), (3) the Outfitters (equipment… for resupply), (4) the all important Footbridge that cuts off about 1.5km of road walking and (5) Deadman’s Bay North Trailhead. There are many places to load up on calories between 2 and 4, but not much after that… Not until you get to the next (relatively smaller) supermarket @ Bay Bulls.