Monday, October 25, 2010

Another Hike, Bellevue to Chance Cove

No paddling again this weekend, but I did get outside for a few hours. Yesterday, Trent, Ringo the dog, and I hiked from Bellevue Beach Park to Chance Cove and back. It was an interesting hike, and took about 4 hours. I'd say we walked at least 11kms, but probably more due to amount of detours around felled trees and losing the trail, finding our way back onto some sort of trail. Hurricane Igor laid a beating on this area. and there wasn't much of a trail along the way.

There is a short trail leaving the park, heading towards Chance Cove, and there is a short coastal trail in Chance Cove, and the idea was to bushwack our way from one to the other. Almost the whole way turned out to be a bushwack, thanks to Igor.

The "trail" basically follows the coastline, most of which are high cliffs that lead you down to some really nice beaches along the way.

The starting point is the lookout in the Park.

This is what the trail looked like most of the way. Thanks Igor

This culvert used to below to the road not far from here. Igor completely washed away the road in this area, but has since been repaired.

The first beach we encountered. Very nice.

Ah, the wonderful signs of nature. About 20 car wrecks strewn in a row near the pole line. Hurray for mankind.

A cow moose checking us out. She was lying on the middle of the trail, having a snack. She didn't pay much attention to us, so we watched for 5 minutes or so, then made a detour around here. Below is a short video of the encounter:

A picture of a picture being taken

To get down into one of the coves, someone put a rope to help you out. Nice touch.

A view from on top of the cliffs
What a cool spot

Nice secluded beach

Pretty impressive sea stack

And to cap it off, a rainbow.

Friday, October 15, 2010

East Coast Trail: Cape Broyle to Calvert

The past weekend, Trent and I hiked another section of the East Coast Trail. Of the developed 254kms of trail, I think I have now completed about 138kms. I used to hike a lot, until I discovered kayaking, which really put a damper on the amount of hiking I did. I'll continue to pick away at this trail over the years, but my primary hobby will remain kayaking.

This section of the ECT is 18.3km and rated as Difficult/Strenuous. It also took a beating from Igor with the website classing the damage as "Very Heavy" and clean up status as "Uncleared". This made for an interesting hike, with a lot of detouring and climbing over and under a lot of fallen trees.

This was the most unprepared I'd ever been for a trip. I basically threw all my gear in my trunk, and drove to the trail head in Cape Broyle. I met Trent in the parking lot of the Ultramar and we just jammed as much crap into our bags as they would take. So much for the lightweight backpacking philosophy I used to follow so strictly. Thats one way kayaking has ruined me. I'm so used to just throwing everything in my hatches and paddling off, that to go back to being concerned about ounces was a pain in the butt.

This was also my first hike with my new backpack the MEC IBex 80. Pretty nice bag. By the end of the trip I had finally figured out most of the features of it. But again, I was very unprepared and rushed, so I kinda figured it out as I went.

To top off our loads, we brought a half dozen beer each. I put a pack of frozen bacon on top of my beers which kept them nice and cold by the time we got to our campsite, at about the 7km mark on the trail.

So we hit the trail at about 2pm. Didn't take me long to realize how far out of shape I was. Whew, it was going to be a long 18km.

Only 30mins in.....sweating already

No where else to put the rain hang it on the back.

Won't get mistaken for a moose or bear that way!

Stopping for a beer at the Lance Cove Campsite

All set up, including our windbreak.

Trent's patented "3 Hour HotDogs" in progress.
That evening, we drank a few beers, shot the shit, and had some good snacks, including the 3 hour hot dogs shown above. All night coyotes were howling in the distance, something I've never heard before. Very cool, but also unnerving.
We were up around 5am, got our breakfast, packed up and started walking. Right away I noticed my right knee was feeling strange. As soon as I started walking down hill, it felt like it was going to pop. Oh well, only 11kms to go.
Big sea stack in Lance Cove. We paddled around that one back in July.

Trent at a view point
Shag Rock Cove

Me at Shag Rock Cove.

After a while I was really feeling it, and had to basically limp down each hill. Climbing over all the deadfall was not that much fun either. The map showed a short cut, that basically cuts overland about 2-3kms to come down into Calvert, basically cutting off the 5 km or so of Cape Broyle Head. We decided this was our best option, due to my bum knee.
As soon as we turned off the main trail and on to the side path, it started to rain, and the path quickly went from a well developed ATV path to a marsh. Staying on any sort of path was difficult, and it kept disappearing and criss crossing other paths and ATV trails. We were often up to our knees in mud and were soaked from the driving rain. We also got turned about a few times, but eventually found our way down over the hill and into Calvert. By the end of it my knee was really bad and I was limping.

Awesome trail conditions

Soaking wet, but having fun

A typical section of the shortcut path
If you are planning to do this hike, stick to the main trail and don't be tempted by the shortcut shown on the map.
Despite the weather and my knee, overall it was a great trip. I was very happy just to be outside.
My knee is better now, 4 days later, but it concerns me a lot, as I plan to do many, many more hikes over the years, longer and tougher than this one, so I hope its not a reoccuring thing. If it happens again, I'm gonna have to see a doctor.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Centre Hill Trail

As we move into the fall, I find myself paddling less and hiking more. Back in September me and Trent hiked the Centre Hill Trail, in Sunnyside. The trail is approx. 10kms return, and took us about 3 hrs, including a stop to boil the kettle and have a cuppa tea.

The trail is well marked and maintained, and very easy except for the last bit, which is climbing the 1153ft to the top of Centre Hill. Its the highest point by far in the area, and was used as a fire tower from the 1930's to the mid 1960's.

The panaramic view from the top is amazing, and well worth the hike.

Centre Hill from a distance

Me from the summit, with Trinity Bay in the background

Facing South, with Sunnyside off in the distance

Friday, September 24, 2010

Don't See This Too Often

Taken outside my house a few weeks ago after a rain storm.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big Swells in Bay Bulls

Big for me anyway :-)

Yesterday evening I took my colleague, Jean-Nil, (who is visiting from Quebec), kayaking in Bay Bulls. It was a very nice evening, with no wind, but lots of swell. I'm terrible at judging wave heights, and I'm not out in these type of swells very often, but one of the tour boat operators in Bay Bulls told me that there were 3 metre swells outside, and I think we saw a few of those at the mouth of the Bay. One set of 3 in particular were huge. I didn't take many pictures, but here are a few.

As always, the pictures never do wave heights justice, but a couple of the waves were like walls of water coming at us. They were massive!

Jean-Nil heading out of Bay Bulls


Here we are in the trough of a wave. It looks like the horizon behind Jean-Nil, but its actually the front of the wave coming toward us

The same in the above image. I didn't get any pictures of the biggest set :-(

Checking out some caves on the south side of Bay Bulls. The swells made it too dangerous to get near them.

Another shallow cave

This one was mostly protected from the swells, so we could get a little closer

I think he had a good time :-)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Marble Zipline

Last weekend, me and a few friends did the Zipline tour at Marble Mountain in Steady Brook, Newfoundland.

What a rush! There were 8 zips, which took us about 1.5hrs altogether. The highest zip is over 300ft high, and the longest one is 1800ft, where you hit speeds up to 80 km/hr.

The third zip takes you right over a 200ft waterfall. It was amazing!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Isle Aux Morts

During our visit to my home, we got on the water for a few hours around Isle Aux Morts, about 8kms up the coast from Burnt Islands. Even though I grew up very near here, I had never been around here by boat, so I was really looking forward to finally exploring all the nooks and crannies in the area.

Isle Aux Morts translates to "Island of the Dead" and was so named because of all the shipwrecks that have happened over the years around here. The Harvey Trail, in the community describes some of these wrecks, and if you click the link above, you can see what it can look like around here on a bad day. Today we could hear the constant roar of the swells breaking on the rocks and sunkers outside, but it was flat calm inside.

The coastline around Isle Aux Morts. Islands, rocks and sunkers everywhere

There aren't too many great spots on launch around here, although there is a government wharf with a concrete slipway on the other side of the community. We chose the old slipway, where everyone hauls up their boats, and if I'm not mistaken, its the only place that has a TravelLift (for lifting boats out of the water) on this coast. Right after I took the above pic I manged to drive a rusty nail through my foot. Nice way to start the trip. Luckily for me, I had a tetanus shot less than a year ago. I was just glad I didn't have my drysuit on at that point.

So with a new hole in my foot we headed out past the old fish plant. I remember the lovely smell of fish meal that used to come from that place when I was a kid. What a stink!

Heading out through the eastern passage. I didn't take long before we could feel the swells from outside.

Going around Potato Island. We were able to catch a few waves along the way, where Potato Island was closest to Little White Island. We could have stayed there surfing all day, but we wanted to explore, so off we went.

Potato Island to the left, Little White Island to the right

Facing towards Margaree

Poking about all the small islands

One of the very few beaches between Rose Blanche and Port Aux Basques. I didn't even know this one existed. If you look VERY VERY closely to the right above Angie's shoulder, the Caribou is passing by, arriving from Nova Scotia. Even from that far off, we could still hear its engines.

It looked like a great place to camp, but I don't think there's much beach left at high tide. We stopped here for a short break and a lunch.

There is a certain smell attached to this type of landscape in the summer time. I can't put my finger on it, but I wish I could bottle it up and take it back to the east coast with me.

A small channel between two islands

The water was absolutely still


Where Isle Aux Morts River meets the sea. Someone has a really nice cabin built in the perfect location. I'm jealous.

Me with slipway and TravelLift in the background.

Another short but very nice paddle.