A photo essay of my thru hiking the East Coast Trail (220km) in Newfoundland. I hope these photos transport you to the east coast where myself, my partner, my Mom, and my mom’s best friend Anna attempted to thru hike the length of the ECT.
We began our thru hiking the East Coast Trail from the south, starting in Cappahayden. As soon as we arrived to the trailhead we almost immediately spotted Icebergs off in the distance.
We pitched our tents near Cappahayden where we would get a full night’s rest before beginning the our thru hike the next day.
We lucked out on weather the first day. It was reported to be the warmest day of the season so far. We had heard horror stories of how wet and technical this section of trail was. We were happy to be travelling this section with favourable conditions.
The next day a thick fog rolled in off the Atlantic. The fog acted as air conditioning, the temperatures dropped considerably. Most of the views along the coast were left to our imagination. The fog was so thick we could rarely see the ocean.
The following day the cold fog had turned into a cold rain. Much of the trail was exposed to the open ocean making the wind another challenging element.
It was never the wind that slowed us down though, just the trail itself. The trail was a small single track hardly wide enough to fit our packs through in places. The trail was almost always slightly slanted towards to ocean, and it was never straight or level. It was some of the most challenging terrain I had ever walked on.
We were never given any trail names. I suppose because we never saw any hikers on the trails.
A local introduced himself as we walked through his town and invited us to stay at his cabin along the trail. East coast hospitality is unlike anywhere else. You can expect most locals to invite you into their home for tea, water, and even dinner. As if that isn’t kind enough, we had locals offer up their home, and even buy us a case of beer.
Our gear finally had the opportunity to dry out before we started hiking on the East Coast Trail again.
I wish I could say the sun made an appearance again so soon. However, the rain continued and the trails became more and more difficult to navigate.
Finally, the fog burnt up in the sun’s rays. It was never as beautiful as our first day on the trail again. However, after almost four days of rain we felt as if we were on a beach in Mexico.
The ECT traveled out into the ocean along capes that would poke out into the ocean. We would walk along these capes until they eventually led back into little inlets where towns and villages were located. Nearly 75% of the trail was entirely wilderness.
The villages were home to as few as a dozen people. I couldn’t help but wonder how beautiful these little inlets would look under a fresh dusting of snow in the winter.
Hailey and I were leaving directly to Iceland from Newfoundland. Our legs began giving out, our back and shoulders were in agony. The anticipation of hopping on a plane to thru hike across the entire country of Iceland was beginning to worry us.
After thru hiking 170 km, all four of us decided to end our hike. With 50 km to go before reach St. Johns. We felt as though we could physically finish the ECT thru hike. However, we knew the cost be too high, there’s no way we could begin our thru hike in Iceland in such rough shape only a few days later.
Thru hiking the ECT is truly one of the greatest experiences of my life. Like so many places, it’s the adventure that draws us, but it’s the people and the culture that brings as back again and again. I can’t wait until I’m back in Newfoundland.