Platinum Blazing on the International Appalachian Trail
ECT Day 225&226
IAT Day 56&57
Day 225: 26 miles
This morning we slept in a bit at the room which felt good. But lately our “sleeping in” has been until 6:30am at the latest. I’m craving a real late day where I’m able to sleep in as late as I want to.
Once we all got up we packed our things and set out. I popped out of the room quickly to see what the weather was like outside. It’s been so cold and windy lately that I’ve been wearing all of my layers. But this morning it was actually beautiful out. I decided I didn’t need to wear my rain jacket or rain pants. We set out around 7:30am and I was so happy not to be bundled up for once.
My body was a little bit sore but overall I felt good. As I got moving I warmed up and felt better. We wound up walking for about 3-4 hours before our first break. The road went right past a turn off for Arches Provincial Park. A large natural arch right on the beach which was supposed to be really beautiful. All of us took the side road down to check out the arch.
There were picnic tables so we dropped our packs and then walked down the stairs onto the beach. We walked across the rocky shore and down to the arch which sat at the end of the ocean. I can imagine the ground surrounding the arch would normally be entirely under water. But because it was low tide we were able to explore around the “cave” area beneath the arch. What a beautiful place to take a break.
The three of us sat down upon some rocks which overlooked the archway. Then we eventually got up to continue on. There was another handful of miles or so before the road would pass through a small town. Those next couple of hours went by surprisingly quick. Before I knew it we were entering into Parsons Pond.
The road crossed over a bridge with beautiful views of the ocean and bay. Boats were out on the water assumably doing some fishing. We walked through the town and passed by a Sunrise cafe. Then decided to head in and grab a late breakfast because they served breakfast all day! There’s nothing better than that. I ordered French toast with sausage and home fries. Everything was delicious.
Then all of us did a light resupply inside the attached gas station. But we didn’t need to make it far. In another 10 miles we would pass right through Cow Head. That’s also where we plan to stop off for the night. After we ate all of us sat outside the store for a bit. I did my stretching and then we headed out again.
As we walked the road was perfectly flat so I managed to do some blogging. I blogged for an hour or so and spent the another hour talking with Sparkle. Between both activities the time was absolutely flying. After a while I got fully caught up on my blogging which was incredible.
Around 6pm we entered Cow Head, NL. Cow Head is the town nearest to Gros Morne. I was surprised how busy the town actually was. We walked through town and then got to the Shallow Bay Motel where we were going to spend the night. The place was huge and wicked busy. It’s a Saturday and there is apparently a darts tournament tonight.
We checked into our room and dropped off the bags. Then walked over to a nearby store to grab a bit more food. After that we returned to the motel and ate dinner at the restaurant inside. I got salmon with vegetables and potatoes. It was truly the most flavorful and satisfying meal that I’ve had in as long as I can remember. I could feel it nourishing my body.
When we finished eating dinner we went back to the room to relax for the rest of the night. It was already pretty late at this point. I took a shower and got into bed to rest my body. Then we all laid up for a while watching TV before calling it a night.
Day 226: 28 miles
This morning we got up around 6:30am in the motel room. My body was tired and all I wanted to do was sleep all day long. But we have miles to make. So we packed up and headed out. Just like yesterday we were walking by 7:30am. And we only had to go for about 4.5 miles before we can to our first stop of the day.
We’ve finally walked far enough to make it back to the gas station in St Paul! St Paul is the town that our first hitch brought us to the other day when we were hitching 230 miles north from Rocky Harbour to L’Ance aux Meadows. It’s wild to think that we got dropped off at the northern most point of Newfoundland basically and have almost walked the 230 miles back to Rocky Harbour already.
At the gas station we hoped to grab some breakfast. The restaurant didn’t actually open until 10am but the lady working served us at 9am. That was so kind of her. All of us were really hoping for a bit of hot food to tide us over for the day. I got a cheeseburger and devoured it. Then we grabbed a couple snacks drinks and kept on walking.
We headed out from the gas station around 9:40am. And we planned to go for another 23 miles to get to Rocky Harbour. That was a long ways away but I knew that we would make it. All of us continued walking for a few hours after that. The road brought us right past the Western Brook Trailhead yet again. That’s the trailhead that we got dropped off at when we hiked the Long Range Traverse in Gros Morne. The parking lot had a bathroom as well as a nice wooded platform with benches. We decided to stop off there to take our next break. It was a quality place to stop off.
Trucker joked that he hoped the golf cart would drive by us and take us back to the store near the ferry. When we had been at the store previously before taking the ferry over to the traverse we got chowder which was delicious.
After sitting at the trailhead parking lot for a bit we kept moving. It was already quite late in the day and we still had over 10 miles remaining. Once we had walked for another couple of hours my feet began to ache. At this point we were probably about 22 or so miles into the day. Sometimes the road walking will have my feet aching with every step. Especially once I’m 20 miles or more into the day.
The last hour or two of the day I had some discomfort in every step. Thankfully though it was discomfort that I recognized. That painful feeling in your feet can make walking uncomfortable. But it’s something that I know will go away as soon as we stop walking. Though it can take a lot of willpower to push through those final aching miles. I try to focus on my breathing and will the pain away as best I can. That doesn’t necessarily work, but it will usually help me tolerate the pain for long durations of time. Thru hiking is all mine over matter.
We got back into Rocky Harbour around 7pm. It’s hard to imagine that we were here a week or so ago. When we first got to Newfoundland we took a bus basically all the way to Rocky Harbour. Then we did the Long Range Traverse in Gros Morne. After the traverse we hitched 230 miles north to L’Ance aux Meadows. Then we began hiking south from there. In about 7 days we have made it all the way back to Rocky Harbour on foot. This last week we averaged about 29 miles a day. Not too shabby.
Our first stop in Rocky Harbour was at the restaurant that we had been to before. All of us were starving and excited to get warm. I wound up getting fish and chips with sweet potato fries which was all fantastic. We ate and took our time at the restaurant. Then we headed over to a motel for the night.
It was the same place that we had stayed at on our first night in Rocky Harbour. This is our third night staying in Rocky Harbour actually as well. Because not only did we stay the night before beginning the Long Range Traverse. We also stayed the night after we finished. And now we’re back again!
When we got to the room everyone immediately laid down. I was so ridiculously tired. My body was sore and downright exhausted. I wound up laying down for an hour or so before finally getting up to shower. Then laid back in bed and never got up again. I watched the nature channel on TV and was up pretty late. Then eventually headed off to bed. Tomorrow we plan to do our laundry in the morning so we’re definitely not going to have an early start.
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