Winter is Coming to Canada on the IAT
ECT Day 211&212
IAT Day 42&43
Day 211: 27 miles
This morning we packed up and were walking by 7:30am. It got pretty cold last night but was a bit better this morning. I kept my rain jacket on but didn’t need the rain pants. That’s a good sign at least. But I know that in the weeks to come the temperature is going to drop a lot. We’re really far north!
I felt good this morning starting out. I’m still feeling quite hopeful about my knee. We walked for about 7-8 miles to start. Then the trail went right by a Tim Hortons! All of us are obsessed with Tim’s so we had to stop in for some breakfast. Plus I really needed to re up on snacks for hiking. There was indoor seating so we got coffee and food and hung out. I resupplied before I ate so that I had an appetite. Sometimes shopping hungry can be a dangerous game. But lately I don’t have an appetite for anything. I’m so unbelievably sick of food. It’s hard to fathom eating like this for another few months. I’m going to have to get creative with my eating pretty soon for sure.
After sitting at Tim Hortons for a while we decided to keep moving. Originally we had planned to go into a nearby town to hit up a gear shop. But it would have been almost 2 miles there and 2 miles back to trail. So we decided to bypass that and just keep walking the IAT.
Once we were back on trail we walked for another few hours. I listened to music and zoned out as best I could. Today I’m doing a pretty good job of that. Before I knew it we had gone another 9 miles or so. The trail crossed over a main road which we had the option to walk to get to a gas station. We decided to head over to grab some drinks and take a short break.
There are pretty much no water sources here on the trail. And most of the creeks that you do cross near are run off from nearby farms. So we’re trying not to drink the water at all along trail. That means long carries and stopping at gas stations whenever we can. Inside this gas station I got a Sussex ginger ale, Gatorade’s, and a popsicle. We sat along the side of the building to snack and relax. I stretched and ate my popsicle. Then I ate some chips and drank the delicious ginger ale. Sussex is my current beverage obsession.
The road walk has definitely been hard on all of our bodies. But considering that I think I’m feeling pretty good. My right side is definitely still sore but so is my left. The road is making my muscles tight in all sorts of places. I’ll get fleeting sensations of tightness or pain and then it will subside. Trucker and Sparkle have both complained of a couple different aches and pains and attributed it to the road. They’ve road walked a whole lot more than me too. So I’d like to think that my body will adjust in the next week and I’ll feel progressively better.
We left that break spot around 2:45pm and continued along the road for a while. If we road walked for a bit we could cut right back onto the IAT without backtracking. After about an hour of asphalt road walking we popped right back on to the trail, which is bike path road walking. We followed along for another couple miles before passing yet another gas station. This one is going to be out last opportunity to resupply before leaving PEI. All of us definitely needed to stock up on some food for tomorrow.
Inside I walked around and wasn’t particularly drawn to any snacks. I wound up getting various baked goods that looked decent. I’m growing sick of pastries and danishes but at the same time they are the only thing I’ve been eating for months. I haven’t been able to tolerate much for a while. This whole thru hike I haven’t been able to eat tuna or chicken packets, beef jerky, most nuts, or most granola bars. Whenever I tell people that they always ask me the same question, “What are you eating?” Which truthfully is almost entirely snacks, such as cookies, pastries, and other things.
I managed to find some things to eat but definitely wasn’t very excited about it all. These convenience store resupplies are getting old. It’s really a grocery store that I need. But you have to take what you can get! I’m just happy to have frequent resupply opportunities at all.
There was a sandwich counter of sorts inside the gas station as well. So at least I was able to order a sandwich to eat for dinner. I got a steak and cheese which was pretty decent. Then I made one of those freal milkshakes in the gas station too. I was obsessed with those things on the Appalachian trail. Once I had everything I sat outside to pack my food away and eat. Then I stretched and hung out.
We only planned to do another few miles from there which was lovely. My feet were getting a bit sore and I certainly wouldn’t mind calling it a day. The last couple of miles prior to this the mosquitos were pretty bad. Sadly after our break they were still bad as we made our way to the camp site. I kept my rain jacket on though which helped keep them away from some of me.
It was around 6:30pm when we arrived at the covered picnic table where we planned to spend the night. There were lovely views of the marsh and water in the distance. We all got situated on some perfectly flat ground. The bugs were bad but I put full rain gear on to keep them away. And not long after my tent was fully set up it began to lightly rain. Perfect timing. I laid in my tent and did my stretching. Then I ate some snacks before calling it a night.
Day 212: 32 miles
This morning I got up around 5am and laid for a bit longer. It was quite cold this morning! I’m having flash backs to last year on the PCT in the desert. By late October and November the desert was unbelievably cold. Most days I was walking all day in my rain gear and was pretty uncomfortable. I’m hoping that we won’t have to experience too much of that on this trail.
By 5:30am I was moving around and packing up. Then we were hiking just after 7am. We cruised along for about an hour before anyone checked Far Out. At that point we realized that we had veered off trail and were actually just walking along a different dirt road. It wasn’t too hard to rectify, but was definitely going to cost us a mile or two. We wound up walked a couple different roads and eventually getting back to the IAT.
Around 10am we were back on the trail and decided to take our first break by a picnic table. We had gone about 10 miles by 10am though which wasn’t too shabby. At the picnic table we laid out our tents to dry. They were wet from last nights rain but mostly due to the grass and condensation. I ate some snacks and stretched and we stayed there first a long while.
By 10:45am we were continuing on. We still had a long ways to go for the day. We’re trying to pretty much finish up PEI today. That way tomorrow we can take transportation between provinces for most of the day. From there we continued along for another 5 miles or so. The trail followed long back roads mostly rather than the bike paths. Then we wound up staying along the road a bit longer than we needed to in order to walk past an ice cream shop!
When we got to Flavours ice cream we decided to drop our packs and take another break. None of us could resist some ice cream. I got a sundae with moose tracks, caramel, and the most delicious crunchy sprinkles that I’d ever had. Because there are no water sources around we also all got soda, Gatorade, and filled up our bottles at the shop. Then we stayed there at a picnic bench for a while. I laid in the grass and stretches while eating my yummy ice cream.
After that we got back on the road for a little while. The trail criss crossed with the road on and off for a bit. So staying on the road for a few miles saved us some time. Then we reconnected to the IAT once more. We were debated where to camp for the night and hadn’t fully decided yet. The more miles we do today the less we have to do tomorrow. But there aren’t that many marker camp sites to choose from. It can be risky to decide to keep going further and bank on finding an unmarked site.
After another couple of hours we passed by one of those covered picnic tables again. We decided to stop off quickly to stretch and pull our some snacks. The road is definitely not easy on the body, so stopping periodically helps. More than anything the road really makes the bottoms of my feet hurt. But I’ve also had some sporadic random aches and pains.
While we sat at the picnic table we talked about where to camp. We could push another 10 miles to one tent site, or just do 6 more miles to an earlier site. I was cool either way and figured we would just see how everyone felt as the night went on. Once we started walking again we did another couple of miles. Then we passed by a road and Trucker and Sparkle stopped. They pulled up google maps and could see that if we walked the road we would shave off a couple miles. But the road would take us to a section of the IAT that had no marked camp sites. So if we road walked we would have to run the risk that we couldn’t find a camp site quickly.
In the end we initially decided to just stay on the bike path for another 4-5 miles. Then just set up camp at the earlier site. But literally as we were crossing the road a biker rode by us. I could not even begin to make this next part up. He looked at us and said, “You want to know a way to make your walk shorter?” And we all asked how. He pointed down the road ahead and said “Just keep walking the road!” And that it shaved off miles.
I wound up asking him if he knew about camping down the road. Because nothing was marked on our maps. But he said that around here you could camp at any bench or big open field without a problem. So that decided it for us! We kept on walking the road. That meant we had to do about 7 more miles tonight. But tomorrow we would only have to do a few miles to get to the ferry.
Those next 7 miles honestly flew by pretty quick. My feet were sore but they didn’t hurt too bad. The rest of my body felt pretty good too. I got the occasional wild sensation or cramp but overall it was all fleeting. While I walked I daydreamed and listened to music. Truly anything to get my mind off the road and the miles remaining. It wasn’t long though until we just had a few miles left for the night.
That last hour on the road was actually quite nice too. The sun began to set which filled the sky with pink hues. Because it was late in the evening the road was really quiet which made it easier to walk. And just as it began to get dark we hopped off the road and got back into the IAT. We walked just down the trail to a covered picnic table which had the perfect amount of room for us to tent.
It was pretty late so we all set up quickly. My pitch was absolutely perfect which was lovely. I got inside and finished getting set up. Then did my stretching and ate. Today was a long day! But it was so worth it because now rather than doing 10 miles tomorrow we only have to do 3 to get to the ferry. That means we don’t have to wake up nearly as early and can catch an earlier ferry too.
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