The Universe made me do it…

Why Newfoundland?

In the last month, I have been asked why I chose to hike this trail. I have never expressed interest in hiking in eastern Canada or even researched hiking in the eastern provinces. The truth is, I stumbled upon the trail by accident and booked a plane ticket only three days later.

As I sat in front of my laptop trying to plan a BC road trip for my upcoming vacation time. I cringed just thinking about how much gas alone would cost me on this trip. I had initially planned to do a road trip last summer. However, I decided to postpone the trip due to forest fires and pandemic restrictions. Gas prices are now a dollar more than last summer, which means looking for ways to cut down my driving time. I decided to look into a few short hikes with which I could do shorter road trips in between. Turning to trusty Google, I begin researching new hikes in the area. I start to type “North Coast Trail” (which is in BC) into the search engine but instead… I typed East Coast Trail.

Photo Credit: PJ Woodworks

Do you ever feel like the universe is telling you something?

I was now sitting in front of a computer screen, looking at the most beautiful photos of rugged coastal cliffs along the Atlantic Ocean. Immediately I joined a Facebook group dedicated to the trail to learn more about it. I soon discovered I could hike the entire trail within my allotted days off.

The Facebook group had a list of faqs and a 14-page excel spreadsheet dedicated to trail stats such as resupply, camping spots, water sources, and more. It was as though someone had planned a vacation for me, handed me the itinerary, and said, “here, go buy a plane ticket.” 

While hiking the Sunshine Coast Trail in BC a few weeks prior, I met a couple of hikers from Montreal. They told me they were debating hiking the East Coast Trail but instead chose to come to British Columbia to hike. The conversation went no further than that, and I didn’t give the ECT any more thought. Perhaps though, it was subconsciously on my mind. Maybe the universe was trying to say something… Did I need to be on this trail?

I shook my head, sent a text to a friend, and asked her if I was crazy for considering this. After all, my time off was less than a month away, and I knew nothing about Newfoundland or the trail.  Interestingly enough, my friend informed me that she was just about to have lunch with a friend of hers from Newfoundland. Well… If the universe wasn’t actively trying to tell me something, this is all a huge coincidence. Then and there, I knew I had to book a flight.

Photo Credit: Randy Best

The Trail…

The East Coast Trail (also known as the ECT travels 336km (209 miles) – I will be tracking my hike mostly in kilometers because I am Canadian, and so is the trail, but if I remember, I will convert to miles for you imperial hikers. The trail runs along the coast of the Avalon Peninsula – the southeast portion of the island that is Newfoundland. The ECT comprises 26 separate trail systems connected via road walks through local communities. The first 25km of the trail was developed in 1994 and the trail continues to grow in length each year.

The trail is home to animals such as moose, coyotes, foxes, whales, seals, and other small rodents and marine animals. Unlike any other hike I have been on, it will be one of the only times I can hike without worrying about a bear getting at my food, as there is little to no bear activity on the Avalon Peninsula. The trail is home to a wave-driven geyser, numerous waterfalls, historical sights, abandoned settlements, marvelous rock structures, lighthouses, and so much more.

Photo Credit: Randy Best

Planning my adventure…

I plan to make the most of my time along the hike. I hope to join sightseeing tours and take side trails whenever time allows me to do so. As well as stop into towns and learn about the culture and history of the trail’s communities. To plan my adventure, I have used the East Coast Trail webpage, and I joined an informative Facebook group Called ECT Thru Hike. The Facebook group is run by a very helpful local trail enthusiast, Randy Best. 

The spreadsheet written by Randy Best is one of the most informative resources I have come across about the trail. For those thru-hikers familiar with Farout (formerly known as Guthooks), this is the closest thing the trail has to a Guthooks guide.

The group is full of veteran and aspiring hikers of the trail – resulting in a community of passionate people full of loads of information. All of the photos used in this post are from members of that group. They have graciously permitted me to use their pictures on these pre-trail posts. 

Shout out to Randy for all of the information he provides to hikers!

Photo Credit: Bee Joline

The only thing left for me to plan is where to start and how to get to the trailhead. Since there is no public transit to the trailhead again, I went to the Facebook group. The general consensus is that people in the area are beneficial when facilitating rides to and from the trail heads. Another alternative is hiring a local taxi company. To cab to the south end can be expensive, so it’s best to find other hikers to split the cost.

I have yet to decide how I will get to the trailhead or where I will start the hike. With flights in Canada getting canceled and delayed all over the place, I didn’t want to have someone waiting on me if my flight didn’t arrive on time. So my way to the trail will be something I figure out once I get to St. John’s. I don’t yet know if I’ll be heading clockwise (Southbound) or counterclockwise (Northbound), but the uncertainty is part of the adventure!

The only thing left is to get through one more week of work and pack! I will do one more pre-trail post in a few days. My next post will highlight my gear list and a breakdown of my first food supply (which was requested by a reader on Instagram.) Comment below if there is anything specific you would like me to include.

**Cover Photo Credit: Randy Best**

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