Will you be my friend?: Day 3&4 on the ECT

Day 3 – kilometer 44.5 – 76.5

I woke up before sunrise to climb to the top of Berry Head Arch. As I watched the sky fill with colour, I was greeted by multiple breaching whales. It was the perfect way to start the morning off. I’m glad I chose to camp here last night instead of pushing through to the next campsite, which I had initially planned.

As I approached the next campsite, I was excited to see people! Yay, trail friends!

I have yet to see another person on the trail, including any day hikers. Don’t get me wrong. I love the quiet of the trail, but sometimes it’s nice to see other hikers from time to time. It’s starting to get a little lonely out here.

The couple at the campsite were thru-hikers headed the same direction as me, but they assured me I was unlikely to see them again as they were going to be hiking the trail at a very leisurely pace… So much for making new friends.

By 9 am, the heat was already overwhelming, and I decided to take a long afternoon break from hiking once I got to the next town of Ferryland. Once I arrived in Ferryland, I walked out to the lighthouse, grabbed lunch and a much-needed ice cold iced tea at the Tetley Tea Room and took a tour through the old settlements. Ferryland has an incredibly unique history and is one of the best preserved English colonial sites in North America.

By 3 pm, it was still sweltering, but I decided it was time to move on and keep hiking. The heat had me struggling, and at my next road walk, I accepted a ride to the next trailhead. I set up camp early, knowing I wouldn’t make it to the next campsite before dark.

I thought soaking my feet in the flowing creek would cool me down, but the stream was lukewarm, and although it cleansed my skin, it did nothing to satisfy my sore feet.

Day 4 – kilometers 76.5 – 107

If I’m being honest, today is not a day I want to talk about much.

I woke up early, not feeling very well. It’s a lot cooler today than yesterday, with a pretty cold breeze coming off the water. This next section is rated as difficult and has a lot of roller coaster-style inclines and declines along the trail. I was moving incredibly slow, stopping every half a kilometre, desperate for a break. It wasn’t even hot out, and I felt under a heat lamp.

My stomach was in knots, and after about 9km of hiking, I vomited. After that, I had a hard time holding myself together. I started to cry hysterically and had a meltdown on the trail while still walking it. I couldn’t eat anything all day, so my energy was extremely low, and now anything I had left in my stomach was on the side of the trail.

What the Fox?

The universe has this funny little way of saying sorry when I am having a bad day of hiking; it likes to send me animals. So here I am, slowly limping along, trying not to vomit when I hear. HEEEeeeeeeelp. I froze. It sounds like a child is screaming for help. The screen happens again. And again. And again. I look through the forest toward the sound as I see two red foxes dash deeper into the woods.

I thought hearing a rattlesnake for the first time was scary, but I think a screaming fox now takes the win for terrifying sounds you may hear in the woods.

As my heartbeat returns to a regular tempo, another animal darts through the forest just before me! A Moose! Unfortunately, the moose was too quick and quick and a good look at him, but they are the only large deer-like animals in the area, so I have to assume that’s what it was. Either that or it was bigfoot? It seemed too quick to be bigfoot. Also, do they even have bigfoot legends in Newfoundland?

Still looking for trail friends….

After the longest 18km of my life (8 hours!) I found myself in Cape Broyle. When I walked up to the small grocery store, I noticed two backpacks outside. Friends! I tracked down the two hikers and immediately started a conversation with them. Unfortunately, they were southbound hikers, so this would be the beginning and the end of our hiker friendship.

We sat at the counter inside the store while discussing the trail and what was to come for each of us. I told Kyle and Laura about my shitty day, and Laura assured me that she had had a meltdown on the trail too. I guess misery does love company because, at that moment, it made me feel a lot better to know I wasn’t alone. However, it also makes me very nervous about what is to come ahead of me on the trail.

The air conditioning, snacks and cold drinks made me feel a whole lot better, and after saying goodbye to my fast friends, the store owner offered to drive me to the next trailhead.

It was now pouring rain, but I was happy for anything that wasn’t heat. As I was hiking, I could hear whale after whale breaching the ocean’s surface. I finally got to a viewpoint where I could look out into the cove. There have to be at least 50 whales! I stood there watching and trying to record as I saw dorsal fins, tails, side fins and spray coming up from under the water.

I stood watching them until I couldn’t stand the bugs anymore, and I hiked the last couple of kilometres to my campsite for the night. Tomorrow will be a better day, but this one was ended up being pretty great.

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