Monday, July 29, 2013

Leg One: Healey's Cove to Joy's Point, Northside Road

July 29, 2013

This was a beautiful day to start our trek.  The temperature was in the mid-teens and there was none of the humidity that made last week so uncomfortable.  We dropped a car at Joy's Point, returned home, and started on our way.  The day's undertaking was all of 5 km.  We began with an uphill climb from Healey's Cove to Skibbereen, where we joined the T'Railway, part of the Trans Canada Trail.

From there it was a gentle downhill slope through spruce woods as far as Country Path.

The trail elevation gave us a fine view of the harbour in North Arm, Holyrood, including the dock where our boat is moored.

After crossing Country Path, the trail takes you over North Arm River, which is flat and slow here but has a pretty set of falls which we had seen as we descended the hill.

From the river we crossed the Conception Bay Highway.  The trail now followed the southeast side of North Arm.  A mountain (by local standards) was on our right and the the land dropped sharply off to our left, down to the shore.  Again we looked down at the harbour and the boats.

We concluded at Joy's Point on Northside Road, with our house in sight across the water.

Looking north to the opening of Holyrood harbour.


Distance:  5 km, one-way only

Time:  70 minutes, including time to pick raspberries near the Skibbereen junction.

Litter:  +  worst places were the rough path between Healey's Cove and the CBS highway, right at the start, and the scenic picnic spot at the very end.

Trail condition:  Very good from Skibbereen to CBS Hwy, washouts and gouging between there and Northside Road.

Scenic Rating:  ***

Getting started

July 29, 2013

Jim and I want to give ourselves a good boot to become more physically active. Yesterday we watched our niece Beth run in the Tely Ten 10 mile road race in St. John's. She breezed past us at the eight-mile mark. We thought yeah, good for her but we're too old now to start serious running.  Later in the day I discovered that my friend Mary Moylan had participated for the first time in honour of her 70th birthday -- how inspiring is that?

So, we sat at the cute little coffee shop by the war memorial in town and thought about setting a realistic goal that might encourage us to get moving. As we munched our pastries we considered various options for a project that would keep us going over a period of weeks or months. We remembered the winter of 1995 when we decided to ski from our then-home in St. John's to our summer home in Holyrood via the T'railway. Each weekend we would select a segment of trail, drive to a starting point, ski until we were half as tired as we wanted to get, then retrace our path back to the car. In other words, each piece of the trail would be double-tracked.  All went well until Jim suddenly got sent for hernia surgery. Then, just as suddenly, we moved away and forgot all about doing the trail.

Well, this could be just the modest undertaking to get us moving. Holyrood is now our home, so we would start from there and hike to the Railway Transportation Museum, the old rail terminal in St. John's. I won't mislead anyone by claiming this will be a herculean feat. The distance is only about 50 km. I have friends who used to walk the entire distance by road annually in the Peggy Lewis Memorial Walk.  Instead of doing it in one 12-hour day we plan to take 10 days to do 10 segments. The ten days will be spread over the next few months. We are beginning at the western end of Holyrood and will walk through the long linear town of Conception Bay South, through strips of Paradise and Mount Pearl and into the west end of St. John's.

We plan to be away from home for two to three weeks in August and another week in September so that will interfere. We are fair-weather hikers so won't go just any day. But it should be fun to see where the trail takes us and we will document the trek and take pictures all along the way. Telling everyone our plan should also shame us into completing the journey.

The route map is shown here on the Trans Canada Trail website.