Friday, October 11, 2013

Leg 5B: Cronin's Point to Mineral's Road, Long Pond

October 10, 2013  (Continued from Leg 5A)

We left the Kelligrews Pond area and the trail disappeared.  It became a dirt road, with a pick-up truck coming toward us.  We were pretty sure this was still the T'Railway track so on we went.

The shore side had an occasional wide section, suitable for sitting and sizing up the marine traffic.

In Foxtrap we found undeveloped open space (just waiting to be turned into a subdivision of 100 houses) and then - wow! - a farm. With pumpkins, no less.

Then we walked through the Foxtrap Marina where a few boats were still in the water.

The trail had reappeared but with this puzzling sign.  What gives?  

Here the trail leaves the ocean and heads inland.  We had a rare sighting, a couple wheeling their baby in a stroller. The trail consisted of hard-packed earth in this area so wheeling was possible though by no means easy.

The T'Railway crossed the Conception Bay Highway but neither route bothered to inform its users of the intersection. Not a sign to be found. On the other side of the highway it took us a few moments to locate this inauspicious entrance to the trail.

The trail passes through an area with established housing and mature trees on the right and open land on the left. A couple of small brooks flow through.  

This small property was another reminder of the farming heritage of Conception Bay South.

At the junction of the CBS Highway and Mineral's Road we finished the day's hike and returned to the vehicle we had left in Sobey's parking lot.


Distance:  7 km 

Time:  1 hour, 50 minutes

Litter:  The open beaches had flotsam. Some building materials near new construction.  Modest amount of discarded food packaging. 

Trail condition: Lots of washouts and potholes between Upper Gullies and Kelligrews Beach.  Then a wide gravel road until Foxtrap Marina. Inland from Foxtrap to Mineral's Road there was packed earth with some very rough gravel spread here and there.

Scenic Rating:  *** 

Fellow users:   
  • Motorized:  a trike carrying two male youths, no helmets; two fancy quads with young males wearing helmets; one kid on a dirt bike, a pick-up and van on the Foxtrap road section.
  • Walkers: about 10, including a couple with a baby, 6 women singly or in pairs, a man alone and a man with a dog.

Lessons learned:  Don't leave map printouts in the car.  

Link to our full route.  Trek-to-town

Leg 5A: Upper Gullies to Cronin's Point

October 10, 2013

We had to drive down a couple of CBS laneways before we found the one where we left off last time. It was Warford's Road, not Dawe's Hill as I had thought. If you think that CBS would be a quiet place on an October Thursday afternoon you would be very wrong. Every type of emergency vehicle was flying to Foxtrap when we were starting our hike and all of them were screaming toward Manuels at the end. Both incidents were collisions. We haven't heard if anyone was injured but I'll have the decency to refrain from complaining about being unable to reach Berg's ice cream store for our post-hike reward.

The first few km of this walk were noteworthy for a couple of reasons. The trail was in terrible shape -- washouts, poor drainage and dumped garbage.

The second observation is that there has been a surge in home construction in this area where many streets begin at the CBS highway and terminate at the T'Railway.  Some of the streets are old country lanes where building lots have been parceled off. In other cases new subdivisions have been created on large swaths of previously untouched land. Some of the houses abut the trailway. They range from the pedestrian to the striking.

Looking back, ocean on the right.

Several roads have no barrier whatsoever at the junction with the trail, allowing easy access for motorized vehicles. There are also instances where access is partially restricted, whether by the town or by the owners of adjoining properties we could not tell.

From Warford's Road to Cronin's Point there was evidence of heavy ATV use.  The obvious explanation would be that this is due to a combination of population density, close proximity and easy access.  

Offsetting the rough trail was the beach just meters from our track, the view toward Kelly's Island and the anchored offshore tankers and the Terra Nova drilling platform.  We passed a seniors' complex that currently has a wonderful ocean view. A school has a fenced yard bordering the trail and looking straight across Conception Bay. The back lot of a trailer sales company has dozens of trailers ready to turn amphibian and take to the water. 

The coastline was interrupted by a couple of inlets. Kelligrews Pond -- inside the crescent beach of Kelligrews Gut -- has a long, curving channel to the ocean.  On the inland side there is a small but lovely marshland.

Continued on next post as Leg 5B.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Leg 4: Seal Cove: Indian Pond to Dawe's Hill Road

It's been oh-so-long since we've been on the T'Railway.  Trust me when I swear we've hiked elsewhere.

We resumed at Indian Pond, Seal Cove, just inside the boundaries of Conception Bay South. Though the many small communities along this shore amalgamated quite a few years back, the old names still persevere. The first thing we notice is that the mild breeze in evidence when we left home in Holyrood 20 minutes ago is now a stiff onshore sou'west wind, making me wish for a bit more than shorts and a tank top.

This part of Seal Cove used to be dotted with summer cabins along the road that runs parallel to the trail. They were very spare structures but enjoyed a marvelous view of the bay.  I spent a summer here with my mother and little brother Barrie when I was a toddler and Daddy was away training air cadets.  A few of the old cabins still survive, but are being joined by a lot of newly constructed year-round homes and, in one area, a couple of monster houses that have gobbled up the hillside.

The trail is just along the shoreline here, flat and straight and easy.  After the first kilometer, we round a bend and here is Seal Cove Pond, a long saltwater inlet with a couple of small wooden wharves and a few small boats secured along shore.

Here we see traces of the railway ties.  There is a lot of raw land on the inshore side here and a wider buffer develops between the trail and the ocean.

This would have been a good place for a picnic if we had not scarfed down the sandwiches before we left the car.

Sorry to say, there are several places where trash has been dumped on the shoreside. Some of it is old, rusty metal, but not all looks like remnants from another time. Regardless of age, it doesn't belong here.  

The next feature along the trail is a large rock quarry.  We think this strange geological feature on the outskirts of the quarry may be an area where gravel is washed.  A new take on the concept of white water.

Meanwhile, along the shore we notice something rather interesting. There's a pretty little cove up ahead, but what catches our eye is old cribbing and metal uprights that would have been installed to protect the railbed from erosion. Notice how much material has been lost, especially in the photo where Jim is standing on the trail.


Lance Cove beach is an absolute gem.  The trail behind it has been disturbed due to construction (we think) of municipal sewer lines, but it is easily accessible by road and shows little sign of human abuse.

The sky made threats a few times during the day but they didn't amount to anything.  We ended the walk at Dawe's Hill Road and made our way back to the car.


Distance:  4.5 km gained towards our goal, 9 km walked, as we doubled back to the start

Time:  2 hours

Litter:  Construction materials near the Indian Cove end where new houses have been built. Serious garbage between Seal Cove Pond and Lance Cove. Litter from passing users, e.g. chip bags and Tim Horton's cups, from Seal Cove Pond onwards. 

Trail condition: Lots of gouging/cupping/potholes which would make it hard going on a motorized vehicle but not a big issue for walkers.

Scenic Rating:  *** except for the rock quarry. Need to avert your gaze.

Fellow users:   None.  

Lessons learned:  Always dress in layers.

Here's the map taken from the CBS town website.  Unfortunately it does not include labels at this level of magnification, but the saltwater ponds are obvious.  The trail is in pink, along the shoreline.

Link to the full route of our hike. Trek-to-town