Monday, 10 July 2017

Bauline to Portugal Cove


The weather forecast for the weekend was not kayak friendly.  Gary suggested a hike from Bauline to Portugal Cove.  Its part of the East Coast Trail an know as Piccos Ridge Path.  The plan turned out to be Brian generously dropping Cathy, Gary and myself off in Bauline where we would begin the hike south.  Brian and Sue planned to hike towards us from Portugal Cove and meet somewhere along the trail.

Looking at distances; steeling ourselves for the 14.5 hike rated as strenuous.


The trail leading out from Bauline is up and down steep slopes, here with a rope aid.  The day before we had torrential rains and that made the trail slippery and mucky.


It stopped raining but drizzle was expected.  Luckily the drizzle didn't materialize but it was foggy obscuring what would have been a spectacular view over the ocean 100 meters below the ridge.


The trail was easy to follow even without the black and white markers spaced along the trail.  The foggy conditions continued.


We came upon these two big glacial erratics which I dubbed "Arnold's Dumbbells".




As we hiked along the fog gradually began to lift as Bell Island emerged from the fog.


An inukshuk!  We left a rock each.


Group of three photo on the ridge.


9.5 kms in and and almost 3.5 hours later we arrived at Brocks Pond Falls.  This is a regular destination for us by kayak.  The last time we were here was in My 2016 and you can check out my post here and see the 100 meter high falls from sea level.


Cathy, Gary and I arrived at the falls ahead of Brian and Sue coming up from the other direction.  We scouted a place to get across the river flowing out of Brocks Pond. We ...


... crossed and walked a short way south before calling out and making verb and then visual contact with our fellow hikers.


We walked back the short distance to the falls where we stopped for lunch.


Then, it was off again and a climb away from the falls up the 100 meters high Brocks Head where we had ...


... a great view 100 meters above the pond and the outflow and 200 above sea level.  The fog was lifting but it was still hazy.


The going became easier and drier.  Here the tree branches closed in overhead and we emerged into brilliant sunshine.


Once on top of the hills south of Brocks Pond the trail was mostly over glacially scoured rocks.  We stopped to take in the view.


As we approached the end of the trail in Portugal Cove it was downhill all the way.

I had my doubts about doing the trail on the day because of the water that fell the day before and the forecast for drizzle but it turned out to be a fine day with our hiking boots on.  Its not for the faint of heart or the occasional hiker but quite doable training up to condition.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Night time boil-up


A few of us have been talking about doing a night time snowshoe trek and boil-up.  With the dump of 60 cms snow in the last week we had our opportunity.  So, Saturday at 7:00 pm Brian, Derrick, Hazen, Sherry, Sue and I met at Olivers Pond Road to put on our snowshoes.


We walked down narrow trails between trees heavily laden down with snow.


At this clearing the trek went to the left.


Making tracks through pure undisturbed snow.


Emerging from the narrow trail onto the lake with ...


... its wide open space.  Here we had it easy waking along snow beaten down by snowmobilers.


Regaining the shelter of the trees we decided on this spot to have our fire and boil-up.  Each of us brought a bundle of splits and other odds and ends of wood for our fire.

We had a well sheltered location out of the wind that was really quite comfortable.


Derrick brought his hi-tech "kettle" and suspended it above the fire as people waited anxiously for it to come to a rolling boil.


I'm not sure what Jake made of all this?


After about 30 minutes the fire melted down through the snow layer and finished our hot chocolate drinks we piled snow on the fire to extinguish it and marched back to the cars.

It was a super way to spend 2 and a half hours and take advantage of the opportunities that winter offers.  Thanks to everyone who shared the evening.  We'll have to do this again for sure!

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Skiing Butterpot Park


Today, Tuesday, Brian, Hazen and I took advantage of the super weather and drove the ~20 kms to Butterpot Park to do some cross-country skiing.  The park is closed during the winter so we had to park the cars at the entrance to ski into the skiing area.


Past the kiosk where entrance fees are collected, when open, the land falls away down over some steep hills until we arrive at the beginning of the loop.  The trail follows the roadway between the campsites and was usually groomed to put in a skate-ski trail and a classic trail.  Due to budget cuts its no longer groomed so we had to break trail ourselves, taking turns.


The river where the loop begins was frozen over and covered with snow.


Looking down another river path.


We were at the lowest level in the park where there was no wind and brilliant sunshine.


Looking through the trees towards Butterpot Mountain in the distance.


On the backside of the park and slightly over halfway we stopped for lunch.  We used our skis to sweep the snow off and make room to sit down.


No sooner did we get our food out did a pair of Grey Jays descend on our lunch spot.  Not one bit bashful, they came right to the picnic table to take away our offerings.  In one case taking food right out of Hazen's hand.


We arrived back at the beginning of the loop and started to make our way out of the park climbing up the hills that were so easily skied down when we arrived.

Its not unusual to have rain and warm temperatures after we get a dump of snow.  We got our latest snowfall on Saturday past and tomorrow, Wednesday, we are expecting rain.  I'm glad we took advantage of the chance to get out on an absolutely beautiful day.  Thanks Brian and Hazen!

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

More snow, secret location


Sunday night into Monday we got a 32 cm dump of snow.  It wasn't much fun shoveling the driveway but it made for great snowshoeing.


I mailed Hazen to see if he was interested and he was so we met to trek through some trails for a couple of hours.


The snow was accompanied by strong winds but where protected from the wind, it settled on the trees.


Not much calling for park benches this time of year.


We were the first on the trails stomping through virgin powder.


A picnic table shows the depth of new snow.


After two hours we had competed the loop and exited and walked back on snowshoes to the cars. 

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

A snowshoe trek in Bowring Park

Monday we got a dump of 22 cms of fresh snow.  Its beautiful and clean.  Tomorrow, Thursday, its going to be mild with rain and that will turn everything to crap.  So today I took my snowshoes to Bowring Park for a trek through the park.  The main trails were already beaten down by the heavy traffic but I did find some sweet powder to plod through.  The pix speak pretty well for themselves.



Looks like a spot for some whitewater fun!


The Caribou


The Weeping Willow.  How many kisses stolen under it in the heat of summer?




Everything was black and white except this bridge and the lady in the red coat.


Marshmellows in the tree branches.


Even Frosty has something to smile about.

Beautiful, clean, crisp air.  Awesome day!