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Late October Camping on the East Coast Trail

Late October on the East Coast Trail – Cape Broyle
Overnight Camping with Brian

I got home from Amsterdam at 2:30am October 26th, on October 26th over dinner Brian asked me if I thought we should go camping that weekend. He had checked the weather, and the forecast looked dry and bright. I knew his one regret so far in 2017 was that we hadn’t spent one night in a tent or backpacking together. I said yes, but I didn’t want to spend too much time in a car having just spent 26 days straight motoring across England and Europe, so we picked Cape Broyle as our destination – 7km in to the campground, sleepover, and 7km back to the car the next day. That was Thursday. On Friday, it got cold and we found ourselves stuffing our faces with noodle soup at a great little hole in the wall downtown on Water Street. I told him I was excited about hiking, but less excited about being freezing cold overnight having just returned to the beauty and comfort of my own bed. I told him that I would hike, but wanted to reserve the right to hike right back out that day if the weather turned to shit. He was in, and understood my willingness to hike and reluctance to camp.

Saturday morning, we packed up two packs, his 45 pounds, mine probably 35 pounds and bounded “over the rocky beach area for a few minutes and then scrambled up past the ECT black and white trail marker.” That’s what the trail map said we would do to start the hike.

Trees-Alt-

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Basically, once up on the trail, the first 3km were easy enough, up and down, some bogs, some rocks, a couple little river crossings, but it was gorgeous and I was happy to be there. Just about as dry as you can hope for a late October hike, and sunny through the trees towering over us. Though we had a few views of the coast, the majority of this trail was under the cover of forest. It smelled like heaven most of the time, at some points like decomposing forest floor, at one point like fresh rosemary. We literally sucked in every breath deep into our lungs.

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The campsites along the ECT (in my experience) are all elevated decks. The ones here, at Lance Campsite (I think that’s what the sign said) were in rough shape. Boards broken, bent, not terrible, not great, good enough to sleep on, not good enough to dance on. Beside the sign warning “no open fires” was evidence of a recent open fire. I bet that campsite is hopping in the summer – but on the weekend, we saw no one. Not a single person on that trail, and not a single tent camped out looking over the gorgeous Atlantic Ocean. Sometimes, when we go hiking in Newfoundland, it feels like we’re the only people who live here.

KO-headstand2

Brian walked to the nearby river to fill our water bottles and I did headstands to stay warm. He came back and we toqued up and set up the tent and cooked dinner on the camp stove.

I love this tent of ours and all the memories it carries with it. I remember having it in Hawaii at Kalalau Beach one of the most epic hikes I’ve ever done. I liked thinking about Hawaii while setting it up at sunset in Newfoundland in late October.

Tent-Night

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We both woke up in the middle of the night and couldn’t get back to sleep. We put on the headlamp and read aloud from a Bill Bryson book until sleep overtook us. I put headphones in and listened to Stephen King read from his book “On Writing” (one of my all-time favourite books.) I’ve read it and listened to the audiobook so many times, that now it soothes me to sleep. I woke up 4 hours later to him still reading in my ear.

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In the morning, we made coffee on the stove, packed up and started our trek back to the car. It’s a funny thing about hiking and camping in cooler weather, you don’t really lollygag for too long. There’s a mission involved and one part of it is staying warm. I find a great balance between relaxing in nature and enjoying the hustle when need be. It suits me, and it suits Brian. We’re the types of people who relax by hustling.

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Brian forgets to do this, as it’s my job (by choice) to archive our trips, but he is always willing to take at least one photo of me per hike. This is said photo.

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The trail was a delight and camping in the cold was incredible. When we got back to St. John’s, we hit up Bernard Stanley Gastropub for brunch. So much hot coffee and so many eggs later we headed home. I was more or less down for the day. Depleted from the hiking and cold weather experience. It’s kind of awesome, feeling that blitzed out after exercise and effort, and just laying around reading all afternoon.

Not too shabby, late October. Thanks to the East Coast Trail, for delivering once again.

xo/ko

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