My job has required a move to the East Coast, so my personal hiking ambitions have shifted. Unfortunately, Rocky Mountain hiking may have to wait for a few years now, and sectioning the rest of the Great Divide Trail, along with the #1 item on my Trail Bucket List, the Pacific Crest Trail (which I always knew would most likely have to wait until I retire, unless some special circumstances arise).
But being in a remote area of Canada (perhaps the most remote south of the Arctic Circle) has some advantages. There are hikes around that few think about or even realize exist. And we will take lots of pictures and provide a trail report for your benefit! (Most of the following pictures are borrowed from TheClym)
So, without further ado, my bucket list for the next 3 years:
- Labrador Pioneer Footpath. The scattered fishing and whaling communities of the Labrador coast had no roads at all for hundreds of years. What they had was a footpath that linked them together for when the seas were too rough to navigate. That footpath is now maintained by the local communities for recreation. Currently about 60kms long (with development currently building a 35km extension from Pinware to Red Bay), we actually plan to do this hike 2 weeks from now as a 6-7 day yo-yo. Information is sparse because few hike it as a thru-hike – mostly dayhikers between towns. We will let you know how it goes!
- Gros Morne. Featured in just about any video or photo collage of Newfoundland’s most scenic spots, Gros Morne features a long-range traverse that takes you into subarctic ecosystems at the higher elevations, and takes about 4 days to complete. But because it’s a little further away from us, it will wait until next year.
- East Coast Trail. Similar to the Pioneer Footpath, this is a series of intercommunity trails along the east coast of the Avalon Peninsula, near St. John’s – the capital of Newfoundland and Labrador. It currently stretches over 336km, so we will have to work our schedules to do that one – maybe in two parts.
- Appalachian Trail – Canadian side. Did you know the Appalachian Trail continues past Katahdin? It does! It winds its way into the province of New Brunswick, and reaches a terminus at the Atlantic Ocean in the Gaspé region of Quebec. Even further, the “International Appalachian Trail” continues, guided by geology, out all the way to Europe. I don’t know about going that far myself, but the Canadian side seems doable, if not maybe doing a special trip down to Maine for a section of the main trail.
- To make it a five point list, I will also include Vermont’s Long Trail, clocking in at 439km, though I think that may get pushed off further. We may take another job in the East when this one completes, and if so Vermont will be more accessible after 2025 for us. But it looks sweet and a decent length to complete without taking huge amounts of leave.
Honourable Mention: the Fundy Footpath. There is a trail that winds around the edge of the Bay of Fundy, notorious for the highest tides in the world. It goes up and down ladders and cliffs for 49 km, much like the West Coast Trail out on Vancouver Island. Another trail that will be more accessible once we leave Labrador in 3 years.
If you’re tracking other middle distance thru hikes not too far away from us in the East, let us know!