Our plan was to start with the Northern Traverse. This means instead of the popular boat ride, we would be hiking to the boat launch on lovely groomed trails, then heading north along the edge of Western Brook Pond, destination a Parks Canada maintained backcountry campsite called “Snug Harbour”.
As you can see, we had a choice of going all the way to the boat launch or take a trail through the woods. The first leg from the parking lot to the fork (where the green line diverges) was on wide, gravelled trail. It is well maintained because anyone taking the boat tour has to walk in. At the fork, it just looked like a narrow bush trail heading off to the north, skirting a swampy area. It turns east again when we hit the Western Brook outflow, a creek/river about 20m wide. We needed to wade it but the water was never past my knees. Refreshing.
After crossing the creek the trail reduced down to barely a discernible path – except for where it gets swampy. Still, we ran into the odd boardwalk in poor condition, which sometimes made the going easier. The clouds were building as we went, but we knew we only had a short distance to cover our first day and little elevation to deal with. A good portion of the walk was along a gravelly beach which was better than picking our way along the swampy bits. Little did we realize it would get much worse.
But not today. We pulled up at Snug Harbour in just a few hours, and set up camp. Snug Harbour was very nicely appointed – a good bear locker, a “green throne” toilet, and easy to find camping spots for tents. It wasn’t called Snug Harbour for no reason – we faced a sheltered cove and listened to the wind and rain all night howl around, but little of it hit us. By morning, it was cloudy but the storm had passed.
Total distance: about 6km by map, 11km by my Garmin