Day to Day

Day 0 – St. John’s – Pre-start

Before starting the T’Railway, we spent two days in St. John’s to get over our jet lag, to do some pre-hike shopping, and – of course – to visit the Railway Coastal Museum. It was a bit colder than we had anticipated (around 6 degrees Celsius when we arrived on June 1st). But at least it was dry, so we spent a lot of time outdoors, exploring the centre of St. John’s, the steep streets with the brightly coloured houses around Prescott Street, and even walked up to Signal Hill – as a kind of warming up for the T’Railway. Continue reading “Day 0 – St. John’s – Pre-start”

Day 1: St John’s to Paradise

Distance: 12km (7.5 miles)

We took it easy our first day: just a distance of 12km to cover. It was cold though, and even lightly snowing! Fortunately by mid afternoon it cleared up a bit.

The track was level, and really easy to follow. This first part of the T’Railway is called Grand Concourse, and it’s well signposted. Though we were walking through a very urban area (Mount Pearl is the second-largest city in Newfoundland and Labrador) it didn’t feel like it, apart maybe from the traffic noise sometimes. Continue reading “Day 1: St John’s to Paradise”

Day 3: Kelligrews to Holyrood

Distance: 17km (10.5 miles)

A foggy, chilly day today, while we’re walking along the shore of Conception Bay. We only got to see the ocean the first half of the day though, the second half we could only see glimpses of it through the trees. It’s maybe hard to imagine, but during WW-II German U-boats ventured into this bay, and torpedoed ships carrying iron-ore from the mines on Bell Island. Continue reading “Day 3: Kelligrews to Holyrood”

Day 7: Long Harbour Station to Tickle Harbour Station

Distance: 19km (11.8 miles)

We made good progress today: after Darrell dropped us off at Long Harbour Station, the track was very easy to walk on. We’ve been told that the cabin owners in this area have someone grade and clean up this section of the T’Railway every year. And we noticed: no litter at all, a wide trail, and a well maintained track. Perfect! Continue reading “Day 7: Long Harbour Station to Tickle Harbour Station”

Day 8: Little Harbour Access Road to Arnold’s Cove

Distance: 19km (11.8 miles)

We haven’t seen much of the railway today to be honest: Donna and Gerard dropped us off at the Little Harbour Access Road, so we had only 19km to cover to get to our accommodation in Arnold’s Cove. And as the T’Railway runs by Arnold’s Cove Station and not the town of Arnold’s Cove itself, we left the trail at Jack’s Pond Brook and followed local trails into town. Continue reading “Day 8: Little Harbour Access Road to Arnold’s Cove”

Day 9: Arnold’s Cove to Trailside Motel

Distance: 24km (15 miles)

Like we mentioned before, the town of Arnold’s Cove is a couple of kilometers away from Arnold’s Cove Station. But we were able to skip the boring 2km of road walking to pick up the trail again, because Robin’s Donut Shop agreed to pick us up to have breakfast at their location on the Trans-Canada Highway. They do deliveries, and in our case their breakfast delivery turned into a pick up of the breakfast eaters! Continue reading “Day 9: Arnold’s Cove to Trailside Motel”

Day 10: Trailside Motel to Clarenville

Distance: 25km (15.5 miles)

The T’Railway was moving away from the Trans-Canada Highway again today: we didn’t hear any traffic at all. The trail was not deserted though: we’ve seen quite a few of ATV’ers and some cars. It seems that the government is selling off plots of land along this section of the trail, at least that’s what people we met along the trail today told us. Continue reading “Day 10: Trailside Motel to Clarenville”

Day 12: Thorburn Lake to Port Blandford

Distance: 13km (7.5 miles)

It was a short day today, as we only had to walk to Port Blandford. But before we could pick up the T’Railway this morning, we first had to walk 20 minutes along the Trans-Canada Highway. Soon after we had hit the track again we saw our very first moose of this trip. He (or she) didn’t want to have his picture taken though and moved away before we could come any closer. Continue reading “Day 12: Thorburn Lake to Port Blandford”

Day 13: Port Blandford to Terra Nova

Distance: 23km (14.3 miles)

This morning we took our bear bells out for the first time, but put them away again within half an hour or so because they drove us crazy. We hoped the sound of our feet and walking poles on the gravel made enough noise to keep the bears away. And that worked, because the only living creatures we met today were humans, birds and squirrels. Continue reading “Day 13: Port Blandford to Terra Nova”

Day 14: Terra Nova to Maccles Lake

Distance: 23km (14.3 miles)

We had a late start this morning: The Dep didn’t open till ten o’clock, and since we liked to have a hot tea for breakfast, we decided to leave a little bit later than usual. And we were so glad we did – while talking to Shirley she arranged a very nice b&b for us for that night in Glovertown with Bev and Brian – who were willing to pick us up from the junction with Station Road and Stag Pond Road. It can sometimes be hard to find accommodation close the T’Railway, so we very much appreciated her help! Continue reading “Day 14: Terra Nova to Maccles Lake”

Day 15: Maccles Lake to Gambo

Distance: 19km (11.8 miles)

Brian brought us back to the place where he and Bev had picked us up yesterday and we were on our way to Gambo. We only took a few pictures today, as it started to rain when we left and didn’t stop until we reached Gambo. But we really cannot do without a midday break, so we set up a kind of temporary ‘shelter’ to make our coffee. The good thing about it all was that there were (almost) no flies to bother us! Continue reading “Day 15: Maccles Lake to Gambo”

Day 17: Benton to Gander

Distance: 19km (11.8 miles)

We’re taking a break in Gander for a day, to recharge, see a hairdresser (guess which one of us ;)) and trying to buy a butane/propane canister, and it felt good to see Gander’s Airport come closer and closer. It may be hard to imagine now, but at some point Gander Airport was the world’s largest airport – it was long used as a refuelling stop for transatlantic flights. Continue reading “Day 17: Benton to Gander”

Day 20: Notre Dame Jct. to Norris Arm

Distance: 14km (8.7 miles)

We had only walked 20 minutes today when somebody on the track stopped his car for a chat. He owned a couple of trailers a bit further up the road, and was on his way out. He immediately pointed out to us where we could find his trailers, and said we were welcome to use his gazebo for lunch if we wanted to. We didn’t, because we had just started, but appreciate gestures like these enormously! Continue reading “Day 20: Notre Dame Jct. to Norris Arm”

Day 22: Jumpers Brook to Bishop’s Falls

Distance: 13km (8.1 miles)

Usually it doesn’t make a big difference for a hiker if there’s a tail wind or a head wind. Of course it is more comfortable to walk with a tail wind, but your walking speed doesn’t get affected a great deal. Today however, it did. We faced a strong head wind as soon as we’d passed the trestle that led us into Bishop’s Falls, and that slowed us down considerably. Continue reading “Day 22: Jumpers Brook to Bishop’s Falls”

Day 23: Bishop’s Falls to Grand Falls – Windsor

Distance: 12km (7.5 miles)

The walk from Bishop’s Falls to Grand Falls – Windsor was beautiful, but quite uneventful. (We’re maybe getting spoilt and are becoming used to our scenic surroundings every day.) Anyway, we found ourselves thinking about food a lot, and even preparing a mental shopping list. Now that we’re reaching Grand Falls – Windsor, we’re starting to think of all the fresh fruits and vegetables we’re going to eat, mmm! Continue reading “Day 23: Bishop’s Falls to Grand Falls – Windsor”

Day 24: Grand Falls – Windsor to Thunder Brook

Distance: 14km (8.7 miles)

We thought we were travelling light but when we were in Grand Falls – Windsor we decided to shed some more weight to lighten the load on our backs (especially on B’s back ;)). And Port aux Basques is still a long way to go… We left some shirts behind, a down jacket, our spare shoes, our stove and kettle, and some Euro coins – very heavy and not of much use here. Continue reading “Day 24: Grand Falls – Windsor to Thunder Brook”

Day 25: Thunder Brook to Badger

Distance: 17km (10.5 miles)

We woke up this morning with slugs only a couple of centimetres from our heads, but outside our mesh inner tent fortunately. Maybe it was the heavy rainfall of yesterday evening and night that brought them out. Anyway, it reminded us of our nephew who, when tenting, slid his bare feet into his sneakers and noticed some slugs wriggling around his toes. So we checked our walking shoes thoroughly! Continue reading “Day 25: Thunder Brook to Badger”

Day 30: Howley to Deer Lake

Distance: 26km (16.2 miles)

We started out in a totally different world today, with lakes, sandy beaches and a huge dam, the Main Dam. On one side of the dam lies Grand Lake, one of the largest lakes in Newfoundland, and on the other side lies Junction Brook. As a hiker, you can walk right across the bottom of this dam, at the Junction Brook side, almost surreal! Continue reading “Day 30: Howley to Deer Lake”

Day 31: Deer Lake to Corner Brook

Distance: 51km (31.7 miles)

No, we didn’t walk 51 km today, we just hiked half of that distance, about 25 km (15.5 miles), from Deer Lake to Pasadena. Between Pasadena and Corner Brook there is not much of the original rail track left; it has been used for the construction of the Trans-Canada Highway. There is even a section close to Steady Brook where there is no other option than walking on the TCH. So we took the island bus DRL-LR, to get from Pasadena to Corner Brook. Continue reading “Day 31: Deer Lake to Corner Brook”

Day 35: Gallants to Black Duck Siding

Distance: 19km (11.8 miles)

It was about 30°C when we had our break this morning, and we were wearing our rain coats! The reason? Those tenacious mosquitoes! Just wearing a long sleeved shirt isn’t enough to keep them from reaching your skin. You would need something more impenetrable, and our rain coats were the only thing we could think of. Continue reading “Day 35: Gallants to Black Duck Siding”

Day 36: Black Duck to St. George’s

Distance: 23km (14.3 miles)

We’ve never been very early starters, but today we hit the road before 8 AM. During the night the water supply for the lodge we were staying was cut, so we could use the bathroom only once, and couldn’t make ourselves a cup of tea. But a few houses down the road there was a couple working on their garage, and they were more than happy to fill up our water bottles. And then we were ready to walk to Stephenville Crossing, and on to Saint George’s. Continue reading “Day 36: Black Duck to St. George’s”

Day 37: St. George’s to St. Teresa

Distance: 15km (9.5 miles)

We ended up in a totally different place this afternoon than we had anticipated. We thought we’d walk to a b&b in St Teresa which, according to the map we were using, was a community located right on the trail. But our b&b’s name was Oceanside, which didn’t make sense at all, because there was nowhere an ocean in sight at that location. Continue reading “Day 37: St. George’s to St. Teresa”

Day 40: Wishingwell Campground to South Branch

Distance: 31km (19.3 miles)

We put on our wet socks and shoes to continue our walk this morning. There’s not much accommodation available in this area and South Branch was the first possibility. That meant starting off our day with 6 km on the Trans-Canada Highway before we would be able to pick up the T’Railway again. But the campsite owner offered to give us a ride to the junction, making this just a 25km day, lucky us again! Continue reading “Day 40: Wishingwell Campground to South Branch”

Day 42: St. Andrew’s to Port aux Basques

Distance: 29km (18 miles)

Today was the longest day of the track for us, but also the last one. So we started early, at about 8am. It was our plan to first walk to a convenience store about 2km from our hostel, as we didn’t have enough food for the 8 or 9 hours it would take us to get to Port aux Basques. When we got there however, we learned that the store wouldn’t open before 10am. But – as often happens in NFLD – someone who drove by offered to take us to a gas station up the road, where we would be able to buy some sandwiches. Problem solved! Continue reading “Day 42: St. Andrew’s to Port aux Basques”