Bike ‘n Hike #1
Berry Head Arch is a naturally occurring rock sea-arch on the Spurwink Island Path of the East Coast Trail near Port Kirwan, Newfoundland. It is considered to be one of Canada’s best kept secrets and makes many ‘bucket list’ of places to see. In fact, not too many Newfies that I spoke to had even heard of it.
Last weekend our friends, Krista & Mark, arranged a little ‘Bike ‘n Hike’. The plan was to ride the 80km or so to Port Kirwan and then walk the trail to the archway. The trail to the arch is about 6km (one way) and is classified as ‘moderate’ to ‘difficult’ depending on which data you access. With hindsight I can now see that we weren’t really properly prepared for it. What I thought would be a pleasant walk on a Sunday afternoon turned out to be a bit more challenging than that!
The trail starts off easily enough but it soon becomes undulating with lots of fairly steep hills and descents and the odd fallen tree to climb over and a few streams to cross. It was also a bit boggy in places and the mud sucked at our shoes. The biting Black Flies at times didn’t help either! [Note: The female of the species is more deadly than the male!]
The trail itself meanders along the magnificent Newfoundland coast line and offers some spectacular scenery and while we were feeling fresh it was still very manageable and we stopped frequently for water breaks and photo opportunities.
After a while we began to realise that for every uphill and downhill that we walked we would have to repeat the process in reverse to get back to our bikes. On meandering trails like this you have no concept of distance traveled and the trail didn’t have any distance markers (and nor did we have a map) so it was difficult to tell exactly how far we had actually walked.
Jess and I are not fit at all and we were tiring and conscious that we had to retrace our steps as well, so after a while we decided to call it a day and head back. We also felt that we were holding Mark & Krista up as they are much fitter but they rather kindly turned back with us. I hope that we didn’t spoil the day for them!
As it turned out we got pretty close to the arch – within about 1km or so – but we didn’t know it at the time.
The trail itself is quite spectacular and well worth it for the sea views alone – we just need to get ourselves fitter and be better prepared!
Needless to say, I didn’t get to photograph the arch but if you really want to see a photo of it, you can view it here. (It’s No.14 on the list) For now it will have to remain on my bucket list.
I have a new rule for future Bike ’n Hikes: If I can’t see my bike, I’ve hiked too far!