Darkening Skies : Whitbourne to Chapel Arm

This morning was overcast and cool, which turned out to be a blessing for two reasons; first, the rain from last night had stopped, which meant we could pack up without everything getting wet, and second, it was too cold for the blackfish to be out. Yay!

We packed up camp and got back on the Trans Canada Trail by 7:45 am, which sad to say is our earliest start yet this trip. We knew there was heavy rain forecast for later this afternoon, and wanted to get as far as we could before it started. In the end we made it about 23 km, but not before the skies really opened up.

Great Trail T'Railway Newfoundland.

It was another day walking through beautiful coniferous forest dotted with lakes and small cottage communities. Almost all the lakes we passed this morning had Common Loons calling on them. June is a month when loons are nesting on lakes across many parts of Canada. If there is a loon nesting in lake by your cottage, you can help by slowing your boat down, giving the nest or birds a wide berth, and reporting your sightings to the Canadian Lakes Loon Survey.

In the early morning we came across a fantastic spot beside a wetland that was filled with bird activity. We saw several Yellow-rumped Warblers which are rapidly becoming a favourite of ours out here due to their cheerful, social, gregarious behaviour and their prevalence. There were also a couple Wilson's Warblers, two Dark-eyed Juncoes, and a Redpoll Warbler! The latter was a new species for this hike. At the same spot we could also hear a Wood Thrush and a White-throated Sparrow, and as we reluctantly resumed our hike a pair of Boreal Chickadees, one with down in its beak flew past.

Shortly after that we came to the community of Placentia Junction. This was an exciting moment for us, because it marked a divide in the trail.

Placentia Junction Trans Canada Trail Newfoundland.

We took the right hand fork to officially begin heading west (the road not taken went to Argentia, which used to be the main terminal for the ferry to Nova Scotia). The marker also indicated that we 486 miles left until we reach Port-aux-Basque and cross out of Newfoundland. This is slightly less than the length of the Camino Frances which treks across the width of Spain!

Come Walk With Us hiking west Newfoundland.

By late morning a steady drizzle had begun. Although not the most pleasant situation to find yourself in when walking long distances, the rain really brought out the reds, yellows, and new leafy greens in the landscape. Contrasted with the bark blue water, dark green conifers, and misty hills beyond it was stunningly beautiful.

We had hoped to cover 25 km before the rain hit, so we stayed on the trail longer than we probably should have. We began hunting for level places to pitch the tent near a source of water, and ended up settling for a settling for a small sheltered area only a few feet off the trail.

Setting up camp in the rain is never fun, because everything tends to get soaked in the process. Although we know a tarp is considered an unnecessary luxury by many long distance hikers (as are stuff sacks and dry bags), we brought one with us anyway, and today we were extremely happy with that decision. By 3 PM we were sitting inside our tent, enjoying a small patch of shelter in the midst of quite an impressive downpour.

See you on the trail!

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