Hiking The Rock

Once a trip is over, I tend to say good-bye to it in the rearview mirror and quickly move on to the next set of adventures. However this blog is supposed to be all about exploring Canada via her amazing trails and back roads, so I feel a certain responsibility to buckle down and write about it.

As a result, here I am 3 weeks since we returned from Newfoundland struggling to find the time to tell our stories of hiking on The Rock.

If you don’t get the reference to “The Rock”, it is a nickname that’s been affectionately bestowed on Newfoundland by its residents. I happen to like it. It’s wonderfully appropriate.

Our plan was to hike different sections of the 329 km East Coast Trail (204 miles) which is part of the TransCanada Great Trail. I went there with preconceived ideas … expecting a raw naked wildness to it … and the province delivered.

Deb (aka The Widow Badass)

Our first day of hiking was on a section called “Sugar Loaf”, a short drive north of St John’s. It was cold, foggy, and very windy. From the Ocean Sciences Centre at Logy Bay where we parked the car, the trail immediately climbs, and climbs, and climbs some more.

In spite of the fog we found the views intoxicating. This is exactly what I came to Newfoundland to find.

We weren’t tracking our distance covered on the trail. We had only a vague plan of doing as much or as little as we felt like doing.

We spent about 3 hours on this section of trail, but we stopped so often to simply look around and take photos our distance covered wasn’t noteworthy, in fact it might even be considered embarrassing.

Did I mention how cold and windy it was?

About an hour into the hike I decided to put my rain pants on for wind protection, but instead of waiting until we reached an area of relative shelter, I tried to put them on at an exposed spot on the top of a cliff.

It was a bad decision, but I blame early stages of hypothermia for my regrettable thinking process (not really, but that’s my story and I’m sticking with it).

I barely had them out of my backpack when the wind caught my pants and billowed them out like sails. Meanwhile, Deb was preoccupied with searching the horizon for a whale sighting, oblivious to the drama playing out as I struggled to gain control of my pants snapping briskly in the wind.

I finally wrestled them close to the ground and crouched behind a large boulder where I gained the upper hand. How I managed to hang onto those pants I’ll never know.

The Ocean Sciences Centre on the trek back to the car. The fog had finally started to lift.

In spite of being chilled to the bone by the time we got back to the car, we couldn’t resist checking out the Marine Sciences Centre. This is a cold water marine research facility that’s part of Memorial University in St John’s.

Unknown to us, they had just reopened to the public at the beginning of June and had staff available to conduct a show-and-tell on various marine species in open tanks outdoors.

It was really quite fascinating to see these up close and I was in awe of our young guide who gently handled them with massive protective gloves on.
A rare blue lobster. Only about 1 in 2 million lobsters are blue.
That look on his face says it all. He was not impressed with me when my flash accidentally went off. He scuttled deep into his hole and wouldn’t come back out. Sorry little guy.

We were cold but very happy with our first full day in St John’s. Our smiles say it all.

Photo by Deb

More to come … eventually.


  1. Reading your posts, Joanne, about “The Rock” reinforces how lucky I feel to live in this vast country with many open spaces. Even though we visited Newfoundland over 30 years ago, the first thing that comes to mind is cold and windy! I was reading about the blue lobster on a news site recently (I don’t know which one). Great for you to actually see it. Amazing photos!


    • I’m so curious how someone from the west coast ended up going to university on the east coast.
      I guess this is all familiar ground for you … and there’s more to come 🙂


  2. Joanne, I give you and your hiking partner much credit for hiking in the wind and cold, but I can see why. It’s beautiful country with stunning views.

    Too bad Dwayne Johnson wasn’t there to help you with your pants…

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you could have tied a rope to those pants and gone kite-sailing.

    I like the blue lobster. Didn’t know there was such a thing. I wonder how much a seafood restaurant would charge, to eat a one in 2 million lobster.


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