Day 227: 24 miles
This morning Trucker woke us up pretty early so that everyone could get their laundry together. We haven’t done laundry since the last time we were in Rocky Harbour, over a week ago. So we really had to wash everything. That meant Sparkle and I wound up wearing bathe towels and laying in bed while Trucker ran out to put the clothes in at the laundromat.
We lounged in bed for a couple of hours and Trucker hung out at the laundromat and a cafe nearby. When the laundry finished sometime around 9:30am he brought it all back to the room. He also brought back breakfast and coffee for Sparkle and I which was lovely. Once we had clothes we were able to get up and get packed. It was a super late start to the morning but that’s alright. Laundry was essential.
Around 10:30am all of us got packed up. Then we left the room and walked over to the convenience store nearby. It’s about 43 miles to our next town, so we needed a bit of food to tide ourselves over. By 11:15am we were finally actually on the road beginning our day.
The day started off pretty windy and over cast. It really seemed like it was going to rain which I was bummed about. The forecast is not looking great for the next week or so. I’m optimistic though that maybe this pocket of weather will pass us by. Our road walk brought us past the Gros Morne trailhead that we popped out at when we finished the Long Range Traverse. We had great views of the Gros Morne mountain from there which was lovely.
The foliage is finally starting to change here in Newfoundland and it is breathtaking. Now that we’re a bit further from the coast and in a more wooded area we can really see the change. The leaves have almost all turned to a yellow or orange. In another week or so there will be a beautiful blend of yellows, oranges, and reds as well.
The road brought us by the gorgeous colorful mountains on one side of the road. On the other side of the road was an inlet of the ocean. The views all day were exceptional. Even starting incredibly late I was pleased how quickly the time was flying by. I listened to a podcast and did my best to get into the zone. Hour after hour flew by. My body felt really good and I had practically zero pain or discomfort.
After what felt like only a few hours I looked down at my watch to see that nearly 5 hours had past. What a great feeling. Just off the road was a parking area with an overlook of the ocean. So we decided to stop off there and enjoy a comfortable break. There was a picnic table and even trash cans too. All of us ate some snacks and I did my stretches. As we sat there it began to rain lightly. What funny timing.
So we packed up and got ready to continue along. The rain was super light and wound up not lasting long. All of us were happy about that. We continued to walk for another couple of hours after that. Generally the road was pretty flat with the occasional hill to go over. But after a while we got to a stretch of road that had a long gradual climb. I think we were going uphill consistently for about an hour or so. It wasn’t particularly steep so we weren’t out of breath. The road was just quite literally one giant never ending hill.
When we finally got to the top all of us were happy. That hill went on for miles and miles! Towards the top we went by a parking lot that we had contemplated staying at. But there were “no camping” signs there so we opted out. That was about 20 miles into the day. We hadn’t planned to go any further than that. But the timing was working out perfectly that we thought we could make it 4 more miles to a place with cabins and a gas station. Everything closed at 8pm and we’re right on the cusp of being able to make it in time.
Getting there before the store closed was enough motivation to get us all moving quick. Those last four miles we cruised along going truly as fast as we could. The sun set and we put our headlamps on. Then we had to be a bit more cautious walking alongside the road. Our GPS said that we would make it just after 8pm. But that just meant we had to pick up the pace. So we sped up as much as we could and made it there with about 5-10 minutes to spare!
Sadly though the store was already closed! The sign out front indicated that the hours were 8am-8pm. But perhaps because it was Indigenous People’s Day the store closed early? Who knows. That was alright though. I had plenty of food to eat. We just get excited about any opportunity to get more food and drinks. The international Appalachian trail has spoiled us all rotten.
Since everything was closed we walked a bit further down the road. There was a parking area for Gros Morne which had closed for the season. But the bathrooms were open and there was plenty of nice flat grass around. We pitched our tents there and the location was perfect. Not only were the spots nice and flat and right by the bathroom, but the wifi for the main building was still running! So I got to enjoy some wifi at the end of the day.
Once I got my tent set up I made myself a knorr side dish for dinner. Then I sat outside with Sparkle for a bit before calling it a night. The temperature out was perfect. It was lovely to be able to sit out at the end of the day for once in a while.
I was pretty tired so I headed to my tent after a little while. Once inside I did my stretching. Then I was able to lay up on my phone for a while. I can’t remember the last time that I’ve been able to use wifi inside my tent. And I haven’t had any service or LTE in almost 2 full months. It’s been a very interesting change of pace for sure. After a while I put my electronics on to charge and then called it a night.
Day 228: 21 miles
This morning we were all up bright and early sometime after 5am. By 6:30am we were fully packed up and walking. Today we’re doing a “nero” into town because the weather is supposed to be crummy. Even though our “nero” is going to be a 21 mile day.
It wasn’t raining when we packed up which was fantastic. The weather is supposed to be pretty rough for the next few days. At this point I’ll take whatever I can get when it comes to good weather in Canada. This morning we’ll be passing by a gas station about 7 miles in. So that first stretch flew on by because of our excitement. When we got there the gas station was open but the connected restaurant was closed on Monday’s and Tuesdays. That was a little disappointing. But we’ll be in yet another town in about 13 miles.
At the gas station I got a giant loaf of bread, homemade blueberry jam, and some drinks. All of us sat out on the curb and ate our own version of breakfast. Then we packed up some goodies to take on the road and kept on moving.
In 13 miles we are going to walk right through Deer Lake. Which is the town that we first went to here in Newfoundland. When we got off the ferry and got into our first bus in Newfoundland it brought us to Deer Lake. Then we took a taxi to Rocky Harbour to visit Gros Morne. Now we have nearly walked all the way back to Deer Lake! We’re more than halfway through the Newfoundland. This last week we did well over 200 miles in about 7 days. Winter is coming so we really can’t be taking our time here in Canada any longer.
Those next 13 or so miles took us just over 4 hours. Lately we’ve gotten comfortable going 4-5 more at a time in between breaks. It’s easier on the road because you are never out of breath. It’s really just the repetitive motion of road walking that wears out the body.
As I walked I got a couple blog posts written up. That is certainly my favorite aspect of the road walking lately. When the road is quiet and flat I can walk and type on my phone effortlessly. When you’re hiking 30 or so miles everyday it doesn’t really leave you with much free time. Especially since we aren’t taking any zeroes. So once I discovered that I can actually use my time while hiking to get other things done it was a game changer. Once I’m back in the states and actually have service and LTE while road walking I’ll be able to literally post whole blogs while I walk. It’s the little things like that which make me happy lately.
We crossed into Deer Head and walked for another couple of miles before we got to the main strip in town. The road brought us right past the gas station and Dairy Queen where our bus had dropped us off previously. I had been thinking about that Dairy Queen for ages so I had to go back. We decided to get a quick lunch there before walking to our hotel. I got chicken fingers and fries and a small blizzard. Then we headed to the hotel nearby.
The main thing that drew us to this hotel was the indoor pool and water slide. This morning Trucker was looking up accommodations on his phone. When he saw this hotel he excitedly showed Sparkles and I because he knew we were gonna love it. We got to the holiday inn express before 2:30am. That has to be one of our earliest days in ages. We still managed to get in about 20 miles as well.
The hotel was perfect and once we got checked in all of us just lounged at the room. Sparkle and I went in the hot tub which felt amazing. My body is sore but overall feels good. After the hot tub I took an amazing shower. Then I wound up laying in bed for a long while. It felt so good to rest. I’ve been craving a zero day so bad lately. I would kill to take a day off. Especially with the miles we’ve been pulling. But Sparkle and Trucker just want to be done as soon as possible. And with winter coming we really don’t have time to waste.
Later on in the evening after lounging all afternoon we decided to get dinner. There was a place right next door so we walked over there. I got a flatbread pizza and a soda. While we ate we made plans for the next couple of days. The road we are supposed to take leaving Deer Lake wants to bring us along the highway all day. Trucker was incredibly opposed to highway walking for obvious reasons. But I didn’t want to add 15+ miles onto our schedule to walk around the highway. In the end we found an old dirt road we could follow which paralleled the highway all day. It was a perfect compromise.
After eating we headed back to the room to go to bed. Lately I’ve been staying up so late when we’re in town. I’ll be tired during the day while we’re walking for 10-12 hours a day. Then once we get to a room and I go on my phone I get wired. Tonight I wound up laying up for a while and then finally going to sleep.
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