On the East Coast Trail, a late March hike can feel like spring one minute and like winter the next. With a bit of sunlight on your skin and shelter from the wind you’ll feel almost warm at times, but watch out for those clouds as it’ll get chilly quick when the sun is taken away and snow starts coming down.
Five years ago today I ventured outside on just such a day, exploring the area around Freshwater Bay near St. John’s. Heading down the Freshwater Bay access trail the trailbed and boardwalk were still covered in snow, but it was relatively easy to walk on, so instead of watching my step I enjoyed the scenery and sounds around me:
Freshwater Bay access trail – Deadmans Bay Path
Halfway down the path I was overtaken by a runner with 2 dogs, and not a minute later the forest erupted in chaos. First the dogs started barking, then I heard a large animal crashing through the woods not 40 m away from me, they’d obviously had a run-in with a moose…
This went on for quite a while, but it was an audio-only encounter for me. The forest was too dense to see what was going on, but when I ran into the guy later he told me his younger dog chased a young moose around, then his more experienced dog joined in, until the mother moose intervened and chased the dogs back to him. The standoff ended when he was able to collect and leash both his dogs, and the 2 moose apparently took off in the direction of the South Side Hills, nearly straight up the hill.
Shaking my head, I decided to head away from the harried moose and stepped onto an unmarked side trail that headed east from the access trail. At the end of this trail I heard an entirely new set of animal noises, and I tried being as quiet as possible while I closed in on a tree filled with juvenile eagles.
In the middle of changing lenses, a hardened patch of snow crumbled beneath my boots and sent the eagles flying, not to be seen again that day… The tree was a favourite perch of theirs by the looks of it, and with a commanding view of the barachois pond before it it was easy to see why.
Even with all the wildlife scared away now, the scenery at the frozen pond was rewarding all on its own:
Frozen barachois pond – Deadmans Bay Path
After enjoying the beautiful view for a while I continued along the frozen edge of the pond towards Leamys Brook. This brook flows into Freshwater Pond from the south and is the future site of a bridge to the other side (hopefully):
Leamys Brook – Deadmans Bay Path
When I was at the brook the crossing was not possible, well, not safely, so I walked back to the access path and crossed over the barachois instead. This is the regular way of crossing to the other side, right through the water flowing out of Freshwater Pond into Freshwater Bay:
Barachois crossing at Freshwater Bay – Deadmans Bay Path
As you can see, by this time clouds were gathering over the bay, quite a change from the sunny and ‘warm’ blue skies I enjoyed when I set out on my hike, so I figured it was time to head back before the clouds opened up… 🙂