About a week ago, Automattic (creators of WordPress) pitched the idea that every WordPress blogger should join them in a coordinated worldwide 5k running event.

A running event? No thanks, I don’t run. I have bad knees, weak ankles and a lot of surplus weight to haul around. I do hike a lot though, that’s my way of staying active, so it’s a good thing this 5k invitation doesn’t discriminate: non-runners can join too, heck I could even swim the thing if I wanted too.

A happy hiker (me) - Freshwater Bay access trail

A happy hiker (me) – Freshwater Bay access trail

My ‘contribution’ was a 5 km return hike to Freshwater Bay, a bay along the East Coast Trail’s Deadmans Bay Path. In the end my 5k turned out to be more like a 7k but that’s just because the weather was too good to turn around. Here’s a map with today’s hike:

The trail was in a typical winter to spring transition, a lot of snow and a lot of meltwater. Imagine having to wonder every step whether the snow is going to support you, give way just a little bit, or suck you in up to the knee; now you’ve got an idea what the hike was like. The parts of the trail without this tricky snow were very wet, basically just a stream of meltwater running down the hill. I had my overshoes on though, so none of this was bothering me.

Melting snow - Freshwater Bay access trail

Melting snow – Freshwater Bay access trail

The WordPress invitation wasn’t the only reason I hiked this 5k trail, a family of seals had been seen there earlier this week. Kaaren told me about them on my whale sightings page and I was curious to see if they were still around. Now, I’m afraid I have a sad update about at least two of the seals: they didn’t make it.

I looked it up and apparently there is a 30% mortality rate among infant seals in the wild: mother seals wean their young by abruptly abandoning them. I met another hiker on the beach and we discussed the seals for a few minutes, he had seen this pup three days ago, looking weak and alone; nature is cruel. When I walked away from the dead seal an eagle circled in from above, perhaps it will feed its hatchlings with the remains of the dead pup, that’s the good news I guess: the circle of life continues.

A little further up the trail I saw another bird of prey fly over, this one wasn’t looking for carrion, it was a falcon or harrier or hawk of sorts, does anybody know what kind of bird this is? (Answer: it’s a goshawk)

Bird of prey - Deadmans Bay Path

Bird of prey – Deadmans Bay Path

From the beach I saw a thin waterfall coming down the South Side Hills, you can usually see this one as a trickle but all this melting snow has made it bigger:

Waterfall - Deadmans Bay Path

Waterfall – Deadmans Bay Path

After the beach and Freshwater Bay I took a right turn and included the short hike to Gunners Cove, not over the path but over the cliffs:

Alternate path along the cliffs - Deadmans Bay Path

Alternate path along the cliffs – Deadmans Bay Path

Waterfall - Deadmans Bay Path

Waterfall – Deadmans Bay Path

Beautiful Gunners Cove - Deadmans Bay Path

Beautiful Gunners Cove – Deadmans Bay Path

Well that’s about it, after Gunners Cove I turned around and headed back to the car.

To be complete I have included a photo of one of the dead seals, some of you are probably curious about them while others may not want to see that kind of thing, but hey, that’s nature:

Dead seal, picked clean - Deadmans Bay Path

Dead seal, picked clean – Deadmans Bay Path