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

Because the invitation was open to walkers and hikers too, I decided to join in:

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 it turned out to be more like a 7k but that’s just because the weather was too good to turn around. Here’s a quick 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, then 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 at Freshwater Bay 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