The Spout is probably the best known attraction of the East Coast Trail. You can hike out to this geological oddity over Spout Path in spring, summer and fall, keeping in mind it’s a 23.5 km trail. The middle of winter however, offers a cool alternative to this long coastal hike: an overland snowshoe route.

In warmer seasons this 7 kilometre ‘shortcut’ to the Spout is not a practical option because of obstacles like streams and soggy marshes, and of course the many blackflies that are out for your blood.

Today it was suitably cold though, a perfect day for the overland route with everything nice and frozen. It was still dark when just before 7AM I tied on my snowshoes, turned on my GPS and headed east from the starting point on the Southern Shore Highway.

Here are some images taken along the way:

The route starts out as a well defined forest lane – Overland route to Spout

Most streams and ponds are frozen solid, but still it’s wise to be careful and go around:

Ponds are frozen solid – Overland route to Spout

I had a few unbalanced moments, nearly tripping over unseen rocks buried in the snow:

There are many rock patches to navigate – Overland route to Spout

Open areas are a pleasure to traverse – Overland route to Spout

As you may have noticed by now, these shots were on the way back, with light coming from the afternoon sun:

The last third of the way, it’s all downhill – Overland route to Spout

These pink markers are very helpful, and easy to spot from a distance:

Bright pink markers along the last few kilometres toward the coast – Overland route to Spout

The last kilometre: shrubs and forest – Overland route to Spout

Just before you hit the coast, there are several areas where fallen trees obscure the trail:

Storm damage near the very end – Overland route to Spout

After about 3 hours of careful snowshoeing, I arrived at the winter Spout:

Me at the frozen winter Spout – Spout Path

Spray from the Spout had completely frozen the surrounding landscape, the snow was glazed with a thick layer of ice which made the going kind of slippery.

It felt good to take off my snowshoes for a minute:

Snowshoes – Spout Path

After lunch with a view, it was time for the 7k return trip to the main road…