Until the end of September, we had only completed a couple of kilometers of this trail. We had an interesting experience when we reached a point and went astray on an older trail: we lost some time but saw some nature and a nice view of Pouch Cove. We took a second crack at it the third weekend in September: a bright, crisp fall day. I forgot my camera. It was such a spectacular hike, though, that we vowed to head back again the next week and redo the hike. We couldn’t ask for better results: the weather was spectacular, and the seas were monstrous!
The Biscan Cove trail is the newest completed trail on the East Coast Trail: opened in 2012, it connects Pouch Cove and the lighthouse at Cape St. Francis. Hikers park at the softball field about 500 m from the trailhead, which can be found at a turnaround near the end of the community. The trail heads into the cover of trees and quickly comes out alongside the rocky coast. Following the coast for a few hundred metres, the trail heads up over rock, and continues uphill where it meets with another community trail and heads off to a viewpoint. A steep climb to the top of Little Bald Head is where we went wrong: from the Pouch Cove trailhead, the trail certainly looks like it continues straight once it crosses rock, and a hiker with his or her head down could miss the marker off to the right as we did!
The correct trail descends through trees on the other side of Little Bald Head, eventually reaching the viewpoint at Horrid Gulch. There is a spectacular story of a rescue conducted over these cliffs: head down to the trailhead and read the sign, it’s worth the time. Especially when you see the cliffs and realize that some brave soul lowered himself over them to save drowning men below. From the clearing atop Horrid Gulch, we could see a bald eagle perched on the side of Big Bald Head opposite us.
At Freshwater River there is a spectacular viewpoint that I highly recommend. A beautiful waterfall, rocky coastline, and based on our experience, a fairly good chance of spotting a bald eagle. Both weeks we hiked the trail we saw eagles here: the first, a pair, one of which flew within 50 metres of us, clutching a fish. Incredible. As if that wasn’t enough, check out the video below:
This is one spectacular trail when the seas are rough!
Crossing Freshwater River and the couple of rivers that follow it can be a bit of a chore if it’s wet or has been raining, so exercise caution and bring good boots. Past these and through some cliffside woods the trail reaches White Point, the reason for its name is apparent with the waves crashing into it. The trail heads up around Polly Butts Gulch, traversing a steep slope, and heads out to Anvil Head to overlook Anvil Rock. Up over the hill, the trail crosses the hilltops until it reaches Biscan Cove, descending slowly to the edge of the cove and around it. The trailhead is slightly inland from the cove, crossing a concrete ledge at the former site of a United church. We made our way back along the road, a straight walk of approximately 4 km.
For the scenery, this is perhaps my favorite of the East Coast Trail hikes. Check out the pics of this spectacular trail below! Click to enlarge!