With summer winding down, we were lucky to be afforded plenty of good hiking weather! We took advantage in the first week of September, and headed out to Ferryland to hike the Sounding Hills Path, one of the southernmost of the Southern Shore hikes. We had a bright, warm, calm day: great for an end of summer hike! Our plan was to hike the short 5.5 km hike out and back, for a nice 11 km walk. It turned out to be a pretty impressive trail, though it did get the better of us, as you’ll see! At least it didn’t get the better of us in the way it defeated two hikers we passed on the way out, one of whom was muddy to her knees after falling. Make sure you’ve got your boots if trail conditions are wet!
The trail starts at the end of an unnamed “paved lane” (the truth is that I didn’t get the name and that’s how it’s described on the map) about a kilometer from the Colony of Avalon Interpretation Center, where hikers are asked to park. The road in isn’t particularly scenic, but there are goats in a field, and at the trail head, a pretty riverhead and beach. A memorial has been placed at the trailhead as well.
The trail starts across planks, through thick brush, along a rocky coastline. In the distance to the left, the Ferryland Downs are visible. A couple of hundred meters in, the trail comes to the edge of a short cliff overlooking Crow Island, after which the trail heads inland through some woods. At Seals Cove, a “side trail” leads down to the rocky shore… I wanted to check it out but Heather, acting as safety director, called it off. You’ll see in the pictures below why she discouraged me.
Through fields filled with reeds topped with cottony flowers, the trail winds in and out along the coast, passing a couple of viewpoints worth checking out including one at Herring Point. At one point about 3 km in, the trail opens onto a wide, grassy ledge that’d be a great place to set up camp or to stop for a picnic. From there the trail climbs inland, providing a spectacular view of Aquaforte Harbour from atop the hill, where we stopped and ate a lot of blueberries. Something else had been eating berries there as well, perhaps a number of somethings. We found small droppings at multiple points along the planks in the wetter areas of the trail… perhaps a mink. Much more interesting, we saw two large animals bolt as we approached them while climbing over one of the hillier sections on the way back. I swear they were goats! It was the middle of nowhere though.
Crossing over some loose stones, always a favorite of Heather’s, the trail passes alongside a beach at Fairmouth Cove. The map says a trail was being cut to the beach at the time of writing (2002), but I couldn’t find the trail. A couple of scenic river crossings above Fairmouth Cove and a trail built into the hillside follow, after which the trail climbs uphill and passes close to the Southern Shore Highway, a point marked by a bridge. Winding through woods and wetlands across planks, the trail heads downhill to Spout River, where it continues alongside of it for 500 m until it meets the road. It was at the river, though, that we decided to turn around: with the days getting shorter, we had misjudged the time. As you can see from the last pic, taken of a shack at the trailhead in Ferryland, Heather was right to turn us around.
Check out the pictures of our Sounding Hills Path experience below! Click on them for more detail!