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July 08, 2016

La Manche, Newfoundland & Labrador

One of the greatest aspects of Newfoundland is that you can "get away" from it all and be amongst Mother Nature in less than 30 minutes from downtown St. John's, which is the capital of the Province. Our latest hiking & camping adventure took us to La Manche Provincial Park.
This park is approximately a 50 minute drive from the core of downtown St. John's and offers plenty of campsites (82), trailer sites, playgrounds, beautiful hikes, a lifeguarded beach and over 50 species of birds as well as many other members of the animal kingdom.
For full park information, see here.
La Manche 4
We were what most Canadians would call brave by legitimately camping outdoors - tent, sleeping bags and campfires... we weren't messing around - this early in the year. It was the May 24 long weekend to be exact. We were lucky and had some beautiful warm Spring days but of course you can never escape the cold nights that time of year. Our site had everything as advertised - grass covered, picnic table, fire-pit, one bundle of wood and ample parking for the one vehicle.
ECTThe Park has some great hiking trails, which are a part of the East Coast Trail - this trail has numerous amazing hikes, broken up by location and distance. In total, the ECT as locals refer to it, is about 540kms of foot-path all along the east coast of Newfoundland.
We had our eyes set on the famous suspension bridge in the park and maybe even seeing a late season iceberg or two! So off we set, on the La Manche Village Trail, which from the public parking lot is under a 3km return hike. We did it from our in-park campsite so added another roughly 1.5km on to our trip each way.
Layers are KEY during the Spring in Atlantic Canada and Newfoundland is absolutely apart of that - days can become warm but anytime you're near the ocean you're bound to run into some chilly North Atlantic winds.
After hiking up, down and through some at times challenging terrain (mostly due to wet footing as per the time of year), we could see a structure - were we at the suspension bridge?! We were! And to make things even better, it overlooks a powerful river and cliffside that spill out into the Atlantic Ocean where an historical fishing village once laid. We hit the jackpot and hiked the trail on a day that an iceberg was floating on by as well!
La Manche 3
La Manche1
La Manche Village Suspension Bridge
The bridge itself is a beautiful piece of architecture and the child inside me had a ball crossing it! From here there are lots of stairs as the trail ascends the cliffside. This continues onward to the next section of the East Coast Trail and a very cool location called Doctor's Cove. This was at one time, where the doctor would make land and all the locals would have to come to this location to see a doctor whenever he made land - a very cool and unique bit of the local history.

Overall, this was definitely one of my favourite portions of the East Coast Trail that I have hiked thus far. The bridge and the surrounding scenery were amazing - the iceberg and company made it an even better day! And as always, these beautiful trails are free - so take advantage of them! Make sure you've got comfortable, supportive footwear, some water & snacks and lots of daylight.
La Manche
La Manche Provincial Park
Here is a clip from a Winter hike through the park as well - enjoy!

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