Day 33: Hope Bay - Barrow Bay, 833 km completed

The forecast for the day predicted some rain in the afternoon, so this morning we were clambering over the rocky terrain as quickly as we could. Which is to say, not very, because the ground was covered in big wet rocks. We passed by a set of glacial potholes, which are created when hard stones swirled around in the waters from receding glaciers. The stones would get caught up in vortexes underwater, and cut nearly perfect cylinders deep into the soft limestone. We also stumbled on some mid-sized stone walls including a semi-cave that was supported by 2 big pillars in the middle. It would make an awesome climbing route! After that, the trail dipped down all the way to the water, where we walked across a stone beach before climbing up again.

And then the rain came. 

Getting caught in a long rainstorm is a big setback for us not because of the immediate wetness, but because you know you’re going to stay wet for a long time. Even waterproof gear only holds out the rain for so long, and as soon as a bit of moisture finds its way in you know that you’re going to have to get used to being wet for hours. It rained pretty consistently from 11:00 - 3, and we had about enough when we started hearing thunder over the water. We were supposed to stay at McKay’s Harbour overnight, which is directly on the water. We were definitely not up for a night filled with thunderstorms on the coast if we could avoid it. 

Fortunately, we had a way out. We’re staying the night at the Lion’s Head Motel to dry out our gear and stay out of the rain. The manager even picked us up from the side of the road, and will drop us off at the same spot tomorrow morning so we can pick up where we left off. 

Wednesday wildlife: alvars

It’s too bad it was raining so hard today, because we passed by a beautiful piece of the trail that crosses through an alvar. We’d never heard of these before - they’re a kind of habitat around the Great Lakes where the topsoil is very thin. That means that the plants have to be specialized to grow right on top of the limestone bedrock. You see a lot of lichen this time of year, and in the summer they also grow rare irises and orchids.

Happy Trails,

Chris