© Submitted photo
Hikers with the Humber Valley Hiking Group are seen at the top of Erin Mountain.
On June 14, we joined the Humber Valley Hiking Group for a hike up Erin Mountain. This is a popular hike for anyone visiting Barachois Pond Provincial Park, which is located near Stephenville, just off the Trans-Canada Highway.
The park is the largest provincial park in western Newfoundland and features camping, beaches, boating, swimming as well as the trail to top of Erin Mountain.
The route is well marked and starts off gradually before ascending fairly steeply up the flank of the mountain. There are lots of boardwalks and stairs enroute and partway along there is a side trail that leads to a lookout.
The trail is about three kilometres (one way) and you should allow between two to three hours return depending on how long you linger for lunch at the top.
Our group ate lunch on the impressive 340-metre high rocky lookout with the campground and Barachois Pond spread out below our feet.
There were a few pesky mosquitos and black flies that seemed ready to attack if you stood or sat in one place too long. So anyone planning to do this hike in the next while might want to carry insect repellant.
On this day we saw many groups doing the trail and although it is steep in places it is a great hike for all ages. Since the trail is in a provincial park there is a small fee to use the facilities, but don’t let that deter you from hiking this fine trail.
For those interested in getting into hiking but not sure how to start they should consider joining the Humber Valley Hiking Group, which does weekly hikes all over western Newfoundland.
Judie Gushue is the hiking co-ordinator and she says they have close to 190 people on the hiking email list.
“Typically we’ve been getting around 12-14 people on each hike we have done so far this season and many of these people are new to the group,” she said. “We welcome new hikers who perhaps want to try new trails, but are not certain of where to go or maybe they have no one else that they know who likes to hike."
The hikes range as far south as the Starlight Trail in the Codroy, east to the King’s Point area near Springdale to the trails of Gros Morne National Park to the north. They typically range in length from 2-3 kms to 16 kms.
“We communicate the weekly hike through an email which includes a description, a rating of the hike’s difficulty and we try to go to a different area each week,” Gushue said.
Some hikes are done at the same time each year and the group is planning to do Green Gardens on July 1 and Gros Morne Mountain on Aug. 31.
If you would like more information on the Humber Valley Hiking Group contact Gushue by phone at 634-4295 or email at email@example.com to be added to the hiking list.
Contributors Keith and Heather Nicol live in Corner Brook and are avid explorers of Newfoundland. Keith can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org