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Daughter of avid hiker Corner Brook tackles Gros Morne Mountain at age 5

By Danette Dooley

Published on September 9, 2017

Erin Easton in seen at the summit of Gros Morne Mountain.

©Submitted photo

It’s not unusual to hear about people hiking to the summit of Gros Morne Mountain, the second highest peak in the province. It’s not every day, however, that a child as young as five years old conquers the 806-metre high mountain.

Erin Easton of Corner Brook did just that recently when she set out on a hike with her parents Katherine Easton and Steven Noel.

The 16-kilometre trail offers spectacular views throughout the hike and especially at the top of the mountain.

It usually takes between six to eight hours to hike Gros Morne Mountain.

The family started the hike at about 12:30 pm on Sept. 3 and finished about 8 p.m. that evening.

“Without our breaking time, it took Erin seven-and-a-half hours,” Easton said.

Easton said her daughter described the hike as “the best day ever.”

Five-year-old Erin Easton of Corner Brook recently hiked Gros Morne with her parents, Katherine Easton and Steven Noel (now shown).
Submitted photo

“She enjoyed the view and the plants and the animals. On the way back we saw a moose. We also saw lots of berries ... creeping snowberry, raspberries, crowberry, and blueberries. We ate some along the way. Erin loves creeping snowberries, they taste like mint,” Easton said.

Easton and her husband are very proud of their daughter’s accomplishment and amazed at how well Erin did throughout the hike.

“Erin has been hiking before and this summer she did a lot of local trails. I kept telling her how hard this was going to be ... but she just kept going. We had to tell her to slow down because we wanted her to pace herself. She just had so much energy.”

Easton completed numerous hikes when she was pregnant with Erin and continued to hike once Erin was born.

“(Erin) was able to hike on her own, up the mountain I had once carried her in a backpack... and had once hiked pregnant with her as well,” Easton said of the Gros Morne Mountain hike.

Easton also hiked Lewis Hill, near the Town of Stephenville, when she was pregnant with Erin. At an elevation of 814 metres, Lewis Hill is the highest peak in the province.

As experienced hikers, Easton and her husband make sure they are well prepared every time they set out on a hike.

Their supplies for the Gros Morne hike included a first aid kit, Tylenol and sugar tablets.

“We had appropriate clothing and footwear - hiking boots and a jacket and sweater packed for the top which is always cold.  And, of course, snacks, lunch and lots of water.”

The family follows a vegan diet and the food in their backpacks included sweet potato wraps, hummus, cherry tomatoes, grapes, crackers, and granola bars. They ate their lunch during their 30-minute break at the top of the mountain.

“We had a few short five-minute breaks, too, for a sip of water but our longest break was at the top,” Easton said.

Easton said during their recent hike, she counted 135 people hiking the mountain but only one other child who was older than Erin.

“I was disappointed that I didn’t see any teenagers ... and even when we do other trails (in Corner Brook) we don’t see a lot of younger people walking.”

In an age filled with tablets and televisions, Easton is sharing Erin’s story to help others realize the benefits of outdoor activities for young and old alike.

Becoming physically fit contributes to your overall heath, Easton said – “for the mind, body and soul.”

“Despite all the hiking we do, we almost never see other children. We live in such a beautiful place and more people should take advantage of what (this province) has to offer,” she said.

Easton and her husband also have a two-year-old daughter, Jane.

“(Jane) also hiked with me in a backpack carrier. In a couple years we all hope to hike Gros Morne Mountain together,” she said.

The family started the hike at about 12:30 pm on Sept. 3 and finished about 8 p.m. that evening.

©Submitted photo