Tuesday, July 5, 2011

East Coast Trail: La Manche Bridge

To continue my story from the previous post, we struck out on the East Coast Trail heading into the resettled community of La Manche. We weren't long into the trail when I realized that the East Coast Trail is not for the faint of heart or flip flops.  I was wishing that I had climbing spikes on my hiking shoes before we got too far in.

We were told that the hike would take about 20 minutes. Well, for us it took an hour. Keep in mind, however, that I did stop frequently to look and listen to the birds in the trail.  At last we arrived at the La Manche Bridge. The hike proved to be well worth the effort.

The community is thought to have been settled in 1840 reaching a level of about 54 residents. By 1966 when a storm destroyed most of the stages and structures in the area, the remaining 25 residents gave in to resettlement.  For more information and pictures of the community prior to resettlement, please visit: http://www.mun.ca/mha/resettlement/lamanche_1.php
When we reached the shoreline, I spoke with a man that told me that there were plovers over on the rocks. That was all it took for me to dare to go even further up and down the rocky shoreline. I didn't find any plover but I did encounter this friendly Spotted Sandpiper. He stayed out on the rock for quite some time bobbing up and down and scurrying around.
 After enjoying the scenery, fresh air and sun, we headed back. Being novices at the East Coast Trail, we forgot to take some water in. That was a bad mistake. The climb upward back to the car really took its toll.

 On the way out we met an older lady decked out in all of her hiking gear and carrying poles to steady the climb. When we passed her she muttered, "Right off the boat." I think that I was offended! It happened so quickly that we were not able to reply... probably a good thing.

That, however, made me think that to a stranger she saw us carrying binoculars, cameras and panting the whole way up. I get her observation that we were not accustomed to hiking was not too far off base.
When we reached the car, getting a drink was all that was on our mind. We met a family that was heading in for their first hike. The teen girl was wearing flip flops. Even though they were told that might not be the best thing, they heading in anyway. I wonder how far that went.

While driving out of the La Manche road, I spotted this orange bird. With the quickness and all of the shadows, I didn't know what it was. I don't know any orange birds except an oriole and this bird was a bit bigger than that. I tracked it until a got a picture and was very surprised to learn that Pine Grosbeaks can be orange instead of red. When I saw it on a tree top in the distance, I knew that I was looking at a Pine Grosbeak but I couldn't see the color of the distant bird. This orange really threw me off. Every minute of every birding expedition is an on-going learning experience.

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