Blazing The Trail From Conche To Croque
In September, College Of The North Atlantic Adventure Tourism Instructor Eugene Flynn accompanied IATNL Chairperson Paul Wylezol on a 2-day trail blazing trek of the Conche to Croque section of the IATNL, along the eastern coast of the Great Northern Peninsula. The trek began with a 5km (3mile) boat ride from Southwest Crouse into Northeast Arm, during which they were joined by filmmaker Mark Flagler (www.flaglerfilms.com) and trail worker Caroline Swan, who hiked south on a newly developed section of trail while filming scenes for an IATNL promotional video.
From Northeast Arm Eugene and Paul hiked for one hour to the end of completed trail, from where they trekked and flagged north along the coast until sundown.
The terrain was difficult to mark, as the coastline is indented with deep ravines and steep hillsides, making direct routes difficult to find. However the final flagged route combines level winding pathways with gentle easy slopes. Hilltops are generally covered with barren rocky crowns, which provide fantastic views of coastlines, whales, icebergs and sunrises,
while valleys contain small streams and the occasional waterfall tumbling to the ocean.
After a day and a half pushing through scrub and tuck - often retracing steps to find better routes - Paul and Eugene reached the halfway point of the trail to Croque, where they used a satellite phone to call their dependable ferryman Mike Byrne of Southwest Crouse for a boat ride north to Croque. There they were picked up by Mark and Caroline after their trek to the IAT Terminus at Crow Head.
Croque is a picturesque fishing village with a sheltered harbour that served as base for the French Navy patrolling the French Shore of Newfoundland - which extended from Cape St. John on the Baie Verte Peninsula to Cape Ray at the southwest corner of the island - until 1903. There hikers can still see the tended graveyard of early French sailors and fisherman.