Bear Cove Point Adventure | Fatbiking Day Trip

Newfoundland Fatbiking

I love fatbiking. The whole sport intrigues me. I love the versatility of these human powered, fat tired two wheel mode of transportation. The same bike can be used for riding snow and ice in the winter, cruising and hammering trails in the summer, pounding pavement when necessary, and my personal favorite – off road exploration. I call it prowling.


I’m always looking for new trails to explore, whether they are in my own backyard or someone else’s. My favorite tool for searching new areas is Google Maps where I scan for hidden trails or abandoned roads that look fatbike worthy.

I was scanning the coastal regions of the Southern Shore and saw what looked like a trail that circled a bluff, skirting the shoreline, and connecting two communities. An added bonus was what looked like an old abandoned dirt road that also linked up the two communities - making a loop that looked to be about 15km. With my average exploration pace of 8kph, a trail side boil-up and some time for pictures, it would be a 2-3 hour excursion.



Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Map of area.


Watching the forecast I picked a day with decent weather, checked over my fatbike to make sure everything was is ship shape and pulled together my gear for the day trip.

I set my alarm for an early departure and hit the road around 07:00 for Kingman's Cove. As I entered Bay Bulls I remembered there was trail in the area that led to a lighthouse. I guesstimated that it would take about an hour for the in-and-out so I turned off the main highway in search of the trail head.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Map of area.

The Spout Path sign showed 3.5 km to the lighthouse which was shorter than anticipated. I didn't bother mounting up the seat bag, but grabbed a energy bar just in case I wanted a snack along the way.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Map of area with sign.

The trail started out as a rock encrusted dirt road that showed promise.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

It quickly changed to a quad path that branched in a left and right option.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

Flipping a mental coin I turned the bars right following the marked trail. The trail slowly narrowed yet gave great views of the ocean.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

Unfortunately the trail conditions changed with one short hike-a-bike, leading to another, and yet another.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

This last minute idea of trying the lighthouse trail did not seem to be working out.  But the scenery was amazing.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  View of ocean.

Part of me wanted to keep walking the bike around the next turn to see if it was ridable, but I decided to cut my losses and head back to the Jeep and get back on the road.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Ithaqua 2S on Swagman Rack on Jeep Patriot

When I saw the windmills I knew that I was getting close. Turning off the highway I hit Kingman's Cove and found a place to park. I unloaded the Ithaqua 2S, strapped on the Arkel Seatpacker and started pedaling with the mid-morning sun shining down.


Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Windmills

I opted to take the coastal route first.  It would soon be lunchtime and I would most likely encounter a river running into the ocean where I could get water for my boil-up.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Map of area with sign.

Riding through the small community I saw a few people peeking through their kitchen window, curious as to who was this stranger on a "pedal bike" riding past their house.


Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  House on ocean

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

It seems like most trails in my neck of the woods start with some sort of climb - and this one did not disappoint. The wide double track climbed slightly inland but still gave a spectacular view of Fermeuse Bay.



Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.


Leveling off, it once again started climbing. Still inching its way inland away from the ocean, the wide double track narrowed ever so slightly.


Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

Odd rock formations and trail markers clearly indicated that this "road" was used in bygone days by earlier settlers trying to scratch out a living in this beautiful country edging the Atlantic Ocean.



Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

Sections of the trail were extremely fast, while other sections required a little slower pace navigating rocks and trail obstacles.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

I was getting a little on the hungry side when I came across an aptly named cove called Water Cove, where a somewhat narrow river crossed the trail dumping fresh water into the salty sea. Checking the time I decided that I would continue riding for a while longer before taking a break.



Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

Crossing the bridge I noticed a distinct change in the terrain. The double track changed into a somewhat narrow singletrack that meandered through the hilly black spruce forest. Undaunted I shifted down a couple of gears and continued to pedal.



Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

A steep narrow climb with several tight and rocky switchbacks forced me to dismount and hike-a-bike. I hit the top of the ridge and thought to myself that if the trail continues to change I may not be successful in making the full loop.



Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

The next km or so had me more hiking than biking as the trail deteriorated to a muddy, rock infested, branch strewn mess. I lost all hope of completing the loop when got to a rather steep set of sketchy stairs that headed back down towards the ocean.


Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

Slightly disappointed, I turned around the Ithaqua and headed back to Water Cove for a boil-up. Finding a scenic spot overlooking the ocean, I filled my kettle (recycled stewed tomato can) and grabbed a few handfuls of twigs for my compact stove.

Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

Within a few short minutes I had a pot of boiling water.


Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Boil up

With a perfect mug of black tea and a nutbutter and jam sandwich I kicked back and watched the ever moving ocean, enjoying the hazy sunshine and slightly warm ocean breeze.


Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

Finishing up the last bite of a granola bar, I packed up my gear ensuring that there was no trace of my mid-day snack. I even picked up a discarded juice box and soda can from a previous hiker [shaking head].

The ride back to the Jeep was pretty uneventful and that gave me time to reflect on the ride. Was the day a total bust as I didn't get out to the lighthouse and the Bear Cove Point trail did not provide a ridable loop?



Exploring unfamiliar terrain with a Fat Bike.  Fatbike trail.

I stopped and soaked up the spectacular scenery. Remembering my great cup of tea, and the fact that I could be sitting behind a desk instead of fatbiking, quickly overrode any shortfalls of the trip and put the smile back on my face.

RIDE FAT !


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