marystown to garnish to point rosie

Run, don’t walk Drive, don’t run, to Garnish as soon as you can to ride the 24 km (one way) trail to Point Rosie.  This gem of a trail should be ridden by every person with a mountain bike in this province and every person who comes to this province for a visit.

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Darren and I began our trip from Marystown, following a dirt road that begins behind the swimming pool.  This dirt road leads to Garnish Pond and from there the Garnish Pond Trail begins.

This is the ONLY piece of signage we found riding from Marystown to Garnish.  Using a GoogleEarth while we were on the trail was invaluable for finding our way.

This is the ONLY piece of signage we found riding from Marystown to Garnish. Using Google Earth while we were on the trail was invaluable for finding our way.

The first 12 km from Marystown was gravel road but once on the Garnish Pond Trail it became a true ATV trail, with sections of bog that required us to dismount.

The first 12 km from Marystown was gravel road but once on the Garnish Pond Trail it became a true ATV trail, with sections of bog that required us to dismount.

Underneath that mess is a well used Larry tire.

Underneath that mess is a well used Larry tire.

A typical view on the trail as you ride toward Garnish.

A typical view from the trail as you ride toward Garnish.

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The trail from Garnish to Point Rosie starts at this bridge which is also a local swimming hole, complete with a change room and some benches.

The trail from Garnish to Point Rosie starts at this bridge which is also a local swimming hole, complete with a change room and some benches.

Crossing the Garnish River bridge. (Darren McD photo)

Crossing the Garnish River bridge. (Darren McD photo)

About 1 km into the trail, looking back at Garnish.

About 1 km into the trail, looking back at Garnish.

An old winch.  (Darren McD photo)

An old winch. (Darren McD photo)

About 3 km past the bridge the trail crosses a 2 km long beach.  We were able to ride the beach with our fatbikes but I think regular mountain bikes might have to walk this section.

About 3 km past the bridge the trail crosses a 2 km long beach. We were able to ride the beach with our fatbikes but I think regular mountain bikes might have to walk this section.

(Darren McD photo)

(Darren McD photo)

Looking back on the same beach.

Looking back on the same beach.

We made camp on a brackish pond behind the beach and thankfully were able to locate a spring for some fresh water.

We made camp on a brackish pond behind the beach and thankfully were able to locate a spring for some fresh water.

Had we known then what we know now, we would have ridden for a few more kms and made camp here...

Had we known then what we know now, we would have ridden for a few more kms and made camp here…

... as there was a lovely shelter and a pit toilet.  There we three of these rest stops along the trail.

… as there was a lovely shelter and a pit toilet. There were three of these rest stops along the trail.

We awoke the next day to rain and drizzle but luck was on our side as that all burned off and the sun came out shortly after beginning to ride.

We awoke the next day to rain and drizzle but luck was on our side as that all burned off and the sun came out shortly after beginning to ride. (Darren McD photo)

Sunshine = happy riders.

Sunshine = happy riders. (Darren McD photo)

Lots to look at when you're following 24 km of coast.

Lots to look at when you’re following 24 km of coast. (Darren McD photo)

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A garden belonging to a cabin owner.

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(Darren McD photo)

That's Point Rosie in the background.

That’s Point Rosie in the background.

On the beach in Point Rosie.  The community was resettled in the 1960's.

On the beach in Point Rosie. The community was resettled in the 1960’s.

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Examining the graveyard.

Examining the graveyard.

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(Darren McD photo)

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(Darren McD photo)

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I'm sitting on what we believed to be were the steps to the chuch.  We later learned the church was floated to nearby Frenchman's Cove following the resettlement of Point Rosie.

I’m sitting on what we believed to be were the steps to the church. We later learned the church was floated to nearby Frenchman’s Cove following the resettlement of Point Rosie. (Darren McD photo)

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(Darren McD photo)

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(Darren McD photo)

Partridgeberries.

Partridgeberries.

Across the water we could see the south coast and English Harbour West. (Darren McD photo)

Across the water we could see the south coast and English Harbour West. (Darren McD photo)

We picked up our tents and other gear and made camp a little closer to Garnish on our second night. (Darren McD photo)

We picked up our tents and other gear and made camp a little closer to Garnish on our second night. (Darren McD photo)

We enjoyed a great sunset that night.  (Darren McD photo)

We enjoyed a great sunset that night. (Darren McD photo)

When we got back to Marystown I was thrilled to find this note on the car:

The note was from Daniel and Jen, cyclists from Vermont who I had been in email contact with.  They spent 2 months cycling around the province.

The note was from Daniel and Jen, cyclists from Vermont who I had been in email contact with. They spent 2 months cycling around the province.

Good things to know:

* Garnish to Point Rosie and back (50 km) took us 6 hours at an easy pace.

* Marystown to Garnish (appx 25 km) took about 3.5 hours.

* Our total trip was about 100 km and we did it over 48 hours (two nights camping out).

* I’m glad I rode from Marystown to Garnish but I wouldn’t seek it out again.  I strongly suggest starting at Garnish.

* There is lots of fresh water on the way to Point Rosie and, as mentioned above, 3 rest stops.

* I would also happily backpack this trail.

* I would LOVE to ride this trail in the winter.

the bonavista branch line

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The Bonavista Branch Line was a railway line that ran from Clarenville to Bonavista (seen here in blue). It was in use from 1911 – 1983.

The Bonavista Branch Line runs for 145 km between Clarenville and Bonavista.  I recently rode this in 4 days (return trip = 290 km) and thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  The railbed, for the most part, is in fantastic shape.  There are a couple of sections that have not been repaired since Hurricane Igor struck in 2011 but there are easy workarounds to those.

The first 15 km of the trail runs along the water from Clarenville to Georges Brook and offers some good views.  But after that the track often remains inland and it is typically bordered by dense forest so the vistas tend to be few and far between.  The upside of this corridor of trees is that it blocks the wind and provides shade, a real bonus as the temperatures were very high when I rode this in early August.

Running water wasn’t plentiful on this ride so I often resorted to taking water from ponds and filling up whenever I passed through a town.  I had access to a store once or twice each day so resupply was easy.

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Filleting cod near Georges Brook.

This gives you a good sense of how the trail typically is.  Note the good quality of the former railbed and the corridor of trees lining it.

This gives you a good sense of how the trail typically is. Note the good quality of the former railbed and the corridor of trees lining it.

The track leads you to Trinity and the surrounding communities which were a real highlight of the ride.

The track leads you to Trinity and the surrounding communities which were a real highlight of the ride.

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East of Trinity there are two trestles that collapsed in 2011's floods, but you can get around them by taking the road.

East of Trinity there are two trestles that collapsed in 2011’s flood, but you can get around them by taking the road.

Again, you get an idea of what the riding is like - smooth trail lined with trees.

Again, you get an idea of what the riding is like – smooth trail lined with trees.

I didn't see much wildlife but I did see a pair of nesting osprey.

I didn’t see much wildlife but I did see a pair of nesting osprey.

Yep - it was hot.

Yep – it was hot.

After reaching Bonavista I started the return journey by riding down Highway 235 then picking up 236 (dirt road) back to Trinity.  I did this because the section between Bonavista and Trinity wasn't interesting enough to repeat AND...

After reaching Bonavista I started the return journey by riding down Highway 235 then picking up 236 (dirt road) back to Trinity. I did this because the section between Bonavista and Trinity wasn’t interesting enough to repeat AND…

...I wanted to hit the Bonavista Social Club in Upper Amherst Cove.  Pizza from a wood-fired oven after riding all day?  Yes please!

… I wanted to hit the Bonavista Social Club in Upper Amherst Cove. Pizza from a wood-fired oven after riding all day? Yes please!

The food was fantastic and as I ate a pod of 6 humpback whales were breaching in the water below.  It doesn't get much better than that.

The food was fantastic and as I ate a pod of 6 humpback whales were breaching in the water below. It doesn’t get much better than that.

An iceberg on the horizon.

An iceberg on the horizon.

Looking back at Upper Amherst Cove.

Looking back at Upper Amherst Cove.

I'm now back on the railbed near Port Rexton.

I’m now back on the railbed near Port Rexton.

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I had a fantastic continental breakfast at The Twine Loft in Trinity.  It was so good I came back again the next day.  Fresh fruit, yogurt, toast, cereal, muffins, tea buns, cookies, juice and coffee all for 8 bucks!

I had a fantastic continental breakfast at The Twine Loft in Trinity. It was so good I came back again the next day. Fresh fruit, yogurt, toast, cereal, muffins, tea buns, cookies, juice and coffee all for 8 bucks!  Plus, the owner, Tineke Gow, went out of her way to be helpful by pulling out topographic maps and calling her daughter for the status of some of the trestles I would have to cross.

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Fresh blueberries on my oatmeal in the morning were a real treat.

Fresh blueberries on my oatmeal in the morning were a real treat.

It was so hot on this ride I had to jump in a pond and drink beer at the same time just to cool off!  :-)

It was so hot on this ride I had to jump in a pond and drink beer at the same time just to cool off! 🙂