Prince Edward Island has revamped the old railway that ran across the island to be a multi use recreational trail. It is used by snowmobilers in the winter and cyclist, hikers and walkers in the spring, summer and fall. It travels through the centre of the island from tip to tip. There are also a few branch trails that go from the main trail into different smaller, coastal communities. All in all there is a total of 410 km of trail.
After much debate and discussion dad and I opted to rent a cottage for the week that was fairly central. Dad was worried that he would seize up after the first day or would be slower than he thought and so did not want to be committed to have to get somewhere new everyday. It made sense at the time but in the end it felt like we spent a lot of time driving back and forth on the same roads and seeing a lot of the same scenery. But it was nice to not have to pack up every morning which also meant we were able to get pretty early starts and beat the heat.
We only had about 4 days of cycling so we opted to do the section of the trails from Kensington to St. Peter's Bay as well as a branch trail from Emerald to Borden Carleton. The Emerald to Borden Carleton trail was added at the last minute out of necessity. Mom was coming along for the trip to be our shuttle service. The plan was for her to drop us off in the morning at our starting point and pick us up at our end point at the end of the day. Dad thinks it is almost morally wrong to travel the same way twice, the thought of double backing on the bicycle simply was not an option and the island shuttle services would have increased the cost of this trip substantially. Unfortunately this plan hit a little snag when the day before we were leaving on the trip mom threw her back out and couldn't join us.
Dad and I went ahead and were ready to completely change our plans and just travel a few trails or country roads. Luckily mom just needed a day of rest and was able to join us on day 2 of the trip.
Our first evening on the island we did a 'trial run' we both tested out our spandex bike shorts for the first time and got a feel for the trail. We did have to double back that first night but it was only a short trip anyway. About 20kms in total We travelled from Hunter River to Loyalist and back (which was really only 10 km of the trails covered)
The following day we traveled from Hunter River to Emerald and then took the side trail down to Borden Carelton, the community where the Confederation Bridge brings you to. The plan was to meet mom there and travel with her back to the cottage in Hunter River. We had a great first long trip and arrived at the gateway village only about 15 minutes before Mom. We did a total of about 35 km on this day. We packed up Moms vehicle with the bikes...though it was a bit of a tight squeeze and we needed some rope to keep the back hatch shut...we managed. Just call us the Griswolds! Back to the cottage where we relaxed for the afternoon, had some supper and went for a drive in the evening to scope out tomorrows start and end point.
The third day we were there was a scorcher and we were much later than planned getting on the road thanks to Molly waking us up in the middle of the night when the neighbouring cottage got home. For those of you who don't know her, Molly is the dog I got when I finished university and was living with mom and dad. I moved out about a year later and left the dog with Mom and Dad. Dad continues to threaten to write me out of the will for this. We biked a small portion of the trail from Emerald to Kensington. Mom met us in Kensington where we poked around the town a bit and then headed into Cavendish National Park to do a paved trail from one end of the park to the next. It was about 35 degrees on this day and we were beat by the end, even though we had only done about 30kms we were super tired at the end of the day. I stopped for a quick swim at Cavendish beach so I could say I at least got wet in the Atlantic. It was pretty cold though and it was a quick swim! We went home and had supper and then into Charlottetown for a ice cream and a look around the water front. We wanted to show mom where to go the following day and how to get to where she was picking us up at.
The last day of biking was the most challenging, both for us and for Mom. It was a 60 km trek. Dad and I had no idea how we would do and it was going to be a bit tricky for mom, who is, shall we say, directionally challenged. We wanted mom to find us at the end of the day or along the trail if we could't make it or ran into any mechanical trouble. We had big plans to stay in touch by cell phones but mom lost hers the day before (see photo later in the pose to see how that turned out! We got mom to drop us off in Loyalist and then she went back to the cottage to relax. Dad and I figured we would be at least 6 hours.
It was due to be another hot day so we had an early 7:00am start, though some minor mechanical difficulties at the start of the day had us not getting on the bikes until 7:30. Dad lost a bolt off his back rack that held his blue box and our lunch. He had to take a reflector off the front fender and use the bolt from that to hold the back fender in place. Thanks goodness we didn't have to leave the home made bike rack behind for the last day.
This section of the trail was by far the most scenic. The beginning had us going through some farm land and industrial and residential areas. The mid section had us going through a huge salt marsh. Although this was beautiful, we couldn't stop for long for fear the bugs would carry us away. Dad even drove by some information plaques without reading them the bugs were so bad (FYI: dad never goes by an information plaque without reading it).
When we finally got through the salt marsh we were about 40km in and were ready for lunch. We stopped and had lunch in a blueberry field. Something dad and I had done once or twice before. From there we continued on to St. Peters Bay with one other stop in Morrell.
Mom was waiting for us for about 10minutes before we arrived in St. Peters bay. She had no trouble finding the place and had a great morning relaxing. Dad and I agreed that we would not have been wanting to go much further that day, it was a total of 65kms which put our grand total at 150kms.
All in all it was a fantastic trip. The trail was well maintained and well groomed but hardly used. We met very few people on the trail but everyone we met was very friendly. We spoke often about how well marked the trail was and how little vandalism we saw. We'd love to get back to do the last few parts of the trail so we could say we did the entire trail.
Here are some pictures below from the trip.
Our first night out- the trail run!
Like I said, Dad rarely drives by an information plaque.
On our way to meet mom at the Gateway Village
The Griswolds do PEI!!!
Cavendish Park trail. 12 KM of paved trail along the water.
A walk along the waterfront in Charlottetown!
20km into the 60km day. Stay with me dad...and roll down those socks please!
Lunch in the Blueberry Fields
Almost at the end of the 60km. Stopped to take in the scenery. The most beautiful part of the trail by far.
Our trusty shuttle service and mascot Molly! Could not have down this trip without MOM!
Before we left St. Peters Bay I picked up a feed of seafood. A congrats to Dad and I for finishing the trip but more importantly a happy Retirement gift to Mom and Dad. Mussels, Scallops and Lobster.
As we are leaving PEI I get this text on my phone. They had located moms phone. Luckily we were headed there anyway and stopped in to pick it up.