If you walk along the East Coast Trail between Flatrock and Torbay, you will come intersections at both the Torbay and Flatrock ends at which you are given two choices: “East Coast Trail difficult” and “East Coast Trail via the Father Troy Path.”
Should you opt to follow in the good father’s footsteps, you will wend your way through lovely forests and mature-growth stands of spruce and fir. It is a peaceful walk and easy on the soles.
If, however, you opt to take the difficult route, you will experience a rather dramatic adventure of the mind and feet, which, while not easy on the soles, certainly rejuvenates the soul (in the manner of all good near-death experiences).
The talented trail crew of the East Coast Trail Association has engineered the most remarkable set of stairs by rearranging the existing rocks into incredibly stable and beautifully camouflaged trail that starts at the top of Church Cove and drops you down, down, down, down over boulders and staircases and more boulders and path and then more stairs.
If it weren’t for the markers, you’d never know there was a route through the boulders just by looking. Going down is a little heart-stopping in spots, particularly on the wooden, log-hewn, stairs which run at about a 70-degree angle at times.
My hat is off to these folks. I’m not sure how they envisioned a trail running almost vertically down a near-cliff, but somehow they managed not only the vision, but the reality and a fairly safe version of it at that.
And at the bottom of the stairs, nestled in a little valley, a waterfall….
Like all good challenges, this one has its rewards….
If you haven’t yet gone out there, do! You can access the trail from either end, as well as from a dirt path that connects straight to Church Cove, starting just off Wind Gap road, as Windgap starts to drop into Flatrock. If you need more trail info, I strongly recommend that you pick up a set of the East Coast Trail maps, which contain all sorts of useful info about access points, places along the trail worth seeing, and many other noteworthy gems of knowledge.