Nfld. & Labrador·Video

Hiking back in time to the year 1612 in Trinity Bay

While many people were out hiking this long weekend, only a few were wearing bloomers and boots from the 1600s.

Hikers don period costumes to recreate historic 1612 journey

Parks Canada interpreter Chris Driedzic reads from Henry Crout's 1612 diary. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

While many people were out hiking this long weekend, a very small group took a very long hike back in time.

Archeologist Bill Gilbert led a recreational hike from Cupids to Hopeall, Trinity Bay, following the route taken by English explorer Henry Crout in one of the first expeditions of its kind.

Archaeologist Bill Gilbert, centre, explains the Crout's Way hiking route. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

"It's a nature hike." said Gilbert. "But also the historical site adds a whole different dimension to it. So, we're walking in the footprints of our ancestors."

To walk along with the Crout's Way expedition, watch the video below.

History lesson

The story begins in Cupids in the year 1612.

Bristol merchant John Guy had founded the first English settlement in Canada, and wanted to establish trade with the local Beothuk Indians.

A photo of a 1628 copper plate engraving depicts John Guy trading with the Beothuks. (Bill Gilbert)

To find them, Guy's colleague, Henry Crout, cut a path from Conception Bay to Trinity Bay, more than 30 kilometres through difficult terrain.

How did they do it?

Every September for a few years now, Gilbert has led a small group on the hike.

But this year, a pair of historical interpreters challenged themselves to do it the old-fashioned way: dressed head-to-toe in clothing authentic to the period.

"I've done the hike probably the past six years." says Chris Martin, interpreter with Provincial Historic Sites. "And one of the question a number of people have had, and myself as well, is just how they did this in period clothing and what it would have been like. So we figured this year, why not give it a try?"

Chris Martin and Chris Driedzic demonstrate a replica musket for members of the Crout's Way hiking party. (Zach Goudie/CBC)

Chris Driedzic of Parks Canada says the clothes, boots and heavy, replica muskets may not make for great hiking gear, but definitely add to the experience.

"I think this idea of dressing in the costume that's exactly to the time period, then executing tasks, or missions, adventures like this, in that costuming, has a visceral effect on me as a person." said Driedzic. "I can really feel what it would have been like to live in a specific time period. I think that's what I'll take back with me."

The province is looking at opening the Crout's Way hike to the public. So if long treks through thick woods are up your alley, keep it on your calendar for next September.

The Crout's Way hiking party crosses a stream. (Zach Goudie/CBC)


Zach Goudie is a journalist and video producer with CBC in St. John's.