Backpacking Across Newfoundland


109 pages
Contains Photos, Maps
ISBN 1-55081-151-7
DDC 917.1804'4





Reviewed by Bob Forsey

Bob Forsey is the education officer at the Newfoundland Museum in St.


In the summer of 1995, Gilbert Penney and Harvey Rice hiked across
Newfoundland. Their 30-day adventure—which took them from Robinsons,
St. Georges Bay on the Island’s west coast to Sunnyside, Trinity Bay,
on the east coast 540 kilometres away—tested their mettle physically
and mentally. Their trails included highways, dirt roads, caribou paths,
barrens, bogs, and woods, interrupted by valleys, mountains, rivers, and
lakes and guarded by mosquitos and inclement weather.

Planning helped ensure minimum comforts during travel and camping.
Getting quality hiking pants (lightweight and quick drying),
wide-brimmed hats (sun and rain protection), Asolo boots (for dry feet),
and hiking poles (for balance and testing water and bog depths) proved
to be wise decisions.

Penney and Rice noted the contrast between the beautiful scenery of
valleys and mountains and the monotony of the barrens and bogs. They
appreciated the tranquility of the wilderness and discussed astronomy
under the “light show of the stars at night.” As well, they shared
the pains of hoofing it over hard barrens and soft bogs, through
stump-infested forests, across rivers and around lakes, and bearing
their 60-pound packs in chilling rain or unbearable heat. Sore feet,
hips, and backs were ignored.

For Penney and Rice, the journey, not the destination, provided the
greatest satisfaction. Readers of Penney’s account of the challenges
and rewards of the hike will probably excuse the book’s poorly
contrasted photos as easily as they will the hikers’ bedraggled
appearance at journey’s end.


Penney, Gilbert., “Backpacking Across Newfoundland,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 15, 2024,