147 kilometres in 4 days: Tips for hiking the Nepisiguit Mi'gmaq Trail

The recently-completed Nepisiguit Mi'gmaq hiking trail runs 147 kilometres from Mount Carleton to Bathurst, and one Memramcook man just finished hiking it solo in just over four days.

Louis Cormier is an avid hiker and marathon runner. He hiked the International Appalachian Trail last year and has done the Fundy Footpath several times over.

He said the revamped Nepisiguit Mi'gmaq Trail was well-planned and the volunteers who helped revitalize it have "done a wonderful job."

Cormier started hiking on Aug. 11 and finished on Aug. 15, hiking from dawn until dusk. He said he was moving quickly through sections without much scenery to allow him to stop and soak in the prime views the trail offers.

"I would slow it down when there was a real nice scenery and take the time to enjoy it and meditate," he said.

Submitted by Louis Cormier

The trail follows the Nepisiguit River from the mountains to the sea. Cormier said there are some nice pools to stop and cool off in along the way. He even swam with a few beavers.

Know your ability

Hiking NB's website lists the trail as moderate-difficult and recommends it can take seven to 12 days to complete depending on ability.

"An average hiker that has no problem walking 10 to 15 kilometres with a backpack can do the trail without any problem," Cormier said.

But there aren't many campsites toward Mount Carleton, which could make it harder for inexperienced hikers.

"I'm OK, spending a night anywhere in the woods. So for me it was not a big deal."

The volunteer group that restored the trail is currently working on developing more campsites.

Submitted by Louis Cormier

Cormier warned there is no cell reception along most of the trail, making it impossible to call for help without a satellite phone. And although there are access points every 15 kilometres, those exits are still deep into the wilderness.

"If you need to bail out for a good stretch of the trail, you need to cross the river and then get to the access point."

Submitted by Louis Cormier

There are also several other brooks to cross, so hikers should be prepared to get their feet wet.

Even though he did it alone, Cormier said it would be best to go with a group or a buddy.

"I did the whole trail and I did not see another hiker on the trail for a little over four days," he said.

"I'm sure it won't stay that way because it is an awesome trail."