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Eight-year-old explores the trails of the Great Northern Peninsula

Alexis Burden (left) walked over 60 km along the hiking tails of the Great Northern Peninsula this past summer. Here she’s just finished up Treena’s Trail in Ship Cove with her cousin Erica, who accompanied her along the trails.
Alexis Burden (left) walked over 60 km along the hiking tails of the Great Northern Peninsula this past summer. Here she’s just finished up Treena’s Trail in Ship Cove with her cousin Erica, who accompanied her along the trails. - Contributed

ST. LUNAIRE-GRIQUET, N.L. - A young girl’s love of the outdoors has inspired her to explore the natural world of the Great Northern Peninsula.

Eight-year-old Alexis Burden of St. Lunaire-Griquet is the newest and youngest unofficial promoter for the region’s trail system. 

One of the highlights for Alexis was visiting the American Base in St. Anthony (pictured).
One of the highlights for Alexis was visiting the American Base in St. Anthony (pictured).

Alexis recently completed over 20 trails along the northern tip of the peninsula, totalling over 60 km of hiking.

Her mother, Miranda Burden, says when Alexis got out of school at the start of the summer she had a goal to hike one trail a week.

But that quickly changed when she discovered a trail map at Hedderson’s Store in St. Lunaire-Griquet.

Alexis then became determined to complete all 21 trails listed on that map.

She did that plus more.

She ended up visiting four other points of interest listed in the Great Northern Peninsula Trail Guide and walked five other trails that were not in the guide.

“We didn’t realize all these trails were around,” said Miranda.

Alexis started her hiking on July 12 at Pumley Cove Trail, a one-km trail in Goose Cove. She finished her hiking on Aug. 31 at Treena’s Trail, a seven-km trail in Ship Cove.

Along the way, with family and friends, she discovered all kinds of new sights, met different kinds of animals including rabbits, seals and ducks, visited Grandmother’s Chair in Noddy Bay (a rock shaped like a chair) and along the Camel’s Back Trail she experienced the thrill of watching an iceberg founder for the very first time.

But the two highlights of the trip, according to Alexis, was Tea House Hill Trail in St. Anthony where she got to see the foundation of the old American Base for the first time, and Silver Point Trail, where she walked out to the Flat Rock near St. Anthony Bight.

Miranda says Alexis enjoyed Silver Point Trail so much they did it twice. 

Another highlight for Alexis was visiting the Flat Rock with her friends Caleb Davis, Erica Taylor and Sharaya Davis.
Another highlight for Alexis was visiting the Flat Rock with her friends Caleb Davis, Erica Taylor and Sharaya Davis.

Meanwhile, on Facebook she garnered lots of attention from family and friends and her mom says she seemed to inspire other people to explore the trails.

“You don’t realize what’s in your backyard until you get out and get into it,” she said.

Now that her adventures are over for the summer, Alexis is already looking ahead to next year.

Her mother says she’s learned about geo-mapping and has become interested in that activity. And she hopes to discover some painted rocks that have been placed around the area.

Alexis also wants to help clean up the local environment.

This summer, she discovered lots of waste along the shores. It sparked the young girl’s concern for animals.

She says garbage can hurt all kinds of animals, including whales and sea turtles.

“It hurts the sea turtles really bad, “said Alexis.

So next summer, she’ll lend them a helping hand by picking up litter from the beaches.

stephen.roberts@northernpen.ca

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