As soon as I saw an article about The Island Walk, I knew it was a walk I (we) wanted to take. After two years of lockdowns and vaccines, a long walk to regroup and re-energize seemed to be just the ticket.
I reached out to Bryson Guptill, bought his book, and started thinking about making a trip to PEI a reality. We live in Maryland, just outside of Washington, DC., and if we were going to take on a long walk, it seemed fitting to take on a long drive to get there.
We did not have 30 days to take on the entire length of the walk, so our initial plan was to walk a few sections. Having walked 350 miles on the Camino Francis and 145 miles on the Camino Portuguese, I am well-versed in planning a long distance walk. It’s a lot of work and takes a lot of time. Maybe it was because of our previous walks and how much planning they took, or maybe it was because we bumped up our PEI adventure to the summer of 2022 rather than dreaming about it until the summer of 2023, the planning part of The Island Walk never came to fruition.
The more we thought about planning the walk, and given the unique infrastructure of The Island Walk, we realized it wasn’t going to work. Since we would be taking on a 1,000+ mile (one way) road trip to reach PEI, we also realized if we just followed The Island Walk, we would actually miss too much of the PEI experience. All things considered, we opted out and decided to define our own walk, thus ensuring we would hike every day, while seeing as much of the island as we possibly could.
We based ourselves in Summerside for 10 nights, which worked out beautifully. Each evening after returning to our comfortable motel room, we pulled out our PEI map and charted a course for the next day. Each morning we took off in a new direction. We had the best time and loved every minute of our PEI experience. We don’t feel as if we missed anything. Quite the contrary.
There were definitely days in which we spent time walking on the Confederation Trail and/or The Island Trail, but they weren’t our focus. Here is the list of trails we hiked.
- Greenwich Beach & Floating Boardwalk Trails
- The Confederation & John Hogg Public Forest Trails
- North Cape & Black Marsh Trails
- Homestead & MacNeill Loop Trails
- Farmlands & Bubbling Springs Trail
- Green Gables Trails
- The Island Walk & Summerside Baywalk Trail
It may seem a bit odd to read about not walking The Island Walk, on The Island Walk’s Website, but our point in doing so is to encourage everyone to think outside the box. Pilgrims on the Camino in Spain and Portugal encourage those that follow in their footsteps to make the journey their own. The same can be said for walking The Island Walk. Not everyone has the time and finances needed to circumnavigate PEI on foot for 30 days. Just know there are options. Define your own Island Walk and experience the incredible beauty of Prince Edward Island.
BIO: Abi and Patti have been walking through life together for 44 years. They have a home base in the United States and to date they have traveled to 4 continents, 19 countries and 47 of the 50 United States. You can read more about their travels and how they are redefining retirement on their website: oneroadatatime.com and/or on their Youtube Channel: one road at a time.