Sunday, 27 January 2008

Meech Lake shortcut

What a beautiful sunday to be out skiing. I chose to ski out of the O'Brien parking lot (P11) as I had not skied from there yet this winter. The weather today was a far cry from a day several years ago when Bryan and I left P11 in a semi-blizzard and windchill values hovering at about -40. My destination today was either Herridge or Healey cabins. Trail 36 is a real rollercoaster of a trail, probably more up and down for its 7k distance than any other trail in the park. It touches parts of Meech lake about three times before it joins up with trail 50. So you work hard climbing each hill and then have a blast going down the other side.

Just before it hits trail 50, there is a short side trail that brings you to a bench that looks out across Meech Lake towards P13. This is a great spot for a break. Just as I arrived at the bench, the previous occupants were packing up and heading out. Perfect! I decided to stay there for lunch instead of heading to a cabin. While there was no stove to cook up my sandwich, the view and solitude more than made up the difference. As I sat there enjoying my cheese and crackers (side note: these make a great ski snack as I learned from a wise friend) I noticed some tracks heading out across the lake.

I figured it was a nice day to ski on the lake and decided to see if I could shortcut my return by skiing across the lake and rejoining trail 36 near the head of the lake. The snow was only ankle deep and it is great crossing a lake as you get views you otherwise wouldn't get. I passed many nicely suitated cottages and as I approached the shore I heard some skiers. Great idea. It turned out I hadn't made much of a shortcut though as I rejoined the trail at the earliest spot. I had needed to gone out and around a much further point on the shore but I only realised that after seeing my map at home.


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Sunday, 20 January 2008

Lac Phillippe

It was a frosty day to be out but the sun was shining and the skies were blue. I headed up to P19 and started to ski around Lac Phillippe. Like the last time I was out, there was plenty of glide but not a good grip for kick. I skied as far as the end of the lake and spent about 15 minutes looking for a geocache on a steep slope beside the trail. While I did not find the cache, I had a blast buttsliding back down to the trail. I stopped at the end of the lake to take some photos and then decided to head back due to a recurring boot malfunction.

A short ski but some great views anyhow!

refreeze trail50 icecrystals

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Saturday, 12 January 2008

Parkway Loop

I went out today with an idea to do a short out and back on the parkways and I wasn't expecting the conditions to be real great after the January thaw and several days of rain. Well it turned out the conditions were pretty good on the parkways and it was a beautiful sunny day so I made a loop from P5 of the Gatineau, Champlain and Fortune parkways. The grip wasn't great but the glide more than made up for this and you could just use your poles on any surface that was flat or even slightly downhill. I saw a few people I know on the way up the Champlain parkway and saw lots of people having a great time going downhill likes bats outa hell on this stretch.

When I got close to Keogan cabin I wished I had brought some food and water but instead I just sat on a nearby bench and adjusted one of my boots that was giving me trouble. Then it was off down the Fortune parkway that seemingly only took a few minutes to descend...wheeeee! The remainder of the loop was quite a bit slower along the aptly named doldrums and then up the hill between P8 and P5. Timing worked out just about right as I made it home in time to hit the couch and tune in to NFL playoff action! Sweet day!

p8-swamp raven

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Friday, 4 January 2008

McKinstry cabin

With a tropical weather system approaching (temps near 10C for most of next week) Bryan and I took the day off work to use the snow while it is still here. Our target was McKinstry cabin from P12 along Meech lake with a round trip distance of about 19k. We got great conditions with about 5cm of overnight snow and temps of about -5C. The trail from P12 gets right down to business and heads straight up steeply and doesn't really let up until you are at Ridge road some 2-3 kilometres away. From there it was a series of fun hills and some nice flats to get to McKinstry cabin. It took us about 2.5 hours to get there and that included many stops to take pictures.

stanley cup
The route back takes a lot less time as the trail is mostly downhill, especially from the junction with Ridge road and the trail from Meech Lake. This is often the case skiing in Gatineau Park: work hard to climb the hills on the way out and cruise back down hill on the return. We saw surpisingly quite a lot of other skiers this day, perhaps they saw the same weather forecasts that we did. I really enjoyed the day and would return to McKinstry for sure.

upperridge snowcoveredtrees

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