Monday, 3 January 2011

Aerating the wolf trail

Wolf trail bench

Ottawa valley lookout
After two trips with the microspikes on they have already paid for themselves (or I should say I sure am glad I bought them!). The recent thaw and rain has made all the trails in Gatineau Park like skating rinks or thawed them down to the rock. It was interesting to see two ladies setting out from the Wolf Trail parking lot and then one of them slid back down the 15 feet or so back to the level ground of the lot. It defintely was indicative of the conditions for the day. Enter yours truly with his trusty spikes and it was clear sailing. They gripped like a charm and made an otherwise miserable day quite fun. On the south facing ridge section of the trail it was down to bare rock in many places to I took to the "vegetative" ground cover off the side of the rocky trail to save my spikes from walking on the rock thereby aerating the soil. If you notice especially healthy growth there next summer, well you're welcome!

The forecast is calling for a few days of snow and we sure need it!

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Saturday, 1 January 2011

Winter equipment check

Cliff with fangs

Wolf trail lookout
Not the best of starts to the winter. Various weather reports showing large snowfalls but none were happening in around Ottawa. Still there was enough of the precious white stuff to get out on both skis and snowshoes to see if the legs still work and to try out new gear. I hiked the Wolf trail on Tuesday with winter hiking boots and some newly acquired microspikes. Surprisingly there was about a foot and half of snow outside of the well packed trail. Taking the right fork in the loop I got to test the spikes out on the somewhat icy steep sections. They worked great, not crampons but giving some extra stability on slippery sections of trail. It was a cloudy day but the sun came out as I got up on the ridge and I had a nice sit on the bench for about 20 minutes.

On Wednesday I went for a ski around Lac Phillipe where I learned to check my boots before putting them in the car (insoles were missing) and also that the payment for a day pass in Gatineau Park is optional (their term not mine).

Luskville fire tower
Thursday I headed to the Luskville Fire Tower trail. It was quite mild and not as icy as I had anticipated. The steep sections weren't too slippery but the creek ice was solid enough to walk across. I tried out a new pair of winter hiking boots that were a lower cut than my other pair. I found them much more comfortable but I'm not sure if they would be the ones to wear in new or deep snow.

Here's hoping for some fresh snow especially around the Adirondacks where I have a few peaks on the winter to do list.

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