Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Monday, 19 January 2009

Sunday 18 January 2008 – The Road to Healey Cabin

Ken approaches the grooming wagon on Trail 50

The morning dawned snowy, as usual, with a few fresh cm overnight, but it had warmed up to -12°C outside!

We were graced with Ken’s presence (as well as Helen's) for today’s ski, though he did manage to overshoot the entrance to the car park – P16 at Vallée Meech.

Our trail was being groomed, and later we caught up with this vital piece of equipment, without which our trips to Gatineau Park would be completely different.

The car park was filling up quickly. The four of us set off. My boots felt a bit loose, and under the balls of my feet the they felt hard. Oh dear! No insoles. They had been taken out for drying yesterday and hadn’t found their way home. As a result my toes were a little cool at times.

Ken, Martin and I continued beyond Herridge Cabin to the eastern end of Lac Philippe, where we loitered for photos, trail mix, and for the groomer to pass.

Helen followed, but turned around at the junction with trail 52 and headed back to Healey for lunch.

Arriving at the new Healey Cabin at 12.40, it was definitely Sunday. All the tables were occupied and damp clothing was draped everywhere. The recent conversion of this 19th Century farmhouse includes the installation of some large windows, so the cabin is very well lit compared to the dark interiors of some of the other cabins in the park. Animals have nibbled chunks off the wide wooden planks used in the renovation.

Shortly prior to our arrival here, we encountered Ken’s friends Wayne and Don. They were lunching on the trail in preference to Herridge Cabin, which was only a few metres distant. Wayne is a Ski Marathon veteran, having completed the Correur du Bois Gold route some 13 times (that’s 180km in two short days – cut off is shortly after 3pm – carrying a pack and bivvying overnight). That’s what Ken is training for this year.

In the cabin we encountered another friend, Dan, whose attempts to make conversation were hampered somewhat by the waterfall that seemed to be streaming down his face. Ken explained that he is a friend from the canoe club!

Our toasted sandwiches and tea, etc were most welcome. Then the 5km trail back to the car park was covered quite quickly, the downhill stretches providing us with snowploughing practice. It was good to know – from the speed at which we flashed past a slow skier – that our skills have progressed from ‘novice’ level.

This 20km outing, all along Trail 50, took us from 10.30 to 13.50, including 45 minutes of breaks – a quite satisfactory pace along, albeit, easy trails.

We were home by 2.30 pm to enjoy a most relaxing end to the weekend.

We are enjoying this holiday.

BTW: Welcome, summitboy, our latest new 'follower', who chooses to 'follow' rather than look over my shoulder as I write!

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