Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Friday, 23 January 2009

Thursday 22 January 2009 – A New Trail

Helen and Sue proceed along trail number 53, only recently reopened to skiers

Helen joined us today for a 15km excursion from P17, Wakefield. The temperature had risen to -2°C, so dark blue wax was the order of the day. This should have worked fine, but the snow was so powdery that it balled up under the skis, making progress rather slow at times. The route was straightforward - #53 to P19 at Philippe, then #51 to rejoin our outward journey at the bottom of a hill.

The trails were quiet; we encountered only three people, though a school bus parked at Philippe did indicate that Renaud Cabin, where we had contemplated going for lunch, might be inundated with children.

Anyway, we’d elected for a morning ski. Our only concession was a 10 minute break for hot chocolate and Helen’s patent trail mix, at an exposed point on #53, with rare expansive monochromatic views.

Soon we were back in the trees. A swarm of animated Snow Buntings – there must have been 100 or more – briefly filled the air as we continued along the pleasant route, only recently reopened after having been reclaimed from snowmobiles. It’s marked on our old map, but has been unavailable for skiing for the past few years; snowmobiles and skiers on the same trails are not really compatible! I understand most snowmobile trails pass through private land, by agreement between the landowner and individual snowmobile clubs.

Our ski today was a mere 15km taking us from 10.25 to 12.55, including 10 minutes for our hot chocolate interlude, after which we returned home via Tim Hortons – a Canadian institution, a doughnut emporium, where we enjoyed coffee, soup, and of course a doughnut for lunch – a bargain at $4.50 (£2.80) per person.

As always, it’s good to receive your comments. Thank you Dave, Ron, Phil (I think you probably got tipped out of your canoe into Lac Meech – not possible at this time of year; also not possible is the discomfort of mosquito bites), and Gayle (I think you and Mick would enjoy the skiing here – even though you would probably have to learn from scratch[easy!]).

The hat I won in your competition, Phil, is you will be pleased to hear, in daily use – an essential part of my kit. Brilliant!


Gayle said...

I think that you're right - we would enjoy the skiing. Much as it looks like hard work, and much as my body objects to the cold, I do like snow and your photos all make it look very enticing.

Think we could do without taking on another expensive hobby, mind!

Phreerunner said...

It's great, Gayle. The only real expense is the air fare - £1,000 for the two of us this time. Otherwise we are probably spending no more than we would at home. The skiing equipment - skis, bindings, boots and poles - can be hired for £40 a week or less, and can be bought for less than £200. Our cheap stuff has lasted several trips - it's pretty robust.
You could try the sport more locally by going to somewhere like Dobbiaco in northern Italy. Ramblers Holidays do trips:
If we weren't here in Canada, I suspect we may be there!