Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Monday, 31 January 2011

Saturday 29 January 2011 – The Lauriault Trail, and some New Gear

Sue setting off on the Lauriault Trail

Apart from the ski trails in Gatineau Park, there are several winter walking and snowshoeing trails.

Today we chose to explore the Lauriault Trail, 4.5km of compacted snow in a walking circuit from P6 car park at McKenzie-King.

The footpath sets off next to ski trail 7, with which I’ve become familiar, and soon reaches some dovecotes and some ruins.  The McKenzie-King clan, or whoever lived here (not all that long ago) must have enjoyed the view from their huge bay window.

Ruins at Moorside

More photos of the ruins will appear in a slide show in due course.  [Time, as always, is the enemy – it’s now a sunny, if –20C, Monday morning and we want to go and play in the snow!]

Light snow was falling, creating pleasing patterns on the fir trees.

A snow laden tree

We strolled down a dogleg to some waterfalls (icefalls today), where snowshoes vied with small children in a sledge for space on the trail.

Then it was on to a viewpoint where some kindly French Canadians obliged with the camera.

At the viewpoint on the Lauriault Trail

Later, the sun came out.  Today the Ottawa River marked the division between a clear blue sky – above us here, north of the river – and a huge bank of cloud that lay all day above the city.


The building below, Moorside, seems to have replaced the ruined mansion we passed earlier.  Coming full circle in the summer would bring you out at some lovely gardens with cooing doves, overlooked by Moorside’s elegant tea rooms.  Sadly, the building is currently boarded up for winter, so today’s tea was taken on return to Woodroffe Towers.


‘Woodroffe Towers’ are situated near the gear shops of Westboro, of which Mountain Equipment Co-op is one of the best.  An afternoon stroll down to Richmond Road, yielded a surprise.  Some shoes that actually seemed to fit Sue’s feet.  This is very rare, and she hates the hassle of replacing old shoes, but her existing trail shoes are falling apart, so hopefully these Garmont Momentums will be a worthy replacement.  She just has to wear them around the house for the next week to see whether they ‘work’.

Garmont Momentum trail shoes

I took the chance to replace my old emergency torch, left under a pillow in the Maritime Alps 18 months ago.  The Black Diamond Ion is very light (26gm) and will join me for summer backpacking when all that is needed is a bit of light to cook by, to search for things in a dark tent, or to carry out minor cave explorations.  It’s not much cop for night navigation, though – I generally use a Petzl Tikka Plus for that purpose.

Black Diamond Ion

Footnote:  This new torch was shoved into a drawer holding my Petzl Tikka Plus (used here for night skiing).  A few hours later a bright light was seen shining from the drawer.  The Petzl had revolted.  It had decided to blind the new Ion in oblivion.  The only way of dimming the Petzl was by removing its power source.  The switch had broken.  You can’t get at it, so I’ll maybe be using the Ion for the next night ski, and the Petzl will have to be replaced!


The Odyssee said...

Sounds like you are having a really good time. -20 wow. Like the look of Sue's shoes.
Coincidence with the torch.

Canada's such a great place for the outdoors isn't it. Not that i have been but Sheila has spent some time there.

Louise said...

I'm not big on travel (David has seen the world, yawn) but I've always fancied Canada. I love the little taster you give us each year.

Phreerunner said...

Thanks Alan, thanks Louise.
This really is just a 'little taster'. Sue and I would like to visit the Canadian Rockies. But Ottawa is very convenient for this regular trip, which gets classified as our annual 'beach holiday', much of the time being spent on the sort of activities more akin to a 'beach holiday' than a more energetic trip (eating, drinking, socialising, reading, playing games, etc). The skiing is great bonus though.
One day I may find time to relate tales from our canoeing trips, as well.

The Odyssee said...

Canadian canoe/camping.
Thats one thing that i have wanted to do for donkeys years but have never been in a position to do it.
Maybe one day. Deep exhale of breath!

Phreerunner said...

It helps to have friends in Canada, though I'm sure a canoe/camping trip could be done independently. The main problem is booking campsites, which has to be done by phone, six months in advance. Even our friends over in Canada couldn't manage to book one of the favourite areas, Killarney, last year, the demand is so great.
Why not try it in the Lake District first?