Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Friday 4 February 2011 – A Circuit from Wakefield, and a Banquet

Trail 53 near Wakefield - freshly groomed on 4/2/11

A late start found Sue and I benefiting from the disappearance of the heavy cloud under which Ottawa had started the day.  We headed off to car park P17, Wakefield, for a sunny start along trail 53.  This is an unusual trail in some respects as it crosses sections of farmland that are not public pathways outside the skiing season, as well as passing through the familiar ‘Forestry Commission’ style tracks for most of its 9km journey to Philippe (P19).

The header photo shows the freshly groomed trail across open farmland.

Here’s Sue, setting off from P17 in the wrong direction.

Trail 53, by Wakefield

She seems happy enough!
 Sue enjoys being out in the sunshine

There was hardly anyone on the trails.  I enjoyed the #53 > #51 loop, returning to P17 (see image below), and Sue got a little beyond the trail junction before turning around. 

Here’s trail 53 in a woodland section.

Trail 53

There was no lunch stop as such on this short outing of somewhat less than two hours, but there were plenty of benches to enjoy a break in the warm (-5C) conditions.  I needed such breaks to dust myself down after losing concentration on a couple of downhill corners.

This is definitely a ‘skis only’ zone – the sign is needed because there’s a cabin (Brown) nearby that you could walk to, but that would wreck the ski trail, so it’s forbidden.

Ski trail signs at P17 in Gatineau Park

I’ve been using Ken’s old Garmin Forerunner 301 to record distances on this trip.  He has replaced it with the impressive 305 model that has a better antenna.  We have both tried the 405 model.  Independently, we sent this one back as neither of us could cope with the sensitive rotating bezel, especially if damp. 

Here’s a screen from today’s download – speed on the vertical axis, time across the bottom, with a map of the route above; also shown on a different option is the distance (15km) and ascent (265 metres).

Today's statistics

I don’t really need one of these GPS watches, but it has been useful on this trip, where I don’t have access to any mapping software.

We returned for a pot of tea and a bath, before settling down to enjoy one of George Gardet’s excellent offerings, all the way from Chigny les Roses.

The Banquet

It being a special day, we had decided to go to the banquet that kicks off the three weeks of ‘Winterlude’ celebrations in Ottawa.  It was held at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Banqueting Hall at the Canadian Museum of Civilization

Michael Smith, Canada’s ‘Gordon Ramsay’ of the kitchen (or so I’m told) was on hand to cook up an excellent meal for 300 or so diners on tables of eight.  Ken, Helen, Sue and I shared a table with Chris, Laurie, Tony and Fawn, who we’d never met before, and probably never will again.  This sort of thing can be a bit of a lottery, but they proved to be excellent table companions and we enjoyed a very jolly evening with them.  [Hello All]

Here’s the menu, and the starter:

Taste of Winterlude - Menu for 4/2/11

'First Taste'

The meal was delicious, flawed only by the dessert being ‘cake-like’ mocha, rather than ‘molten’ mocha in our part of the hall.

Michael, a rather tall man, was a very jolly chap.  He found time to give a short speech, sign menus etc, and even pose for photos, when perhaps he should have been checking the state of the dessert!  But hey, it was a great evening.

Michael Smith, chef, is not a midget

A stunning firework display, complimentary drinks, even more food (but the waitresses were finding it tough to get customers - everyone was replete already) followed.

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