Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Sunday 30 January 2011 – P10, Fortune Parkway, to the Fire Tower and back

Ken and Michael on Ridge Road 
Yesterday, whilst Sue and I were strolling around, and Helen was chilling out at home, Ken skied from P3 (Gamelin) to the Fire Tower and back.  This is a 64km day on the Parkways and Ridge Road – quite energetic…

So today, Ken (fitness guru) was happy to ski the shorter 37km distance to the Fire Tower and back from P10.  Last night we entertained Michael and Sayuri for dinner (in exchange for chocolate cake and a Galapagos ‘slide show’) and Michael was seconded to join us for today’s ski.  The CSM (Canadian Ski Marathon) is in two weeks’ time and both Ken and Michael are training for that.  One of them is taking it more seriously than the other!  Sue and I aren’t doing it this year.

Ken chose skate skis as today’s handicap.  It’s a new activity for him.  Skate skiing is to Classic skiing as Jogging is to Rambling.  It’s a lot more energetic.  Anyway, we set off together at 9.15 on a cool (-17C) morning, but as you can see from the above photo, Ken and Michael were much faster than me.  They waited patiently from time to time.  I slithered along rather sedately, in heel preservation mode, having spent ages applying a system of bandages that should protect the delicate tissue.  Both heels were sore, but got no(t much) worse.

We left the Parkway at Gossip’s Corner, only 20 minutes or so into the ski, and headed along trail 1, Ridge Road, past Shilly Shally, up the Khyber Pass, past Huron, Western and McKinstry cabins, all the way to the Fire Tower, from where further progress is disapproved of by the authorities, who want to preserve the wilderness area for redevelopment of a more lucrative nature than the secretive passage of transient backwoodsmen.

This self-timed image taken at the Fire Tower, at the western end of Gatineau Park, presented a challenge to my very limited skiing skills…

Ridge Road ends here at the Fire Tower (for mortals, anyway)

Shortly afterwards crossed skis on a simple descent caused my reversion to a simulated pile of snow blown rubble.  Luckily, McKinstry Cabin is less than 3km from the Fire Tower. Only ‘Hard Men’ like Ken’s mate Lester, a loonie who ate his butties at the Fire Tower (-15C) then complained about being cold, ski past this cabin, which seems to be fitted with an excessively powerful wood burning stove.

Ken rested whilst Michael cooked his skis and I nursed a bruised buttock and enjoyed a toasted sandwich.

McKinstry Cabin on a hot Sunday lunchtime

McKinstry Cabin - minus 15C outside

Reinvigorated from our forty minute break (nap, in Ken’s case) we set off back down Ridge Road, serenaded by cawing crows and covering the 15km to P10 in an hour and three quarters, with Ken setting the pace on his skate skis and breaking his previous record for his distance covered in one day with those skis, which require a much different technique compared to the classic cross-country variety deployed my Michael and me.

Here’s Ken, skating merrily along…

Ken demonstrates his skate-skiing technique

…with Michael, still wearing Father Christmas’s hat, keeping up the rear in his inimitable classic style.

Michael demonstrates his classic skiing technique

37km with 800 metres ascent in 5¼ hours – a jolly little outing in mainly sunny weather – from which we were back at the car by 2.30pm, and enjoying a pot of tea at home by soon after 3pm, ready to resume our ‘Beach Holiday’ comprising eating, drinking, socialising, etc – all of which cause a regular delay in these postings, which cannot be described as my ‘day job’.

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