This is the weekend of the Canadian Ski Marathon, which Sue and I have taken part in on several occasions, as has Helen. But this year we have left the heroics to Ken, Lester and Michael, who are aiming to complete the full 160km in two days, including an overnight camp at around minus 20C, for which they must carry all the gear for the full distance.
No sooner had Ken left the house on Friday afternoon …. when the cat’s away ….
Saturday saw Helen staying at home to digest her lobster, whilst Sue and I embarked on our traditional trip to the Fire Tower, from P12 by Meech Lake, up trails 40 and 24 to Ridge Road, and on to the Fire Tower.
It was cold – around minus 16C all day, but as you can see from the header photo, we made it to the Fire Tower. This is the western limit of Gatineau Park’s groomed trails. Those who wish to continue have to bushwhack from here. The Fire Tower served as an observation post for fire rangers for around 30 years, from the 1940s, until it was succeeded by more sophisticated methods of fire prevention, such as air patrols and lightning detection.
McKinstry Cabin lies 2.5 to the east of the Fire Tower, so it provided shelter for a tea break, then on our return journey, for lunch.
There’s no bird feeder at McKinstry – perhaps it’s just a bit too far away for the re-supply vehicles. But there is a good fuel store for the wood burning stove.
There’s also the regulation outhouse. We couldn’t manage without these essential buildings!
The trails were fast today. This is what can happen if you take a corner at excessive speed. Luckily, no lasting damage was done.
As has been the norm on this trip, the sun shone virtually all day from a crystal clear sky. Below is a skier on his way along Ridge Road, at the point where our route heads down to the left along trails 24 and 40, back to Meech Lake. In today’s icy conditions, care was needed on the final shaded sections. Despite the grooming it can be icy in places after a prolonged period of not so cold, sunny weather with no precipitation.
Sunday, saw us (me, Sue and Helen) back at P3 for a short ski in cool minus 10C conditions. Here’s one of the few images I took, this one whilst rattling down Gatineau Parkway over a motorway bridge, on the way back towards P3 and Ottawa. The image, like most taken on this trip, doesn’t adequately convey the impression of steepness.
Sue sadly has to leave for home tomorrow, but Susan and Roy should have turned up in Chelsea, and hopefully by the time we get back from Sunday Dinner with them tonight, Ken will have returned victorious from the Ski Marathon, sporting a ‘Gold Bar’ in recognition of his achievement.