Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

An Icy Afternoon in Gatineau Park

Trail 15 - late afternoon on 13/2/12

The good news is that Ken returned home last night with a gold bar, having completed the 160 km Canadian Ski Marathon.  Sadly, Michael just failed to make it to the final checkpoint before the cut-off time, so he ‘only’ did 147 km.  Very impressive, nonetheless.  When Sue and I have tried this event we have felt chuffed to manage much more than 100 km over the course of the weekend, and that’s without carrying packs.

Conditions were tough.  There are many tales to be told.  But not here, for the time being.

We enjoyed dinner at ‘The Pub’ in Chelsea with Susan and Roy last night, but today was Sue’s appointed rendezvous with United/Continental  Airlines for the purpose of returning to Timperley to win some of the bread that’ll be needed to support our travel plans for the year ahead.  She managed to ski nearly 150 km during her stay, though, which isn’t bad for a ‘Beach Holiday’.

So having dropped Sue at the airport I got a late start for a 23 km ski from P2, covering the eastern section of the Gatineau Loppet route.  It was fairly warm at just minus 2C, but the tracks were icy and my blue wax soon dissipated, leaving me with a rather slithery experience along tracks like trail 15 in the late afternoon, pictured above on the way to Pink Lake.  Which is white at this time of year.

En route to the undulations of trail 15’s twisty course, the trail passes under a series of huge pylons.  Not even Gatineau Park is protected from such monstrosities.

Pylons across trail 5

Later, the low sun lit the trail beautifully.  I was passed by these two ladies on a short incline.  I wasn’t the only one finding the ice a little slithery – normally we’d all be scooting quickly up this short hill with our skis in the prepared trail, but today even a small rise proved hard work.

An icy hill on trail 26

After wiping out at an innocuous junction (my first proper ‘crash’ of the trip) I found my way back to P2, via trails 26/29/27.  On Saturday and Sunday mornings this coming weekend, several hundred athletic skiers will be racing down the track pictured below, just yards from the start of the Classic and Freestyle (skate skis) Loppets – 51 km races around some of the Park’s excellent trails.  There will be much competition for the leading positions, whilst at the other end of the field people will be straining every muscle to avoid being ‘timed out’ at the cut off points around the course.

The 'run in' to Parking Lot P2


afootinthehills said...

So not only do you photograph Sue after a fall but then despatch her back to the UK to work. You cad sir!

Love the photographs - the trails do look icy.

Phreerunner said...

She loves it, Gibson. She keeps the NHS going single-handedly / brings it down single-handedly. It's all a question of which side of the bed, or perhaps in last night's case, the aisle....