A fairly simple and standard outing on the skis is from P16 near Wakefield, along trail 50 to Lac Philippe, and back – a 19 km ‘there and back’ route.
We did this today with Helen, on a cold overcast morning. Minus 10C according to the thermometer, but up to minus 20 at times with the chill from an icy wind. We wrapped up well, however, and didn’t get cold. The picture above contrasts sharply with the blue skies of some of our previous visits. In 2012 for example.
Here are Helen and Sue at a corner that catches out many of the novices who ski this trail. It can be a hard turn for a novice on the way back down.
Herridge Shelter is an old farm building from the 19th century. It’s situated half way along the trail to Lac Philippe. Converted to its current use in the 1980s, it serves as a good place to pause for a break on the way to the lake, and a good place to stop for lunch on the way back, by which time the fire you lit on the way out will be roaring and the two storey building will be pleasantly warm (or it would be if the powers that be hadn’t recently replaced the stove with an inferior model!).
In this cold weather, some might expect us to be hauling heavy rucksacks with lots of warm gear. But all you need is a windproof layer in reserve, to put over your two/three layers of t-shirt, long sleeved t-shirt and shell. Paclite ‘waterproofs’ are ideal, and are compact enough to be carried in a bum bag together with lunch, flask and ski waxing kit. Here’s Sue with our selection of bum bags, hers being in the middle. That’s the one she used for two weeks on the TGO Challenge then for five weeks on the E5 long distance trail, so there’s plenty of space in it on days like today.
Above Sue’s head is a Radon testing notice and gadget. Those nice people who have banned bird feeders feel a need to test for radon gas as part of their latest Health and Safety initiative. We relaxed, in the knowledge that people have been living happily here since the early 1800s, and the Prime Minister’s country residence is just a few metres down the trail.
After an excellent lunch – the stove may be sub-standard, but it did toast our butties, we set off back to the P16 car park in good spirits.
I’ve already mentioned that this is our ‘beach holiday’, so you won’t be surprised to hear that after our energetic 19 km outing on the piste we returned to Quinterra Beach Chalet to enjoy an afternoon of books and board games, with the odd pot of tea thrown in. I’m pointing to the winning move…