A holiday in Ottawa wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Lusk Cabin, which overlooks Lusk Lake, the scene of a Millennium mystery. On a dark and snowy night in January, a lone skier was seen crossing the lake. He or she was never seen again and neither skis nor skeleton have ever been recovered.
An entry in the cabin’s new visitors book seemed appropriate as a reminder of this mystery.
It’s an easy 12 km ski from the P17 road head near Wakefield, where the annual motorway extension work is in progress, easing the commute to Ottawa from the ever more distant suburbs that attract the middle classes of Quebec.
We arrived at the cabin to find it very hot inside, with a roaring fire. We were lucky, that’s not always the case here. Perhaps somebody was staying here last night – this cabin has six bunks and is one of a minority of cabins in Gatineau Park that can be used for pre-booked overnight stays. Ken and Helen have enjoyed quite a few New Years’ Eve parties here with select friends and haunting tales of the mysteries of Lusk Lake and Lusk Caves.
Today we simply paused here for 45 minutes with a few other folk for a convivial lunch.
The descent from Lusk back to Lac Philippe is a delight, especially in this season’s superb snow conditions. We all enjoyed that, and whilst Helen returned to P17 by the morning’s route, the rest of us took trail 53, adding about 2.5 km to our tally and enjoying some open scenery, albeit in rather overcast weather – but decidedly balmy at just minus 7C.
People known to us have been encountered regularly during the week, and today it was Sophie’s turn. Helen spotted her sunbathing on a bench near the #51/#53 junction, but the rest of us whizzed past without noticing her, the bench in question being on a rather pleasant downhill section.
Just to give an idea of the distances, speeds, timings and ascent statistics for these daily outings, here is my Garmin gadget’s report for today. The hour’s difference between the Moving and Elapsed times is 45 minutes in the cabin, when the gadget was paused, and about 15 minutes of short breaks taken on the trail.
Distance: 26.64 km
Moving Time: 3:01:22
Elapsed Time: 4:01:35
Avg Speed: 8.2 km/h
Avg Moving Speed: 8.8 km/h
Max Speed: 33.3 km/h
Avg Pace: 7:17 min/km
Avg Moving Pace: 6:48 min/km
Best Pace: 1:48 min/km (must have been the 33.3 km/h section!)
Elevation Gain: 467 m
Elevation Loss: 467 m
Min Elevation: 138 m
Max Elevation: 289 m
Finally, I’d just like to wish Kate (my daughter) good luck in tomorrow’s job interview. Good luck, Kate.