Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Friday, 19 February 2016

Thursday 18 February 2016 – Herridge Cabin from P11


A perfect blue sky day saw Helen visiting her mum and Sue and I battling our way through Ottawa in Ken’s Imprezza to reach the P11 car park near Meech Lake by around 11.15.

It was minus 15C, rising during the day to minus 10C. This is the limit of comfort for my hands. Today I tried some of the hand warmers that are based on a reaction that warms up iron filings. They sort of worked, but my hands were cool for the first part of the afternoon ski back from Herridge. Sue reckons I need to put more effort into the skiing to keep warm. I thought I was doing that, but curiously the Fitbit heart rate data reveals a similar level of exercise as for ‘casual walking’, ie entirely ‘Fat Burn’, with no ‘Cardio’ or ‘Peak’ heart rate zones being reached whilst skiing. So perhaps I need to try harder (or get better gloves!).

We headed up trail 36, which has been closed for part of this season due to lack of snow. It’s quite hilly. A snowshoeing trail is soon reached. The sign always amuses us.


Today’s nudists and cyclists were, perhaps sadly, of a law abiding tendency.


It’s a lovely trail beside Meech Lake, with nobody else around today apart from one lady who dropped some gloves… with which she was later pleased to be reunited.


We met a grooming machine and for a while after that enjoyed the pristine surface that we were first to ski on.


For the last few km to Herridge Cabin we joined the much easier and more heavily used trail 50. Despite recent grooming, the soft, fresh snow seems to have churned up really quickly, though the groomed tracks on either side were fine.


A couple of hundred metres before Herridge, we came across a man who was ‘paralysed’ in the tracks. The rescue sled arrived in about twenty minutes, by which time he had recovered sufficiently to return unaided to the cabin and be able to ride out on the back of the snowmobile rather than on the stretcher.


The bird feeder at Herridge was doing a roaring trade, with Blue Jays, Nuthatches, House or Purple Finches, Chickadees and more, plus small red squirrels harvesting the leftovers.

It was a lovely ski back along trail 36, with the sometimes tough descents all very easy in the soft conditions. My hands even got comfortably warm as the temperature rose to minus 10C.

At Meech Lake, one of a group of three elderly chaps decided to ski across the lake (see top picture) whilst Sue and I wound our way around the picturesque lakeside and back to P11 for a slightly tedious drive back home through Ottawa.


Today’s route: P11 > #36 > #50 > Herridge Cabin, and back by the same route – 20 km, 350 metres ascent, taking a little over 4 hours including stops.

I’m not sure what you’ll get next – mobile blogging perhaps, or a weekend break. We are off to the USA…

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