Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Martin in Gatineau Park - 2018

Thursday, 18 February 2016

Wednesday 17 February 2016 – A Trip to the Fire Tower


51.2 cm of snow fell on Ottawa yesterday, apparently the most snow in one day since 1947. And this has been a winter of very little snow.

There’s a tendency to think that when it snows in the UK, drivers’ brains depart from the rest of their bodies, and there’s often a perception that in places such as Ottawa where people are more used to snow, and where winter tyres (and commonly All Wheel Drive) are habitually used, the driving standards may be better. Yesterday there were over 100 accidents in Ottawa, and today’s tally was about 75 by mid afternoon.

Helen, Sue and I battled through the snow to reach P12 (O’Brien) by 10.30, for an enjoyable ski up to ridge road, McKinstry Cabin and on to the Fire Tower, the most distant groomed point in Gatineau Park:

P12 > #40 > #24 > #1 > McKinstry > Fire Tower, and back – 25 km, 600 metres ascent, 5 hours including stops.

Frank caught us up at McKinstry and looked after our bags and got the fire roaring whilst the three of us went to the Fire Tower and back – a 5 km return trip.

It was Helen’s first visit to the Fire Tower for three years, so she was pleased with the achievement, as followers of my Facebook entries may have realised. (I was instructed to upload a photo that could be shared with all Helen’s friends.) Here she is with Sue, at the Fire Tower at around 1pm. The snow flurries that would accompany us for the rest of the day had started by then.


Here’s Sue after lunch getting ready to leave McKinstry Cabin together with a friendly couple who skied back to P12 at a similar pace to us (it took us 2 hours to get to McKinstry and an hour and a half to get back).


The final descent on trail 40 is quite steep in places, but in today’s soft conditions it’s very easy, even the final ‘dive’ to the car park!


We’ve done this ski many times before, but never in conditions quite so soft. The trail grooming company did well to get the trails groomed so quickly after the heavy snowfall. They are often the butt of complaints, but not today.


AlanR said...

No mention of the temperature. You must be getting used to it.

Nightbird said...

I like the 'No cycling' sign!

Phreerunner said...

The temperature was a bit warmer Alan - minus 5 to minus 10C, so I just about coped with it. More about that, and the signs, in the next posting.

summitboy said...

@Nightbird: there's a "No nudity" sign on trail 36...

Phreerunner said...

Yes Ken - mentioned in the next posting I think...