Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Saturday, 15 February 2020

Saturday 15 February 2020 - Kanata parkrun number 120, and a romp around Mooney's Bay

On arrival at Kanata on another 'three layer morning', I spotted Steve Gamble, so I knew I wouldn't be first finisher. Any pressure to come home first for three weeks running was off.

That made for a very pleasant 5 km jog on the cold day, but we were sufficiently wrapped up for only the lungs to complain about the temperature (minus 12°C plus considerable wind chill). There may be more pictures in due course, but the one I've chosen for now is of Sue at the finish, where the 'funnel' consisted of a phalanx of volunteers. 

Sue and I went back to join the tail walker, Yanic, who was with his friend Justine. She had just arrived from Singapore, where it is a little warmer. Quite a shock to her system!

Earlier results from Wythenshawe parkrun indicated over 300 participants despite desperate weather conditions. Impressive!

The majority of our runners and volunteers adjourned to the Morning Owl café, where some of us enjoyed the smashed avocado with two fried eggs on a rosti base, topped with balsamic rocket. Delicious. We were sad to say goodbye to this group of parkrun friends, who we won't see for another year unless they visit us in Manchester.

No lunch was needed.

The afternoon found Sue and me on our skis at Mooney's Bay, a five minute drive from home, enjoying a windswept three laps of the 3.2 km cross country skiing course. Meanwhile, Ken was skiing the Gatineau Loppet (Classic skis) for the eleventh time. Congratulations to him for completing the 50 km course in 4 hours 15 minutes, a personal best. He goes out on the same course tomorrow with his skate skis for his second 50 km race in two days. Good luck with that, Ken!

So it's a high carb dinner again....

The bottom picture shows the stadium at Mooney's Bay, where lots of tuition was taking place. I would liken this facility to Stretford Athletics Stadium in Longford Park, which is similar in size and nature to the Mooney's Bay area, albeit Longford Park is further from the river, and the Mersey doesn't (to the best of my knowledge) have a beach. 

Friday, 14 February 2020

Friday 14 February 2020 - Shopping

Today is sunny, but minus 32°C with wind chill, so not a day to be out on skis. Anyway, we've had some good skis over the past few days, and some of our gear is on its last legs. So a trip to the gear shops followed a bit of Alpe Adria Trail planning. I even managed to produce a Whisky Cake for consumption later.

New ski trousers, gloves, some lightweight tent pegs, hand warmers, and some wine for Ken's birthday, all lightened my wallet, but prices here are a little higher than at home, so as Sue couldn't find her target items at sale prices (most of my purchases were discontinued lines being sold off cheaply), she will have to postpone her quest for new gear until we get home.

Meanwhile, Ken was collecting his bib for tomorrow's Loppet (50 km ski race). Given the forecast for a very cold day, Sue and I are quite happy not to have entered this year.

Thursday 13 February 2020 - P7 to the Visitor Centre, via Western Cabin

After a late night due to our visit to the opening night of 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner' at Ottawa Little Theatre (a very entertaining production), we left Ken to pre-Loppet relaxation at home.

Helen had a Spa voucher that expired today, so before going there she dropped Sue and me off at P7 (Kingsmere), for a rendezvous with Susan and Roy.

Later, she would meet us for the pictured refreshments at the Palmier café by the Visitor Centre in Chelsea.

In between times the four of us skied the route detailed below. No photos from the trail today - it was a cloudy, windy day with light snow. Quite cold at minus 12°C plus considerable wind chill.

The skiing conditions were excellent. Trail 3 (The Burma Road) was a delight, as was our stay in Western Cabin, where we are pictured chatting to locals who were curious as to how come a couple from Manchester turn up with a couple from Glastonbury (Connecticut)? [We met on the TGO Challenge in 2008.]

Accidents were mostly avoided today, by all but Susan, whose energetic herringbone ascending results in the occasional nose plant.

We'd not been on trail 13 to the Visitor Centre before; we skied it at its best, as it had been groomed minutes earlier.

Sadly the beaver was staying at home under the snow today. "Too cold to go out" was his excuse.

Stats: P7 > #30 > #1 > #1B > #1 > #24 > #40 > #33 > #2 > Western Cabin > #2 > #1 > Champlain Parkway > Étienne-Brûlé > #3 > Fortune Parkway > Gatineau Parkway > #13 > Visitor Centre.
29.5 km, 530 metres ascent, taking 4 hours 10 minutes plus stops.

Later, a lovely meal with Susan and Roy, who return home in the morning. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Wednesday 12 February 2020 - P17 to Lusk Cabin

Another brilliant day on the skis with Susan and Roy. Sue and I met them at P17 at 10 am, leaving Ken and Helen to go skating on the Rideau Canal, mostly open today. Ken had hoped to skate the whole 7.4 km and back, but they managed slightly less as he was hampered by having taken two left feet skates!

The four of us went merrily along to Lusk (pictured), where the cabin was warm but the fire was clogged with the ashes from overnight visitors. (The legend of the lost skier of Lusk Lake lives on...) So we adjourned to Renaud Cabin for lunch. The fire there was so hot that it toasted our sandwiches in seconds. Then, leaving two other visitors engrossed in a game of cribbage, we enjoyed an easy ski back to P17 past the turns into a special 2 km section of Saturday's loppet, one of which is pictured. 

My waxing (blue) worked fine today, and my gentle pace avoided any risk of falling over. The other three, following yesterday's tuition from Françoise, had multiple falls. I wondered why I kept catching up with them!

Stats:
P17 > #53 > #51 > #50 > #55 > #54 > Lusk Cabin > #54 > Keogan Cabin (lunch) > #55 > #50 > #55 > #51 > Philippe > #53 > P17.
28 km, 600 metres ascent, taking 4 hours plus breaks.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Tuesday 11 February 2020 - P7 (Kingsmere) to Champlain Lookout and back

Whilst Sue, Ken, Roy and Susan opted for the torture of a two hour skiing lesson with Francoise, I chose to join Helen on a short outing from Kingsmere.

Conditions were good. Not much below freezing, and a well groomed trail.

I took the route described below; Helen only went as far as Huron, taking the Parkway/Huron link/Ridge Road route, to meet up for lunch at Keogan Cabin, where it was lovely and peaceful once a loud Frenchman had gone.

Blue Jays on the feeder were joined by a Downy Woodpecker (a small 6" cousin of the more common 9" Hairy variety) and a Chickadee, with a red squirrel enjoying their spillages.

Keogan is the lower of today's pictures, only about 5 km from the trail head at Kingsmere.

Stats: P7 (Kingsmere) > #30 > #1 > Champlain Lookout > Champlain Parkway > Fortune Parkway > #1 > Keogan Cabin > #1 > #30 > P7. 
17.5 km, 340 metres ascent, taking 2 hours 40 minutes plus stops.

Meanwhile, Sue and Ken were delivering a watch that they had found to the Visitor Centre, where the resident beaver was actively restocking his lodge with branches. No pictures here, but Ken has compiled an entertaining video...

Monday, 10 February 2020

Monday 10 February 2020 - P12 to the Fire Tower

Perfect conditions greeted us after a tedious Monday morning rush hour drive following 15 cm of overnight snow. 

All six of us (me, Sue, Ken, Helen, Susan and Roy) enjoyed the ascent up freshly groomed trail 40. A left turn up trail 24 took five of us the long way round, leaving Helen the chance to get well ahead by taking the shorter right turn along trail 24.

The sun gradually emerged as we cruised along Ridge Road to McKinstry Cabin. Today's pictures were taken on that stretch on the pristine piste. The others pulled in for a snack at the cabin, whilst I continued 2.7 km to the Fire Tower, the most distant point on the escarpment that we reach on these trips.

Despite the superb conditions, I managed to wipe out on the way back to the cabin. Lunch was welcome. 

Helen had come and gone, returning directly to P12 without venturing to the Fire Tower, and everyone else was soon ahead of me for the lovely ski back to P12. They had encountered a blogger, 'Musician on Skis', whose 'picture postcard' postings we have been following for years. Some of our group will no doubt feature on today's posting.

The final descent down trail 40 was easy enough, if a bit rough, and we were back at the cars, with me a few minutes behind the others, by soon after 3 pm - a 5 hour outing in great conditions and amiable (minus 6°C ish) temperatures.

The pot of tea when we got home was most welcome.

Today's route:
P12 (Meech) > #40 > #24 towards Western Cabin > #1 (Ridge Road) > Fire Tower > McKinstry Cabin > #1 > #24 > #40 > P12.
27 km, 650 metres ascent, 4 hours 25 minutes plus stops.

On the basis that Susan and Roy were despatched to 'buy pudding', they will be joining us shortly for another convivial evening. Luckily there is a special 'beer fridge' in the basement.

Our thoughts are with P&J, who we hope aren't still trapped in floods with a defunct vehicle in the Yorkshire Dales. 

Sunday 9 February 2020 - A P3 and Pink Lake Circuit

At below minus 20°C outside, we delayed our start today until after an early lunch, by which time it had started to cloud over and warm up. 

Weather in UK not so good, with friends P and J trapped in the Yorkshire Dales in a village cut off by floods and with a broken car that got stuck in the floods. It can only get better for them.

By the time Ken, Sue and I had got to P3 (Gamelin) at 1 pm, it had warmed up and a bit of brisk exercise soon sorted the extremities.

Susan and Roy have turned up in town, en route on their way home to Connecticut from a trip to Maine, and we met them on trail 5. Our party of five then enjoyed the undulations of trail 15 before heading down the long hill from Pink Lake and finding our way to the café at P2. An easy ski along trail 29 took us back towards P3. 

Today's route:
P3 > Gatineau Parkway > #5 > #15 > #35 > Pink Lake > Gatineau Parkway > #29 > P2 café > #29 > #5 > Gatineau Parkway > P3. Both today's pictures were taken on trail 15.
Totals: 16 km, 300 metres ascent, 2 hours 15 minutes plus stops.

We enjoyed a lovely evening, with Susan and Roy visiting for dinner. They are staying nearby in an Airb&b, and may be skiing with us for a day or two.

Sunday, 9 February 2020

Saturday 8 February 2020 - Dragon Boats and Hog's Back Falls

Unable to stay indoors on such a sunny day, Sue and I went down to Dow Lake to watch some of the Ice Dragon Boat Championships. 

The Dragon Boats are propelled along a 200 metre course by way of 8 or 10 rowers using ice sticks that are very much like large toilet plungers with a spike in the middle. There's a steersperson at the rear of each boat, and a drummer at the front.

This looked like great fun, but watching was cold. After a cinnamon and sugar beaver's tail (pancake) we walked along the canal to the Hog's Back Falls on the River Rideau, then on through Mooney's Bay and back home - about a 10 km walk altogether.

A nice way to spend a cold but sunny afternoon. More pictures in due course.