Friday, February 23, 2007

Taylor Lake Loop, Gatineau Park

Taylor Lake trail, Gatineau Park

Ahhh Friday at last, time for another x-c ski day in the GAT. Today was a little different though as I was on my own what with Mike driving his parents to Florida. Not a problem. My plan was to ski the Taylor Lake loop which he'd already tackled earlier in the month. But unlike Mike-the-big-chicken, I was going to do it the direction that would give me an exciting downhill ride on Trail 55.

The weather was perfect - blue skies and about -10°C or -24°C with the wind chill but that wasn't going to be a problem in the GAT woods.

After dropping my wife off at work I made my way up to P19, Lac Philippe. By 11am I had the boards slapped on my feet and was heading down the trail to the Renaud shelter for lunch.

Renaud shelter, Gatineau Park

Stopped at Renaud long enough to enjoy a toasted cheese sandwich on the woodstove and then headed off towards Taylor Lake. Life is good.

Somewhere along the way I stopped to snap a pic and ended up skiing alongside a woman. We were both skiing at about the same pace so I started up a conversation. Well it didn't take long before I got an invite to join her for lunch at the hut she and her friends were renting on Taylor Lake. Sweet.

Taylor Lake hut turn off

As we skied up to the hut two more women joined us. Then as I was slapping my aluminum foil wrapped cheese sandwich on top of the woodstove the door opened and yet another couple of ladies came walking in from the cold. Yowzer. After some strange looks some introductions were made and I was offered a seat. Awesome. I think I had read about this in a Playboy magazine once.

Soon I was offered tea, coffee, pasta, chicken, shrimp, crackers and dip, white and red wine, Bailey's, and homemade cheese cake. Life just got better... or as one of my lovely hostesses put it, "You must have good Karma." Suddenly my cheese sandwich wasn't sounding so yummy anymore.

Taylor lake hut, Gatineau Park

By 1:30 my belly was more than full and Bob had arrived with his sled to pick up the ladies' gear as they were packing it out and heading to a spa for the rest of the day. After helping loaded their gear on the sled and saying my good-byes, I was back on Trail 55 and heading for the "!" (as marked on my GAT ski map and as you can see below the map doesn't lie).

Steep hill on Trail 55, Gatineau Park

It was a crazy ride to the bottom with a couple of moguls and an "ah shit" or two but I'm proud to say I made it without incident. The trick is deciding just how much speed to allow yourself on the way down. And the red wine might have helped too.

After a couple more hills like that it was easy skiing. At the split I opted for Trail 51 and made it back to P19 just as the ladies where picking up their gear from Bob's sled. Waves and shouts all around.

Taylor Lake hut party

Thanks again girls for the awesome lunch break at Taylor Lake. And yes I haven't forgotten, "What happens at Taylor Lake hut, stays at Taylor Lake hut."

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