Monday, April 30, 2007

Wolf Trail, Gatineau Park

Crouching Tripper

At first the ever changing weather forecast had me thinking twice about heading out into the woods for the day. Then this morning when I awoke so sunshine it was like a sign from the big guy... go hiking in the GAT. Go. Now.

So off I went to P13, the trailhead to the Wolf Trail in Gatineau Park.

The last snow Spring flowers
The last of the snow on the ski hills and some fresh spring flowers.

In the winter, the Wolf Trail is a designated snowshoe trail. It has a few steep sections and at times runs alongside the edge of a cliff. Definitely not something I would want to x-c ski.

View along the Wolf Trail, Gatineau Park

The wind was incredibly strong. During the hike there was the odd crashing sound and on the way out I noticed the top half of a large tree that had fallen across the trail. But aside from the wind the weather was warm and the sun continued to break through the clouds all day long.

I even managed to find a great spot to stop and rest while I logged Bluelamb's Summer Vacation cache. Cheers.

Grolsch time

Monday, April 23, 2007

Mackenzie King Estate

Welcome to the Mackenzie King Estate

Today my wife and I did something we haven't done in a long long time. Hiked alone (meaning no kids). It was... well... quiet, and we both enjoyed it tremendously.

We decided to change our original plan to hike The Wolf trail and instead settled for the Lauriault Trail through the Mackenzie King Estate. Surprisingly I had not yet hiked this trail.

First we hit The Abbey.

The Abbey, Mackenzie King Estate
The Abbey, Mackenzie King Estate

Then we relaxed by the waterfall.

Falls along the Lauriault Trail

From there we hiked over to the bench overlooking the Ottawa River and had some lunch and a refreshing beverage. One of us even had a short nap.

View of the Ottawa River

Ahhh, definitely something we'll have to indulge in again. And soon.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Big snapper rescue

We were heading out for an afternoon hike when we came across these two big snapping turtles attempting to cross the road. We pulled a u-turn and quickly hopped out. Another car had pulled over at about the same time and while one young, but not-so-brave looking, man was asking me if I had any gloves I quickly scooped up the first snapper and moved him safely across to the other side of the busy road.

Snapping turtle rescue
Checking out the snapping turtle

My wife snapped some pics while I carefully picked up the other straggler and carried it to the other side to join its mate. Hopefully I got it right and they weren't steps away from the ditch they were actually trying to get to before I came along to move them back again.

Word of warning... These turtles are called "snapping turtles" for a reason. They are fast. A snapping turtle's head can lunge out of its shell and snap its jaws at you before you can say "holy snappers Batman". Be extra careful folks and keep clear of the snap trap. Oh and don't forget to watch for those wickedly long claws too.

GAT hike video clip

A short video from yesterday's hike up Luskville Falls and the fire tower...

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Luskville Falls and the Fire Tower, Gatineau Park

Luskville Falls

Yesterday was a stellar day. The weather was nothing short of fabulous. Sunshine and 23°C. Perfect conditions for a hike to the top of Luskville Falls in Gatineau Park, Quebec.

Mike and I met up with Ken in the parking lot shortly after 9:30am. Technically it was alongside the road just outside the parking lot as it was still gated while the clean up crew did their spring thing.

Kenmore snaps a few pics of the falls
Kenmore stops for a shot with his awesome Canon Rebel XT

From there we hiked down the road and then up the 2km ascent, stopping once in a while for one of the many great photo ops.

Spring is definitely the time of year to make this climb. The lack of mosquitoes or even black flies is certainly a plus and the melting snow provides for an amazing cascade of water falling down the side of the Eardley Escarpment (certainly more impressive than the trickle that falls in November).

Snow by the falls A blackberry brew

Once we reached the top we stopped for a little break to take in the breathtaking view. Sweet.

From there we crossed over the falls, hopping rock to rock, and headed up even further to the fire tower.

Fire Tower, Gatineau Park

Thumbs up Luskville Falls view

Poor Kenmore
While Kenmore took the "fast" way down, Mike and I opted for the safer route.

After some lunch and a refreshing Grolsch we headed down yet another trail towards a newly planted geocache, GC10BQW. As we approached the cache (from the wrong angle) a rock climber stuck his head over the top and then rapelled back down. Needless to say we would not be logging a find on this cache today. Regardless it was yet another great spot to stop, soak in some more rays, and enjoy another great view. From here you could see the long line of cars parked just outside the gate. Seems we weren't the only ones enjoying a spring hike.

All in all it was yet another great start to the GAT hiking season.

Group shot at the top of Luskville Falls


Monday, April 16, 2007

April snowstorm

Looking out my back window this morning. What a surprise.

Snowstorm - April 16th

And to think that Saturday's forecast is 16 degrees and sunshine. Hard to believe, eh?

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Backyard bandit

This weekend we stuck around the house and started some spring cleaning. Mostly garage cleaning and reorganizing which lead to bike maintenance which lead to bike shopping which then turned into a Sunday morning bike ride through the neighborhood. Oh well, the cleaning can wait.

Spotted this grub eating bandit strolling through our backyard just as we were sitting down to lunch. Like most raccoons, he didn't seem to have a care in the world.

Raccoon getaway

Skunks in our garage, raccoons in our backyard, wild turkeys on our fence... you'd think we were living in the backwoods next to Grizzly Adams.

Here's a blurry pic of the skunk that decided to have a nap in our garage a couple of years ago. Still remember lifting up the door and seeing him snoozing at my feet. I also clearly remember my wife panicking and trying to shut the front door while I was desperately trying to get back inside. It was like a scene from Laurel and Hardy only with more colourful language.

Skunk in the garage