Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Christmas and Merry New Year!!

Wishing everyone a safe and healthy holiday that continues right through the New Year.

Christmas on fire


Friday, December 14, 2007

Birthday ski in the GAT

Gatineau Park: P19 Lac Philippe to Lac Lusk to Lac Taylor (15 km)
P19 Lac Philippe: N45 37.394 W76 00.546
Lac Lusk: N45 35.100 W76 00.772
Lac Taylor: N45 36.292 W76 02.741

Nothing says happy birthday like a x-c ski in the GAT with a couple of friends and a pint or two. This year's birthday adventure was even more special as we were joined by my father.

Fresh snow on the GAT trail

We arrived at the P19 parking lot shortly after 10 am and after a round of introductions we loaded up the packs, strapped on the skis and headed off in the direction of Lusk cabin.

View from Lusk Lake cabin
View from Lusk cabin
Splitting wood for Lusk woodstove Celebrating my birthday at Lusk cabin

At one point along the side trail to Lusk we were hit with a blast of wet hail. Then right when it seemed that we might be in for a sloppy, icy day of skiing it stopped as suddenly as it had started. The timing was perfect too as we had just arrived at the Lusk cabin where inside we found a roaring woodstove and the volunteer skier that had sparked it up for us.

The volunteer left after he finished his sweeping and wood cutting chores and soon we had the cabin all to ourselves. We relaxed, sung birthday songs, and enjoyed a delicious "Tripper style" lunch. Soon though we were restless again so off we headed back out on the trail to Renaud shelter. It never ceases to amaze me how short the downhill run seems in comparison to the upward climb it takes to reach this cabin. Needless to say it's well worth the effort.

Rounding Taylor Lake

After a short beer break at Renaud (short because we got tired of listening to the one other occupant rant about the poor trail conditions) we headed off towards Taylor Lake to finish the loop back to P19.

Sunny skies in the GAT ! Steep hill

Shortly after rounding Taylor Lake we hit a couple of great downhill runs and then blammo! we arrived in a wash of sunshine at the parking lot. Finally to wrap up an already glorious day in the GAT we all stopped for a roadside poutine before continuing back home to Ottawa.


My birthday wish should now seem obvious to all you blog readers out there... I wished for a repeat the same day next year on my birthday. Cheers.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Family ski in the GAT

Family ski in the GAT

Gatineau Park: P10 to Keogan Shelter (9 km)
P10: N45 31.141 W75 51.234
Keogan: N45 30.353 W75 52.816

Saturday we tested out the skis in the Greenbelt and decided it was high time to raise the bar and try a family ski day in Gatineau Park. So we packed some tinfoil wrapped sandwiches and snacks and loaded up the van for an early start.

Keogan shelter

The weather was a little crisp when we hit P10 but the sun was out and we got the last parking spot in the lot so we were off to a good start. Up up up we skied finally hitting Keogan Shelter around 11:30. Perfect timing for lunch. The place was less than half full so we had plenty of space to enjoy our toasted ham, cheese, and tomato sandwiches.

Going down?

Heading back to the parking lot was the easy part, especially after the "steep hill" sign. A nice steady glide was all I needed to put a smile on everyone's face and ensure a return trip. Thumbs up all around.

Family ski in the GAT

Friday, December 07, 2007

First GAT ski of the season

Snow covered bridge

Gatineau Park: P10 to Keogan Shelter (9 km)
P10: N45 31.141 W75 51.234
Keogan: N45 30.353 W75 52.816

Winter wonderland. Friday had finally arrived and I had the afternoon off so Mike and I headed up to the GAT for my first ski of the season. Conditions were perfect: warm at about -5°C, freshly falling snow and plenty more falling by the minute. And even thought the parking lot was jammed we didn't see a whole gaggle of people.

Well not everything started out perfect I'll admit. I somehow managed to snap my skis on and fall flat on my ass in one single motion. In doing so my ski landed on my pole and it snapped. Luckily it stayed together just long enough to get me through the day and wasn't enough to dampen my spirits. I even managed to smile for Mike's camera has he fired off the mandatory photo.

From then on it was smooth skiing. Up up up is the climb from P10 but that only means that down down down is the free ride back to the bottom.


After a side trail ski here and there we finally ended up at Keogan shelter in time for lunch. Mike was kind enough to warm up his grilled cheese and ham (with ketchup) sandwich for the pair of us to enjoy. It was awesome.

grizzlyG and Tripper Keogan Shelter

Skiing around Lake Fortune in the GAT

Lunch was following by a leisurely ski back to the parking lot. Well for Mike at least. For me it was more of an awkward one-armed pole and glide motion as my busted ski pole had finally given up entirely. Again no complaints as it was all worth the extra effort to be out in this fresh winter snowfall.

Breaking trail

Shortly after leaving the parking lot we spotted this (empty) car in the ditch. Then shortly after that we spotted a smashed up police car getting a tow. When we asked our poutine chef what happened he said that the police car was speeding through town to get to the car in the ditch when he hit the side of a Bell Service van. Ouch. Not a good way to start the weekend.

Car in the ditch Not having a good day

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Karaoke Kaos!!

We had a belated birthday party at our house last weekend. Six girls on a karaoke machine spells chaos. Needless to say they had a blast and we had a few laughs watching them. And actually a couple of them were very good.

Sara's birthday party

Can't wait to get a few pints in me and give it a spin myself. Maybe I'll even invite some of my buddies over... not bloody likely.