Saturday, February 16, 2008

Ski day to Western cabin


Gatineau Park: P7 to Western (19 km)
P7 Kingsmere: N45 29.416 W75 50.558
Western: N45 33.218 W75 58.387

I woke up Friday to another snowy morning. We had about 10-15 cm earlier in the week and another 5 cm last night. Other than the week long melt we had in January this winter has been all about the snow snow snow. Our snowbanks are now above my head but unlike most of my fellow Ottawans you won't hear this winter baby complaining.

By the time Mike rolled into the driveway the snow had stopped and a blue sky was peeking through. We were officially off for another great x-c ski in the GAT.

X-C ski day in the GAT

For this ski day Mike had planned for us to start at P7 and make our way to Champlain Lookout and then on to Western cabin for lunch. The sky was clear and windchill temperatures were hovering around -18°C.

grizzlyG takes a break

As we made our way up the trail we passed several orange markers recently planted for the weekend's ski race, the Keskinada now known as the Gatineau Loppet. Gatineau is the official location for the Canadian leg of the world loppet circuit. For those of you wondering (myself included), the Worldloppet Ski Federation is an international sports federation of cross-country skiing marathons. The aim of Worldloppet is to promote the sport of cross-country skiing through the various ski races around the world. All that to say we'd made a good choice not to wait until the weekend to ski as we likely would have found some of the trails blocked off to the public.

Huron Lookout

The ski past Huron and Champlain Lookout provided some great photo ops before continuing on to Western cabin for lunch. There are two ways to ski down to the cabin, the quick and hairy trail or the longer and better groomed trail. We chose the short and hairy. But thanks to last night's snowfall it proved to give us a fast but gentle roller coaster ride before dumping us off at the side of the main trail just above the cabin. Skiing down the last hill reminded me of Mike's hilarious wipe-out last winter as he skidded off the trail into the bush. Aw, good times.

grizz wipes out on the ride down to Western

This time I found myself skiing down the hill to find a gaggle of Gatineau students leaving the cabin. I nearly ran over a couple ski tips before coming to a stop in the middle of them. Turned out that they were too busy eating chocolate bars and throwing snowballs to take any notice.

Lunch consisted of the usual toasted turkey and cheese sandwich washed down with a can of Blue. Sweet. This time I remembered to bring cheese and crackers to munch on while my sandwich cooked to perfection on the woodstove.

Climbing or falling? Western hut this way

As per usual the ski back was mostly downhill allowing me to take a couple of action videos (see previous post). The last leg back to the parking lot has a couple of back to back steep hills marked with two "!" signs. It can get a little hairy but with a bit of fresh snow on the trail I thought I might try video taping the event. Worked out rather well other than the near colison with the wankers that decided to wax their skis at the 90 degree turn.

Ridge Road signs

The only question left at the end of this awesome GAT day was, where would our next ski take us?

No comments: