Gatineau Park: P12 to McKinstry (20 km)
P12 Meech Lake: N45 32.221 W75 53.968
McKinstry: N45 33.218 W75 58.387
Click here for a map showing the trails from P12 to McKinstry Cabin.
The ski from P12 to McKinstry is starting to become an annual trip (read last year's blog). Strangely enough, conditions were nearly identical to last year's - overcast, a fresh snowfall, and very low traffic on the trails. The only difference this year would have to be the temperature. Although the forecast was for a warm -1 it turned out to be -20°C with the wind chill. For the most part this didn't prove to be a problem but there were moments when the wind, compounded by a downhill ride, seemed to cut right though my thin cotton toque and stab its icy fingers into my brain. Mike likened the sensation to an ice cream headache which for most of you, is an easier visual than icy fingers (unless of course you remember the Snow Miser from the old Christmas special). Whatever works for you.
The climb out of P12 to Ridge Road is killa but compared to last week's ski with Kenmore where we took Trail 2 (a black diamond), it was practically a cake walk.
Once up on Ridge Road the trail wasn't nearly as steep but more of a gradual climb with the occasional down hill ride. As per usual we stopped for a photo at the Wolf Trail bench and grabbed a quick snack to keep us fueled for the last 5 km.
By the time we hit the "only 2 km to go" sign we were ready for lunch. As another group of 4 skiers passed us I shouted out a friendly request to start the woodstove for us. Luckily they heard me and we were greeted by a freshly stoked fire. Having said that it still took nearly 20 minutes before it started to kick out enough heat to toast our sandwiches.
Fortunately for me, Mike had prepared us a little homemade soup. Alas the perfect chance for me to test out my new snap together Fozzil cup. The design of these cups is awesome - snap, snap and like magic you turn a piece of flat plastic into a cup or plate or bowl or even a spoon. Best $7.99 I spent this year.
As per usual the ride down was dope. No wipe-outs on this roller coaster just tuck'n'go speed for a sweet ride all the way into the parking lot. At least this year there was no girl selling hot chocolate to dodge at the bottom.