Today I hit the GAT ski trails for what will very likely be my last ski of the season. Joining me was Mike and Ken on what turned out to be a sunny warm (12°C) spring day.
Not long after leaving P10 we passed the monster grooming machine... two of them. They were doing a great job tidying up the scars of the skate skiers and giving the illusion of a fresh snowy surface. This early in the day the trails were a little icy in the shade but just right in the sun (this would change as the day continued to grow warmer... but still very ski-able).
Our first stop was Shilly Shally were signs of spring were breaking winter's grip in every direction. The birds were busy singing and eating their fill of seeds now uncovered by the melting snow. We even spotted a robin in the mix sparking a debate surrounding the old wives' tale that a robin is the first sign of spring. (closing arguments can not be printed in this family friendly blog)
From here we skied straight on through to Huron Lookout where we spotted our first patch of blacktop. Now that's a sure sign of spring. Here we snagged one of the free picnic tables and relaxed to a fine lunch and a couple of tasty pints.
After lunch Ken decided he was going to part company and head back to work for one last meeting. It wasn't until he had skated off into the distance that I realized he still had one more pint in his pack. Luckily so did I.
From here Mike and I skied on the next lookout and then over to Western were we were greeted by the duct tape "ICE" sign at the top of the trail leading down to cabin (btw somebody should come back and update this sign to read "MUD"). After removing the boards we walked down the mud soaked hill to enjoy some more rays and one last pint on the back bench.
Western's back bench is a great spot to catch some sun and enjoy another great view of the Ottawa River and valley below. My only complaint here is that some cautious do-gooder has placed a rather ugly chain link fence between me and the view. Arg.
The ski back to P10 was much slower as the sun had cooked the snow up into a mix of watery slush and ice pellets. No complaints though, it only helped stretch out what Mike and I knew was going to be our last ski of the season.
Cheers to another great xc ski season...though not nearly as awesome as last year.