Monday, December 20, 2010

A night in Lusk

Looking back on a great adventure

Finally, after years of debate, we committed to spending a winter's night in Gatineau Park. Ken rented the best cabin of the bunch and after a couple of rounds of emails we managed to hook one more of the gang on the idea. Although Dave had never xc skied before he was not going to let that small detail stop him from an adventure.

Strapping on the packs and slapping on the skis we headed out for Lusk Cabin from P19. BLAMMO! Man down! Dave took his first tumble in the parking lot only a dozen feet from the car. I assume it was simply an early attempt to get the hang of getting up off the ground with skis and poles flailing and pack swinging side to side. Not an easy feat I'm sure but one he would master by trip's end.

Skiing in to Lusk Skiing in to Lusk

We made a pit-stop at Renaud to rest up before the big climb to Lusk. The cabin was sauna-like and full of rowdy woman playing card games. After a quick snack and a slight redistribution of pack weight, we pushed on.

Climb climb climb View from Renaud outhouse

We arrived at Lusk Lake right at the official time when the cabin flips between day-use to overnight lodgers. Opening the door we were hit with a warm wave of air thanks to the already burning woodstove. It was plenty warm - so much so that we immediately cracked a few windows to let some heat out. Celebrating our safe arrival we each had a shot of Fireball Cinnamon Whisky. Nice.

Lusk Cabin trio Ken works the chopper

And out rolled the food (mostly homemade, I might add)... jalapeno poppers, stuffed peppers, cheese and parmesan garlic Triscuits, corn bread, chili, and a beverage or two. Dave was in charge of dessert - cream cheese brownies and monster-sized Swiss cake rolls. All said I'm sure we had enough for two or three nights. The end result was a much lighter pack on the ski out.

Dave makes another stop Dave makes one last stop

Most of the night was spent relaxing and listening to tunes off my iPod. We also rolled through a couple of episodes of "The Life and Times of Tim" and one of "An Idiot Abroad". Very funny stuff.

Finally we all crashed on our separate bunks for a well deserved night's rest. The bed was plenty comfortable and luckily I had a wall with a window that allowed me to get some cool evening air. Dave was on the top bunk which I can only imagine was sauna-like despite our attempt to keep the woodstove to a dull roar. Regardless we slept well and woke to the sound of various workday alarms going off which I found both annoying and satisfying at the same time. Waking on a Monday morning in the middle of Gatineau Park is always a good start to the day.

Scenes from Lusk

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Birthday ski 2010


This year was nearly a complete miss due to lack of snow but finally right on my birthday we got our dump to start the xc ski season. That said, I opted to wait a day until the traffic let up and the trail groomers had done their work.

Snowy smile

I decided to start the season with a light ski trek to Healey from P19. The wind chill was up around -24 C but once the first first hill was conquered I was thankfully surrounded by trees that cut down on the wind's bite.

Healey Herridge

Upon arriving at Healey, I settled in and started to unpack my lunch only to be interrupted by a gaggle of retired snowshoers on their weekly outing. Hoping for a little more solitude, I quietly reversed my efforts and before long I was arriving at the next hut down the trail. At Herridge I was greeted by a warm fire and a single couple of skiers. I settled in with a cup of coffee and a toasted sandwich.

Great day on the xc ski trails

All in all it was a fine start to the season. Next trip, Lusk Cabin for a sleepover.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Winter is coming

Winter is coming

Winter is coming. Soon the snow will stay and we'll finally get to pull out the cross-country skis, the snowshoes, the canal skates, and all our favorite toques.

As well, the snow will bring out all the favorite winter foods. Soup, chili, turkey, gingerbread and molasses, and of course a pint of Guinness to wash it all down. Hmmmm, I think I've started the food part early this year...

Loaded Potato Soup Molasses Cookies

Now bring on the snow.

PS: Speaking of "Winter is coming."... Check out some of the early clip's from HBO's Game of Thrones to be released in 2011. Should be awesome.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Busy beavers

Beaver puts the finishing touches on the house before winter

Gatineau Park: P7 to Keogan
P7 Kingsmere: N45 32.221 W75 53.968
Keogan: N45 30.353 W75 52.816
Click here for a trail map.

The snows still haven't fallen over the nation's capital but at the same time the great weather has allowed me to slip in one more hike. This time of year is great for hiking in Gatineau Park. Normally the foliage is so thick it's like walking through a living green tunnel but this late in the fall there are no leaves on the trees whatsoever making it a hell of a lot easier to spot the wildlife. Another obvious benefit to fall outdoors is that there are no bugs which helps to encourage one to relax and stop from time to time to soak it in. Like I need encouraging...

This hike had me zigzagging around some of the smaller side trails (with a couple of unwise bushwhacks) as I made my way from P7 to the Keogan hut. The stealthiness of my solo adventure certainly helped me catch a couple of beavers hard at work prepping their house for winter. One of them was so busy that I very nearly stepped on him as he sat on the shoreline chomping down on a bark salad.

Nice beaver Nice pecker... piliated that is...

Lunch was at Keogan hut. This time I opted to sit indoors out of the wind where I enjoyed a bowl of soup, a turkey sandwich, and some crackers all washed down with a pint. Not surprisingly I had the hut to myself so I hooked up my iPod with HBO's, "The Life and Times of Tim". Simple humor, but hilarious nonetheless.

Lunch at Keogan xc ski Falling ice

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Annual Remembrance Day hike

Remembrance day hike in the GAT

Gatineau Park: P19 Lac Philippe to Lac Taylor (12-13 km)
P19 Lac Philippe: N45 37.394 W76 00.546
Lac Taylor: N45 36.292 W76 02.741

November 11th, time for our Remembrance Day hike in the GAT. This year Mike, Ken, and I decided to head up to Lac Phillippe to soak in the last of the hiking season before the snow falls and we slap on the skis. The day was beautiful, sunny and 11 degrees, thus providing me with the perfect opportunity to test drive my new camera. Yep, I finally decided to throw my money at a DSLR. I opted to stick with Canon and jumped at the new 60D with its awesome flip-screen that I have come to love so much in the Canon point and shoot series. That said, I have no clue how to operate this monster. Give me time...

Remembrance day hike in the GAT Remembrance day hike in the GAT

Lunch time was timed perfectly for our arrival at the new Lac Taylor yurt. After Ken won his battle with the cook stove we warmed up some soup and cracked a pint. Afterward, I peaked inside the yurt to see that it had six beds, a skylight, a propane stove, AND a fridge. Sweet. Unfortunately they lock this haven in the hills up tight - guess they don't want somebody skiing off with that new fridge.

Taylor Lake yurt Kenmore makes fire

While hiking one of the back trails that we normally only ski, we (well at least some of us) noticed the old ruins of a long ago farmhouse. If only these old stones could talk... and would they be bilingual?

Ruins Kenmore in the hole

Cheers to the GAT! Now bring on the snow.


Closed for the season

Here's a quick review of our Annual Remembrance Day hikes over the last few years.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Halloween 2010

The Halloween gang

Another successful snowy Halloween come and gone. Boo.


And of course we made our regular Halloween stop at the neighbor's house of horrors. The one house we always check out but never ask for candy. This freak show is worth more than a bag of chocolate hands down.

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

First snow 2010

First snow 2010

Finally a splash of snow. Sara couldn't wait til morning and quickly rushed outside to make a vampire snowman in her pajamas. Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Strolling the Jack Pine trails

Hiking the Jack Pine

A spot of warm sunny weather made for a relaxing 2 hour stroll through the local green space. Birds were a bit of a bother but luckily we were able to fend them off with seed raided from the various homemade feeders hanging along the trail.

Oops, dropped it Swamp pic (fall)
Tree tunnel Shadows of four

Monday, October 11, 2010

Thanksgiving weekend 2010

Shed on fire

Once again Thanksgiving weekend was spent back on my folk's hobby farm. We did a lot of visiting (including some face time with new baby Luke), some hiking, loads of eating, and very little relaxing. All said and done, we had a good time.

Here are a few photos snapped over the 3 days (some were taken by Sara and Emma, can you guess which ones?).

Baby Luke Friends
Pass it on Pardon?

Floating boathose
Giant waterbug IMG_4704 Diving and Jumping Prohibited