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.