Monday, February 28, 2011

Snowshoeing through a storm

Snowshoe Trails

A storm was coming. Would it be rain or snow? By morning, our neighborhood was pouring rain while in Ken's neck of the woods it was snowing. Hmmm, what to do? Snowshoe or ski? Or stay home entirely and let it pass? A flip of the three sided coin and... snowshoes! Decision made, we made our separate ways through the storm(s) to Gatineau's P15.

With some difficulty I arrived at the parking lot to find Kenmore patiently waiting. Then as luck would have it, I opened the back of the van to find not my new funky televator equipped snowshoes but my wife's less than awesome, but also red, snowshoes waiting to be put to the test. A minor setback as there was no stopping us know. And for the record, they proved to be more than adequate.

IMG_4970 IMG_4904

Upon arriving at Healey we were none surprised to find that we had the hut all to ourselves. Sweet. However, it then became our task to start up the woodstove so we could heat our tinfoil wrapped lunches and boil some water for hot beverages. I say "we" but I was in charge of tunes so that left Ken to man up to the task, and that he did. He also supplied a chilled beverage to pass the time while we waited for our lunch. Bonus points to Sherpa Kenmore.

Healey by snowshoe IMG_4922
Temperature at Healey IMG_4928
Blur of jays

Healey refused to release us from its lure. We must have spent 2 hours here relaxing and enjoying the shelter from the storm. At one point we counted 15 Blue Jays outside at the feeder. They offered a nice contrast of color to what was an extremely gray day.

On our way out the snow let up and we even had a glimpse or two of sunshine. A great finish, and btw, thank you Mother for the snow.

Kenmore breaks trail

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Snowshoe testing

Snowshoe run

Finally conditions were just right (read: ski conditions sucked) to test out the snowshoes that Santa brought us all for Christmas. I opted to head up to the Kanata Lakes area again as it's only about 20 minutes from the house whereas Gatineau Park is closer to 45 minutes. It turned out to be a great choice.

Swamp crossing Snowshoe run
Porcupine in a tree Posing with the new snowshoes

The snowshoe and ski trails weave through this area making for a great day of exploration. We brought some snacks and water and, over the two days, we easily spent 5-6 hours here enjoying the great weather. We spotted lots of animal signs but thanks to the crunch crunch of 4 pairs of snowshoes we didn't see many deer. We did however find a couple of porcupines curled up for their daytime sleep - one family in the small rocky crevice and one high up in a tree.

Btw, they are making a mess of the trees in some spots as they chisel off the outer bark which they consider to be good eats. Between the porcupines and the beavers, the Kanata Lakes volunteers may want to consider a relocation project or two. Just saying...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Lake Curling

On the button

Two weeks later and we were back on Hurds Lake for some outdoor curling with the Neills. The rink was cleared and the rings were sprayed in a bright red. As instructed we had all froze our family size OJ containers and after a few practice shots we were ready to curl. Game on.

Immediately the chants and disses started up from the backbenchers. "We're lord of the rings!" and "You couldn't hit your own bellybutton!" were two of the faves. Team Mikey and Sara ended up winning the round robin but hey all things considered, we were all winners that afternoon.

Mikey tosses one off Canuck Pale Ale
Katie and Clovis Emma and Charlie

The rest of the day consisted of boot hockey, tobogganing, wieners by the fire, and chitchat. All said and done we spent nearly 6 hours in the great outdoors. Good times.

Warming by the fire Flooding the rink

Sadly enough the weather took a turn on the drive home as it poured rain all the way back to Ottawa. Booo!!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Super snow daze

Tree man reaches for the sun
Happy day on the trails!!

After the season's first official snow day on Wednesday the weekend melted into a mix of cross-country skiing, soccer, Futsal, more skiing, mega snow slide-making, and the odd snowball fight. All great fun, and no worries, no eyes were lost.

Gatineau ski Ski buddies
Gatineau ski to Herridge Hut

We had to get a little creative in our attempt to access the Kanata Lake Trails network as the parking lot was closed due to the anticipation of some construction in the area. This huddle had me leading the family on skis down some windy snowshoe trail (yes, I had just removed the snowshoes from the van the day before) but eventually we hooked up to the main trails that were fresh with the night's fallen snow. It was a great afternoon followed by homemade waffles and maple syrup.

Through the birch Not too happy bringing up the rear
Kanata Lake Trails

After a quick bite the kids suited back up and took advantage of the packy snow making a good-sized snow slide in the front yard. I tested it out and it rocks!

Snow slide Snowball in the face