Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018

Sue and Martin above Zermatt - 2018
Showing posts with label Skiing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Skiing. Show all posts

Sunday, 16 February 2020

Sunday 16 February 2020 - Western Cabin and some Black Diamonds

While Ken went on another Personal Best adventure on the 50 km Freestyle Loppet (race), Sue and I enjoyed a ski with Helen, outside the 'Loppeteering' arena.

On a warm day with sunny intervals we set off from Meech and up the long trail 40 hill. Sue and I got a bit ahead, so we skied the easy section of black diamond trail 9, between Ridge Road and trail 1B. After a quick visit to Champlain Lookout, we headed back along 1B and then down trail 2 to Western Cabin.

Helen had arrived at the busy cabin a few minutes before us. We enjoyed a leisurely lunch, before returning nearly all the way back to Meech via trail 2, which becomes a black diamond trail for the final descent to join trail 40 for the plunge down to P12 car park. There were numerous pauses for photos in the sunshine.

Black diamond trails are the harder ones, many being along back country routes. We were happy to negotiate today's quota without any incident other than a comment from a gentleman ascending #2 along the lines that "I'd never be able to descend that slowly!' Admittedly, it does take an effort.

We were finished by lunch time - it being only 3.5 km back to P12 from Western Cabin by this direct route. That left plenty of time to prepare a feast to celebrate Ken's mutation into Superman, and his birthday - delayed due to his Superman activities.

This may be the final posting from Ottawa, where we wouldn't wish to overstay our welcome. Though, after looking at the UK weather forecast for the rest of the month, we would be happy to get stuck here.

Today's stats:
P12 (Meech) > #40 > right on #24 > left on #1 > #9 > #1B > Champlain Lookout > #1B > #2 > Western Cabin > #2 > #40 > P12.
13 km, 300 metres ascent, 2 hours 10 mins plus stops.

The photos are of Helen and Sue on trail 2.

Friday, 14 February 2020

Thursday 13 February 2020 - P7 to the Visitor Centre, via Western Cabin

After a late night due to our visit to the opening night of 'Guess Who's Coming To Dinner' at Ottawa Little Theatre (a very entertaining production), we left Ken to pre-Loppet relaxation at home.

Helen had a Spa voucher that expired today, so before going there she dropped Sue and me off at P7 (Kingsmere), for a rendezvous with Susan and Roy.

Later, she would meet us for the pictured refreshments at the Palmier café by the Visitor Centre in Chelsea.

In between times the four of us skied the route detailed below. No photos from the trail today - it was a cloudy, windy day with light snow. Quite cold at minus 12°C plus considerable wind chill.

The skiing conditions were excellent. Trail 3 (The Burma Road) was a delight, as was our stay in Western Cabin, where we are pictured chatting to locals who were curious as to how come a couple from Manchester turn up with a couple from Glastonbury (Connecticut)? [We met on the TGO Challenge in 2008.]

Accidents were mostly avoided today, by all but Susan, whose energetic herringbone ascending results in the occasional nose plant.

We'd not been on trail 13 to the Visitor Centre before; we skied it at its best, as it had been groomed minutes earlier.

Sadly the beaver was staying at home under the snow today. "Too cold to go out" was his excuse.

Stats: P7 > #30 > #1 > #1B > #1 > #24 > #40 > #33 > #2 > Western Cabin > #2 > #1 > Champlain Parkway > Étienne-Brûlé > #3 > Fortune Parkway > Gatineau Parkway > #13 > Visitor Centre.
29.5 km, 530 metres ascent, taking 4 hours 10 minutes plus stops.

Later, a lovely meal with Susan and Roy, who return home in the morning. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

Wednesday 12 February 2020 - P17 to Lusk Cabin

Another brilliant day on the skis with Susan and Roy. Sue and I met them at P17 at 10 am, leaving Ken and Helen to go skating on the Rideau Canal, mostly open today. Ken had hoped to skate the whole 7.4 km and back, but they managed slightly less as he was hampered by having taken two left feet skates!

The four of us went merrily along to Lusk (pictured), where the cabin was warm but the fire was clogged with the ashes from overnight visitors. (The legend of the lost skier of Lusk Lake lives on...) So we adjourned to Renaud Cabin for lunch. The fire there was so hot that it toasted our sandwiches in seconds. Then, leaving two other visitors engrossed in a game of cribbage, we enjoyed an easy ski back to P17 past the turns into a special 2 km section of Saturday's loppet, one of which is pictured. 

My waxing (blue) worked fine today, and my gentle pace avoided any risk of falling over. The other three, following yesterday's tuition from Françoise, had multiple falls. I wondered why I kept catching up with them!

P17 > #53 > #51 > #50 > #55 > #54 > Lusk Cabin > #54 > Keogan Cabin (lunch) > #55 > #50 > #55 > #51 > Philippe > #53 > P17.
28 km, 600 metres ascent, taking 4 hours plus breaks.

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Tuesday 11 February 2020 - P7 (Kingsmere) to Champlain Lookout and back

Whilst Sue, Ken, Roy and Susan opted for the torture of a two hour skiing lesson with Francoise, I chose to join Helen on a short outing from Kingsmere.

Conditions were good. Not much below freezing, and a well groomed trail.

I took the route described below; Helen only went as far as Huron, taking the Parkway/Huron link/Ridge Road route, to meet up for lunch at Keogan Cabin, where it was lovely and peaceful once a loud Frenchman had gone.

Blue Jays on the feeder were joined by a Downy Woodpecker (a small 6" cousin of the more common 9" Hairy variety) and a Chickadee, with a red squirrel enjoying their spillages.

Keogan is the lower of today's pictures, only about 5 km from the trail head at Kingsmere.

Stats: P7 (Kingsmere) > #30 > #1 > Champlain Lookout > Champlain Parkway > Fortune Parkway > #1 > Keogan Cabin > #1 > #30 > P7. 
17.5 km, 340 metres ascent, taking 2 hours 40 minutes plus stops.

Meanwhile, Sue and Ken were delivering a watch that they had found to the Visitor Centre, where the resident beaver was actively restocking his lodge with branches. No pictures here, but Ken has compiled an entertaining video...

Monday, 10 February 2020

Monday 10 February 2020 - P12 to the Fire Tower

Perfect conditions greeted us after a tedious Monday morning rush hour drive following 15 cm of overnight snow. 

All six of us (me, Sue, Ken, Helen, Susan and Roy) enjoyed the ascent up freshly groomed trail 40. A left turn up trail 24 took five of us the long way round, leaving Helen the chance to get well ahead by taking the shorter right turn along trail 24.

The sun gradually emerged as we cruised along Ridge Road to McKinstry Cabin. Today's pictures were taken on that stretch on the pristine piste. The others pulled in for a snack at the cabin, whilst I continued 2.7 km to the Fire Tower, the most distant point on the escarpment that we reach on these trips.

Despite the superb conditions, I managed to wipe out on the way back to the cabin. Lunch was welcome. 

Helen had come and gone, returning directly to P12 without venturing to the Fire Tower, and everyone else was soon ahead of me for the lovely ski back to P12. They had encountered a blogger, 'Musician on Skis', whose 'picture postcard' postings we have been following for years. Some of our group will no doubt feature on today's posting.

The final descent down trail 40 was easy enough, if a bit rough, and we were back at the cars, with me a few minutes behind the others, by soon after 3 pm - a 5 hour outing in great conditions and amiable (minus 6°C ish) temperatures.

The pot of tea when we got home was most welcome.

Today's route:
P12 (Meech) > #40 > #24 towards Western Cabin > #1 (Ridge Road) > Fire Tower > McKinstry Cabin > #1 > #24 > #40 > P12.
27 km, 650 metres ascent, 4 hours 25 minutes plus stops.

On the basis that Susan and Roy were despatched to 'buy pudding', they will be joining us shortly for another convivial evening. Luckily there is a special 'beer fridge' in the basement.

Our thoughts are with P&J, who we hope aren't still trapped in floods with a defunct vehicle in the Yorkshire Dales. 

Sunday 9 February 2020 - A P3 and Pink Lake Circuit

At below minus 20°C outside, we delayed our start today until after an early lunch, by which time it had started to cloud over and warm up. 

Weather in UK not so good, with friends P and J trapped in the Yorkshire Dales in a village cut off by floods and with a broken car that got stuck in the floods. It can only get better for them.

By the time Ken, Sue and I had got to P3 (Gamelin) at 1 pm, it had warmed up and a bit of brisk exercise soon sorted the extremities.

Susan and Roy have turned up in town, en route on their way home to Connecticut from a trip to Maine, and we met them on trail 5. Our party of five then enjoyed the undulations of trail 15 before heading down the long hill from Pink Lake and finding our way to the café at P2. An easy ski along trail 29 took us back towards P3. 

Today's route:
P3 > Gatineau Parkway > #5 > #15 > #35 > Pink Lake > Gatineau Parkway > #29 > P2 café > #29 > #5 > Gatineau Parkway > P3. Both today's pictures were taken on trail 15.
Totals: 16 km, 300 metres ascent, 2 hours 15 minutes plus stops.

We enjoyed a lovely evening, with Susan and Roy visiting for dinner. They are staying nearby in an Airb&b, and may be skiing with us for a day or two.

Friday, 7 February 2020

Thursday 6 February 2020 - Mooney's Bay

Snow flurries today left us choosing to enjoy our beach holiday mainly at home, where I'm pictured in the Waxing Room. But we also ventured out to the beach at Mooney's Bay, where Sue is pictured beside the life guard's chair.

A gentle hour's exercise achieved 5 km on the Garmin watch. Quite sufficient for this dull, cool day.

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

Tuesday 4 February 2020 - The Burma Road

Today's ski with Helen and Sue (Ken went hard core with another group) started up Fortune Parkway from P10. After a couple of kilometres we took the freshly groomed trail number 3, aka The Burma Road.

This is a lovely trail, one of our favourites, albeit we still lacked the usual sunshine. The weather was warm though, no lower than minus 2°C, so ordinary gloves were fine.

Sue is pictured above, heading along the trail under snow laden branches with Hairy Woodpeckers, Chickadees and Blue Jays singing and tapping as we sauntered past.

Visits to the Étienne-Brûlé and Champlain viewpoints preceded our lunch stop in Huron Cabin, where the fire struggled to toast our sandwiches. Viewpoint views were very clear today, but there's a barrier at Champlain due to 'collapsing infrastructure' (a phrase that could come in handy in the UK soon).

There were more people out than yesterday, but Gatineau Park still wasn't very busy. It costs $20 a day (£12) to ski here, unless you have a season's pass (mine cost £75 - and I'm happy with that) or a pass borrowed from a library; the default charge for late return thereof is $2 a day. Sue has one of those, plus several free day passes that come with the seasons passes that Ken, Helen and I have (two each).

The 5 km downhill back to P10 via Ridge Road (#1) and the Fortune Parkway takes just half an hour at an easy pace. The road signs such as the one in the lower picture always amuse me.

Here's our itinerary:
P10 > Fortune Parkway > #3 > Étienne Lookout > Champlain Lookout > #1 (Ridge Road) > Huron Cabin > #1 (Khyber Pass) > Fortune Parkway > P10 - 15km, 300 metres ascent, taking 2 hours 40 mins plus lunch stop.

The return journey home was punctuated by a visit to a small bridge near the Visitor Centre, where a beaver has been seen collecting tasty branches and dragging them into its under-surface lair. There was plenty of evidence of its presence, but it elected to stay at home whilst we were there.

Good news from home - Lisa reports the decorating is coming on apace.

Monday, 3 February 2020

Monday 3 February 2020 - Herridge Cabin from P11 (O'Brien)

The sun shone briefly on another warm day. Slippery skis made for slow progress despite the purple wax and the cinnamon buns. Switched to Kiwi Mike's Special Red (a sticky white product) whilst lunching in the cabin. That made little difference as we slid back to P11 after lunch.

Frank & Co were supposed to meet us (Ken, Sue and me - Helen had a rest) for lunch, but they didn't make it.

Outside Herridge, birds were active on the feeder, the Blue Jays being joined by Black-capped Chickadees and less common Slate Coloured Dark Eyed Junco birds (sparrows with a fancy name).

Our route today was P11 > #36 > #50 > Herridge > return by the same route - 20 km with 400 metres ascent - just over 3 hours plus lunch stop.

Back home (via the Visitor Centre to hand in a bunch of keys found on the trail - good deed for the day, someone had already reported them missing) by 3 pm for R&R - this is our 'Beach Holiday' after all.

Sunday, 2 February 2020

Sunday 2 February 2020 - P19 and the Taylor Lake Loop

Snow flurries and warm conditions (minus 6°C) for another nice ski, with Ken joining us today after recovering from yesterday's exertions. 

P19 (Philippe) > #50 > #55 Taylor Lake Loop > Renaud Cabin > #55/50 > P19
14 km, starting 10am, finishing 1.30pm.

The cabin was surprisingly quiet inside, with a flock of Blue Jays outside, mobbing the feeder, Chickadees hardly getting a look in.

Quite a few skidoos about, presumably servicing the cabins and yurts hereabouts.

Must go now. Chopping (veg) duties to be done, or there will be trouble, and it's cold outside!

Saturday 1 February 2020 - Pink Lake from P6

With Ken tired out from the excesses of a winter triathlon (skate 6.2 km, run 5.2 km, ski 5.1 km - it took him 1 hour 14 mins), Sue, Helen and I headed off to parking lot number 6 (P6) - Mackenzie King on a relatively warm afternoon. Heated gloves weren't needed!

The 10 km ski to Pink Lake and back was fairly quiet apart from a few large groups of youngsters.

It was fairly overcast, so poor light for photos, nevertheless a pleasant, gentle, 1.5 hour outing with fresh snow on the branches making for a picturesque scene.

P6 > Champlain and Gatineau Parkways > Pink Lake (named after the Pink family who used to live there) > return the same way apart from the very last few hundred metres, where we went via #7.

PS Bright red Cardinal Birds were seen at this morning's parkrun.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Monday 18 February 2019 - A Classic Circuit from P17

Today's route:
P17 (Wakefield) > #53 > Philippe > #50 > #55 > Renaud cabin (lunch) > #55 > #50 > #52 > #53 > P17. 25km.

Another lovely sunny day, around a manageable minus 12°C. Just Sue and me and a few other people on the trails, including a procession of lone women at 1km intervals on #52, which we'd not skied from the south before. I think I prefer it from the north.

A flock of Evening Grosbeak birds took over the Renaud feeder for a while.

Today's first two pictures were taken from the same spot on trail 53, on one of the few open sections of trail in the park. The third picture is a reminder of what Renaud cabin looks like, and the final one shows Sue on a typical trail - #50 in this case.

Sue also took photos today - I'll try to post a few when we get home.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Sunday 17 February 2019 - McKinstry Cabin and the Fire Tower

Ken left early to do the 'Freestyle' Loppet - another 51km skiing for him - this time in 4 hours 30 minutes.

Helen would have joined us today, but sadly one of her former colleagues died last week and the funeral takes place over today and tomorrow. A shame.

Sue and I drove to P12 car park by Lac Meech and enjoyed the route detailed below. This starts with a long 3km ascent to Ridge Road. It was a lovely sunny morning, but cold - around minus 14°C. My electric mitts did the trick and kept my hands warm, but I didn't risk taking my gloves off to take photos until we reached McKinstry cabin after about 10km.

Conditions were pretty much perfect for our ski onwards to the fire tower that marks the terminus of Ridge Road. We arrived there just as a snowshoer appeared from another direction, and we watched three 'dudes' scoffing their lunch. Between them they had downhill skies, snowshoes, and a snowboard. 

We returned to McKinstry for our own lunch - it was now busy, having been completely empty when we went past on our way to the fire tower.

It was a most pleasurable ski back to P12, this time via trail 24. The last 3km comprises fast, swooping descent tracks back to the car park. Great fun in today's easy conditions.

En route, Sue took a breather on Ridge Road at a bench that overlooks the Ottawa River valley. She took some good photos today. I'll try to post some of them when we get home.

Our route, for the record:
P12 > #40 > #1 > Fire Tower > McKinstry cabin > #1 > #24 > #40 > P12. 27km.

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Saturday 16 February 2019 - Green Belt Skiing

After getting back from the parkrun there was insufficient time for a ski in Gatineau Park, so Sue, Helen and I took a 15 minute drive to P11 car park in Ottawa's Greenbelt - at Stony Swamp. This is the largest forested area of the National Capital Greenbelt, and it offers a diversity of trails and activities. 

The activity we chose was cross country skiing, for which we shared a trail with walkers and snowshoers. The trail varied in width between 50cm and two metres; it was narrow.

The skiing was a bit like back country skiing without the hills. Very slow. In a couple of hours we covered about 7km. In the park we would do twice that distance.

The trail we followed was the 'Jack Pine Trail'. It was well signposted, with added information boards and many bird feeders. The birds around here don't go hungry, especially when Helen comes equipped with a bag of sunflower seeds. Sue is shown first with a Chickadee, then, after a few pictures showing the nature of the trail, with a Red Breasted Nuthatch, which is rarer than the common or garden Nuthatch, which has a white breast and is a bit larger.

Friday, 15 February 2019

Thursday 14 February 2019 - Trail 36

Ken stayed at home, resting in preparation for the Gatineau Loppet. That was a shame for him, as today's skiing conditions were top notch.
Sue, Helen and I headed to P11 (O'Brien), where we met Maryanne before taking to trail 36. This is a slightly technical trail, made very easy today by the freshly groomed deep snow. It was a delightful outing.
The top two pictures were taken early on the trail, which undulates beside Lac Meech. At a junction you can turn left down to a beach where there's a bench. (Third picture.)
Soon after that, trail 50 is joined for the final few km to Healey cabin, where we lunched in the warmth of the wood burning stove. It was warm enough to spend some time outside trying to photograph the birds on the feeder. Those photos will follow. This camera failed to capture the birds, but a squirrel did oblige.

It was then a pleasurable ski back to P11. Lots of people out today, all enjoying the perfect conditions.

Today's route:
P11 > #36 > #50 > Healey cabin > #50 > #36 > P11. 22.8 km.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

Monday 11 February 2019 - A Parkway Circuit

With Ken and Helen otherwise engaged, Sue and I headed off in Ken's Impreza to P8 (Chelsea) on another brilliantly sunny day.

The Parkway tracks are easy, with long ascents and descents. Good for a workout. But with no race to train for this year, we took this classic circuit relatively easily today.

The ice curtains on Champlain Parkway (second and third pictures) were as impressive as ever, and the view at Champlain Lookout (fourth picture) was as clear as we've seen it.

The lunch time rush at Huron cabin was over by the time we got there after 1.30pm. This cabin was purpose built on the site of an old homestead at the time the Parkway roads in Gatineau Park were built as a 'make work' project back in the 1940s.

A lone red squirrel was feasting on the debris from Downy Woodpeckers and Chickadees on the bird feeder.

It was a chilly but fast descent to trail 32, which links Fortune Parkway with Gatineau Parkway, then an enjoyable slide on the struggling remnants of our blue wax for the final few km back to P8.

Today's route:
P8 > Gatineau Parkway > Champlain Parkway > Champlain Lookout > #1 (Ridge Road) > Huron cabin (lunch) > #1 > Khyber Pass > Gossips Corner > Fortune Parkway > #32 > Gatineau Parkway > P8. 25.4km.

Another excellent outing in great conditions.

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Sunday 10 February 2019 - Lac Philippe

While Ken went for a run, Sue, Helen and I planned a ski from P17 (Wakefield). But the consequence of our lie in was a full car park on this lovely sunny day. So we went to P19 and skied about 6km to the eastern end of Lac Philippe, where the top photo was taken.

Going was slow, as we were practicing the techniques taught to us yesterday by Françoise. I soon discovered a problem relating to the lifting of the passive ski to prevent it acting as a brake. I don't need it as a brake, but it's pretty essential as a stabiliser. 

We returned alongside the lake, diverting to Renaud cabin for lunch. As to be expected, it was pretty busy. The bottom three pictures were taken here. It's a fairly new and very modern cabin. Below the bird feeder was a very active convention of twenty or more red squirrels. A search of these pages for 'Renaud' should reveal pictures of the old cabin that was demolished. 

All three of us skied back to P19, from where Helen drove to P17 (now with spaces) whilst Sue and I took the trail 51/53 route to that car park - which like many places today doubled as an ice rink. Temperatures were around minus 10°C, plus a fair amount of wind chill.

Back at home by 3.30 (long days out are not particularly desirable in the low temperatures) after another enjoyable outing:
P19 > #50 > end of Lac Philippe > #50 > Renaud cabin (lunch) > #50 > P19 > #51 > #53 > P17. 19.3km.