Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 beckons like the trail

Hope you all enjoyed your holidays and are excited by the prospect of new things ahead.  Happy New Year!

We spent a glorious portion of our holidays cross country skiing in Gatineau Park, which is only a kilometer from our house.  This incredible park is shaped like a huge pie wedge ( with the narrow tip near our house bisecting 2 sectors of the city of Gatineau) and contains over 300 kilometers of groomed trails for nordic skiing – classic and skate skiing – and also many trails for snowshoeing ( 8 people have been lost and rescued snow shoeing lately – no joke!)  I am so happy that we had almost 2 feet of snow around Christmas this year.  We’ve had hardly any the previous 2 years!  This is a good base for skiing into late March, as long as the weather stays below 0 at night.  Here’s the link to the park...
We started by getting out on the trail at 7:30 on Christmas morning.  My son declined the invitation and preferred to sleep…


The trail beckons…
This shows how they groom the closed roads through the park with track setting equipment  - 2 sets of trails on each side for the classic skiers and the space in between for the skate skiers who take up a lot of room with the side-to-side skating movement ( like Biathlon skiers in the Winter Olympics). There are probably about 70 kilometers of wide roads like this, and while there are long flat rolling sections, there are some very challenging hills ( these I struggle with on my bike in the summer months)


My ancient set of skis will lead the way!


         Family setting off on a hazy overcast Christmas morning - -8 degrees Celsius.   Chilly, but no wind…


Beautiful views at every turn


There are smaller trails which form the majority of the 300 km network that are groomed by smaller equipment pulled by skidoos.  People are very passionate about their favourites!  These are narrower, wilder, windier and have even more challenging hills – up and down. Here’s my husband skating up a steep hill!  When he skis by himself, he wears much less clothing, but we are too slow for him and he gets cold!


          DSC08245                  DSC08249

Another day, after Christmas, another foot of snow, on an 8 km ski to a cabin provided by the Park with a woodstove where you can eat your lunch and then ski back down the mountain!  The way out is all uphill – hard on my hip joints – what a whiner!                                         


Many fallen trees this year because of the wet icy snow we had first.  This makes a fantastic white tunnel effect along the smaller trails.


Me and happy boy on the way out to snacks at the cabin. He’d rather be downhill skiing, which is also a 10 minute drive from my house, but he’ll have to fund that himself…


Skiing at twilight in the winter is so beautiful – here you ski on a bridge over a major road through Gatineau.  This is at the very tip of the pie wedge that is the park.  There are many many points of entry into the park that are more wild and scenic, but this is close to downtown for people who want to ski after work and unwind.


May your trail lead you somewhere wonderful this year – I certainly intend to follow mine!
A happy and complete 2013 to you all, dear readers!