What a day! As I said to the students on the trip, these are the days that I love my job. It was one of those days where the radio stations were saying that it was the last cold blast of winter and that the wind was creating temperatures of -28C. With a forecast of sunny skies and a high of -2C, you knew the city folks would be bitter and stay inside, while those with a bit of experience playing outdoors would be heading out into the trees to enjoy a perfect day. So off we went, into the hills of Gatineau Park on our cross-country skis.
We started our cross-country ski adventure at Camp Fortune. From there, 18 of us headed into the woods and out of the wind to begin our climb to Ridge Road (#1). Moving quite quickly as a group, it didn't take long for us to move through the rolling ups and downs of Ridge Road and past Keogan Lodge to the Parkway. All went pretty smoothly, with only a few falls, right Chris (wipe out in front of rolling camera)? The benches on the Parkway were a great meeting spot as we got ready for our biggest climb of the day. Just past the Shilly Shally Cabin is the Kyber Pass uphill, which is a 400 m long uphill on the way to our lunch spot at Huron Cabin.
Upon arrival at Huron Cabin we built a fire and spent some time playing with the local wildlife, specifically an ermine (Also known as the stoat or the short-tailed weasel, this tiny, ferocious mammal has found a home in the wood pile at Huron Cabin). You can ask Matt about how ferocious it was. During lunch, a small group of us ventured out to Champlain and Etienne-Brule Lookouts. The visibility was excellent and we got a good look out over the Ottawa Valley (we even saw Mt. Pakenham). After a bit of relaxing, some nice grilled cheese sandwiches and a group photo, we headed out to the Parkway for a fun afternoon of downhill.
About half of the group decided to take Ridge Road back in order to enjoy the downhill of Kyber Pass, which was well earned. The rest glided down the Parkway to meet up again at the benches. From here we went down the Fortune Parkway towards P. 10, with a brief stop at the Burma uphill. A few brave souls climbed up to the top to be able to experience one of Gatineau Park's greatest downhills. Our 1st skier, Jordan, quickly demonstrated how not to take this downhill, as he pointed his skis straight downhill and went flying into the trees in the corner about half way down. We were a little worried at the top, but mostly we stood there shaking our heads and asking, "why"? After everyone made it down the hill safely (with Derek taking the safest route of all), we finished off our ski adventure with a wonderful gradual downhill to the parking lot. All in all, an amazing day.