.: Ski XCOttawa.ca :: Skiing in Ottawa and Gatineau Park

Yesterday's Ski-Around the Gatineau Park
By:  Team XCOttawa   (2005/03/25)


It just seemed like a nice day for a long ski. Ed had been suggesting a re-enactment of the legendary ski tour we've all heard so much about. So we decided to do it - a 90km loop around the park from Gamelin to Lac Phillippe and back. Five of us set out and the other 4 made it to the end.

Chris Mamen, Gavin Hamilton, Ed McCarthy, Craig Storey and Karl Saidla assembled in the parking lot at the crack of 8, 8:10 and 8:22 respectively at Asticou. Ed and Gavin had decided not to wax before arriving, so they entertained us with the comedy that unfolds trying to put cold blue klister on cold skis in a windy parking lot. By 9 we were off like a hurd of turtles, some rewaxing within 15 minutes. But no one complained or was in a rush, since unlike a typical training day, this was a ski tour and it promised to be a long one at that.

For me it was all going well, up to the point my pole sunk up to the handle and I slipped forward on a small uphill and put my knee through the tip of my ski. I had yet to rewax and I even had great glide, it was sunny and I was feeling no effects of the long ski. But once the ski was broken, the it was a pain. Uphills the broken ski worked best but I had to scooter along with one leg on the flats, glide on one ski down the hills while my legs burned. I was also a crutch to the guys looking to get back in time for supper, though they didn't complain. They were nice enough to wait as I made a quick repair job that would at least get me out of the backcountry on to the groomed trails and eventually to a phone. Fortuantely a rescue vehicle was dispatched, but my ski was cut short at just over 5 hours and I missed the real fun and suffering, not to mention the bragging rights of having skied the whole thing. Strangely, though they all confess to enjoying the ski, none of them would agree to accompany me on a second attempt this spring.

- Craig

The credit for the idea most certainly goes to Steve Paradine, who about 10 years ago had the flexibility of mind to consider that it might be just physically possible to basically ski around the perimeter of the Gatineau Park trail network in the space of a normal working day. Now for sure he figured it would be more fun to have a couple of suckers along for the ride, so he called up Tom McCarthy and myself to accompany him. As if getting the job of skiing around Gatineau Park in one day wasn't hard enough, Steve broke his ski about halfway through. All we had to do after that was trade the broken ski between us a bit to even the workload, and convince Mr. McCarthy to deliver another ski to the O' Brien beach parking lot. Things worked out miraculously, and we managed to complete the designated course. We left at about 7:30 in the morning from Asticou parking lot, and we dragged ourselves back into the parking lot around 5. I remember really feeling like I deserved a day off highschool the next day, but my parents thought otherwise.

This time I was somewhat dismayed when Craig broke his ski in about the same place Steve had broke his the time before. After all, it had been an explicit goal this year to not break any equipment! After unsuccessful attempts at finding him a replacement, we now have someone who is sure to put the pressure on to try this again next year. While this year we skied a slightly different loop which ended up a few kilometres shorter than the one before, nobody seemed to be complaining that it was too short by the time we were crying for our mothers and climbing up the Fortune Lake hill at about 5 pm. This time three weary skiers did not make it back to the parking lot until 6:30 pm, some nine hours, twenty nine minutes and fifty five seconds after they had begun.

- Karl

{Minutes after arriving home} Well I did make it home in one, very tired piece, and I hope you all made it back too. I gotta hand it to Ed and Karl especially because I don't think I have the coordination to drive a car right now.

I have a Gats map here with all the trail distances on it. It's got all the trails we skied except for the bushwack section. So looks like except for that, we did 75.1 kms, so I'm guessing if it was 15k then the total would be around 90. Actually that's from Astincou, around the loop and back to my house, so you guys can add a couple clicks to that as you did the full loop.

That was a wicked, wicked trip, and I'm definitely in next year! Thanks alot Karl for the idea and leading the way.

- Chris














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