Monday, March 29, 2010

Great Day for a Hike!

This weekend I was fortunate to have my brother and his girlfriend down for a visit.

Most of the weekend revolved around great food (prepared by K), some beer and wine, and a lot of Wii bowling. Both my brother and I achieved Pro status.

But for me, the highlight of the trip was the hike we took to Luskville Falls in the Gatineau Park. We were introduced to this trail last year by friends. It’s a well used, and well known, trail about 30 minutes outside of Ottawa. Apparently there are many other older, lesser known trails out in the area.

Apparently, many of these trails have been forgotten over time. I’ve heard that there are a few old trail maps still out there, and I have decided to try and find them. I don’t know how, but I am going to figure it out. I have my first clue – there used to be a ‘Yellow Box trail’ near the area. It will be my first conquest.

But I digress. Back to the falls trail. We geared up and left in the afternoon after eating a great lunch (thanks again Kel, you are a fantastic cook and I am lucky). The sky opened up on the drive over, and the sun was shining.

When we got to the hill, the park was actually closed. I don’t think it officially opens for a while yet. But there were about 15 other intrepid parties there. We walked in and passed a few people leaving, but all in all, the place was pretty quiet.

At -5 degrees, we were shedding layers within the first 750 meters of the hike. It was brisk, and we needed gloves and touques for the first bit, but as we ascended, we steadily de-layered.

We passed the first stage of the falls and interrupted a mature doe above our path. She didn’t care about us at all. Just stopped eating long enough to give us a look and then went straight back to the nom, nom, nom. We tried to snag a picture, but she was hard to snap through the bush.

We made our first precarious crossing of the falls over an ice bridge. This effectively separated us from any other hikers as I think most people turned around at that point. But we were adventurers, not to be turned aside by the prospect of a chilly ‘soaker’. Onward.

We quickly made our way to the firetower and enjoyed some blueberry tea, homemade hummus, carrots and cukes (Kel makes fantastic hummus). It was a nice break topped off with a handful of Cadbury Mini-Eggs.

The trip down was fast. I practiced my parkour skills (which are admittedly quite low) and we all moved pretty quickly. As we moved down, we realized why most people had turned around at the first falls crossing. With the stream engorged, the usual route across the falls on the descent was gone. So, we had to muck around a while before finding a navigable crossing, which just happened to be at the very top of the falls themselves. It made for an exciting twist of events.

The rest of the trip down was pretty simple, which was perfect because knees and legs were starting to get a bit sore.

When we walked out to the road we only saw two other cars. It was nice to be one of the last groups to leave.

If you haven’t tried the Luskville Falls, I’d recommend it. It’s not terribly hard, and not very far. Just a little bit of perfect all around.

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