Thursday, March 12, 2015

Gatineau Park Reflection By Matt Traynor





February 23rd

On Monday February 23rd we arrived at Gatineau Park around 1pm. As each of us prepares for the 2km walk on route 72, we unload the bus, get our snowshoes on, and attach our skies to the side of our packs. We weren’t off to a great start because a handful of us began going down the wrong trail, but all was fixed as we saw Mr. Brouwer heading in a different direction.


As we walked along the plains I was enjoying the nice easy paced trail, until we hit this really steep hill which killed the fun mood for me. As we started walking up and down hills it seemed like we made it to the cabin in no time! As all anxiously awaited heading inside to investigate the cabin we had to first get the fire warmed up and collect snow for water. Just as each of us got our equipment organized and comfortable we had to go on a snow shoe adventure.


 It began on Lake Brown which seemed endless but the view was nice. As we finished crossing lake brown we cut across a swampy area and reach Lake Carmin. We crossed the lake and once again hiked up a steep hill, but this time it just kept going. My asthma kicked in and I had to take breaks due to being out of breath. After a about hour hike up it was finally the fun part…. downhill. We reached a point where we had to slide down the side of a mountain which was by far the best part of the trip. After we reached the bottom we continued climbing and descending from hills we reached lake brown and we all eventually hit the cabin. We had spaghetti, garlic bread and Caesar salad for supper that night. After a delicious supper we all sort of did our own thing, but most people either played liars dice, cards against humanity or sat around the fire telling stories. I fell asleep almost instantly that night.


February 24th

On Tuesday morning I woke up to an amazing breakfast which was eggs, bacon, English muffins, oranges and apples. After a great breakfast we were delivered our activity of the day which was skiing. I first thought “alright I like skiing I’ll enjoy this”. But the catch was it wasn’t just a 5-10km ski but a 22km ski. I already wasn’t looking forward to the day. We started on a trail heading towards route 53 it was about 500 m. once we arrived there we went along the route until we hit route 52. We went along route 52 until we hit Lake Phillipe cabin where we took a break for lunch for grilled cheese. After lunch we still had 11km left to do in the uphill journey. Our next destination was Lusk caves on route 50 which was about 5-6 km from our cabin we were currently at.


After the 5-6km ski I began slowing down and having somewhat of a time continuing to go, because honestly it seemed like it never ended hill after hill, uphill…. slightly down hill. We finally reached Lusk caves trail… the caves were about a kilometer down the trail “of course they were” I thought. It was once again a steep walk up to the caves which I found moderately difficult. After reaching caves I was a little mad because although the caves were a cool experience my phone died as soon as I was getting ready to take a picture. I found the caves not worth the struggle of the 15-16km that we have completed already and still had 6-7 more kilometers still to do!.


After the easy trip downhill we were back at the route 50. After about 2km we reached a left turn onto route 54. This was about the point where I was fed up with skiing and frankly just irritated that it seemed to never end. When a hill would come I would simply take off my skies and walk up them because I was done and it was so much easier. Thank god Miss was there to encourage me to continue because I thought to myself “I’d rather freeze to death out here, and then continue doing this horrible ski”. After reaching the downhill portion of the trail I was so tired I couldn’t stop and face planted twice into the snow in about 200-300 meters.


After finishing route 54 I ended up on route 74 which guided me to the trail to my cabin. I finally reached my cabin exhausted, frustrated and relived it was over.  I entered the cabin with supper already made and just in time to dig in to fajitas. It was very filling after an extremely hard day. I found that night was a lot better than the last because I chilled outside around a bond fire and played cards against humanity which was actually a lot of fun. I fell asleep once again pretty quickly.


February 25th

On Wednesday morning we had chocolate chip pancakes and any leftover fruit we had leftover. We all got packed decently on time and were ready to leave for the bus at around 1030. As we were getting ready to leave we of course had another group photo. We began to hike and I decided to be near the back but I actually kept up with the front of the group. We hiked along the same route as we entered route 72.  Once we reached the clearing we reached the parking lot and the bus pulled up within minutes of us being there. We loaded up the bus and took off. I thought to myself “never again”.


What did I learn?

-I skied so much during that trip my from was a little better than before

- Pack lighter (even though I was pretty light it could have been lighter)

-always bring my own snow shoes I had no problem with mine on this trip

-and to interact with more of my class mates because you tend to bond more over similar activities

- To properly burn snow to create drinking water



What did I enjoy?

-         campfire discussions

-         liars dice

-         sliding down the side of the mountain

-         cards against humanity

-         part of the snowshoe

      What did I not enjoy?

-the ski

-the uphill snowshoeing

-having to remove and add layers so many times during the ski


What was the easiest part of the trip?

The easiest part of the trip was the flat walking across the two lakes Brown and Carmin.


What was the hardest part of the trip?

The hardest part of the trip was definitely the 22km ski. I found it hard because it definitely pushed me beyond my limits and it just never ended.


Would I do it again?

NOPE, because I did not enjoy the activities we did. 




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