Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Gatineau Winter Overnight Reflection

The Gatineau winter overnight took place February 23rd – 25th and was a very successful trip.  Throughout the entire trip I thoroughly enjoyed myself and I experienced many new things.  Oddly enough, this was my first Outdoor Ed skiing trip I had participated in as I missed previous trips due to prior commitments or illness.  I was very fortunate to have joined the cross-country ski team this year as it more than adequately prepared me for this trip.  I think that the trip would have been more difficult for me had I not had the benefit of cross-country ski team experience. 


Departure for the trip went very smoothly because of our in-depth plan that we had all made together on Google Docs.  Despite having to take a few minutes and recount our snowshoes to ensure that everyone had a pair, everything went smoothly and we departed on time.  When we arrived at P17 we quickly unloaded all of our gear and promptly started our two kilometre snow show to Brown Cabin.  The snowshoeing was quite easy as the distance was not very long; however, helping to push the sled full of gear up hills was a little tiring.  When we arrived at the cabin, we were all very excited and after unpacking our gear, we were ready to leave for our day’s activity of snowshoeing.  Before we left, we started making some drinking water by melting snow on the wood stove.  Unlike the first leg of snowshoeing, the eight kilometres that we then snow shoed were more difficult because we made our own trails and the snow was quite deep.  This was especially noticeable on the up hills as it became quite hard to hold traction. 

Once we reached the first summit that we planned to visit we decided to forego going to the other summit as we were running out of daylight.  On the way back to Brown Cabin we ended up sliding down a cliff on the puffy snow.  This was definitely a highlight of the trip.  However, after sliding down many drops, and reaching the bottom I became quite cold as some snow had managed to get through my outer shell of my layering system.

We got back to the Cabin and then enjoyed delicious spaghetti, Caesar salad and garlic bread.  After helping with the dishes, I enjoyed relaxing in the cabin and playing cards and Liars Dice. 

After a much-needed good night’s sleep, we began our second day with a nutritious and energy-packed breakfast of scrambled eggs, bacon, English muffins and fruit.  Before leaving for our day-long ski trip we made sure that we had all the proper ingredients for our lunch during the day and made sure that everyone had sufficient water. 

The trip started with an unfortunate incident when my water bottle opened inside my knapsack and got my spare clothes wet.  Also, it was unfortunate that Nick and Dylan could not participate on the skiing day activity due to injury.  However, it was not a total loss for the group because they kindly had dinner prepared for us upon our return at the end of the day.   All in all, the ski trip was a success and I was pleased to see that my training for the cross-country ski team paid off.  The day consisted of thoroughly pre-planned route of approximately 22 kilometres and a break to have lunch at Renaud Cabin.
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Also we explored Lusk Caves which was another highlight of the trip.  We powered through the last seven and a half kilometers even enjoying a long downhill portion.  Back at the cabin, we relaxed and ate dinner, but kept putting off the dishes.  This was the main flaw of our trip.  It was clear that no one wanted to do the dishes and that everyone was tired especially when the subject was brought up and the cabin became completely silent.  I was also guilty of this and I told myself because I had already helped with dishes it should be someone else’s turn.  Mr. Brouwer and one or two other students cleaned the dishes later that night and this should not have happened.  Next time, I will keep this from happening by taking initiative and also try to get more people involved.

Our final day went very smoothly.  We had a quick breakfast that consisted of pancakes and fruit slices, packed up our gear, tidied the cabin and prepared to leave.  We quickly snow shoed back to P17 and loaded our gear on the bus for the trip back to school.  During the snow shoe back to the bus, I was wondering if the main group up front should wait for the people with the sled who were a little farther back or continue to the bus and be ready to help them with their gear upon their arrival.  I asked the group this question and we made the decision to head for the bus. 

This trip was very successful with only a few minor complications.  If I were to do this trip again, I would make sure dishes are done and they don’t become the responsibility of one person.  Also, I would secure my outer shell so that no snow could get in.  I was very happy to have been part of this trip and would gladly do it again! 

Spencer Knowles
March 31, 2015

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