Saturday, October 17, 2009

Wolf Trail (Sentier des loups) - Gatineau Park (Meech Lake area)

As mentioned in my previous post, from P13 near Blanchet beach you can hike (or snowshoe) up trail #62, also know as Wolf Trail (or Sentier des loups in french). Of all the years I've done this trail, I haven't seen a wolf yet! Maybe this winter, as we start our first real season of snowshoeing.

Somewhat more rugged than your typical trail in the park, it is still accessible to most hikers who don't have problems with inclines or uneven terrain. The reason that I find this trail interesting, other than a good workout, is the pleasant sound and sight of a stream along a good portion of the trail. While this can contribute to some soggy/muddy conditions along certain section of the trail, there is usually an easy & dry option to get by in most (but not all) cases.

Along the way, as you cross the stream, you walk over a rock the looks and sounds empty. The water enters one end of the rock and comes out the other end. The following video doesn't quite capture the hollow-sound the water makes as it passes through this rock, but you'll see what I mean.

This is the view looking upstream from the empty-rock.

After about 1 hour of walking, you come across a log-bridge. This option isn't for everybody as it can be slippery and the height of the fall would be enough to hurt most people. There are widely-spaced rocks that can be used a dozen feet downstream from the log. Again, this is a tricky crossing but at least you won't fall as far if you slip.

Another 15 minutes or so and you reach a swamp with a beaver dam at the head of the stream. Further up, the trail gets steeper and mudier, this is where we turned around to head back.

Time to hike up to the beaver dam and back: about 2 hours at a reasonable pace.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Meech Lake - Gatineau Park

Spectacular fall colors in the Gatineau Park today for a kayak trip around Meech Lake (site of the infamous Meech Lake Accord). For directions, refer to the Summer Map for the Gatineau park.

The usual put-in (during the summer ) is half-way up the lake, next to a large parking lot (P12 on the map). If you're not there to kayak, walking on trail #40 along the stream full of rapids is worthwhile (if you don't mind medium-grade slopes along the way)

Another off-season (i.e. not summer) option is the Blanchet beach when it is closed to swimmers. Parking #13 is nearby, after having unloaded your kayak next to the change-rooms. From the parking lot, the Wolf Trail (#62) is even more impressive if you have time to hike it, albeit it's more rugged than trail #40.

Here's a sample of pictures showing the color of the leaves (click on any picture to see full-size):

As you can see, lots of Canada geese still in the neighborhood before the first snowfall (due this Friday).

And what may very well be the largest beaver lodge in the whole park, take a look at these pictures!

The crowds were out in full force on the Thanksgiving Day long-weekend. While there may have been limited space for motorized vehicles, there was lots of room for self-propelled boats :-)

Photo credits: Sylvie Desrochers (all pictures in this post)

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