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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Blogger Charles said...

Hi Marc
One person said to me that they felt that as snowshoeing became more popular people were discovering trails like Wolf Trail in winter and then coming back in summer and that the added foot traffic was causing some damage to the trail. Do you feel that this might be the case?

7:53 AM  
Blogger Marc Charron said...

It's hard to be categorical about this question, it's a bit of a case-by-case issue. If a trail is properly constructed (i.e. no drainage problems among other things), foot traffic shouldn't cause significant erosion. The Wolf Trail in particular crosses many streams and swamps and does tends to be muddy in many places. In general, if erosion is an issue on any trail, I'd rather see the drainage issues resolved than to see the trail closed to hiking. For the Wolf Trail in particular, that's what the NCC has done very recently, it's improved the drainage, rerouted/rebuilt part of the existing trail and built some bridges over some of the wetter sections. While the work itself can be considered unnatural erosion, it should reduce the overall erosion in the long-term.

4:47 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Hi Marc

A question at TriRudy on the state of the trail.

Also piece in Le Droit

8:06 AM  
Blogger Marc Charron said...

I just got back from hiking the Blanchet/Wolf loop. I'll be posting a description and pictures of the trail renovations shortly.

2:59 PM  
Blogger Marc Charron said...

See for my post on the trail restorations.

7:32 PM  

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