Wednesday, January 06, 2010

First Outing on New Snowshoe Trail #63 in Gatineau Park

For the 2009-2010 season, the National Capital Commission has opened new trail #63 in the Kingsmere area. The trail-head is at parking lot P6, next to the MacKenzie King estate. During the winter season, access is via Chelsea to Kingsmere, then along Swamp and Barnes roads. The last part (along Barnes Rd) is rather narrow and caution is required when meeting oncoming vehicles.

There are two ways of reaching the trail from P6. We left the parking lot from the North-West corner and veered right to follow the park road past a few gates and a number of buildings before finally reaching the start of the trail. While one or two people had been on the trail before us, we enjoyed rather pristine conditions.

Signage isn't always obvious. At one point we had to cross a park road and veer left quite a bit before finding the trail again on the other side of the road. Despite a large number of signs, there were a number of other locations along the trail where it wasn't obvious where to go next.

We were evidently outnumbered by the deer and hare in the area based on the quantity of fresh prints (and other deposits) in the snow.

We were surprised by the extent of ice deposits still left on the trees since the ice storm on Boxing Day.

A fair number of trees and branches were down (or leaning heavily) but there were very few obstructing the trail.

This tree came particularly close to damaging one of the ruins on the estate.

Roughly one third of the trail is dedicated to snowshoeing, the other two thirds are shared with hikers as part of the Waterfall trail (shown as a solid light-orange line on the map). That meant we had a mixture of snow, starting with lots of light powder, ending with plenty of hard-packed conditions. The trail exit brought us directly to the South-West corner of P6.

Overall, a rather short and easy trail near the downtown core, but with only a small portion reserved for snowshoeing. The mixture of ice on the branches and the light from our headlamps made this a rather scenic outing.

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Blogger kyungmee said...

Hi Marc, I stumbled on your blog on google search! Very nice thing you are doing here;) With very nice images from over the years of your adventures! I wish you a great year!

9:38 AM  

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