Summer Experiences

Mont Gleason - October 12, 2019


A trip out of town to view some fall colours was in order today so Mont Gleason was the destination. It was also a great reason to go take a peek at the progress of the new Quad. It was partly cloudy when we got there, I was with my son Lukas, and my long-time ski buddy Christian so it was a day out for the guys. We got there around 11:00 and there was a good crowd of people already there. At Gleason today the festivities included their ski sale in the shop, the local fire department was there with a couple of trucks for the kids to explore, bouncy castles, and chairlift rides. What I really came here for was the new Quad and the progress. Both top and bottom terminals are in place, and all towers have been installed. The crew was installing the comm cable today. The base of the new Quad does take up some of the parking areas. We decided to ride the Laurent-Lemire Quad to the summit to see what was going on up top, and for the view with the colours. Rides were one-way only with a multi...
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Mont-Sainte Anne - July 20, 2019


While taking the weekend away from the Eastern Townships, visiting family in the Quebec City area, I decided to visit Mont Sainte Anne with the family and ride the gondola. It was a very humid day with the temps in the low 30's. Partly cloudy skies with a breeze. We arrived mid afternoon around 2:30, and picked up the tickets for the ride up. The parking lot was not busy at all, and the ones who were there were biking. I noticed that at the bottom of the mountain there were a few giraffe guns spraying water to cool things down for the bike riders. There was no wait at the Gondola so we got right on and went to the top. When we got to the top, there was a steady breeze which made the heat more bearable. The views from the summit are amazing! Looking off the South side, you have the St. Lawrence River, and on the North side you have miles and miles of mountains. There is a look out tower that you may climb to get a better view. You have a full 360 degree view from up there. The View Look...
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Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park At Brookvale - Brookvale, PEI


While I have been off the radar this summer more than usual, this will hopefully make up for it......a little. I just returned home from a week in PEI and I could not leave the island without a visit to the Mark Arendz Provincial Ski Park At Brookvale. Recently renamed from Brookvale Provincial Ski Park, to commemorate Mark Arendz's achievements as a Paralympian for Team Canada. The hill is located in Brookvale, PEI about a half hour's drive from Charlottetown. It is pretty much in the central region of the island and fairly easy to get to. The mountain has one fixed-grip Quad, and a learner's magic carpet along with 9 trails and a vertical of 250 feet. Of the 9 trails, 3 are Easy, 1 Intermediate and 5 are Difficult. There are a ski school and rental shop located in the chalet. The property is well maintained as you can see from the main photo. It looks like the trails are one big lawn to mow in comparison to some trails here at home that I have seen! This would make for less snow to b...
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Hiking - Waterfall and Lauriault Trails - Gatineau Park


It had been 3 years since we last explored these trails. With another hot and summery day upon us, it was time to stay cool by hitting the trails during the heatwave. It's truly amazing how nature and the trees can help regulate the heat. You really do not feel as hot when under the tree canopy. Arriving shortly after 11am (as the Gatineau Parkway roads are closed till 11 for the Sunday Bikedays), we parked at the lot by the Waterfall Trail. A short little slope down and to the left we find the tunnel, which passes under the parkway. After emerging on the other side, a fairly short hike brings us right to the Bridal Veil Falls. Heading back up and now to the Lauriault Trail, the long trek begins. The terrain is relatively easy to cross, although there are some mild hills along the way to go up and over. Eventually, you arrive at a clearing and lookout point, perfect to see the surrounding region from up above. Heading back into the forest, the path takes us up one more hill and th...
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Cycling - Sentier du Parc de la Gatineau


It was a beautiful Sunday morning. Wanting to change things up a bit from our usual weekend routine of kayaking or hiking, we decided to go cycling. As we live in the Plateau sector of Gatineau, it is unbelievably easy to bike in minutes to Gatineau Park. Entering Gatineau Park from the pathway entrance just across from Tim Horton's on St. Raymond, we headed towards the Pioneers trail and the Gatineau Park Welcome Centre, located at P3. From here, heading East we continued on Sentier du Parc de la Gatineau, which runs near the road and has some short hills and plenty of turns and curves through the trees. A quick right turn at an intersection and we are brought down another path that travels underneath Boulevard des Allumetieres to cross to the other side. From here, the trail eventually rejoins and follows along closely to Allumetieres until you exit on St. Raymond. A little detour through a residential area and we are back on the path, this time the Pioneers Pathway. Featuring a few ...
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Kayaking - Lac La Peche


A perfect day out on the lake. Lac La Peche, located about 20 minutes West of Wakefield, is the largest lake in Gatineau Park. It is also possibly the most peaceful and relaxing to kayak. The beach is expansive, with plenty of room, making it easy to launch your kayak, canoe or small boat. Today, the wind was fairly strong, which had the effect of creating strong enough waves to push you around in the water. Luckily shortly after lunch, the winds died down and it was much more enjoyable. During this visit, we decided to head to the left after setting off from the beach. We reached a small shore, perfect to get out at and stretch. There are several points across the lake that look nice to visit, from the twin rocks that are popular for people to fish or jump in the water, to the sandy shorelines across to the other side. Just like Lac Philippe, you are able to rent kayaks and canoes at the lake, so if you want to experience it but don't have your own, the opportunity is there. Overall, ...
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Hiking - Pink Lake Trail - Gatineau Park


The Pink Lake trail is definitely an emerald jewel in Gatineau Park. From its sparkling green water to the many lookout and observation points, this trail has it all.Easily accessible from the Gatineau Parkway, you are able to park at either the Pink Lake lookout or the Pink Lake trail parking lots. From here, the fun starts, and as the trail is a loop that circles the entire lake along its border, you have the choice to go clockwise or counterclockwise. We chose the former for this visit. Exploring in this direction takes you to the best lookout points right from the start.Pink Lake is very unique. Due to its sheltered location, provided by the surrounding trees and hills, the water is protected from most of the wind. This has the result of greatly limiting the movement of the water, and in fact, the water below 15m depth is void of any oxygen, a phenomenon that started over 10,000 years ago. The water receives its characteristic green hue due to the high algae content. The following ...
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Hiking - Parc des Chutes de Denholm


About an hour north of Ottawa is a virtually unknown hiking trail near the town on Denholm. Parc des Chutes de Denholm is located on the Paugan road which connects Denholm with Low, Quebec. I drove in from the Denholm side as I was staying at a cottage near by. From the Low side you would have to cross the Paugan dam. The hike consists of a 4km loop plus several smaller side trails. The hike starts at a small falls and climbs quickly and steeply before leveling out. One interesting aspect to the trail is commissioned public art that pops up along the walk. The hike is well marked with a single picnic table near the falls at the bottom and at the first lookout. There is also two rustic outhouses near the small parking lot. If you want to get away from it all this hike is for you. We didn't see a single person for the 2 hours it took us to take in all the trails. The main loop travels mainly through dense hardwoods crossing a creek at the half way point then connecting briefly with a gra...
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Hiking - Sugarbush Trail - Gatineau Park


The Sugarbush Trail is the perfect trail for those looking for an easy hike through the forest. Absent are any steep hills or natural obstacles, just pure fresh air and nature at its best! This trail is located just next to the Gatineau Park Visitor's Centre in Chelsea. The Sugarbush Trail starts with a short crossing over a river and brings you into a dense forest of tall slender trees. Under the tree canopy, the shade and pure air are very refreshing. As you continue along the path, the tree canopy occasionally gives way to more open areas. I highly recommend the Sugarbush trail for those unsure of where to start their hiking in Gatineau Park. It is easy and can be enjoyed by people with reduced mobility as there are no steep hills or obstacles such as rocks or tree roots. The trail has a length of approximately 2km and can be done in about 35 minutes. It is very easy to find with ample parking available. Of course, with the Gatineau Park Visitor's Centre nearby, it's perfect to plan...
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Hiking - Discovery Trail - Gatineau Park


Finally, the heatwave is over, and we can once again enjoy nature and the outdoors without working up a terrible sweat. Heading out around 10am, we forgot that it was Sunday Bike Day, meaning the parkways in Gatineau Park are closed to vehicle traffic. Our original destination would have been the Pink Lake trail, but not currently being accessible by car, we decided to go to the Discovery Trail instead, located along Meech Lake. This trail can be accessed from the O'Brien's Beach parking lot (just minutes past Camp Fortune). This trail starts off with some long hilly, but smooth terrain, before arriving at a small bridge crossing a stream off of Meech Lake. You can also catch a glimpse of the Lake and Kayakers in the distance... that was us just a few weeks earlier. Continuing on, you will arrive at a signpost, at which you can head left and visit the Carbide Willson Ruins. Overall, this is a relatively easy trail to enjoy. There are some climbs to do, but the terrain is all smooth and...
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Hiking - Mount Royal Park


After having experienced the Mount Royal Park two winters ago with a snowshoeing adventure, it was high time to re-discover it again in the summer. Gone are the many cross-country skiers, the snow-covered toboggan sliding hills, and the snowshoe packed trails... now we are treated to a pristine park, located in the middle of Canada's second largest city. The area is very picturesque, with the Beaver Lake located in the middle, now frequented by leisure rowboats, and hundreds of people enjoying the fresh air and nature. The park is easily accessible with public transit by metro and bus, or by parking lots nearby. The trails and paths circle around the summit of the mountain, and also head off in numerous directions, taking you to various destinations. There is also a pathway that does the perimeter of the lake. At one end, there is a nice stone waterfall that runs off into the lake. Walking the trails, you can catch glimpses of the Montreal skyline and the sprawling city. A great visit ...
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Kayaking - Meech Lake


With the surprise arrival of warm summer-like weather (finally...), the choice was simple, it was a perfect day to break out the kayaks. Living only minutes from Gatineau Park, after a quick loading of the car, we were off to Meech Lake. Last year we parked at the P11 - O'Brien Beach lot. While it may be good for swimming, it was not the most ideal location to launch kayaks from as the beach is a bit small, and the fairly lengthy, narrow and hilly path to get from the parking to the water made transporting the kayaks very difficult, even with wheels underneath. This time, we made the decision to park at the P12 lot, located approximately in the middle of the lake, and between both beaches. This lot has a small launch point, with parking directly across from it. No hassle or pain this time thankfully. Pushing off, we aimed our paddles for the far end of the lake. Passing plenty of spectacular scenery and picturesque vistas, we arrived near a marsh area where we found an artificial const...
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Hiking - Beaver Trail in the Ottawa Greenbelt


Having visited this trail network in the late winter to snowshoe, we were curious to experience it in the summer without snow. Located in the Stony Swamp area of the Ottawa Greenbelt, the Beaver trail goes into a swampy marsh area, with a short walkway built over top. I love trails with features like this: This area is only a 15-minute drive from Bayshore Shopping Centre and is a relatively easy trail to discover, with nothing difficult or presenting much challenge to overcome. While it is not long, there are several ways to go, so you can make the trip longer if you zig and zag your way through the forest. There is a trail connection that according to the map appears to go quite far off into the distance, no doubt connecting to other trails and areas. Overall, the Beaver trail is a nice place to visit if you don't want to go far or are in the mood for a shorter hike through nature. Here are some more pictures from the visit.
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Algonquin Park - Kiosk Loop - May 17-20th 2018


This year's Victoria Day weekend canoe trip was at the northern end of Algonquin Park. The access point was Kioshkokwi (Kiosk) lake about a 3.5 hour drive from Ottawa along highway 17. Take the 17 up to Mattawa then west along the Trans Canada until to see the turn off for 630 south into the park. Please watch out for speed traps along the 17 especially near Petawawa. There is an outfitter on the corner of 17 and 630 that you can rent canoes from (Algonquin North Wilderness Outfitters). There is also a ski hill 8km north of Mattawa called Antoine Mountain but I didn't have time to check it out. This year's trip would be 4 days, 3 nights in the park doing a loop from Kiosk lake south into Waterclear lake for a night, then Erables and Maple. With the final day paddling down the Maple River. We had very good weather for May with one day of rain on Saturday. The best thing though was no bugs! Like zero black flies or mosquitoes. The fact that the ice had just come off most of the lakes bet...
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Kayaking - Lac La Peche


This visit was to Lac La Peche, known as the largest lake in all of Gatineau Park. If you find Lac Philippe or Meech large, this lake is almost double the size. Upon arriving, the sandy beach is expansive and stretches across a large portion of the water. There is a fee that must be paid along the access road, however at this time of the year, and due to the beach being officially closed, access is free. For those arriving without their own kayak or canoe, rentals are available, in the same way as they are at Lac Philippe. The late summer's sun creates a vast landscape, just waiting to be discovered and enjoyed. The entry point into the water is located approximately in the middle of the lake, so you are perfectly positioned to start exploring in either direction. I am not sure why but the sand along on the beach was brighter and softer than most of the other beaches in the region we have visited. Perhaps it is due to the slightly more remote location that it has remained relatively un...
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Hiking - Carbide Willson Ruins - Gatineau Park


A beautiful clear Saturday afternoon called for a visit to Gatineau Park to do some hiking. The park is famous for its endless trails and the multitude of choices of where to go and how to get there. This trip was to visit the Carbide Willson Ruins. Located to the North of Meech lake, the ruins can be found after the 3km hike. The trail is not very challenging to get to the ruins, however, there is a long hill halfway there. Surprisingly, the trail is quite popular and well-travelled. Definitely, one of the more popular locations to visit. Starting from the P11 parking lot by Meech lake, the trail heads up the hill to the North. The forest canopy providing plenty of cover and shade as you make the trip. Eventually, you reach a long downhill section, which culminates with a bridge over the lake. Looking South from here you can see Meech lake and the cottages that flank the shoreline. Continuing along the path, you will eventually reach a directional signpost. Oddly enough, to get to the...
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Kayaking - Lac Meech


Another beautiful day that warranted some kayaking. This time, the destination was Meech Lake in Gatineau Park. Camp Fortune was along the route leading to the lake, making me reflect on this summer and start looking forward to the winter coming up in a few months time. Located about 5 minutes drive past Camp Fortune's Skyline sector, Meech Lake offers a quiet beach setting, as well as several hiking pathways to enjoy and discover, including the Carbide Willson Ruins (perhaps next weekend's hiking adventure...) The beach is accessible from the paid parking lot ($11) by a short gravel path. This lake does not offer any rentals so you need to bring your own when visiting. The path to access the water is made up of a few small hills but is easily traversed if you have a set of wheels to roll your kayak. Once you reach the water, you are treated to one of the most picturesque settings of the region. Flanked all along one side of the lake are houses and cottages bordering the water. Despite...
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Kayaking - Lac Philippe


Kayaking is such an enjoyable sport. Thanks to the abundance of lakes and rivers in the Ottawa-Gatineau region, there is no shortage of places to visit and discover. Kayaking is also an easy sport to get into and is less difficult than it may appear to be. What does help is lakes that are free of powered boats. One such place is Lac Philippe in Gatineau Park. Located about 35 minutes from downtown Ottawa and Gatineau, Lac Philippe is a large lake, featuring two beaches, pedal boat, kayak and canoe rentals, and campgrounds. If you are coming with your own kayaks or wish to rent, the best place to park is by following the signs for the boat launch, shortly after passing the first beach. From here, you are able to park quite close to the water and the launching point is not busy or crowded. Immediately you can see the vastness of the lake, which seems to extend indefinitely. On this visit, we decided to head to the left, in the direction of Breton Beach. Passing a well-built beaver lodge....
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Hiking - Pioneer Trail - Gatineau Park


A great day in nature on Gatineau Park's Pioneer Trail. This hiking path is easily accessible from the Gatineau Park parkway entrance off of Boulevard des Allumetières near Hull. A large parking lot and information centre and map await your arrival. The Pioneer trail is not the longest trail and doesn't present much challenge as it has a relatively flat profile, but it is a great place to enjoy nature without having to go very far from the city. With a length of approximately 1.5km, the trail in the form of a loop takes about 30-40 minutes to walk. All along the path are interpretation panels, allowing you to learn about settlers in the Outaouais region and the Park's forest diversity. The love tree, carved with care by plenty of couples who have walked this path together. The whistling wind and the brushing of the leaves, you really feel at peace and with nature in Gatineau Park. The ever expansive forests that seemingly never end bring out anyone's sense of curiosity and exploration.
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Hiking - Luskville Falls Trail - Gatineau Park


The Luskville Falls are located about 30 minutes from downtown Gatineau. With easy access by car, simply take Boulevard des Allumetières, until it turns into route 148 and follow that. After about 15-20 minutes, the road will switch into a divided highway, and the exit will be one of the first gravel roads to the right shortly after. Follow the road and turn left and you will arrive at the falls trail. The area is peaceful yet quite busy with visitors, as the trail is fairly popular to hike. A bit of forewarning, the trail is fairly steep, but nothing too challenging. Good footwear is recommended as most of the path is on rocks of various sizes and shapes.Beginning the trail from the parking lot, you head slightly downwards, then begin your ascent. The full hike up is approximately 300+ vertical metres. As you hike, the path follows a rocky path, almost in the form of stairs. Not long after the beginning, you see the base of the majestic falls up close. The flow of the water ...
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Hiking - Lusk Cave Trail - Gatineau Park


A sunny late summer Saturday always signals the perfect time to go exploring and hiking. Having been interested for some time to see what all the fuss over the Lusk Caves was about, Ana and I ventured out to the Philippe Lake area to hike the trail and check out this unique attraction in Gatineau Park. The Lusk Caves were created some 12,500 years ago from melting glacial waters. This melting water was forced into cracks of the Marble rock, eroding them more quickly than the other type of rock present, which led to the creation of the unique tunnels that are explorable today. To this day, water continues to stream through the cave, continuing this erosion and gradually shaping the cave. Exploring the cave is an experience all on its own, clearly, a fact recognized by the number of people visiting. The Lusk Stream flows through the cave and as a result, exploration consists of passages of water, some dry and shallow, others with water levels as high as a metre or more. There are brief s...
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Hiking - Champlain Lookout Trail - Gatineau Park


The Champlain Lookout trail takes you around the edge of the Eardley Escarpment, showcasing stunning views and vistas. With a length of approximately 1.2km, it is not the longest trail, but definitely one of the more enjoyable ones. Several sections are on the edge of steep cliffs, bordered by wood fences, further adding to the awe inspiring landscapes and experience. Interpretive panels explain the unique geology as well as unique and rare species found in this area. The ever elusive milk snake for example can on occasion be spotted along this trail near rocky formations. Crossing several small streams passing through rocky formations, there is plenty to enjoy on this trail in Gatineau Park. Accessed from the Champlain Parkway's lookout, the trail should be considered intermediate in difficulty. With two perfect viewing points, including one that juts out from the mountain on a platform, don't forget to bring your camera. Once finished, be sure to also enjoy the view and scenery by th...
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Hiking - Lauriault Trail - Gatineau Park


Another day in Gatineau Park, another trail to discover. Today it was time to venture down the Lauriault Trail. This trail is accessed off of the Waterfall Trail, previously visited last week. The Lauriault Trail is about 3.5km in length, over relatively intermediate terrain. Nothing overly steep, or challenging. Weaving through the trees, while crossing several water streams, the halfway point of the trail arrives at a lookout point, giving a grand view of the surrounding region from above. Continuing on the trail, you come across the Mulvihill Lake, the perfect place for a picnic lunch or gazing into the water. This area is calm and peaceful, with a platform extending out over the water. The return trip on the opposite side of the loop is just as eventful, with more sloping terrain and passages to cross. You also see the stream that feeds the waterfall, which surely must rage during the springtime with all the melting snow. The entire adventure took about 1.5 hours to complete, and d...
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Hiking - Waterfall Trail - Gatineau Park


The Waterfall trail is located along the Gatineau Parkway. While not the longest hike in Gatineau Park, it certainly has its own charm. Featuring the Bridal Veil falls (named by former Prime Minister Mackenzie King) which culminate this experience, it is another must-see destination in Gatineau Park. The trail is about 1.5km in length (to the falls and returning), mainly flat, with only the approach and descent to the falls offering any additional challenge. The trail leaves the parking and passes under the Gatineau Parkway through a tunnel. From there, you pass through some wetlands and over a few wooden bridges. I recommend you visit the falls either in the spring, as the snow is melting or after heavy rainfall, as the water flow will be much higher. Once you have visited the falls, the nearby Lauriault trail offers a longer trip back to the parking and adds another 2.5km to your hike. This trail is in the form of a loop, taking you past Mulvihill lake, the perfect place for a picnic...
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Hiking - King Mountain Trail - Gatineau Park


The King Mountain trail, located on the Eardley Escarpment of the Canadian Shield offers a hike unlike any other. With incredible views and interpretive panels that explain the unique ecosystem and historical sites along the trail, it definitely ranks as something you need to experience yourself. It is located near the intersection of the Gatineau and Champlain parkways. The trail is approximately 2km long, in the form of a loop, with a vertical of about 70 metres. The trail contains several areas of rocky formations to traverse, but nothing is overly challenging, and takes an hour or so to complete. Along the way you will discover a unique micro-climate on the mountain, passing from a relatively dry area to one that is noticeably more humid. Passing several different types of forests, as well as many types of trees, the interpretive panels allow you to learn about the natural wonder and treasure that is Gatineau Park. You will also visit the a National Historic Site, when you come acr...
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