Today was absolutely brilliant, and I couldn’t have chosen a better route or a more beautiful day. The trees were heavy with snow, the sun was shining, and the air was cold and crisp. I am a cold weather classic skier, so I thought I would test my wax at P11, O’Brien.  It was the first time that I had skied from P11, and I can guarantee you that it won’t be my last. The trail was everything that a cross-country trail should be.  The route took me up and down both long and short hills, curved through the woods, and crossed over a little bridge.  The landscape was dotted with towering pines, low lying marshes, and of course Meech Lake.  It was simply stunning. As I was skiing today, thoughts were popping in and out of my mind about how fortunate I am to have found this sport.  I can’t think of any activity that is so refreshing, so rejuvenating and so peaceful. I have met some of my best friends through skiing, and I have gotten to travel. My love for skiing was even the main reason I went to military college. It is truly a sport that heals mind, body and soul. You can ski when you’re two. You can ski when you are ninety-two.  It can be purely athletic, or it can feel like a stroll through the woods on a beautiful winter day. It can clear your head and tone your muscles….every last one of them.  For me, there really is nothing better than skiing on a sunny, cold day, with the trees heavy with snow.  There is nothing better than skiing on days like today.

** I wanted to also take a moment and thank Charles @ Guide Gatineau for following, and posting about my adventures! I wanted to especially thank him for filling me in on so many amazing facts about the park in my last ski report on P7.  I am still planning on updating my last entry with the information that you shared.  Thanks so much!!

Date Skied: January 15, 2012

Gatineau Loppet Training Update:

Sadly I didn’t get out for a ski on Saturday.  I say sadly, but, I really can’t complain too loudly as I was making my husband slave away and build me a closet organizer, which turned out so fabulous that I thought I’d share a picture. Now just wait until all my ski-spandex is neatly folded and colour coded 🙂
Rob and Max and our new closet! Rob is celebrating the future of clothes off the floor with a Guinnness

Training wise though, I had a great ski today, and felt very good…but I still need to get the distance up big time!  If the Gatineau Loppet simply turns into a tour de Gatineau that will just be fine. I did do it 10 years ago, and I am very curious to see how this year’s time will compare…although, as we all know, conditions play such a tremendous role I shouldn’t be even considering comparing. The whole point is I have a great excuse to get out and ski…oh, and eat a delicious Chocolate Tart that I may have devoured tonight.
Overview: Trail 36, your only option from P11, and Classic only, is a beautiful trail.  It has the perfect mix of varying landscape to keep it interesting, the forest is gorgeous, and there are many scenic places along the route.  It follows the northern shore of Meech Lake which provides some really scenic views.  Oh…and a bit of a strange comment, but it seems to be where all the friendly folks ski! Many people said hello, and thank-you if I moved on a hill to let them pass…sadly, something that I have found lacking on some of the more frequented trails.
For those who like: winding trails through the woods, a wide variety of scenery, gentle hills and gentle curves, Classic skiing, a more peaceful skiing experience.
Don’t Ski here if:  you want to skate ski,  if you plan on skiing to a hut (the closest one is about 10 km one-way from P11).
Directions: If you continue past the often very crowded P9 and P10, you’ll reach P11. I don’t imagine parking is ever too much of a problem.  Simply take Old Chelsea Road, to Lake Meech Road, and keep going 🙂 The parking lot is on the right hand side of the road. Its about a 30 minute drive from downtown Ottawa, but its such a lovely ski, and off the beaten track just enough that it makes it completely worth it (its really not too much further than P9 and P10).
The Trails: Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous….This is a great trail, not to crowded, with lots of things to see, and a great variety of elevation and really fun hills and turns. Its not overly, challenging, and simply lots of fun.  There is just one problem… you may not want to go home. Seriously, I had a massive “to do” list, and I kept looking at my watch and  saying “just 10 minutes more”.  I wanted to keep going and going and going!
My Route: My Garmin wasn’t fully charged, so this just captures my route until I turned around.  Garmin Connect – P11 Trail 36 North Shore Lake Meech.
Bringing Baby:  Really, I need to bring Max out before I can comment on this.  I didn’t see any chariots on P11, and the hills would be challenging, but oh how I want to do a family ski on these trails! I’d love to hear from any of you who might have.  Maybe you could walk the big hills?
(time for excuses…I am writing this at close to midnight, so it may not be my best work…but I wanted to get it posted while thoughts of this beautiful ski are still fresh in my mind). Not enough hours in the day for blogging, skiing, cleaning, cooking and hanging out with Max.  Clearly, cleaning needs to go…)