Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Winter camping at Lusk Cabin Gatineau Park

Halfway there!
  The guys have been talking about doing this male bonding experience/adventure for awhile now, so in mid-December, the time seemed right. The cabin we got happened to be the farthest in ( I guess because we waited a bit too long to book it) but it was only $60 for the night and slept 6. We got it from 16:00 to 10:00 the next day. Since it is a day-use cabin when we arrived at exactly 16:00 the fire was already going and the place was toasty!

The first of many falls.
This was my first time cross-country skiing. I'm an intermediate downhill skier (I point the skis at the bottom of the hill and try not to fall down on my way there. To stop, I used to turn and ski back up the hill a ways until gravity took over. Later on I learned to do a side stop, like when you are on ice skates, which I did wrong by jumping up in the air and turning my skis sideways and then coming back down at an angle (plus I could only do it on one side.. ). Almost none of my downhill skiing experience came into play here. Cross country is a whole new ball game. I thought the downhill parts might be easier. They were not. You wear this shoe thing that has only the toes snapped into the ski instead of a full boot that immobilizes your ankle so you don't have the same stance you get on a downhill setup. It's a lot of walking uphill in a "V" too! I got into the ski skating after awhile and marveled at the design of these wax-less skis I rented at Trailhead. They are made kind of like snake scales. On the bottom they have ridges which slide effortlessly forward but dig in when they slide back so you really get great purchase and footing when you need it. Amazing innovation these, still, it did not stop me from falling backwards and forwards several times over the course of the day.
Tripper chopped that all while we weren't looking.
  Of course learning to cross country ski while wearing a 60 pound pack is something fun as well. It really adds to the fun! I almost brought my travel guitar with me on this adventure but since I took a major backwards dump just coming out of the parking lot I'm really glad the guys talked me out of it. I could just imagine the "PATANG!" sound of the guitar being crushed to bits in my imagination had I actually brought the thing. I'll wait until I get better. Add to that my ridiculous Canadian Tire sleeping bag (pictured in the blue bag above). I packed it like I would a backpacker going on a hike. Lashed at the bottom. Bad idea. What it did was create a swinging pendulum of unballancement that put me on my keister another half-dozen times before Kenmore took it for me.

 With all that said and done, we eventually arrived at the cabin just as the sun began to go down. Before we knew it it was 5:30 and pitch black outside (no city lights or electricity to give us that good old city light pollution!). The fire was stoked and the wood is all chopped for you but they kindly leave you an axe outside to chop more or murder your bunk mates (did I say that?). We broke out the foodstuffs and ate for a few hours but at 7:30 it felt like fricken bedtime! We did manage to stay up until 11:30. We listened to tunes, Shot the Marde, watched some movies on Tripper Itouch and powered speakers. All the time being roasted to death by that awesome fireplace.

Tripper had brought some episodes of "Life and Times of Tim". This is a crudely drawn animated series GWilliker emailed me about a few months back although I fail to see how the trouble the character gets into mimics my life in any way shape or form. I haven't ever had a pimp come to my house and take my clothing in exchange for sex with a prostitute but I could foresee a situation where I might lend my guitar to someone who had just mugged me so they can turn their life around singing tunes down in the subway instead.

For bathroom breaks they had this outhouse a few meters away from the cabin. This lets you experience a new kind of cold when you visit it at 3:00am. They are pretty clean though and they leave a bottle of alcohol-based hand-cleaner by the toilet paper. Very thoughtful! At night I had my headlamp on and the guys took my picture trying to do a slow-exposure light trail as I was walking back from a trip to the outhouse office. Of course it didn't work the first time, but it did on the 11th! I like the axe in the stump on the side in that pic.

Everything came out OK!
And my stupid sleeping bag? I didn't even USE it! Much to toasty in there. Much better to pack some thin space blanket next time, leave more room for food.

An added tip. It is far easier to carry food inside your body than outside of it. All and all, an excellent adventure, things got weird in the cabin that night, but we won't speak of it ever again, and no one lost any body parts. We'll be back next year!

Heeeeere's KENMORE!

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