P10 to Keogan and/or Huron
The Fortune Parkway (green), and, optionally, trail # 1 (green) in the Gatineau Park. These are shared trails for both skate and classic cross-country skiing. Total distance to Keogan and back is about 7 kilometres, to Huron and back is about 10 kilometres. ( scroll down for photos )
The P10 parking lot is a convenient starting point to get to a variety of trails, and can therefore fill up quickly on busy weekend afternoons. The trail from P10 to Keogan is located on what is a paved park road during the summer, and is wide and open.
The first kilometre involves non-stop hill climbing. Fortunately, all this takes place on gradually slopping hills, so there is no need to use the herringbone climbing technique. Although some of these slopes do have good incline, they can be managed while keeping the skis in the tracks. The hill climbing comes to end as you approach Lac Fortune. From this point onwards, there are large open areas on the left side of this trail. On the right side, the trail follows the bottom of a good-size embankment.
As you continue towards Keogan, you'll notice signposts for quite a few connecting trails, but many of these are the more challenging back-country trails. After a while, you will reach trail # 1, and possibly the busiest ski intersection of the entire trail network in the park. There's a large sign pointing you in the direction of the Keogan Cabin. To get to it, you'll turn left and ski about a hundred meters on trail # 1. Keogan is one of the nicer cabins in the park, and has enough room inside for about a dozen picnic tables.
Another option is to turn right, and continue on trail # 1 for another 1.5 kilometres to get to the Huron Cabin (which is very similar to Keogan). Along the way, you'll pass by the Shilly Shally Cabin. This has to be the smallest cabin in the park. Inside, there's only room a small sitting area and one picnic table. More often than not, the group using the picnic table will try to monopolize the use of the entire cabin.
Although trail # 1 is fairly easy, it is more narrow than the Fortune Parkway. When heading to Huron Cabin, trail # 1 is relatively level up to the Shilly Shally Cabin. Afterwards, there is one large hill. The herringbone climbing technique will come in handy at this point.
The Fortune Parkway Trail is a good option for the occasional cross-country skier who may be new to the park. It will give people a taste of hill climbing, but under manageable conditions. It also brings skiers into the heart of this part of the park, and offers several cabins as destinations. And don't forget that the return trip to P10 will be faster because much of it will be downhill.
(Click on the map for a larger view of the surrounding area of the park.)
(Photos from this trail - click on the images for larger pictures )
Photo(s) and web page, © Michael McGoldrick, 2006.
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