I meant to write this yesterday, but work has been so busy I didn’t even get to take a lunch hour!
Anyway, if you read Facebook, you already know we went to Gatineau Park for a hike this past weekend, and you’ve seen the photos, but you don’t know… the rest of the story.
A few weeks back we took our first foray into the wilds of the park. We explored the short trail near Black Lake (sounds so ominous) and were able to finish the loop in about an hour. Our friends P&K recommended the Blanchet trail near Meech Lake as one that might be a little more challenging, so we were excited to try it out. Based on our trail map, Blanchet trail looked to be about twice as long as the one near Black Lake (ooooOOOOOoo), so we planned for about a two hour hike.
And off we went.
But when we got there, we were greeted by a sign indicating parts of the trail were closed until the end of September, for rehabilitation. Unfortunately, someone came along just as we were trying to decipher the posted map and told us that "the lookout" – located smack in the middle of the closed section – was indeed open to the public. So we figured "Great!" the sign must be out of date and we can hike the whole loop!
Off we headed around the trail, oblivious to the pitfall ahead. After many hills – and more than one incorrect assumption that “this must be the lookout” – we worked up a good sweat and finally made it halfway around the trail. The lookout was a really impressive sight. To come across this vista view of the Outaouais River after an hour and a half of marching through the forest was actually pretty breathtaking.
But wouldn't you know, just past the lookout, the trail was closed. And there was no detour. A few of the other hikers decided to say "screw that” and headed through the barricade into the closed-off section of trail anyway. What were we to do? We followed.
Thankfully we let others go first. About 2 minutes after we crossed the barricade, a few hikers came running back saying they had spotted a forest ranger up ahead handing out fines. So we turned around and, seeing no other option, backtracked.
That kind of sucked. It would have been nice to do the whole trail. Lengthwise, we did what amounted to a whole trail (and it took us 3 hours in the end), so exercise-wise it was a good day, but there’s still a good chunk of the trail that we haven’t seen yet.
We'll have to make plans to do the trail again in October once the rehabilitation is done. We'll just have to ignore the advice of other hikers.