Soon we were up high enough to get views back down over Gatineau Park and the wide flats of the Ottawa Valley beyond. It was a perfectly clear and calm sunny day, with pristine white snow covering everything near and far.
Beginnings of Ottawa Valley View
Sunshine over Ottawa Valley
One final steep stretch brought us to the summit plateau of King Mountain. The track we had followed had brought us directly to the geodetic survey memorial marker atop King Mountain - a nice spot to survey the surrounding terrain and take a break.
My typical route when doing this hike is to describe a loop, going up one side of the mountain and down the other. With our ascent over, it was now time to make our way across the wooded top of King Mountain's relatively flat summit and down the far side. We initially followed the official NCC trail that loops over the summit from the "parkway" side, noting how recent thick snows had caused many trees to fall or be severely bent over, often obscuring the path.
In other places, where our route went through several of King Mountain's open patches, we were able to snowshoe unhindered through beautiful fluffy powder.
Eventually we had to turn off the NCC trail, back into bushwhacking territory, in order for us to complete a loop back down to the lowlands. Here we got into the thick of the blowdown caused by the December 21 wet snow event. It was slow going for about twenty minutes, navigating around severely bent over and/or broken branches and trunks. Eventually, we came to the top of King Mountain's south-west facing slopes, and as we descended, we entered a region of more open forest and, as a result, much easier going. A steep but fluffy descent soon brought us back to one of the travelled snowshoe tracks.