The King-King Hike - Gatineau Park
A short image gallery documenting our morning team outing to Gatineau Park near Ottawa, Canada, September 19, 2016.
Itinerary for today was a cobbling-together of a couple of different small walks into something that gave a nice overview of the park: a quick look at the historic grounds of the Mackenzie King Estate, a walk through some nice mixed hardwood forests, and a visit to the lookout-filled summit of King Mountain, all done as a point-to-point hike to minimize distance. Given the King-ish nature of both the start and end points of this outing, I'm naming it the King-King hike.
Our hike started from the Waterfall Trailhead along the Champlain Parkway. Arn and I shuttled a vehicle up to the far end of the hike, at the King Mountain trailhead, then returned back down to await the arrival of the final stragglers (well, straggler). While waiting, I realized that I had forgotten to invite one of our new team members - Steven. Many apologies, Steve - I shall make it up to you.
A short walk up an unmarked path brought us to a far corner of the Mackenzie King Estate - a 600-acre property of woodland, open lawns, quaint cottages, and curious faux ruins. Formerly the retreat of William Lyon Mackenzie King - Canada's 10th prime minister - the estate is now a historic site within Gatineau Park.
We browsed past several of the ground's ruins and cottages, eventually making our way to its western edge, where a segment of the Lauriault Trail led off into the woods. Winding through maple forest, we descended slightly and ended up at a little body of water known as Mulvihill Lake. After this year's long dry summer, the water was low and stagnant.
From Lake Mulvihill we walked out onto the Champlain Parkway itself. This parkway was the link that would transfer us over to a different trail network - one that would bring us to the top of nearby King Mountain. The parkway itself is quite pleasant to walk, what with its smooth pavement and nicely-grassed verges. After about fifteen minutes of uphill walking, we turned left into the trees, off of the parkway and onto the trail that headed for the top of King Mountain.
A narrow but well-defined trail led gradually upward through open hardwood forest. After another fifteen or so minutes, we arrived at the main King Mountain trail loop - much more heavily used - and turned left to complete the final climb up to the top of King Mountain. Sections of trail here were steep in places, but heavily fortified with sturdy staircases where needed. On this humid and warm morning, it was more than enough to get us all nice and sweaty.
We emerged onto the main lookout at the top of King Mountain, near a geodesic survey memorial, right around 11 a.m. To the south and west were broad views over lower Gatineau Park and the distant, hazily-outlined buildings of Ottawa's downtown. With Nic tch-tch'ing in the background, I climbed the survey memorial for a quick wide-angle team snapshot.
From the main lookout, the King Mountain trail wound westward to a point overlooking the Eardley Escarpment - one of the defining land features of the park. This long wall forms the western edge of the park, and from many points atop it - like this point - there were excellent views down into the broad Ottawa River Valley. Being mindful of the time (we had a lunch reservation for noon) we didn't stop for too long in any one spot.
The trail circled around to the northern slopes of King Mountain, where the terrain and vegetation changed from open ledges and oak trees to a shady forest of pines and firs. After an easy descent to the shores of small but pretty Black Lake, we climbed a small bank and arrived at the King Mountain Trailhead parking lot, and the end of our little journey.
Everyone waited around while, Chris, Arn and I shuttled some vehicles up, and then we all drove - funeral procession-style - to the nearby Chelsea Pub in the parkside community of Old Chelsea.
Many thanks to Nic for the tasty pub lunch and for suggesting this as a team outing. A most pleasant way to spend a nice late-summer Monday morning.
Interactive trackmap with photo points - King-King Hike - click map to view
Waterfall Trailhead to King Mtn Trailhead - Hike Data
* : +/- 75 feet
Total Elevation Gain:
Total Elevation Loss:
* : +/- 75 feet