We’ve done a fair bit of hiking in the Gatineau Park already, and yesterday we decided to  mix it up a bit with a drive to the other end of the trail system. It’s been a very long time since I’ve been to Luskville Falls, a place my parents used to take us for blueberry picking.

I’d read somewhere that it’s the steepest trail in the park, and based on how my quads feel I’d say I agree. Part of the fun was getting there. Once you go through Aylmer (which has changed so much since my last visit), you head off into rural farmland. It reminded us a bit of Belgium in the flat farmland parts, or the Eastern Townships in Quebec with rolling hills and semi-permanent chip wagons at the corners of small towns.

The turnoff from Highway 148 isn’t well signposted. We almost missed it. But once you’re on the dirt road, you can easily see the large NCC sign that takes you to the parking lot. THe path starts on a downhill. Enjoy it, because it’s the only one you’ll get. From the start, it’s 350 m to the falls. Some people only go that far. It reminded me a bit of Milford Sound in New Zealand. And like those falls, it’s better when wet or in the spring, with the run off. From there it’s  another 3 km to the fire tower. And it’s all uphill. Some parts have stone steps built in; other parts you’re scrambling over rock face. To keep you on the trail, there are a series of small painted arrows on the rocks and trail markers on the trees. It took us just under an hour to hike up, and just over half an hour to return. The return trip does involve crossing the falls, near the top.

When you get to the fire tower, you are at the end of Ridge Road. For our next trip, we may hike along Ridge Road to Wolfe Trail. I think if we did that loop (all the way down to Meach and back up), it would be pretty good training for the Grand Canyon. I know it’s not the same altitude, but there are steeps on it. And I know the view isn’t the same at all, but …

So today my quads are a tad tight, which is good. I can still walk, but I’m now thinking of ways to build up the muscle before holidays.  If you do the hike, bring water and a  snack. If you’re planning on hiking along Ridge Road, bring more food. And hiking shoes are definitely the footwear choice for this hike.

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