Most hikes in the Gatineau Park take you up, then back down. But how do you prepare for a hike in the Grand Canyon? We don’t have canyons around here, do we?

This is what you do instead. You start at the top, hike down, then back up. This, I hoped, would simulate what hiking in the Grand Canyon would be like. Okay, we have trees here, and the temperature is a lot colder now too. But it was really only a test of my old knees to see if I could do it.

We started at the parking lot for the Champlain Lookout. Get there early, about 8:30, and you’ll have no problem getting a parking spot. From there we hiked along 1B heading towards Western Lodge.The 1B takes you to the #1, also known as Ridge Road, because it follows the ridge from the top of Luskville trail all the way to Old Chelsea.

The Reverse Hike

The Reverse Hike

Once on Ridge Road, we kept going to the 16, which takes you down to Blanchet Beach. We had some refuelling and defuelling there. There’s a great composting toilet at the beach, which is quite clean and not smelly.

After some trail mix, we climbed back up. This was a challenge I discovered. The longer you hike, the less energy your muscles have. But I was determined to get past the slowpokes in my way, and we overtook young and old on our quest to be back at the car within four hours. We’ve done the Wolfe Trail many times, and I know how to pace myself.

Back on Ridge Road, we started the long trek back. It really hadn’t seemed that long on the way there, but we noticed a gradual climb for what seemed like forever. We knew we were getting close when the “I feel so guilty I stuffed myself at Cora’s” crowd were walking down the trails towards us. There really is a reward for getting out there early. I wouldn’t have wanted to be hiking in the crowds that were appearing by noon.

You can see our route on the map. It’s the pink line to where we breaked, then the orange line back.

UPDATE: I’ve finally uploaded my pics from the hike. The colours were much better than I had remembered. Here’s a few samples:

Blanchet Beach

Blanchet Beach

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