These Gatineau Park snowshoeing tips were submitted by guest David McMahon of XCZone and Natural Fitness Labs.
MacMahon said the tips were inspired by a group outing he took shortly after speaking with All in a Day guest host Stu Mills about why so many people were becoming lost in Gatineau Park.
- Tell people where you are going and when you expect to be back.
- Plan that snowshoeing will be twice as difficult as running the same distance.
- Don’t over-estimate your fitness level for the sport.
- The further you go from the parking lot, the softer the trail and more work involved.
- Use a map and compass if you are unfamiliar with the trail.
- If the trail is closed, it is because there are risks.
- Bring a small light or a big light at night.
- Pack one extra layer if you are moving slowly.
- First establish (right out of your car) and maintain situational awareness.
- Make note of what direction you are travelling and the way back to your car.
- Take note of topography (hills, streams, ponds).
- Recognize your own footsteps.
- Learn to read the stars and the sun (hint: they rise in the East and set in the West).
- The light from city of Ottawa is visible at night from anywhere in the park (it is south).
- The sound of the city and highway is often heard coming from the south or southeast.
- Make an arrow in the snow with branches in the direction you are travelling so if you know that you are not going in circles.
- Going around in the same circles expecting a different result is tiring.
- If you are lost, stay to a main trail and get to high ground. It is easier to find you. Going cross-country (off-trail) will make it harder to find you.