Localife Ottawa: Hot hikes

July 23, 2015

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It was our last event of the 2014/2015 year, so we told you to take a hike — and you listened!

A group of adventurous Ottawa Localifers woke up bright and early on Saturday, July 11, 2015 and drove off into Gatineau Park in search of the Luskville Falls Trail.

It was to be a hot, summer day and the mercury was expected to hit 33 degrees by noon — and that was before humidex was factored in. It was important to get a jump start to the day before it got too hot to move.

The Luskville Falls Trail is a beautiful hiking trail, though some might classify it as a climbing trail because it is not for the faint of heart. The first few minutes to the falls* is pretty easy, but after that the trail is rocky and steep. It feels like you are climbing a mountain, but seven heroic Ottawa cancer survivors said “We’re doing this” and started the climb. Within 10 minutes, 90 per cent of us were ready to throw in the towel. It was getting hot, the trail was harder than it looked, and we were discouraged by the two men who were running up the mountain as we stood there struggling to breathe.

But we were a determined — if not stubborn — bunch and we continued to hike. If we couldn’t make it to the top, we were going to at least make it to the first lookout point, Lusk Lookout! As we continued the climb, we began cursing the one who suggested this trail. It’s beautiful, they said. You’ll love it, they said. As the sun got hotter, we climbed. And climbed.

Upon making it to Lusk Lookout, we paused to take in the view. We had made it. This little victory rejuvenated us and after a few guzzles of water, we were determined to continue and make it to the next lookout point, Pontiac Lookout. So onwards we went. By this point the conversations turned from “How can we punish the one who suggested this hike” to other topics such as movies, television, and life. No longer were we hiking angry, we were hiking determined.

The closer we got to the top, the stronger our strides. We were going to get there some way despite the sun trying its hardest to beat us down with death rays of heat. In the end, all seven cancer survivors conquered the Luskville Falls Trail. We made it to the top and enjoyed a relaxing moment at the top underneath the fire tower. We took a well deserved break and snacked on wild berries and other snacks that we had carried with us. We may not have been the fastest climbers, but we made it. The only thing left to do was get back down.

On the way down, the trail split off in two directions and so did our group. The girls went one way and the boys went the other. This was not a competition to see who could get down faster, we just decided to split up to see which way would be easier. The girls got down first, but, we all made it down to the bottom safe and sound. We had accomplished our goal and hiked the entire 4.5km Luskville Falls Trail.

But we weren’t done yet. Tired, sticky, hot, and hungry, we drove another 24 minutes to get to Chelsea Pub a nice little hidden gem in Chelsea, QC. We devoured some appetizers and drinks and had a great time chatting and laughing about the ordeal we just put ourselves through. It was a great little taste of adventure that a lot of us had been wanting to do, but didn’t think we could.

As we finished up the food and were ready to part ways, plans were being made to come back to the Luskville Falls Trail and hike it again to improve on our time. The “suggested” time is 2.5 hours. We took a little over 3 hours. Perhaps next summer, you’ll be out of breath and sitting at Lusk Lookout and you’ll see a group running up the trail. That might be us. Maybe.

Though challenging, we all had a wonderful time. It was a great way to end off the year, and it wasn’t so despicable that we actually just might do it again next year!

*The falls are usually pretty spectacular, but it was a particularly dry summer so it looked more like a rock face with a drizzle of water than an actual waterfall.

We will be taking August to come up with our 2015/2016 calendar of events. We hope to bring back some classic Localife Ottawa events as well as introduce some brand new ones that we hope will get you all excited.

Thanks to everyone who came to our events during the year, you made the year fantastic and we hope to see you again when we start back up in the fall!

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