Skiing from Nakkertok Val-des-Monts to Nakkertok South
Skiing from Nakkertok Val-des-Monts to Nakkertok SouthDejan Custic2017-02-01T13:21:55-05:00
Trail 1 is a 24 km route that stretches between Nakkertok North (on Highway 366 Est) and Nakkertok South. Except for the 5 or 6 kilometres that fall within the North and South trail networks, Trail 1 is a backcountry or wilderness trail. The trail is quite wide where it follows logging roads and narrows where it follows trails through the forest cut by Nakkertok members. Each year, there are small changes made to the alignment in response to logging or development pressures. The route goes through softwood and hardwood forests and crosses a number of beaver ponds.
Of the 24 kilometres, at least 17 kilometres pass over private land. At one time, stretches of Trail 1 was owned by the Outaouais Trail Association and the intention was to sell pieces of the trail to Nakkertok members to preserve the trail. This did not succeed. The land was eventually sold and a proviso was added to the sale that allowed for the passage of skiers. Since then, the land has changed hands several times and it is very unlikely that any legal rights remain. In addition, other users (ATVs, dog sledders, hunters and snow-mobiles etc.) have obtained access. This means the best way to retain access is to use the trail and to pass lightly.
Trail 1 falls within the jurisdictions of Cantley and Val des Monts. The south portion of the trail from P0 all the way to the Boulevard area falls within Cantley. The municipality has designated Trail 1 as a non-motorized, recreational trail – this provides some longterm protection for the route. Attempts will be made to have Val des Monts do the same.
The Val-des-Monts sector is hillier than the South sector. For this reason, it takes longer to ski the north half than the south half. Racers have been known to ski the 24 km route in around two hours. Most tourers will take 4 to 5 hours to ski the route. And there are several infamous trips that have finished in the dark as a result of overzealous trail work earlier in the day.
The usual way to ski Trail 1 is to car pool it. Meet at south, car pool to North, and ski north to south. However, it can just as easily be skied south to north, or, the trail can be accessed from P2, P3, P4 or P5 and ski an out-and-back route. Another popular option is to ski from South to Lamoureaux Road or Lundy Lake and back to South.
North Sector: Start at P6, the large parking lot on Highway 366 Est at Nakkertok North. Follow the Trail 1 signs in the North network along Beaver Valley and behind the Racine houses. Here the trail joins a new logging road that has a long climb up to the junction with Trails 11 and 19 where the old Silver Chalet used to be. From there, there are two more long climbs until a plateau is reached with a beautiful section of trail that leads by several small beaver ponds on the left. Eventually, the Trail 1 arrives at the intersection of Trail 19 and the Ski-doo Trail (km 5). This point marks the end of the Nakkertok North network and the start of the Boulevard/Sommet Sector.
Boulevard/Sommet Sector: Two short climbs bring skiers to Sommet (km 6). At 320 metres above sea level, this is the highest point on Trail 1. From Sommet, there is a series of long downhills that can be fast and tricky. The downhills end on Castor, a large beaver pond. The trail crosses the pond and after less than a kilometre, arrives at a wide logging road. The road replaced a scrabbly section of trail and this 1.5 km section is known as Boulevard. At the end of Boulevard, the road veers to the right and Trail 1 veers to the left. The next kilometre is known as the Three Crossings because the trail crosses the same stream three times. Original bridges were carried away by freshets. Presently, the club relies on temporary snow bridges for crossing. Although there are times when a bypass is considered, this is a picturesque section of trail and worth the effort of the crossings. The sector ends at St. Antoine where the trail meets the road/ski-doo trail.
Étang Sector: From St. Antoine, the trail follows a ski-doo trail for 200 metres before heading up a hill to the right. The trail winds through a low area featuring an animal cave on the right before a long, hard climb up Minneau Hill. The trail arrives at Étang, a pretty spot overlooking a small lake. There is a bench here and even on the coldest days, this is a warm spot. From here, there is a long, easy climb up to the top of Upper Glade. In good conditions, Upper Glade is a twisty, gradual downhill that skis very nicely. In fast conditions, stay out of the trees!!. Linda’s Payne Hill travels through a mature maple stand. Rift Hill is the last challenge and takes skiers to Rift Valley, a low, dark, mysterious 400 m that is renowned for black mud that takes a long time to freeze. Emerging from Rift Valley, one arrives at the Lac St. Amour junction. Going left takes one to P5 and civilization. Going right starts the Lake Sector.
Lake Sector: From the Lac St. Amour junction, follow an old logging road. The trail climbs up the long, hard Tornado Hill, named for a big wind storm. There is a second, easier climb that takes skiers to the top of Upper Glade and the challenge of Leonard’s Wallow at the bottom of the first downhill. The Lower Glade is a series of gentle downhills through mature maple forest. There are a number of compression bumps in this section that test the legs. Once down, skiers pass the 12 km, midway marker sign. Although this is halfway in terms of distance, it takes more than half in terms of time and exertion due to the hilly terrain in the north half. An easy ski along a new road brings skiers past the Heron Rookery on the left and Lundy Road. Turning left takes skiers out to P4 (Lundy). Going straight heads to South and the start of Groulx Sector.
Groulx Sector: From Lundy lake, the trail passes to the west of Lundy Lake. It crosses a beaver pond and arrives at the rear of Rob MacKenzie’s house. This is the usual checkpoint for the Nakkerloppet. From here the trail skirts around a planned subdivision and arrives at the top of Leonard’s Hill – the last technical challenge on the N-S route. Next the trail crosses Groulx Swamp. A long, open area. Once across the swamp, there is a long, gradual uphill, a nice swoop down the other side and arrival at the Lamoureaux Road crossing (P3). Take care crossing the road as the traffic is fast around the curve.
Laviolette Sector: From Lamoureaux Road, the trail skirts through some areas with poor drainage. These areas are slow to freeze and require quite a lot of snow for good skiing. The trail passes the Trail 3 intersection just before you arrive at the back of Steve’s house. Next, there is a challenging downhill that ends beside Paul Laviotette’s house. It is a short distance from here to Laviolette Swamp and the start of the South Sector.
South Sector: Tracksetting from the South usually extends at least as far north as Laviolette Swamp. From here, the skiing is usually excellent. At the junction with Trail 4, Trail 1 veers to the left. From here, it is a very pleasant, rolling ski to Morrel’s, Owl Cabin and back to either the Stadium (P1) or the Bunker (P0). Finishing at the Stadium makes Trail # 1 a 22 km route and finishing at the Bunker is 23 km.
Parking access to Trail 1
P0 (Bunker): This is the parking strip along Gatineau Avenue just before the lower gate for the stadium road and near the old building known as the Bradford Bunker. This is the traditional finish for north-south expeditions.
P1 (Stadium): This is the parking area at the Stadium.
P2 ( Laviolette): This access point to Trail 1 is in the Laviolette subdivision.
P3 (Lamoureaux): P3 is located along Lamoureaux road and can be accessed from either Montée St. Amour to the east or Highway 307 (turn left at the flashing light at the top of the hill) and Chemin Ste. Elizabeth. Use extreme caution when parking on or crossing Chemin Lamoureaux. Park on the straight area, away from the curves.
P4 (Lundy): P4 is located at the terminus of Montée St. Amour. From P4, ski about 400 m on the road behind the gate to arrive at the intersection with Trail 1.
P5 (Lac St. Amour): From Montée St. Amour, turn right on Chemin du Lac. Pass Lac St. Amour on the right and turn left, pass the gravel pit and park at the end of the road. From here, ski along the road for 400 m to intercept Trail 1.
P6 (North): This is the Nakkertok North parking lot.
Trail 1 is a backcountry trail and is fairly remote, especially in the Boulevard-Sommet Sector. The map shows the location of replacement equipment (poles and skis). To make use of the cached skis, it will be necessary to have a screw driver to swap bindings. One person in each party should have first-aid equipment. Each of the northerly parking areas – P2, P3, P4, P5 and P6 – offers access to house where assistance can be sought.
It takes about 12 days of trail work to prepare for snow. The Étang and Boulevard-Sommet Sectors are only accessible outside of hunting seasons because the land is leased to hunters.