Griffith Uplands Trail
The Griffith Uplands Trail is a physically challenging 10 km hiking/snowshoeing loop encompassing four mountains - Lake, Buck, Spring and Godin. The Trail is on crown land designated as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI). There are also some interesting high-perched wetlands, a few of which (e.g. Jocko Lake) are in the granite area of the hill and support bog mats. Such wetlands are undoubtedly affected by the adjacent marble deposits and may support interesting flora. So too may the south-facing, warmer than normal marble barrens along the southern slopes of Godin and Spring Mountains. If the weather has been favourable there are often ample amounts of blueberries. The spectacular views always causes one to complete a hike in good spirits. See additional information
March 7, 2013 - Ole and John
The Griffith Uplands Trail is on crown land designated as an Area of Natural and Scientific Interest (ANSI) and it was our desire to see how this recently opened trail of 2010 functioned in the winter.
We left Ottawa a little after 7 a.m and arrived at the trailhead before 9.
A short glance at the Trail billboard map and we were off. It looked like we might have been the first to use the trail this winter. It soon became apparent that we should have been more selective in what snowshoes to wear - there were still to other styles left in the car.
However, we persevered, crunching down through a 6" layer of soft snow with a thick underlying icy crust. Our snowshoes made for groomed trails seemed little better than wearing large boots. However, we soon had to focus on more important things like looking for the small blue blazes on trees that marked a trail that had a number of fallen trees and branches with no marks in the snow other than a few deer prints which we soon learned were also worthwhile markers.
The initial part of the trail was through a forest with a few mature deciduous and coniferous trees interspersed with many young poplars as well as an interesting lowland of old growth cedars.
About a 1/2 km from the trailhead we crossed a well used snowmobile trail to commence the 10 km loop featuring the five lookouts. It also was the point at which the trail became steeper as we ascended towards the Lake Mountain viewing area.
We soon realized the deer were very good at marking the Trail and it reminded us that the area is managed as a deer yard. There seemed to be a fair sized herd in the area considering all the resting places such as the above where at least an 18" snow pack had been melted down to the oak leaves.
After about 1 hour of struggling through the deep snow and ice we reached the Mountain Lake viewing area. The Madawaska River in the valley and hwy #41 ascending as the dark line on the far hillside were some of the most prominent features.
And, looking up-river to the northwest many more distant hills arose on the horizon. At this point the oaks and a few pine became dominant.
Leaving Mountain Lake viewing we descended a crevasse-like feature and found ourselves crawling up a steep incline (that seemed quite timid once it was packed down) to the first lookout "Jocko Lake".
After about 1 1/2 hrs we were finally at the Jocko Lake lookout where we sat down for a snack.
Pine and spruce seemed to be the dominant trees around Jocko Lake similar to this pond in the Cantley Twp. area of the Gatineau River watershed.
Although the countryside was very mellow and peaceful in this overcast day along the Trail we decided that further exploration in an even more rugged landscape wasn't worth it so we returned along our packed train with relative ease and was back at the trailhead by 12 noon.
More Trail Impressions