The Carbide Wilson ruins near Meech Lake – with it’s impressive waterfall running past what looks like a mad scientist’s lair – is one of the most picturesque sites in the area, and it can be just as beautiful in the winter!
Erica and I were looking for a quick round trip we could knock off in a few hours after work, and we settled on a cross country ski to the Carbide Wilson ruins – something on my list for a while now.
The cross country ski route to the ruins is only about 2k – 1 kilometre on trail #36 (actually part of the Trans Canada Trail), leaving from P11 at the O’Brien Beach parking lot, and then another kilometre on an unmarked route that splits off to the right.
Trail #36 is a medium difficulty, classic-only trail that is pretty easy to ski; the only challenges are a small hill at the beginning and a pretty significant downhill (marked by a caution icon on the map) about 3/4 of a kilometre in, which descends to a gorgeous stream and rapids pouring out of Meech Lake and into a large inland pond. This pond in turn wraps around the bend and feeds the waterfalls at the Carbide-Wilson ruins.
Just past this scenic spot – around the bend and up a hill – we find the fork in the trail on the right that leads to the ruins. There is a Gatineau Park sign marker here, but no sign pointing up to the ruins. The only signage is actually a no-mountain-biking sign on one tree.
This portion of the trail is not groomed and has quite a few pedestrians through the winter, so don’t expect to follow in tracks along this portion. The beginning and end of the trail feature hills with a fairly narrow path, making climbing and descending the hills a challenge. However, in between the first and last hill is fairly flat and easy going. Plus, it’s only for a kilometre!
As the end of the trail approaches we begin to hear the roaring waterfalls, and the gentle downward slope of the trail gets steeper and steeper until the ruins are in sight. From here we popped off our skis and continued on foot to explore the ruins.
The Carbide Wilson ruins are just as enchanting covered in snow as they are in summer, that’s for sure. The water was flowing high with melting snow from the Spring sunshine, while parts of the cascading water was hidden by huge shields of ice topped with pillows of fresh snow.
The ruins themselves took on a new sense of mystery, as I literally found myself wondering what living in this setting, harnessing the power of water for my own mad experiments would have been like in the winter months.
After a quick bit of exploring and enjoying the natural beauty of the place, the sun was setting and we started for home. Aside from a few tricky downhills, resulting in some great fall footage for my video, the ski back was pleasant and easy, with the sun peeking out from behind trees and hills in the distance. All in, the adventure took about 2 hours, which left us just enough time for a beer and some fish and chips from the Chelsea Pub on the way home!