The grade 10 Outdoor Ed class headed to Frontenac Provincial Park for their backpacking trip. We spent 3 days hiking through this gorgeous park, with its beautiful lakes, lots of signs of its rich history, really nice campsites and the tranquility of the fall season.
The weather welcomed us with open arms. The sun was out, the sky blue and the temperatures had us taking off layers right from the start. It was the perfect way to start of this trip. The colours on the trees were also still in great shape, with lots of yellows, oranges and reds still visible. We started at the end of the road and made our way to campsite #6 on Little Salmon Lake. This was a very light day, which took us an hour and a half. Probably a good thing as some people's packs were quite heavy and for most, it was the first time doing a backpacking trip.
The campsite was amazing, as we were at the end of the lake with a wonderful view in front of us. The tents were set up, we looked for wood for the fires and spent some time relaxing. A couple of people dared to go for a swim, some were stumped by a few brain teasers provided by Stephanie, while others spent some extra energy in a game of capture the bottle. The weather was beautiful until about supper time and just as the groups were finishing their meals, it started to rain a little. This did not deter the entire group from starting a game of manhunt, with people hiding along logs, some in trees and many little stumbles as people tried to stay away from their captors. With the noise of a light rain, we went to sleep to prepare for the next day, a long one.
The rain stopped just as we got up, which was really nice as we wanted to take the opportunity to lighten the load for the day with a big breakfast. This was our longest day and any weight that we could shed before we began was a bonus. The hike from campsite #6 to #4 was expected to take 4 hours plus our stops. We started off strong with most of the group going the wrong way down the hill, then a couple of backpack repairs, but once we got going, we made really good time. We passed old homestead ruins and abandoned trucks from the logging days around the turn of the century. Then at the end of Big Salmon Lake, the terrain became more hilly as we made our way to an amazing lookout. This gave a great view of the entire Park, with all its wonderful fall colours. Right around the corner was also campsite #5, our lunch spot.
We took a nice break for lunch to ensure everyone had a good rest and had a chance to eat. There were grilled cheese sandwiches, beans and hot dogs, spider dogs, soups and chocolate, lots of chocolate. After lunch, we headed out for our last campsite, which was about an hour down the trail. This is also when the rain slowly began to fall again. The lead pack managed to scare away a young buck, which ran straight for the students at the back of the pack. It is always nice to see wildlife on a school trip, as the wildlife can generally hear us coming from a mile away. We made it into camp just before the heavy rains arrived. We managed to get the tents up, tarps up and to collect some firewood before we spent the rest of the evening huddled under the tarps trying to stay warm by the fire. A good time for a game of 'lick the stick'.
The heavy rains continued for the rest of the night, really testing the quality of the tents. Needless to say that some people were happy to get up and have breakfast by a fire in the morning. This along with the thoughts of having a shower later in the day gave enough motivations to pack everything up and head down the trail for the last two and a half hours of our trip. The rains never let up on this final day, but neither did the spirit of the group. All in all, a great trip.