October 5 - 7, 2011
The amazing weather set the tone for an excellent Fall hiking trip. Although the colours on the trees were just starting, the perfect blue skies and temperatures in the mid-twenties were a rare treat in October. When was the last time you said that you went swimming while on a hiking trip in Frontenac Provincial Park in October?
Our trip began at the Arab Lake Parking lot and the group was excited to get going. We took the northern route via Birch Lake and the old mica mines to our campsite on Little Clear Lake. We made excellent time as the group moved really well together and the navigating done by the students was excellent. Well, I guess almost excellent, as Ben did try to take the group up a crazy steep hill. With a few quick stops at some nice lookouts and a bit of exploring of the mica mines, we reached our camp around 5 pm. Just enough time to collect firewood for our dinners and to watch the sun go down.
Once the sun went down, you could really feel the Fall chill. The night was really chilly, as I am sure we were close to the freezing point, but that was well worth the beautiful display of the moon and the stars. It also meant that the next day was going to be another sunny one. By the time we were ready to start moving, the layers of clothing came off quickly, with most of us hiking in shorts and t-shirts.
The 2nd day saw us hiking from campsite #9, around Big Salmon Lake to campsite #4. The route was part old cart track, as we passed a few old homestead ruins, and part small windy hiking trails. The group moved at a record pace, which gave us plenty of time for lunch. We had lunch at the Big Salmon Lake lookout, which was one of the big highlights of the trip, as the students had plenty of time to check out the amazing view and take a swim in the beautiful clear water. Even though we spent a good 2 hours enjoying the sunshine at lunch, we were still at our campsite by 4 pm, giving us plenty of time to collect (good) firewood for our evening. Campsite #4 also gave us the perfect vantage point for the beautiful sunset delivered to us across Big Salmon Lake.
The night was not as chilly this time and things seemed to warm up really quickly in the morning, they did predict that temperatures would be in the high twenties for this day. That said, we were looking to get going a little earlier today and for some of us (Ms. Lacroix and I) that worked, but for the rest of the group they were left to organize themselves (as we hid in the trees about 100 m away). It took the group an extra half an hour to finish cleaning up and decide that they should start moving, but they left the campsite spotless and were moving up the trail in the right direction as a group. That says a lot about this trip and this group, they worked well together, they moved as a group, they listened to the instructions and teachings, and they had a lot of fun together. That combined with the perfect weather, the group sang all the way to the end of the trail.