Friday, May 29, 2015

Frontenac Hiking Reflection

       This trip was one of the best hiking trips I've ever been on! The trip started with getting off the bus at the beginning of the trail, where the previous group was waiting to leave. They told me of all the cool things there were to see, as well as which camp site to go to have the best experience. But as soon as we came, they were off, and we quickly started our endeavour down the paths of Frontenac.

       While packing my bag, I failed to notice how my bag was different from the other in the communal pile. Mine was very tall, compensating for being very narrow, making every tip and turn more exaggerated while wearing the pack. I also had to start watching out for low hanging branches, as others would go below, the top of my pack would hit them. Putting behind these small problems, the trip was quite comfortable. My pack had been adjusted properly, therefore I had little to no back or shoulder pain.

       Once we had maintain a slightly better pace than our usual stop-go-stop routine, I got a chance to view our surroundings. The colours of spring were clearly evident by the buds just barely forming on trees just exiting their hibernation. Although the path was still soggy and mushy from the winter drainage, the ground maintained a fall look to it. The orange, brown and yellow colours combined with the budding leaves created an extraordinary scene.

       After deciding on going to the larger camp site away from the mica mine, my group member, Ben, helped me to quickly set up our tent, so we would have plenty of time later for other things. Because of the long walk, we were quite hungry, so we quickly made our diner for the night. Our diner consisted of smoked salmon, mashed potatoes, and boiled carrots, making a wonderful feast for the first night. Our meal was surprisingly easy to make, but took quite a while to clean. I spent at least 20 minutes scrubbing the pan was used to cook the fish to get the smell out. I didn't want to smell like old, stinky fish while hiking the next day. I smelt bad enough as it was. Taking a bath or shower was out of the question, and the lake water was still extremely cold from the winter thaw.

       Going to bed quickly, being tired from the first day, we were kept up for a few more hours by our neighbour platform buddies. I was able to fall asleep easily, but my partner barley slept, leaving him exhausted for the next day ahead. In the morning, looking through our food bags, we encountered a serious problem: we both forgot our portions of the breakfast meal! With no breakfast supplies, we mooched off of other groups with excess food, but out platform buddies gave us the most, being sorry from keeping up my partner all night. After breakfast we quickly met up with the other half of the group and continued our trek.

       The trek was mostly the same from the previous day, but the terrain was much more hilly, with many exposed rock and boulders protruding from the ground. This matched the terrain of our destination: A gigantic cliff neighbouring the waterfront. The view was astonishing, overlooking the lake and the area, being a very high point on the park. After eating lunch on the top of the cliff and excavating a crystal sample from the bottom of the cliff face, we continued our trek, since only a select few groups could stay.

       The trek to the second camp site was very barren, being covered in sparse patches of prickly shrubs, poking through the exposed bedrock plateau. The walk was quite long, and without any change in scenery, very boring. At last though, after around an hour of hiking, the rocky plateau dissipated and merged into rolling hills. Right after the transition, we found our camp site, which was it the end of a small peninsula. I was quickly overwhelmed with the gusts of wind, which battered us as we started to put up our tents. The weather was quite warm, but the harsh winds made it very cold very fast.

       After a short time, we were able to set up our tents and prepare our dinner, which was tacos. The beef cooked readily over the alcohol burners and tasted surprisingly good! After creating too much, we mixed it with another group's creamy pasta. which created a very good, but hodgepodge, hamburger helper meal. Because there was so much left over, everyone got some, even though the past was still a little raw.

       Soon after, we started to find ways to entertain ourselves. Bashing sticks against sticks until either your branch broke or theirs became a very fun game which lasted for hours. I also brought out my whittling kit, and proceeded to make an axe out of large branches. As night descended on the camp, we quickly huddled by the fire. Of the things I brought, a had a small coil of magnesium ribbon in my fire starting kit, which we lit and watched as blinding white light flashed from the coil. After the fire went out, we all went to bed, but not before playing card in other peoples tents for a few hours. Being tired, my partner and I fell asleep quickly, with no disturbances from out platform buddies.

      When we woke up, we quickly made our breakfast of other peoples leftover bagels and Nutella as we took down the camp site. We met very quickly with the other group and proceeded to trek the home stretch back home. There were manning rising and falling hills as we followed the side of the lake back to the starting area. Although I was excited to finish, I was very tired and sluggish, making me step in the mud and water often. Once my feet got wet the first time, all rules went out the window, as I just walked through the rest of the bogs we passed through. Although it was a fun trip, I was very tired. No matter how well you strap your bag on, it will always be heavy on the legs. Once we had made it back to the start I flopped down with exhaustion and pride, for this was the first hiking trip I had done, and I felt that I had done well for the most part, other than forgetting breakfast. We ate our lunch and made our way back to school on the bus.

       This trip was one of thee best camping trip I have ever been on. Filled with adventure, exploration, outdoors, and beautiful scenery, this trip became one to remember. If I were to do it again, I would pick a better time, as the early spring time made for flooded trails and cold water, but the spring also came with it's beautiful scenery. I will never forget this trip, and I plan on doing it again sometime in the summer.

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