Friday, May 29, 2015

Frontenac Park Hiking Reflection

Hiking Trip Reflection
By: Aidan Gray
          Hiking and camping in Frontenac Park was certainly an unreal experience. Other than small excursions and camping trips with my family, I had never set out into to the wilderness for a leisurely intention. This was different from any vacation or trip I had ever gone on before. We actually escaped from civilization and had to survive in the wilderness, with proper planning and preparation of course.  

View from our platform at campsite 12
          This trip began with our group hiking about 5 kilometers to a junction where the group would split into two. One group would continue to campsite twelve, which was located on Lynch Lake and not far from the junction. The other group would continue to campsite nine, located about one kilometer from the junction and on Little Clear Lake. My group, consisting of myself, Cooper, Clayton, Patrice, and Thomas, chose to take the short hike to campsite twelve. We were fairly tired and we thought that after a decent sleep, we would be more energized for the extra hike in the morning. We all decided that we would rather relax from then on and hangout at campsite twelve for the rest of the day. The next morning we hiked to campsite nine and from then on we hiked to campsite five at the northern end of Big Salmon Lake. Again, after the hike to campsite five, the group split and the other group would travel to campsite four, which was about another one and a half kilometers along the south-eastern shore of the lake. Our group again chose to stay at the first campsite. We didn't want to make any extra hikes, so that we could balance the lengths of the hikes for each day and our entire group was flexible and agreed on this decision. Then on the third day we hiked back to the main area where we had started on the first day. 

View from our platform at campsite 5 at night
          I thought that overall, as a group, we all had a very enjoyable and successful experience. We divided everything evenly between each member and everyone pitched in their fair share. This made the trip much more pleasant and relaxing because we did not have to worry about compromising our plans. Our mental preparation and flexibility also made agreements and decision-making much easier. We divided our meals evenly, so that everyone had even amounts of food and snacks to carry throughout the trip. We also provided for each member and weren't individual. We worked as a team and always helped each other out when we needed something. I found that our positive attitudes and teamwork was key in making the trip a success. There were also no complaints with our sleeps. We all found ourselves comfortable with proper clothing, sleeping, sleeping pad, and a large enough tents. We brought two tents, a three person tent for two of us, and a four person for the other three. we needed to bring two tents anyways, but choosing these two gave us extra space and made it much more comfortable. Having to carry the extra tent wasn't a big problem either. We separated the poles and pegs from the tent and each person carried an item. My pack was not that heavy, therefore I carried one tent and it was not a problem. Although at first we did not know how we were going to carry one tent, but we were able to make room on my pack. Also, after the first my pack was way lighter because we ate my food for dinner that night. Again, this made the trip more relaxing, fun, and less of a struggle for not only me, but the whole group. 
Campsite 5

          During our hikes as an entire group, I always found myself at the front of the pack. I was usually the one leading the way with the map, but I let other people navigate as well. My group of five guys was usually all together during the hikes and up at the front.One thing I learned from being at the front of the group was that I have to pace my speed with the rest of the group and cannot get too far ahead and lose the group. I realized I had to slow down so that the others could stay in the group and not struggle to catch up because everyone had different speeds that they could manoeuvre at. This is okay and I just had to realize the speed of my pace and match it with the others farther back in the group. This is where I had to apply another aspect of teamwork and I understood how to do that on this trip. 

On the cliff at the lookout
          My favourite part of the trip was being on top of the lookout. The lookout had a huge, beautiful view of the rest of the lake. Being so high up made it seem like the forest beyond the lake was never-ending. The scenery of the sheet of ice-like lake was absolutely stunning. After taking a million pictures on the lookout we set up our camp just below in the bay beside the lookout. After setting up our tent, having some snacks, and playing countless amounts of card games, Thomas and I attempted at swimming in the lake. However, the water was freezing cold and we could only handle running in, dunking ourselves, and running out. Nevertheless, despite the cold, my group members and I did this many times and it was pretty amusing. There were other chores that we had to do around the campsite, for example, collect firewood. This consisted of gathering dead trees in the forest and carrying them back to camp. This task showed who took the initiative of some people and the laziness of others, but the people that did not gather the wood would have to saw the wood into smaller, appropriate-sized pieces, so they could fit in the fire. There were not many chores to do other than cooking, cleaning, setting/packing up our tents, hanging our food, and collecting firewood.

          Therefore the trip was a huge success and I can't wait to do something similar again in the future with outdoor ed. If I were to give one recommendation, it would be to prepare accordingly with your group, mentally and physically, so that you do not have to worry about any problems during the trip. I also recommend that anyone going on this trip in the future or doing something similar to make the best of it and enjoy yourself. The last thing you want is to be in a bad mood and not want to be a part of something this hype!

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